This week’s episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW is called “Root of All Evil.” A bank robbery looks suspicious, so Ichabod (Tom Mison) and Abbie (Nicole Beharie) search for something that would cause otherwise-sweet people to go evil. They find it in a Judas coin, biblically rooted, and the artifact is also the reason Ichabod’s friend, Benedict Arnold (Scott Pythress, The Signal), turned against the Americans during the Revolutionary War. When Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) gets a hold of the money, our heroes must quickly act to stop her before she does something she’ll regret.
“Root of All Evil” is consumed a bit too much by the case-of-the-week for my taste. Most of the hour does involve Abbey and Ichabod chasing down this coin, which, of course, ends up affecting another main character. This is a really simple, predictable, tired plot that SLEEPY HOLLOW tries to distract us from by showing historical flashbacks, tossing in some rich character stuff, and introducing Nick Hawley (Matt Barr, Hellcats), a privateer who can’t be trusted. To be fair, these are terrific distractions and they do work for a lot of the running time, but the core of the installment is still not up to snuff.
I do like that conflict is coming between Abbie and Ichabod. Their bond is an instrumental part of the series, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be tested. Ichabod believes that his wife, Katrina (Katia Winter), is working undercover for them. Abbie thinks Ichabod is naïve, and it’s likely Katrina will side with her son, Henry (John Noble), when things get rough. Abbie’s argument is a sound one, and one I had not considered. Ichabod even seems a little unsettled by it. But his faith in the woman he loves is deep, and he isn’t about to choose Abbie over Katrina, at least not at this juncture.
I’m not sure if Abbie is right or not. “Root of All Evil” does show us Katrina sowing the seeds of doubt between Henry and Abraham (Neil Jackson), which could mean she’s trying to dismantle their plans from the inside. She definitely wants Henry to cease what he’s doing. But that doesn’t mean that she will be able to bring herself to harm Henry, which may be necessary to stop him. Katrina’s words may get to Abraham, but they only seem to reinforce Henry’s attitude.
This week’s SLEEPY HOLLOW reveals another part of Henry’s plan, but not fully. Henry becomes Irving’s (Orlando Jones) lawyer and cuts off the former cop from Abbie and Ichabod. But Henry also promises to get Irving out of the mental institution, which doesn’t immediately make sense because Irving is a friend of Henry’s enemies. Ichabod manages to sneak in and tells Irving not to trust Henry, that Henry must be playing Irving somehow, but if Henry is going to get Irving back to his family, can Irving resist whatever Henry has in mind for him? There definitely seems to be some trouble brewing on this front.
The other big unknown is where Sheriff Reyes’ (Sakina Jaffrey) loyalties lie. Jenny hates the new woman because Reyes put their mother away in the place where their mom eventually killed herself. But Abbie seems to think Reyes may have been trying to help their mother, protecting her from jail. Or, at least that’s what Reyes says to Abbie and Abbie doesn’t argue, though Abbie’s facial expressions indicate she may have doubts. Is Reyes a good person doing her job, which coincidentally interferes with the good guys’ plans, or is she trying to subtlety impede them? I’m just not sure at this point.
There are some really good bits in “Root of All Evil.” Everything with roguish Holly is fun. A confrontation between Reyes and Ichabod is more amusing than perhaps it should be. There is also a timely commentary on homosexuality, which Ichabod has no problem with, though he can’t understand why a man would be disrespectful enough to wear a hat indoors. This viewpoint may not be all that realistic for a guy out of time, but it does make those who would block civil rights for gays look foolish, and that’s certainly welcome.
“Root of All Evil” is a good episode because of all of the various elements SLEEPY HOLLOW includes in even the most routine installment. It has a weaker base than most episodes of the series, but still has enough of what makes SLEEPY HOLLOW special to satisfy fans. If this is an example of a ‘bad’ episode, and I think it is, the show is doing very well indeed.
SLEEPY HOLLOW airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.
CHIEF TELEVISION CRITIC | Creator of and writer for It's All Been Done Radio Hour live show and podcast. A voracious reader wanting to tell stories of his own, Jerome began writing around the age of 8 and hasn’t stopped, both original works and television reviews. Lives in central Ohio. Favorite current shows include The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, Flaked, Outlander, and Archer.