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"One day this war will end."

DISCLAIMER: it took me almost three months to finish mentally processing this episode and write up a(n image-heavy) review. However, I outlined and started the rough draft of this post on November 8th, so that is the date I'm leaving it up even though I didn't actually finish or publish it until February. I dropped out of the SH fandom and stayed blind and deaf on spoilers past episode 8, so it's not much different.

Sleepy Hollow, 2x07, "Deliverance"
I'm pretty sure this has to be my favorite episode of all time, because it's just a straight up love letter to Mr. & Mrs. Crane. Or to put it another way, from an interview I wish I'd read before watching, to take away some of the stressful agony:

Those that are "Ichatrina" fans will be taken on a journey of pure adoration for the couple, but also be reminded why we love Ichabod so much! The lengths that he goes to help his wife, even after all the lies, is nothing short of unconditional love. Though the two have been apart for centuries, it is clear to see how devoted they are to each other, no matter what is thrown in their path.

Since I can't accurately count the exact number of wonderful moments they had, I'm just going to have to walk us through every single one in chronological order. What a hardship. (then we will circle back and talk about the remaining scenes, which were also 95% great)

Also, I recommend reviewing the Feelings Explosion post at some point, since I had some additional thoughts there that I couldn't organically work into this review.

1. Flashback dream, which TPTB have helpfully confirmed is the night Jeremy was conceived:


I have been dying for a scene like this since 2x02, and oh, look how pretty it is with the early dawn light and soft shadows over everything. It's a really excellent cuddling tutorial, for people who might need that sort of thing to figure out where errant arms go. And is complete with dreamy musings about their future children, which is a thing people on my shows do not get to talk about a lot, and I love it.

2. Hospital reunion
First we have Crane flying in all full of worry and promptly laying defensive claim to his wife, complete with nonstop hand-holding. I take a moment to flail about the fact that I actually got a legitimate hospital scene with these two, WHAT?? Next, we have the most adorable sound I have ever heard:

"Hello."

Then it just keeps going with the hair-petting and the hand-holding...

You're safe now, my love.

...and finally, acute medical panic! Complete with hands-on worry that, for one shining moment, I can pretend is either real pregnancy or any abdominal issue my heart desires, before the squicky lines appear.


3. Costume Found
I just love how flustered he is at the sight of her modern skintight clothes and so vehement about how NO HE DOES NOT LIKE THEM. At least not in public. In private is a very different sort of matter. (I will now hex myself because I just fleetingly wished this show were on HBO. Maybe HBO's real problem is its failure to pair up equally attractive peope combined with a failure to highlight stories where people are in love.)

4. Project Talk It Out
a. Gently exasperated scolding at her possibly wearing herself out. Mostly I like him helping her up and walking her back to a seat.


b. Handhold!


c. Fight! I like fights because they represent the possibility of sweet, sweet resolution -- it's verbal hurt. I don't know what I like more, his tone on "And what do you and 'Abraham' 'converse' about?" (look at that handsome Face of Pained Skepticism!) or how he buckles when she looks him right in the eye and asks, "Do you think I enjoy it?"

"Any secrets that have come between us, they break my heart, but they do not reflect my love. (...) So now you wonder what else I must be keeping from you. There is nothing, I swear it."

(I'm going to hold you to that, Katrina.)

5. Fight, part 2: The Resolution
I really like how he has to struggle with himself to accept what she says, but then visibly makes himself get over it. That's good, I need some internal conflict to make it worthwhile -- just a dash.

One day this war will end. And when it does, we'll build a life together - the life we deserve.*


PROFIT

*From the Deluxe Transcripts: Now, call me crazy, but I do not think that day is going to happen on Earth. Still, when they seal it with a long kiss, it feels like an unshakeable vow.

6. Fight #2!
The world may never know why Abbie decides to stir the flames of discord and suspicion by commenting "you two haven't been alone together for a while..." (fyi even if it weren't a mystical pregnancy, it seems like 'rape' should have been more strongly on the list of worries), but I both love how quick his insecurity shows and how fast she shuts that down. "Ichabod, I would never."

That vehement expression on her face is the expression of a thousand cranes flying out of my heart in certainty that this has never been and never will be a legitimate concern despite all those weirdo catless shippers on there (or "Katless" but I assume they're also catless and thus crazy). I recognize this level of certainty as the amount I had in Blaine Anderson's fealty, so that kind of sucks, but I want it to be enough.

When she points out the reasonable explanation that this THING is not born of any man (in a tone of AM I THE ONLY ONE NOT TAKING CRAZY PILLS), he snatches the book out of her hands so violently that I'm pretty sure it's a substitute for a slap, and it shocks me every time. Then the anger seems to dissolve into thin air as he runs with her theory...? No matter how many times I watch this, I do not get the context for the emotions. Where are those network execs with their notes about how the audience needs stuff explained real simple when you need them??

7. Church Regroup
When they run out to escape the storming goons, he constantly has his arms around her as they hurry out. And they remain firmly around her as they walk into the church and he helps her get settled. Also, there is a just a beautiful amount of exasperated frustration on "Katrina, he's trying to kill you." But for all that, I love that he cannot continue to stand up to her when she demands to know if he's lost all faith in their son.

8. Fading Hope
Post-failure to beseech Henry, I love how heavy his steps are as he walks over to where she's sitting, how slowly he pronounces the words of doom, and how he just sort of thumps to the floor in defeat. Can we take a moment to appreciate his Amazing Face of Pain and Feelings?


I'm so sorry...I tried. You must know I tried.
.
There is little I love more than people making dying declarations against feeble protests. Also, one of my favorite lines from him, pronounced very slowly and carefully: "Evidence of good in him is not proof that he will change."

9. Magic!
Because it's just frickin' adorable how he shows her how to work the radio, plus her weak smile, "Like magic." Blink and you'll miss it, but watch it 27 times with careful scrutiny and you'll see the flicker of a smile he gives her in response.

(P.S. I think we should give Katrina more credit for just rolling with the crazy punches of this century, given how bewildered Ichabod was when he woke up here and how spent an entire episode rattled out of his wits and (mildly) swearing up a storm. I guess she has the benefit of knowing how much time has passed and why all along, but I'm still guessing she wasn't having window peeks into the 19th and 20th centuries on the regular to track its progress, and seeing the brave new world is something else.)

10. Mortal Peril
I am always here for "please don't leave me," but especially in combination with assorted sputtering and half formed words. This is some Grade A Desperate Panicking. I'm delighted he figured out that CPR would be a useful skill off-screen and that we didn't see it squandered on Abbie first.




11. Exhale

"I thought we'd lost you."
"You're here."

"Where I belong."

^ CAN EVERYONE (WRITERS) PLEASE REMEMBER HOW YOU WROTE THIS AND STICK TO IT PLEASE AND THANKS.

I love how they only have eyes for each other in this moment. True story, it is my new aim in life to be able to kiss that pretty. Also, can we just appreciate how he stays curled over her?

12. Afterglow
His face when he comes out to talk to Abbie is wonderful. There is just so much self satisfaction/dopey smiling/dreamy lovestruck gazing all over it. "Holding her just now, is a joy I've not felt in an age." It's frightening to realize how true that is. While they haven't been totally separated, this is the first time they've had a hug that wasn't followed three seconds later by fleeing from demons and/or seeing her snatched away again. It's so cathartic. Another thing I love in a good OTP: when just holding them and knowing they're safe is the number one goal.
---------------------
B SIDE: ALL THE THINGS OTHER THAN ICHATRINA
+ The AWESOME INTRO. I loved her pleas for help from Abraham, and Abraham fearlessly storming to her defense. At least you can count on him to protect The Precious. It's worthwhile that he objects to her being used as a plaything by other people, right?

+ Katrina kickpunching the rest of the way to freedom, even as it took all her energy reserves to do so.

+ The voting scene! Between Ichabod's mini history lesson in how restricted voting was and his scolding about how abysmal it is that people don't vote, this scene is 70% of the reason I was guilted into voting this year. I have to think the timing was strategic on their part, since this aired about 12 hours before polls opened.

+ Abbie's 1-woman reconnaissance mission was fantastic.

+ THREE-WAY FIGHT. Even if you like Katrina, I think the entire fandom can agree on Abbie playing the role of The Fandom, and I did enjoy all of her 'bitch wtf' / 'are you on crack' / 'what the damn hell' expressions. It's hard to argue in favor of Henry's irredeemable qualities. Parents are known to be irrationally supportive of their children, especially biological mothers, the act of childbirth apparently creating a magical and inexplicable bond.

THAT SAID. I adored Ichabod getting in the middle of them and hastening to shut the catfight down before it got out of hand ("girls, girls! you're both pretty!" oh wait that's a more loaded statement than I intended in this case...). I love watching him struggle to balance his loyalties and make the choice that causes the least harm to each side. When it comes down to it, I want him to preseve his family at all costs except Abbie's life -- and don't try to find loopholes because I will renege on the "except" part in extreme scenarios.

(I can't remember if I have always felt that way, or it's a new strike-back feeling against all the people on tumblr, who seem desperate to cling to the belief that sometimes family are the ones you choose and biology don't mean bupkis, but I can't help noticing a pattern of people who say this also making posts about their awful, strained relationships with their parents/other blood relatives.)

+ The face-off with Henry was probably the best scene Henry's ever been in/only one I did not hate. Believe me, I wanted to hate the directing, with its dizzying closeups, but it was really effective in making you feel claustrophobic and trapped. Better still, I am never going to forget the line "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a faithless child." Nor will I forget that it's from King Lear. Act I, scene 4.

+ Abbie and Katrina had a beautiful bonding moment where the former tried to keep her calm and refused to let her choose the path of suicide as a preventative measure against the demon birth even though it'd probably be easiest for everyone. "When Crane first fell on the battlefield all those years ago, and all the voices of heaven and hell were shouting in your ear, 'let him die,' you found another way to save him. We will find another way to save you." God, so many iconic lines in this episode. And also, this, this is what I want all the time -- for the ladies to bond and support each other. Katrina has done an excellent job of respecting Abbie and not showing irrational jealousy, so I just want more opportunities for them to forge a friendship and work together.

+ Crane using the word "chicanery" made my day. I have to go back to this scene because it's just so deliciously good. Ichabod alternates between calm and collected and spitting out words with a passion that just sounds like straight up Shakespeare on a stage. For instance --
Henry: I intend to paint my hands with both your blood.
Crane: Then flick your wrist! Make it so.

+ The momentary flash of little-boy Henry, and how much it shakes him? A+

+ "I must Internet. Immediately." Story of my life, bro.

+ LOVED the fake-out with not clueing Reyes in. That cover story was cooler to watch them feed her than the truth would have been. It's really nice to see Abbie be a real detective and not just an X-Files agent.

+ Abbie's expertly delivered line "I belong somewhere else" while quietly excusing herself from the intimacy of the husband and wife reunion.

+ In that ending scene with Abbie, the fist bump-explosion was super adorable and really hammered home how great their buddy chemistry is/why it is only buddy chemistry. I can't see him doing that with Katrina, nor can I see him doing it with someone he'd kiss afterward. Anyway, he just looks super pleased with himself for learning that, especially while peering sidelong at her to see if she found it equally amusing. I love when he does that.

+ Also, the inflection he uses on "No, I do not think he would," is most musical.

+ Plot-wise, even before we got to the end of the episode/the next episode, I got the sense that Henry left that prism in plain sight on purpose. Like, there is no way he wouldn't have had a cure that easy under lock and key versus just lying around in plain sight. Everything that happened was exactly what he wanted to happen (Moloch being born was the failsafe backup plan, I'm assuming). This is all just more of his twisted chess game. He's very much like a TV showrunner that way. And I continue to love all the twists and turns as they come.

OVERALL: I know the fandom at large hated it, but the fandom also has a serious dearth of ability to appreciate damsels in distress, so I'm not going to give any credit to anyone's arguments.

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