Ghosts of the past resurfacing in the present has been a regular theme of Sleepy Hollow, but in the case of The Weeping Lady, it’s more of a literal spectre that rears its translucent head. The apparition first appears in an aquatic haze of turquoise mood lighting before yanking its victims through a short-range portal to drown in the nearby river.
First to feel the Lady’s wrath is Caroline, the cute redhead Civil War re-enactor from the beginning of Season 1’s final episode, who has developed a crush on Ichabod roughly equivalent to the pressure of the Marianas Trench (“That girl had a case of Crane on the brain,” as Abbie put it), although rather sweetly he remains utterly oblivious of this until she makes a move. Tragically, moments after Ichabod leaves after gallantly apologising for hurting her feelings the Weeping Lady callously kills her. Cold open deaths generally get only the most cursory of consideration, often serving little more than to kickstart an episode’s plot, but despite Caroline’s total screen time being of mere minutes over a couple of scenes we’re still moved by her untimely demise.
Although female spirits crying, wailing, moaning or otherwise lamenting as harbingers of imminent death appear in myths and folk tales from all over the world, and as such are a popular fantasy trope (Supernatural’s pilot dealt with a Woman in White, while a second season episode of Grimm dealt with Mexican variant La Llorona), this Weeping Lady is very much specific to Sleepy Hollow and a figure from local legend. It transpires that she is the ghost of Ichabod’s ex-fiancée Mary, a woman who even in life had the kind of psychotic fixation more typically associated with Harley Quinn’s manic affection for her Mistuh Jaaay. If the term “bunny boiler” had existed in the 18th century, she would have been labelled as such without a moment’s hesitation. Now that she’s dead she’s only gotten worse, with any woman who shows even the slightest fondness for Ichabod being an affront to her sensibilities that must be immediately disposed of. It doesn’t take Sherlockian reasoning to deduce that Abbie and Katrina will both make it onto her hit list.
For once, it’s the latter of these two who gets the most focus. Despite Katrina being a powerful witch (which we know from dialogue repeatedly informing us of the fact), she has remained frustratingly underused on the fringe of events, usually cropping up to be imperilled in characterisation as outmoded as Ichabod’s dress sense. We finally get to see her properly use some magic, something that’s been disappointingly lacking this season and belatedly explained away as being due to and enchantment over Abraham’s house put in place by Henry to limit her powers, although the dark magic required to banish Mary will likely leave its mark on her.
The ultimate revelation of Katrina’s unintentional role in what happened to Mary, and her attempt to hide this from Ichabod after the fact along with everything else she was keeping from him, means that his utter conviction in her has been shaken. Katrina is not the paragon of feminine virtue that Ichabod idolises her as, but merely a fallible human being just like the rest of them who has made mistakes and questionable decisions and has had to live with them.
Once again, Hawley’s ruggedly handsome face crops up in the unlikeliest of places (a library this time), where a more suspicious mind might perceive his serendipitous reappearances as stalking. Also once again, he manages to give some semblance of aid without being outright helpful; behaviour his mercenary attitude won’t allow him to do without the promise of getting something in return. Jenny only crops up at the episode’s end, and we are clued in to she and Hawley previously being more than just associates, which may have later repercussions as it’s more than a little apparent that it’s the elder Mills his eye is roving towards and will likely further unbalance the sisters’ already shaky relationship.
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