Sleepy Hollow Review: Lost Colony Found

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"John Doe" was probably my favorite episode since the Sleepy Hollow pilot; not because of any fun interaction between the leads but because of the mythology behind the story that brought forth the whereabouts of another of the Four Horsemen - the lost colony of Roanoke. 

Yes, I am a history geek and if you throw in the mysterious disappearance of that colony and all of its inhabitants, it's like a historical supernatural tale - and the writers picked it up and ran with it. Well done!

Mysterious Origins

Are Chaucer's Canterbury Tales really written in Middle English? Alright, slap me. I haven't read them. The Middle English Ichabod was conversing in with young master Thomas sounded a lot like the German that the Hessians were speaking last week. In any event, Ichabod knows a lot, doesn't he?

As viewers it was pretty obvious what had happened: the Horseman of Pestilence/Conquest had lured Thomas into the modern world to spread his plague. That Thomas came from Roanoke was just icing on the cake. Heck, it's as good an argument as any others out there about what happened to the colonists. They merged with native Indians or were all murdered or all did succumb to a plague, leaving no trace.

Even though I enjoyed the hour and it was so interesting to imagine that some supernatural occurrence might have been responsible for their lost status, I did have some issues.

First, shame on Abbie for not paying attention in history class. I'd venture to guess that the topic of Roanoke piqued the interest of Jenny. As a mystery lover, it was one of the first lessons in elementary school that caught my attention and made me realize that history might have its merits.

Secondly, in the spirit of not paying attention, apparently Ichabod was glossing over his interpretation of the Middle English we had subtitled across the screen during his conversation with the townsman as they discussed what would stop the plague from spreading and heal Thomas. The answer was simple. Return Thomas to the Roanoke people and everyone else who was infected would be cured. His exact words were, "You must return him here. To save them all."

Yet Ichabod made it seem as though it was Abbie's prayer and belief in her position as one of the two witnesses and seeing what nobody else could that set that cure into motion. Ummm... not so much. Perhaps he was saying that to give her a boost of confidence in the witness department? If he had properly delivered the message in the first place, when he fell ill she wouldn't have had to pray on it in the first place.

Inspired Observations:

  • Might a change of clothes be on the way for Ichabod? Abbie admitted he looked good, but a chance of clothes couldn't hurt. Oh, fingers crossed! 
  • My favorite scene was when Abbie pointed to the imaginary 'Welcome to Roanoke' sign and Ichabod didn't like her sarcasm, and he got her back by telling her Jefferson had an obsession with puns and that Adams kept a notebook of unsavory limericks.
  • Captain Irving helped Abbie get Ichabod and Thomas out of the hospital. He has to be a good guy, but I'm not ruling out him having some inside information.
  • Katrina is lost in a purgatory, detained by Moloch, but Ichabod got sucked back to life before we learned why. Someone in the present must have some information on her, right?
  • Was Pestilence locked in the past once Roanoke was no longer visible to Abbie and Ichabod? My assumption is he can move through time more freely than that, or else we'll revisit Roanoke in the future.
  • I was under the impression that Death was MIA because his head had been confiscated. My impression was wrong since he arose from the water and is on his way back to Sleepy Hollow. What was the point of hiding his head and why did he just turn and run when they took it instead of knocking down the door to find it?

We have three long weeks until the next all-new episode of Sleepy Hollow and now I have this desire to go back to my history books to find other odd moments they can bring out to utilize to propel the story forward and bring the Horsemen out into the open. Tonight was just ingenious and a real joy for those of us who would like to imagine a happy ending for the lost colony of Roanoke.

What did you think of tonight's episode? How will you spend your time away? We'll see you back here for the Sleepy Hollow Round Table and then again on November 4 for the next new episode!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (58 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


Middle English was not spoken in the 16th century. Early modern English, which sounds almost like modern English, is being used at least by the end of the 15th century. That is what the boy should be speaking. Even if you don't know anything about philology or history, there is so much information on these things on the internet. I don't mind some liberties with history in film and tv land, but this made the show look stupid. If you do not know that much about history and you want to use something like a different language, do your research!


I'm so glad to finally see people mentioning the Middle English/Roanoke thing. That stuck out to me immediately. Early Modern English was firmly entrenched as a spoken language even 100 years BEFORE the Roanoke colony. Shakespeare was writing right around the time of the Roanoke colony, and he used Modern English. This writing team should be less liberal with the historical aspects of the show. It's just helping to spread ignorance! That said, it was an entertaining episode. lol


I really love this show, and this episode was great, but I'm just a little annoyed at the Middle English thing. I'm no history expert, but I'm fairly positive we were speaking Modern English by 1587. I mean, that's around the time Shakespeare was writing, and any fluent English speaker can read his plays easily. That being said, I loved the involvement of Roanoke, because that story fascinates me, and I loved their interpretation of why it went missing.


Hey! Am I the only one that thinks Ichabod's clothes are GREAT! I wish I had some outfits like that. That's pure class! I really like this show and I am surprised because from the initial trailers I thought is was going to be pretty bad!


Finally Ichabod has a place to stay! Now if only someone can buy him some clothes...then i'll be able to continue watching this show.


I loved this episode. Seeing another horseman was great and having the other one come back at the end was exciting I can't wait to see what he does next or should I say who he kills next. I remember learning a little about the Roanoke colony in school but we didn't talk a lot about it but I remember I thought it was very interesting. At first I had trouble remembering what it was I mean I recognize the name but couldn't remember what it was about then it came back to me and I was very excited to see the way they made there story. Who knows maybe one day we'll actually find out what happened to them. Since they talked about I'm kinda hoping we get a wardrobe change from Ichabod. I can't wait till the next episode I really want to know what's going to happen with the horseman coming back to town.


The main reason his English sounded like the Hessians' German to you is probably because those alleged Hessians spoke it which such thick English accents that it was barely recognizable - German is my first language, and it took me a while to realize that the stuff they were saying was supposed to be German. Actually, Ichabod's pronunciation of German was much less heavily accented than anything those guys said...


The clip for the next show looks great. Three weeks boo! I see where they have the great actor James Frain on the show. I hope they use him better than the writers on Grimm did last season. You have this great actor with a great storyline and they barely used him. What a waste! He is such a great actor at playing the bad guy!


"the English of the 1400s shared quite a bit with German." True but Crane is not from the 1400s. True he was an Oxford professor, I suppose its not impossible that he learned to speak it. The did try at least to explain why he knows so much - his upper class family made sure he had a well-rounded education.


I love how this show and shows like it make people go and look things up! The middle english did sound a lot like german to me too. But our "English" has words from other "Non-English" words. Also our English is pretty much the same but very diffrent from other English from around the world and other parts of America. I read The Canterbury Tales when I was in College and I loved it. I will go back and read it again. I agree Ichabod does need some new clothes but don't change him too much. The plastic thing he was tring to open looked like a razor. I like the long hair and beard! Where was Jenny? Also there is more to Captain Irving. He is way too "easy" when it comes to Abbi and Ichabod. I love Orlando Jones, can't wait to see what is really up with him.

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Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

So did the boy go to Oxford or are you suggesting he's a member of King Author's Court?

Capt. Irving

You and I have very different definitions of old. It seems if a building stays upright for more than a decade, you people declare it a national landmark. This cabin has all the modern means I need. It's certainly preferable to that motel.