Sleepy Hollow: The Road So Far

Greetings my fellow Sleepyheads. I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Over the winter break I took some time to rewatch the first half of this season of Sleepy Hollow because I wanted to see if some time away from the show would give me a different perspective than I had while in the midst of the season. Sadly, my opinion about the episodes we’ve had thus far hasn’t changed. Looking at this first half of the season as a whole, I’ve identified a few places where I feel the show has misstepped.

Two words: Katrina Crane

Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Episode 5 The Weeping Lady (4)

If you’ve read any of my reviews this season, you’ll know that I am not a Katrina fan. Aside from the fact that I don’t feel the actress portraying her conveys the kind of gravitas I would expect from a nearly 300 year old (allegedly very powerful) witch, the character is just not interesting. At all. I don’t care about Katrina’s belief that there is still good in Henry despite all evidence to the contrary. I don’t care about Katrina’s conflicted feelings toward Abraham. I don’t care about Katrina’s supposed undying love for Ichabod. I just don’t care about Katrina. Katrina spent much of the first season trapped in Purgatory. As such, we didn’t spend a great deal of time getting to know her. She showed up randomly throughout the season to pass on necessary information and in some cases a little help to the witnesses, but it wasn’t until the last couple episodes that she took on a larger part in the story. Instead of taking this season to allow the audience to gradually get to know Katrina the way we got to know Ichabod, Abbie, Jenny, and Frank, the powers that be tried to forcefully shove Katrina into the narrative. They took the focus off of the journey/trials of the witnesses and attempted to make the focus about Katrina’s part in the Apocalypse story. The things is, I don’t care enough about Katrina to want so much of the story to focus on her laughable attempts at spying or her marital drama with Ichabod. Basically, the focus has turned to a character that I don’t particularly care about at the expense of characters that I do actually care about. And just as an aside, am I the only one bothered by the fact that Katrina is supposed to be such a powerful witch but she NEVER has full use of her powers. I mean honestly! What’s the purpose in having a witch on your team if every time you need her, her powers are somehow inhibited?

Sidelining Jenny and Frank

This one kind of goes along with the first in that these two characters were pushed to the margins so we could be subjected to more of Katrina. Jenny Mills and Frank Irving were two very important members of Team Crane last season. Without them, Ichabod and Abbie would have died several times over. However, you wouldn’t know that watching this season. Team Crane got much more awesome when Jenny joined the team. She is smart, resourceful, brave, and skilled in weaponry. Not to mention that her dealings with Sheriff Corbin gave her insight into more aspects of the Apocalypse story than Ichabod and Abbie would’ve had without her. But none of that skill or knowledge has been utilized this season. Even despite Jenny’s usefulness to helping to stop the Apocalypse, Jenny is Abbie’s sister but Jenny has been so absent this season that it’s more like Abbie is an only child. And don’t get me started on poor Frank. Frank came into Sleepy Hollow believing that there had to be a rational explanation for all of the weird happenings. It was entertaining to watch him realize otherwise. After agreeing to help The Witnesses stop the end of the world, the demons turned their focus to Frank and as a result Frank lost everything. It was a noble sacrifice and I would’ve expected the story to treat it as such. Instead, we spent this season with Frank wasting away in the looney bin while Ichabod and Abbie went on with their lives as if he was just a random guy they used to know. It was as if his sacrifice, and continuing sacrifice, meant nothing to them. Jenny and Frank are significantly more interesting than Katrina and that other guy Nick Somethingorother. Jenny and Frank each brought something unique to the story. Their presence in each episode felt necessary and their absence thus far has been disturbing to say the least.

Losing the Sense of Fun

One of the reasons I fell in love with Sleepy Hollow in the first place was that the show was just good, old-fashioned fun. The premise was ridiculous. Everyone agreed it was ridiculous, but they just carried on anyway. When you accept the ridiculousness of your story, it allows you a certain freedom to just enjoy it. Even though the story was dealing with a very heavy subject, there was always an undercurrent of humor running through most of the episodes. I recall laughing so hard during the Pilot when the police first confronted Headless that I had to pause the TV to catch my breath. I cannot say I’ve had the same experience this season. There have been some moments I found quite amusing like Ichabod riding a motorcycle for the first time, but overall this season has carried a much greater sense of doom, gloom, and hopelessness than last season. Basically, the show has started to take itself entirely too seriously and that’s a problem.

Lack of Direction

One of the worst things that can happen to a show is for the powers that be to lack a vision for the season. It is important to know where the characters and the story are going to end up even before the season begins. It is also important to make the journey to that end engaging for the audience. It seems that the folks in charge don’t know what they want to do other than shove Katrina and Nick in everyone’s face. They have taken what could have been a truly intimidating foe like Headless and turned him into a whining, scorned lover Abraham. They have taken the least interesting of all the characters and made her the focus. But what bugs me the most is how the show has left so many hanging threads all over the place. They created the Kindred but we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since that episode. They had Frank sign his soul over to Molock but that didn’t even really matter until the mid-season finale, and even then it was rather anticlimactic. I won’t even talk about the fact that the Apocalypse seems to have taken a backseat to Ichabod and Katrina’s marital problems. One of the reasons I believe the first season told such a great story was that they only had 13 episodes to do it. Therefore, the story was tight and focused. This season, it seems they’re trying to stretch the story out for 22 episodes so instead of focused storytelling, it’s all over the place. Are we trying to save the world or are we trying to save Henry? Are we trying to stop the Apocalypse or are we trying to help Ichabod and Katrina work through their marital woes? The folks in charge need to make the story much more focused.

Reading this article, you may think that I’ve fallen out of love with Sleepy Hollow. You would be wrong. Part of the reason I feel the need to criticize the show is that I want it to do better. I know it can do better. I sincerely hope that the writers took the winter break to rethink what they did over the first half of the season so they can do it better during the second half. I want Sleepy Hollow to remember why people fell in love with it in the first place. The show returns tomorrow night. Fingers crossed things will be better during this part of the season.