‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 2 Episode 13 Recap: “Pittura Infamente”

This week, on another absurdly titled episode of Sleepy Hollow: An art restorer hallucinates blood from a painting! (That painting comes to life!) A dark presence from Abigail Adams’ old writing desk! (Michelle Trachtenberg plays Abigail Adams!) A centuries’ old journal reemerges! Katrina and Ichabod try to rekindle their romance!  Captain Irving returns to Sleepy Hollow! And Ichabod asks one of manhood’s greatest questions: “How can one be both business and casual?”

Yeah, this week’s events get started because art restorer Mr. Grant Hollister imagines blood oozing from a painting — blood that, while imagined, somehow stains his hands. Later, he and the painting appear at a kind of historical art gala, which Ichabod and Katrina are attending in hopes of rekindling their love. Grant approaches Ichabod and tells him he feels a dark presence around him. Not long after that, Grant is found dead, hanged from his foot with his throat slit — a killing that Ichabod (of course!) realizes is meant to invoke the Hanged Man of the Tarot. It’s also identical to a series of murders from 1781, as Katrina remembers, thanks to Abigail Adams, whose desk is at the gala, telling her about it back in the day. They didn’t solve the murder back then. It’s a Cold Case x Sleepy Hollow murder mystery! 

The two tall sleuths deduce that the killer was not a trained medical professional, as was previously assumed, but instead an artist who would also have in-depth medical knowledge of the human anatomy. And that artist, (who, as far as I can tell, is fictional) James Colby, painted a self-portrait that somehow immortalized him and allows him to live on, killing! This is such a dumb, convoluted storyline. Later, Ichabod tries to save someone who gets sucked into the sphincter of the painting. Bummer!

Ichabod finds a clue in patterns in the cracks in a painting’s frame; they aren’t just cracks, they’re roads. A map! In the world of Sleepy Hollow, a thing is not just one thing, guys. This discovery leads Katrina to realize that Abigail Adams had discovered the true identity of the murderer, and the fact that he was imprisoned in the canvas. Abigail inexplicably chose to keep the painting that imprisoned Colby so she could keep guard over him, rather than, oh, I don’t know, burn the damned thing.

So, Ichabod does what Ichabod do, and decides to enter the world of the painting. Katrina, eager to remain key to the plot, grabs Ichabod’s arm and forces her way into his storyline and inside of the world of the painting. She says some kind of witchy chant that includes the penetrate-y word penetraray or something, so you know it’s real. They enter the world of the painting, and it doesn’t look all cool and painterly or anything but just has a squawking bird running into a door. Scary, spooky!  It’s the mind of James Colby.

“There is so much sadness and pain in this house,” Katrina says, presumably about the Sleepy Hollow writing room, because there ain’t much sadness or pain in this whole sequence. They rescue the dude who had been sucked into the painting’s sphincter, and Katrina coughs up some more witchery. Colby manifests himself from a big glob of paint, says, “Too late!” and walks super slowly toward the two of them, slashing his scary, bloody paintbrush. The witchery works and sends them back to the mortal plane, and Abbie shows up and shoots the fuck out of Colby, because of course Abbie has to do everything. She shoots the painting and Colby drops dead. His art truly was his life!

Also, in the b plot, Captain Irving just walked right back into the police department because he didn’t know he was in trouble. He tells Abbie that he didn’t know how he died, or how he was alive. Abbie tells him that his soul belongs to the Horseman, so that’s why he’s still alive — and also why she doubts that it’s his true self. Abbie and Jenny scheme to find a weapon to kill undead Irving, if Irving is, indeed, undead. Hawley is out of town, though, so who will they turn to? Hawley, still, I guess, and he sends Jenny — alone! — to dig up a body, and dig out bullets from the body. (Again, alone!) And you just know the body is going to reanimate, and it does, and it chokes Jenny. But she extracts the majical bullitz anyway.

Captain Irving gets moved to a holding cell. His physical body is A-OK. But, Abbie says, “It’s not his heart and lungs we’re concerned about. It’s his soul.” So, they need a metaphysical examination, one conducted by Katrina, but not in this episode. Abbie gets in trouble from Reyes (remember her, that woman who was a distraction for a fraction of an episode?).

Everything wraps up so nicely and neatly, aside from the insanity of Irving, as Ichabod and Katrina sit at Abigail Adams’ cursed desk and exchange sweet pleasantries. Ichabod is totally willing to move past these things, he says. “We will find a new state of being together.” And then, from nowhere, there’s apparently evidence that will vindicate Irving.

Whoa. Ichabod and Katrina on the mends? Irving on the innocence? Abbie continuing to be the baddest ass chick on network television? Aw, yeah. This episode wasn’t all that bad, incomprehensible plot aside.