Oh, Ichabod. Can we all agree that it isn’t him?
Let’s be honest: a man who runs, screaming in terror, from a horseman with less than optimal (optical?) eyesight is not exactly a man of brave constitution. Killing and butchering bodies takes a certain physical, as well as stomach, strength. While ~magic~ might solve the first, it doesn’t solve the second. For all his nastiness, I doubt Crane can stand the gore.
Also, this revelation happens in the second episode. Plot-wise, it’s crazy to reveal the killer less than half way through the story when the point of the game is to solve the mystery. (This might work for something like True Detective, down the road, but I think Telltale’s sticking to the beaten path here.)
Crane’s relative innocence is also reflected in key characters’ opinions: Snow intuits that Crane is not the killer and Bloody Mary laughs in his face.
“Bigby, I don’t think he did it.” Snow says. “Look at him. Do you really think this man murdered these women? He’s not… he wouldn’t be brave enough. Not to put his stamp on the world like that.”
She’s not correct about everything, but I agree with her on this. Crane can be a bully when he’s comfortable enough, but killing someone involves a level of risk he can’t stomach.
And then there’s Bloody Mary. I’m not saying that a raving psychopath is a good source for truth-telling, but her words to Snow have bearing. Also, the way Mary talks to Crane is belittling (“The grown-ups are talking”) and dismissive, indicating that Mary perceives Crane as weak and unworthy of attention. Mary prizes strength – and only strength used with fatal force. (As demonstrated by her dialogue if Bigby doesn’t kill a Tweedle) If Crane was the killer, she would treat him with slightly more respect.
But our reasonable assurance of innocence does not mean that Ichabod Crane bears no culpability for what has happened. He has ties to both of the victims as well as reason and opportunity to kill.
In fact, I think that’s the point. Crane is being set up – moreover, he is being threatened with at least one of these murders.
Lily died shortly after Faith, still in glamour. The point was first death was to frighten him, and then the second was to expose him.
I have a theory. Faith was at one point Crane’s usual prostitute – that is how she obtained the illicit photo:
If Faith was Crane’s usual prostitute it would explain why Crane automatically assumes it is truly Snow when fake!Snow’s head shows up. We already have an example of the two women switching clients – perhaps Faith visiting the Woodsman was pay back for Lilly dealing with Crane. Furthermore, this could also explain why Crane doesn’t know that Lilly is a troll: she’s not his usual girl and he’s never seen her out of the Snow!glamor.
The Tweedles’ files also lead us to a solid piece of evidence for Crane’s innocence: the photographs. Crane could not have ‘accidentally’ left the photos at the crime scene because they were no longer in his possession. Someone planted them there.
So why frame Crane?
An integral part of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is Brom hoodwinking Crane in order to win Katrina. It is implied by the end that the headless horseman was a prank, rather than a phantom, meant to drive Crane away – and it works. Something similar is happening here: these murders are masked as the works of a deranged madman when in reality they are meant to expose and weaken Crane.
Why? He owes the Crooked Man money. Lots of money. He doesn’t pay, he pays the price.
It also effectively removes him from office. Even though we know he’s innocent by the end of “The Crooked Mile,” his disgusting behavior and embezzlement have been exposed. While this ensures that the Crooked Man will not get all his money back, it also weakens the law enforcement. With King Cole gone, we’re down to Bigby, Bufkin and Snow. (And the ever-helpful Bluebeard, who waits in the wings.)
Narratively, Crane is supposed to distract, but his political demise also reveals a game changer: this is no longer about a sheriff hunting a serial killer. If these crimes were committed to disgrace Crane, they speak to a motive not based on pathology, but tangible gain. In other words: the true power behind these deaths is not a Ted Bundy, a Norman Bates, a Buffalo Bill, or a Leatherface. The rabid dog might be, but there’s something with a higher level of thinking behind it.
We just switched from a story about serial killers to one about organized crime.
Don’t ever take sides against the family, Fredo!