Sleepy Hollow: Let Me Love You

Hello my fellow Sleepyheads. Sleepy Hollow started its fourth season earlier this month, and I must say that I was more than a little wary. I wasn’t thrilled with the direction the show took toward the end of last season, and based upon the last couple of seasons, I didn’t hold out much hope that the powers that be took the hiatus to actually consider why the last two seasons have been uneven at best. However, I find that I can’t stop myself from being an optimist, so I’m hoping this season will remind me why I fell in love with this show in the first place.

Let’s start off with the elephant in the room: Abbie’s absence. Some folks said that they saw Abbie’s death coming all last season, but I wasn’t one of those people. I feel like the show blindsided me with it and, to add insult to injury, they threw in the idea that Abbie’s spirit (for lack of a better word) was just the spirit of the Witness and it would always find the other Witness. Essentially, the show said that there wasn’t really anything special about Ichabod and Abbie’s bond and the bond would’ve happened with anyone. It was insulting to me as a viewer considering how much the show had played up Ichabod and Abbie’s connection, and it was a great disservice to Abbie. She was a truly fascinating character, and there aren’t all that many layered, complex, female characters on television. Especially not characters of color. Abbie deserved better. That being said, I’m going to do my best to give Ichabod’s new partner a chance. She’s not Abbie and it isn’t fair to dismiss her outright without giving her a few episodes to prove herself. Thus far, Diane and her daughter aren’t so bad. As a matter of fact, her daughter is kinda delightful actually. I’m hoping the powers that be intend to spend time developing these characters and will allow them to become as layered and interesting as Abbie was.

The primary thing Sleepy Hollow needs to focus on this season, though, is a compelling storyline. After the show pretty much wrapped up their big, end of the world evil at the end of season one, they didn’t seem to have any really good ideas on how to follow that up. There were some interesting moments throughout seasons two and three that could’ve become a compelling season-long story, but the show either did a poor job with the writing or they simply ignored the more interesting stuff. If Sleepy Hollow expects to pull back viewers who have stuck with the show this long or pull in new viewers, they really need to have a coherent, captivating storyline.

The outlandishness inherent in a story about a man from the 18th century waking up in the 21st century from a magically-induced coma was one of the primary reasons I started watching Sleepy Hollow. During the first season, despite the fact that Ichabod and Abbie were facing off against the ultimate evil, there was still a sense of fun about the show. The characters still found reasons to laugh and poke fun at each other. Ichabod’s man-out-of-time shtick was wonderfully endearing, and Abbie’s subtle efforts to rile Ichabod up were delightful to watch. Most of that was due to the chemistry between Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. But it also had a great deal to do with the fact that the show didn’t take itself so seriously. Everyone involved agreed that the premise was completely ridiculous, and they all decided to just have fun with it. The show tried to capture some of that sense of fun last season, and I appreciate the effort, but it just didn’t feel quite as organic as in the beginning. Hopefully, some time away has helped the powers that be remember that Sleepy Hollow is not a serious show, and the more serious you try to take it, the more tedious it becomes.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the season premiere, but the second episode showed some promise. Sleepy Hollow only has 13 episodes this season, and I’m hoping that a shorter season will help the writers focus the story so we don’t get quite so much filler. I guess we’ll see. I really want this show to let me love it again, but it’s going to have to earn it. It’s going to have to remind me why I should care about Ichabod, Diane, and the rest. I want to recapture the magic. So please, Sleepy Hollow, let me love you.