Sleepy Hollow RECAP: Here's Amber Alert starring The Pied Piper (S2:E4)
This week’s Sleepy Hollow steps away from the main plot again for another strong “monster of the week” episode. Child murder, ancient curses, a revolutionary war mercenary assassin, and a damn flute made from a skeleton all populate this episode. And this is all on Monday night television! What more could one ask for?
The episode opens up with a young girl captured in a trance. Creepy flute music floats through the background of the scene, leading her out of a fancy home and into the clutches of a demonic pied piper. Not the piper of legend that led the mice and children out of Hamelin, but a mythical assassin that operated during Crane’s time.
The girl’s disappearance sets off an Amber Alert, interrupting Crane and Abbie Mills during a driving lesson. Crane already has a few tricks up his sleeve in terms of driving, putting on an energetic display that forces Mills to grab the keys and head off for the alert. I don’t care if the guy can drive like Ricky Rudd, if he’s not from my time period, he’s not driving the damn car.
The duo arrives at the home of the Lancaster family where the girl, Sarah, disappeared from earlier. Mills’ connection to the family is evident from the get go. The mother, Beth Lancaster, was her case worker back during her childhood, helping to take care of Abbie and Jennifer following their mother’s issues.
Crane sneaks around and finds his own connection to the home, discovering a shrine to the Daniel Forbes Lancaster. A noted scumbag according to Crane, who didn’t decide to join the patriots until the very end of the war. Until that point, he was a supporter to the Red Coats and a main player in the pied piper’s objective in this episode.
Mills promises to find Sarah and return her, then takes Crane into the woods to look for some clues. There they find a makeshift flute created from the leg bone of a human being. It has been hollowed out and features numerous holes that replicate the sound of a fife. Crane plays it, throwing Mills into a trance that almost lands her in a nearby swamp. Both deduce that the sound of the flute leads victims to the lair of the piper and they decide to use it to find the beast and rescue little lady Lancaster.
Elsewhere, Irving is still in the nut ward and has taken up reading the Bible to learn a bit about the Horseman of War. Certainly playing up the “nut” part of his prison act. This sends Irving into a vision where Sleepy Hollow is in flames and he is slaying people left and right like some sort of Rambo ninja. The Horseman of War rides in behind him, showing his sword, but it is unclear where this is leading.
Parrish visits him later and we get a bit of insight into the motivations behind the blood contract from the prior episodes. As you can imagine, Parrish and Moloch now own Irving’s soul. So that vision should tell you that Irving is working with War and not against it, the way one would hope. Still looks pretty badass, though. You can’t deny that.
Back with Crane and Mills, they’ve devised a way to play the flute’s music without affecting other people by using Mills’ phone to record a loop. They use this to move through the woods toward the piper’s lair, but run across bounty hunter/cursed treasure collector Nick Hawley along the way. He’s been attacked by the piper during a search for the girl (and the bone flute, his real goal), leaving him a little roughed up.
All three gather themselves and head into the belly of the beast, a dark, grimy hole in the ground that the piper calls home. Things seem quiet at first and Mills discovers the girl chained up within, but she’s not alone. The piper is there too and he means business, whipping around like a shaolin warrior and kicking ass before being beaten by Hawley’s bag of explosives. Weep for the loss of two perfectly good cellular phones here, used as timers for special explosives that crumble the entrance to the piper’s lair.
Hawley asks for the flute as payment for his assistance. Mills agrees to keep up her end and gives him the flute, but not before breaking it in half.
Mills and Crane return Sarah to the Lancaster home, but soon find that something is off. Beth is not entirely thrilled to see her child has returned from the clutches of the pied piper. With a little digging, they discover that the piper has been kidnapping Lancaster children for years, a dozen from each generation. The one time he didn’t succeed, the curse he placed on the Lancaster family killed all the children.
It turns out that the colonial scumbag Lancaster used the pied piper to kill Red Coats occupying his home, but then betrayed the piper soon after. A knife in the chest is bound to leave someone feeling sore, especially an assassin who had already sold his soul to Moloch long before Lancaster made his betrayal.
Crane and Mills rush back to the home to find the two other children in the home being wheeled out to a nearby ambulance. They look like plague victims, complete with boils and splotches all over their faces. Beth and Sarah are nowhere to be found, but our heroes assume that she has returned to the woods to give the piper what he wants.
Crane and Mills get there before him and offer Beth a way out. Let them kill the piper and end the string of violence. The key is in his much larger bone flute bow, sort of like the one David Carradine played in Kung Fu, but bone and awesome. To ensure they can stand it’s incredible noise, the duo create a set of high tech ear plugs that block out all noise and allow them to exploit the piper’s weakness.
The piper appears in the woods, trying to take the girl, but is battled back to his lair via a random well in the middle of the woods. How did no one find this before? I need to know.
Crane and Mills give chase, entering the lair and engaging in battle. This is probably the best moment we’ve had to give some proper critique of the piper’s awesome looks. He was a normal man in revolutionary times, but here he’s a ravaged beast. Snarling teeth, white skin, and otherworldly speed are his trademarks–and the show pulls it off perfectly.
Crane battles the piper for a bit before losing his plugs and falling to the mercy of the piper’s bow-flute. His ears bleed, but he manages to stop the piper for a moment, allowing Mills to jump in and get the upper hand. She grabs the bow and drives it through the pipers heart, killing him I assume, but nothing is certain.
Evil is vanquished once again, all the span of one episode (a nice aspect for a show that is trying to tell a sprawling, albeit silly story). It was a lot of damn fun, and we end on a fun note involving Crane and Mills at a coffee shop. Crane laments the Italians’ idea of coffee, claiming it is a ripoff to give you so much milk and a small pittance of coffee in a “latte.” His tune changes when he drinks it, and we all laugh at his folly. Silly Crane, coffee is great. And for closers. You deserve it.
Back with Hawley, he meets with his flute buyer in a shady bar (not a stereotype at all). He informs him that it is broken, but that isn’t a problem. Money has already changed hands, and everyone is happy. The buyer is none other than Henry Parrish. He takes the broken flute and places it into a mortar, followed by some angry grinding that seems to give Parrish a snippet of pleasure. He then tastes the bone dust and seems pleased with his purchase. I assume now he’s going to snort it and create some sort of super power that will destroy all of Sleepy Hollow. That or he’s going to get really fucked up on child bones. We’ll have to wait and see next week.