Sleepy Hollow: Making Up is Easy to Do

After Sleepy Hollow’s rather shaky second season, I was simultaneously glad and anxious about their third season. I was glad because I genuinely enjoy Ichabod and Abbie. They are two people who, on paper, never should have met and never should have formed the kind of bond that they have. Watching them evolve as a unit is truly a pleasure, and the fact that their relationship was off for most of season two was one of the primary reasons that season didn’t really work. I was anxious about a third season because I wasn’t confident that the show could come back from some of the major missteps it took during its sophomore year. So this season I approached Sleepy Hollow with a cautiously optimistic attitude. Although I won’t say that ALL of the problems the show had have been fixed, I will say it has taken great strides to restore some of the faith I’d lost in it.

ICHABOD AND ABBIE

As I mentioned previously, part of the reason Sleepy Hollow’s second season was so rocky was the fact that Ichabod and Abbie weren’t on the same page for most of the season. That wouldn’t be so bad if their relationship wasn’t the foundation of the show, but it is. They stopped talking to and listening to each other which allowed outside forces to come between them. Because they were so out of sync, they often missed important information until it was too late. This season, the show has tried to restore some of the intimacy and trust that was lost last season. I was kind of concerned when the season opened with Ichabod and Abbie not having spoken to or checked in with each other for several months, but the show did an ok job of explaining that lack of communication. It has also given Ichabod and Abbie multiple opportunities to have private, quiet moments where they just talk to and listen to each other. There’s still some work to be done, but it feels like Ichabbie is on much more solid footing now which is a relief.

MORE COHESIVE STORY

Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Episode 11 The Vessel (7)

Aside from Ichabod and Abbie’s relationship deterioration, another major problem with last season was the lack of a cohesive story. It felt like the writers were trying to tell several stories at once and not all of those story points tied into the others. For example, the main goal of the first season was to stop Mulock from rising and bringing Hell on earth. That’s a tangible, clearly defined goal. In contrast, the overall goal of the second season was to stop the apocalypse which is a much more abstract goal. Not to mention there were so many side stories going on that didn’t really have anything to do with stopping the apocalypse, and many of those stories left storythreads that were never resolved dangling all over the place. This season has had a much more streamlined story. The first half has been Ichabod and Abbie trying to figure out who Pandora is and what she wants; Pandora unleashing monsters so she can get buds to bloom on her creepy tree to unlock the door and release her husband; and Pandora and The Hidden One attempting to destroy this world and create the world they want. Even though there were side stories going on (i.e. Joe and Jenny’s research into the Shard of Annubis and Reynold’s investigation of Nivens) all of those individual stories came together quite nicely in the midseason finale to reveal what Pandora has been working toward.

MORE INTERESTING SUPPORTING CHARACTERS

Black Box (ABC) Episode 8 Free Will (8)

If you read any of my reviews from last season, you’ll know how much I disliked Katrina and Hawley. Aside from the fact that their inclusion pretty much benched Jenny and Frank, neither Katrina nor Hawley were necessary to the story. Katrina especially felt shoehorned in just to add some sex appeal. Which was completely unnecessary since Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie totally have that covered. The show didn’t even really know what to do with Katrina for the majority of the season, and by the time they figured it out, it was too late to make her into the villain they wanted her to be. Hawley never organically fit into the story, and every time he was on screen I just kept thinking about how they were wasting time on him while ignoring both Jenny and Captain Irving who are much more interesting characters. This season, the show has given us some fairly interesting supporting characters in Zoe and Reynolds, but the one I like the most is Joe Corbin. It was a pretty good idea to bring Joe back into the fold because he’s already got history with the Mills sisters. The fact that he learned that the supernatural world is real, got turned into a wendigo, and found out some hard truths about his father is all prime real estate for drama. The fact that he and the Mills sisters are childhood friends and that they’ve cured him of the wendigo curse adds more depth to their relationship and makes it much more believable that they would be willing to involve him in their war against evil. The blooming relationship between Joe and Jenny isn’t exactly a surprise, but since both of those characters are quite enjoyable, I’m not opposed to their story heading in that direction.

Sleepy Hollow hasn’t necessarily fixed all of the problems they had in season two (still not overly impressed with this season’s villains) but they’ve taken great strides to get the show back on track. They’ve had a couple of interesting monster of the week episodes, and some of the doom and gloom that was ever present last season has been lifted. Ichabod and Abbie’s relationship is stronger, and the supporting characters don’t feel like they’re just taking up space in the episode. The mid-season finale set up what could be a very interesting journey for Abbie going forward depending on what happens to her while she’s in (what I assume is) Hell. The fact that Ichabod is messing around with a book of dark magic also can’t lead to good things, and I have to wonder whether we’ll see Ichabod becoming tempted by the dark side. The point being, thus far this season, Sleepy Hollow feels a bit more like the show I feel in love with, and I’m hoping we can continue this positive momentum when the show returns in February from its (ridiculously) long break.