Sleepy Hollow “Awakening” Review (Season 2, Episode 17)

Well, I didn’t exactly see that coming. I cannot express how happy it makes me to be able to say that about Sleepy Hollow again. After a season filled with mostly predictable plot points, this episode threw in a few twists that genuinely surprised me. One in particular. I’m not saying everything worked, but it was more good than bad.

It looks like we’ve uncovered our new baddie and her name is Katrina Crane. I’m not overly surprised by this turn of events because it was pretty much a given that she would go darkside after her encounter with Solomon Kent. I am disappointed with how the turn was done though. Up to this point, Katrina has seemed to have a genuine desire to save innocent people. Despite her lies and deception to Ichabod regarding the Apocalypse and her role in it, everything she did was trying to save people and stop evil from rising. Furthermore, despite everything, Katrina has always seemed to love Ichabod too. That’s why her complete 180 here made no sense at all. It’s one thing to have Katrina flirting with dark magic. But it’s a horse of a different color to have her suddenly not only want to turn thousands of people into witches (and likely cause the deaths of thousands more) but also conquer the world. Her sudden and complete lack of regard for innocent lives just doesn’t jive with the character. It would’ve served the character and the story better to have Katrina’s descent into darkness play out more slowly so that we could watch her go dark bit by bit. Her sudden hatred for Ichabod and disregard for everything they have been to each other also felt forced and all wrong. The way it was done felt like the writers trying to hurry up and figure out a way to toss Abbie back into the 18th century instead of doing justice to the characters.

Speaking of justice to the characters, I really hate that Henry appears to be gone for good now. It was just getting to a point where I think Henry could’ve been a real adversary for Ichabod and Abbie. Moloch’s demise destroyed the Apocalypse playbook, leaving all sorts of opportunities wide open for Henry and other evil minions to pursue. Alas, Henry is gone and we’re left with a very angry, vengeance-seeking Katrina. Henry’s character was so underutilized this season that it borders on criminal. There is such a wealth of story that Henry could’ve provided simply by virtue of his complex relationship with Ichabod. Not to mention that John Noble is such a fine actor. Even with the mediocre material he was given, he made great use of every second of his screen time. Just as with Katrina’s turn, Henry’s demise also felt like the writers trying to provide a quick justification for Katrina’s hatred of Ichabod simply so they could move forward with Abbie getting stuck in the 18th century.

In retrospect, I probably should’ve seen Abbie’s time jump coming. After all, there was quite a bit of discussion throughout the episode of fictional time travelers and so forth. There was even Katrina’s declaration that she wished she had let Ichabod die the day Headless stabbed him. Even so, I was just as surprised as Abbie to see her land in 18th century Sleepy Hollow. It was a bit of inspired storytelling though. Abbie is in almost exactly the same position that Ichabod was in when he woke up in 2013, but there are some pretty stark differences. Primarily the fact that Abbie is a Black woman thrown into a time when women meant very little to society and Black women meant even less. I must applaud the show for addressing that fact without going overboard with it. It’s a very fine line to walk, but the show went just far enough to get their point across without it turning into a full-on commentary about slavery. The show has actually done a pretty good job overall in addressing the less pleasant aspects of American history without becoming bogged down with those issues. It’ll be interesting to see how well Abbie can adapt to 18th century living considering how different it was then. I have a feeling that the bond she and Ichabod share will be sorely tested before all is said and done. Abbie’s time travel raises some questions though. Does Katrina know that Abbie is also in 18th century Sleepy Hollow? Will Katrina’s coven side with her when she goes to them? What effect will Abbie and Katrina’s actions have on the timeline? If Abbie stops Ichabod from dying, does that mean he never shows up in Sleepy Hollow in 2013 and they don’t figure out how to stop the Apocalypse? I think we’ll probably get some answers to a few of those questions in the next episode. At least I hope so.

It looks like we might have Frank back for real now. Henry’s death seems to have voided his contract on Frank’s soul, but I have to wonder whether all of that was actually Frank. There is still no explanation for how Frank found the rune he used to fake out Katrina. Nor did the show do anything to clarify whether the demon smoke that came out of Frank is truly gone. I do appreciate the fact that the show finally addressed the point that Ichabod, Abbie and Jenny abandoned Frank after he got stuck in the nuthouse. I think that was probably the demon trying to get at Jenny, but it’s still true nonetheless. And I have to wonder whether the demon was just making Frank say what was truly in his heart anyway. I don’t know that I would trust Frank completely yet, but at least it’s looking a little bit better for him. It still would be a good idea to approach with caution though. I also have to wonder exactly what a demon would want with Frank’s family. Was he planning to use them as leverage? Was he planning to kill them? I don’t know, but I hope we never have to find out.

Despite the flaws, this was a pretty good setup for the season finale. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered, but answering some of those questions will, in all likelihood, lead to even bigger questions. I haven’t heard any news about whether Sleepy Hollow has been renewed for a third season, but if things continue going the way they have been for the last few episodes, I have a small sliver of hope that the show can find its groove again. I’ve said on numerous occasions that Ichabod and Abbie’s relationship is the core of the show. If that relationship isn’t working, then the rest of the show won’t work either. It seems like someone finally heard me. I’m actually excited to see what happens next week, and that’s a feeling I haven’t had for a while when it comes to this show. Fingers crossed for good things in the season finale. So what did y’all think of this week’s Sleepy Hollow?