by Matthew Thompson
(This blog contains major spoilers for the first season of Sleepy Hollow… you’ve been warned!)
I reviewed the pilot of Sleepy Hollow and was not the biggest fan. It was just too ridiculous for me to handle and not really what I wanted from the show. I soldiered on though. Despite my reservations about the first episode, it did have the markings of good television so I figured I’d stick with it. I’m happy to say it ultimately paid off.
Now don’t get me wrong, the show is as ridiculous as ever. The finale included what was referred to as zombie George Washington. While the image that produces in your mind is probably a bit more hilarious than Sleep Hollow’s representation, the point is the show is just as batshit crazy as it was at the beginning. I just went forward from that episode knowing what I was getting into and was able to embrace the fun of it all.
The pilot thrived on the core relationship of its leads and that continues to be a strength. Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane are a fun team. Their differences are played up in a unique friendship that grows over the season and the fish-out-of-water experience for Crane is mined for some good laughs without being overdone. Since the pilot, the surrounding cast have been a boon for the show as well. I was not too keen on Orlando Jones’ Captain Irving character when the show began, but the writers seemed to switch gears with him suddenly four or five episodes in and it was the better for it. He went from a likely thorn in the side of Crane and Mills to being on the inside of their trust in dealing with the supernatural happenings in Sleepy Hollow. Abbie’s bond with her estranged sister Jenny is also explored to good results while some of the characters that died in the opener are able to make various appearances in the show due to the show’s fantastical elements as well as more traditional flashbacks.
Another big addition to the show was John Noble as Henry Parrish, the Sin Eater. To be honest, his announced guest appearance helped to convince me to stick with the show. As a huge Fringe fan, having Noble on my TV screen again was something I wanted badly. Despite that, I wasn’t too enamored with his early appearances in Sleepy Hollow. His character was alright and the acting was great, but it didn’t seem like a particularly cool role. That all changed in the finale with two big reveals. Not only was Henry Parrish actually Ichabod and Katrina’s son Jeremy, but also the second horseman, War. Noble’s performance during his evil turn was excellent and this should be a much more fun role for him. And really the show as a whole will be improved because of this final swerve.
That brings me to another place the show has succeeded. The backstories for both Horsemen revealed so far are really interesting and I love the way they tie into Crane’s history. It gives this upcoming war a more personal feel to go along with the end of the world stakes. It should be fun to see how the other Horsemen play into things as well. In general the show has done a good job of doling out its mythology over the course of the season that all ended with an explosive final few minutes that found our good guys in tough spots. Crane is buried underground, Abbie is stuck in purgatory, and Katrina has been taken off by the Headless Horseman. Some of it is sure to be sorted before long, but it made for a good cliffhanger since the show was long ago guaranteed a second season. The one part that I didn’t really dig was what happened with Captain Irving at season’s end. I mean I get him taking the rap for his daughter, but I just don’t like that whole plot much. I would have preferred to see him more involved in the main storyline personally.
Not everything works in the show. As good as some of its supernatural cases of the week can be, they sometimes seem to wrap up a little too quickly. I understand the need to have some procedural elements to make the show more palatable and it is hard to complain given the heavy emphasis on overarching stories, but at times it feels like some of the smaller storylines finish in a hurry to be done by episode’s end when a little arc might be more worthwhile perhaps. I would have loved more of the Headless Horseman as well. He was only in a handful of episodes I think.
If you can get past the absurdity of it all, Sleepy Hollow is good time and that cliffhanger actually has me excited to see where they steer this wild ride next. I’m certainly glad I stuck around. If you have any thoughts on Sleepy Hollow, be sure to let me hear them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!