Sleepy Hollow: Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

If you’ve been watching Sleepy Hollow this season, you may think the title of this article refers to Headless making another appearance. Nope. Or, you might think I mean the fact that the apocalypse is back on track to destroy the world. You’d be wrong again. No. I’m talking about Sleepy Hollow being back again. I’m talking about the show finally getting back to the one I fell in love with four seasons ago. The show has two more episodes left before they wrap up the season, and although we haven’t reached the finish line yet, I’m going to go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief. I was very concerned about this season because seasons two and three were so shaky. There were some things to like in each of those seasons, but neither of them were ever able to capture the sense of urgency, the sense of adventure, or the sense of humor that made me fall in love with the first season. That being said, the powers that be must’ve done some serious soul searching while the show was on hiatus because, with only a few relatively minor missteps, Sleepy Hollow has made me fall in love with it again. How did they manage it? I’m glad you asked. There were quite a few things that rekindled my love for the show, but I’m going to tell you about three of them.

SOLID SUPPORTING CAST

Part of the reason the first season was so successful was the supporting cast. Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie had great chemistry together, but the supporting cast was also excellent. I’ll always regret that we didn’t get to spend more time with Sheriff Corbin or Officer Andy if only because I enjoy Clancy Brown and John Cho so much. Putting my love for those actors aside though, those characters were interesting in their brief appearances on the show. They set the foundation for quite a few plot points that happened later in the series, and their relationships with Abbie helped add layers to her character. The same is true of Orlando Jones, John Noble, and Lyndie Greenwood. All of these actors (and by default their characters) were severely underused because, much like Corbin and Andy, each of these characters brought a different spice to help flavor Sleepy Hollow. Thankfully, the powers that be realized their previous mistake and have given us Diana, Jake, Alex, and Molly. Each one of these characters brings something different to the team and thus something different to the show. They’re not just the comic relief or the exposition robot. They are distinct individuals with colorful character quirks and a specific set of skills that helps round out the team. So we don’t get Ichabod, the Knower of All Things that Must Be Known. Ichabod still has more personal knowledge about historical events than his compatriots, but he’s no longer the only guy to know about some obscure ancient symbol that they need to take down the monster of the week. It’s caused Ichabod to step back a bit and take some time to mourn Abbie and figure out where he fits in the world. The shift in team dynamics also means that Ichabod is having to step up and take more of a leadership role than he did previously. In addition to finding a letter in which General George Washington placed Ichabod in charge of, let’s call it the Supernatural Brigade, Ichabod is the one with the most experience. Well, Ichabod and Jenny. There’s also the fact that neither Jake nor Alex have any sort of combat training, and Diana is only just beginning to truly wrap her head around the scope of what they’re facing. So it makes sense that the team would look to him for guidance, and as uncomfortable as that makes him, he’s actually doing a pretty good job of it.

ICHABOD MOURNED ABBIE

I’m not going to rehash how upset it made me for the show to kill off Abbie. That being said, I’m glad the show didn’t just gloss over her death this season. Abbie was an integral part of the show. Not just because she was a witness. She’s the one who helped Ichabod learn to navigate the 21st century. She’s the one who gave Ichabod family when he felt he was in the world all alone. It’s more than just the fact that Abbie was a witness. It’s more than the fact that she was Ichabod’s friend. She was his family, and she’s irreplaceable. Ichabod and Abbie had been through so much together that it would not have been honest to the character for Ichabod to just move on. I mean, it’s not like I expected (or wanted) Ichabod to spiral down into a deep depression and remove himself from the fight. But I also didn’t want the show to minimize the impact Abbie’s death had on him. He had to figure out who he was without her in his life. There wasn’t a whole lot of snot and tears, thankfully, but Ichabod did have to do some soul-searching about how to move forward. He also had to acknowledge the pain of his loss so he could figure out how to continue fighting the good fight while also honoring Abbie’s memory. So I’m glad the show has taken the time to show Ichabod working through dealing with Abbie’s death.

INTERESTING, COHERENT STORY

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Sleepy Hollow

One of the primary issues the show has suffered from over the last two seasons is a lack of focused storytelling. In seasons two and three, the show would start telling a story, then get distracted by a squirrel for a few episodes, then come back to the story they originally started telling. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. That kind of haphazard storytelling is frustrating because it leaves dangling storythreads that are never properly wrapped up. For example, the show introduced The Kindred and then just let him ride off into the moonlight for basically a whole season and a half. Then it was like the powers that be went, ‘Oops. We’ve sorta got this monster just out there doing his thing. We should probably wrap that up.’ But by then it was kind of too little, too late. Also, lacking focus in the story causes the powers that be to keep trying to throw bigger and more shocking twists into the story to maintain the audience’s interest. Sometimes, that works well as in revealing that the Sin Eater aka Henry Parrish was also Ichabod’s son, Jeremy who was so angry at Ichabod that he buried his father alive. Then sometimes those shocking plot twists don’t work as well as in revealing that Katrina Crane was actually the bad guy in season two. I still maintain the biggest misstep the show made was attempting to shoehorn Katrina Crane into the story. Thankfully, we haven’t had to suffer through a confusing mess of a plot. This season’s plot is fairly straightforward. Ichabod and Jenny are searching out the new witness so they can help guide her down her path while Malcolm Dreyfus is attempting to exploit a loophole in the contract he signed damning his soul to hell. The plot has taken on a different twist over the course of the last half of the season, but it’s a twist that seems to flow organically from the story they’ve been telling all season. The fact that Dreyfus is drunk on his newfound power isn’t shocking considering his character nor is it shocking that it seems perfectly reasonable to him to bring on the apocalypse just so he can have all the power he so desperately craves. It seems that the shorter season is good for Sleepy Hollow because it’s forced them to trim the fat, so to speak, and give us only episodes that push the character relationships and the overall plot forward.

I am really happy to say that I’ve enjoyed this season so much more than the last two. That’s not to say there haven’t been any problems with this season though. For one, the show hasn’t adequately explained why Jobe is such a loyal servant to Malcolm. Did Malcolm make a deal with Jobe? Is Jobe using Malcolm to achieve some nefarious purpose? Is Jobe somehow beholden to Malcolm? Is it all just a setup and Malcolm is planning to do away with Jobe? Because we haven’t seen Jobe in any of Malcolm’s visions of the future. I don’t know, but I want to. Also, the show seems to have forgotten the fact that two people can have an intimate relationship without it being romantic. Yes, I’m talking about the new developments between Jake and Alex. I was enjoying the banter between them, and I really liked that their relationship was kind of like siblings who love each other but still like to pick on each other. Now they’ve shifted that relationship into something else, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. It’s fairly new, but if it goes the way it looks like it’s going to, I’m not thrilled. The show historically hasn’t done a good job of writing romance into the story. Exhibit A: Ichabod and Katrina. They were actually mostly boring and annoying together. Then there Exhibit B: Jenny and Joe Corbin. They were a cute couple and I liked them together, but every time the show tried to focus on their relationship, it always felt awkward and forced into the storyline. Maybe romance just doesn’t belong on the show. Just my two cents. At any rate, those are relatively minor gripes considering some of the major issues the show has had in the past. I’m excited to say that I’m actually looking forward to see what the end of the season has in store for us because holy wow! I honestly didn’t see Ichabod being turned into War coming. Talk about a shocking twist! We’ve got two more episodes until the end of the season, so everybody buckle up and hold on tight.