Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Review “The Akeda”

I love you, Sleepy Hollow. I really do. But you’re making things very difficult for me right now. The second part of the mid-season finale aired last night, and I wish I could say I was as excited about it as I was for the first season finale. Sadly, that’s just not the case.

There were a number of problems with the finale, but the biggest problem was (as always) Katrina. The show has worked very hard this season to force Katrina into the narrative and it hasn’t worked at all. Katrina spent most of the first season trapped in Purgatory, and quite frankly, I would prefer that’s where she stayed. She is so useless it’s not even funny. She is supposed to be a powerful witch, but every time you look up her powers are in some way inhibited. She was supposed to be working as a spy to obtain information to help Ichabod and Abbie stop Molock, but she didn’t provide them with any useful information. Ever. She supposedly loves Ichabod so much, but all she seems to have done is lie to him and manipulate him. I would be willing to overlook all of Katrina’s uselessness if she were more interesting as a character, but she’s just not. She is shallow and grating to say the least. I spend so much time rolling my eyes when she’s on screen that it’s kind of become my permanent state whenever I’m forced to endure more than a minute of her. It also doesn’t help that the powers that be spent so much time trying to force me to care about Katrina that they sidelined characters like Jenny Mills and Frank Irving who are actually interesting and who I actually care for deeply. Katrina’s sole purpose on the show seems to be to remind us that nothing romantic can happen between Ichabod and Abbie because Ichabod is a married man. You know what? I don’t need Katrina around to remind me that Ichabod is married. He knows he’s married, and that’s enough. Furthermore, I don’t want a romantic relationship to happen between Ichabod and Abbie anyway, so I don’t need Katrina around acting proprietary over her husband. It’s pretty disappointing that Katrina has been such a waste of a character. The odds are stacked so high against Team Crane that it would’ve been nice for them to get an ally who could actually help them gain some ground. Instead, we got stuck with a mostly powerless witch who for some crazy reason is stuck in the middle of a love triangle between Ichabod and Abraham. I am not interested in Katrina’s conflicted feelings toward Abraham. I am not interested in Ichabod and Katrina working through their marital woes. I’m not interested in Katrina forcing her way into Team Crane. I’m not interested in Katrina’s poorly veiled jealousy toward Abbie. I’m just not interested in Katrina. Period.

Another issue with this finale was that it didn’t shock me. At all. There was never a moment or a story point that I couldn’t anticipate, and that was kind of disappointing. Especially when I know that this show is capable of shocking me because they’ve done it before. Figuring out how the story will play out isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the journey there is fun and interesting, but that’s not what happened here. There were some very nice individual moments like Ichabod riding a motorcycle for the first time. Overall, though, it felt like everyone involved was just going through the motions. Frank’s death lacked the emotional punch it should’ve packed because Frank has been mostly absent from the story this season in favor of building up Katrina. My sadness over losing Frank now has more to do with the emotional attachment I developed for him last season than for anything that’s happened with him this season. And that’s a shame. Even Henry turning the sword on Molock wasn’t all that shocking considering that the show was basically hitting the audience over the head with the fact that Henry was finally starting to question his decision to follow Molock. Admittedly, Henry’s decision does create a power vacuum if Molock is truly dead now. It also presents an opportunity to explore whether Henry is past saving or whether he can come back from the evil he’s allowed to consume him for all this time. However, I don’t have the greatest confidence that the show will capitalize on this situation because nothing they’ve done in the first half of this season leads me to believe that they know a great opportunity when it presents itself.

Sleepy Hollow has made a number of missteps this season. Katrina being the biggest one. However, sidelining Jenny and Frank didn’t do the show any favors either. Jenny and Frank were vital members of Team Crane last season, and it made no sense that Ichabod and Abbie seemed to pretty much forget that they even existed this season. There have been a number of glaring plot holes and hanging threads that have really stuck in my craw as well. I mean seriously. Where the heck is the Kindred?! Part of the problem seems to be that the show is trying to spread the story over the 22 or 23 episodes of the season. So instead of telling the tight, focused story that they told in 13 episodes last season, they’re creating a long, winding story to fill up the 22 episode order. The thing is, that’s not necessary. It’s still possible to tell your story in half a season and then tell the rest of it in the second half of the season. The thing that has bothered me the most, though, is that Sleepy Hollow seems to have lost the sense of fun it had throughout the first season. Ichabod’s rants about current society are still hilarious, and there have been moments along the way that were funny, but overall this season has been much more doom and gloom that the first. I get that stopping the Apocalypse isn’t exactly a laugh riot, but having everything be so heavy this season has been detrimental. It also doesn’t help that Team Crane never seems to be able to put one solidly in the win column. Even when they win, they end up losing, and that’s not what I want to see for my heroes. I know they’re not going to win them all, but I would like to see Team Crane be able to actually celebrate a true victory from time to time. Oh, and figure out how to keep their SECRET headquarters secret for crying out loud. I mean, it seems like everyone and his brother knows about the secret archives. If all the bad guys are going to know where your secret lair is, the least you could do is ward it better. Geez people.

I sincerely hope that the powers that be will take this winter break to come up with an actual plot for the second half of the season. Get rid of Katrina and spend more time peeling back layers on Jenny and Frank. I know that Sleepy Hollow can do better than what it’s been doing this season, and I have my fingers crossed they’ll work it out. New episodes return in January, so I guess we’ll have to wait until then to see how things play out for the last half of the season.