“Sleepy Hollow” Returns, Still Charming But Directionless

Posted on October 02, 2015

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Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison in FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow.”

We didn’t expect to engage much with this episode, in the sense that we had no expectations of writing a review, so we watched the whole thing rather dispassionately and over the tops of our laptops. So don’t take this as a review, because we don’t feel it meets the requirements in terms of effort. Put it this way: We can’t even remember if C. Thomas Howell managed to survive the episode, which should tell you how much we were paying attention. That’s a bit of a shame, since the episode was an inoffensive and mildly entertaining affair that hit all the “Sleepy Hollow” beats we wanted it to hit; namely the deep friendship between Ichabod and Abbie, as well as the stirring commitment they both have to their roles as Witnesses. The only other thing after that we needed to see was Jenny back in the fold, and once she showed up, we considered the hour a win.

Now, the title of this post is a bit misleading, because anyone who watched the episode more intently than we did could easily poke holes in its premise. Of course the show has a direction. Something- something Pandora, something-something Betsy Ross! GOD, TLO. PAY ATTENTION. Fine, yes. Someone who is possibly the mythological Pandora is going around and doing all kinds of sinister witchy things, like apparently consuming the Headless Horseman.

Wait, whut?

Granted, the character of the HH had been all but ruined when the producers of this show inexplicably decided to start portraying him with a head; just one of many totally head-scratching (you’ll pardon the term) decisions made over the first two seasons that turned a charmingly original show into a low-rent version of the not-exactly-high-rent “Supernatural.” We shouldn’t care particularly that a character who’d been so damaged by so many bad creative decisions was effectively swept under a rug in the first few seconds of the new season, but considering the Legend of Sleepy Hollow is entirely about the Headless Horseman, it just looks like another choice to generic-ize this show as much as possible.

Similarly, we could not groan enough at super-booby Betsy Ross, superspy and Colonial lady who talks EXACTLY like a Millennial. We knew this one was coming so we were prepared for it, but even then we wound up disappointed. Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie have insane levels of chemistry together and the reason the show fell apart last season was because the creators did everything in their power to prevent that chemistry from ever seeing the light of day. There was some reason to hope for better when Katrina and Henry were removed from the equation, but they were replaced by more hot white ladies, one of whom is, if not in name at least in actions, effectively another witch.

So okay, yes. The show has a direction. Hot white ladies and witchcraft. This does not sound like a new direction at all to us. It just sounds like they’re trying to find another set of Katrinas because the first one was faulty and had to be sent back to the factory.

On the other hand, there is no denying how much fun it is to see Abbie, Jenny and Ichabod reunited. And if the show felt they needed to show them all scattered apart in order to bring them together again, so be it. We certainly didn’t need a restating of goals and commitments on the parts of the characters (especially Abbie, because there was no way the FBI was going to make her forget her responsibilities as a Witness), but thematically it worked just fine. The old gang is back together again, even if it never occurred to us going into the season that they wouldn’t be.

We have no predictions for the quality of the coming season, although the setup for what’s to come doesn’t light much of a fire underneath us. We’ll see. This episode was fine for what it was and we don’t feel the need to impose any higher criteria upon it. We were entertained. It’s enough for now.

[Picture Credit: FOX Television]

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