It’s hard to regard Sleepy Hollow’s second season as anything other than a disappointment. While it never crossed the threshold into being a bad show, what was once the most loopy and good-humored offering on broadcast television transformed into something that was frequently a chore to watch. There was no major single flaw in the series, but multiple bad decisions that were allowed to fester and detract from the things the show did well. Irving’s constantly wavering allegiances and relevance, the introduction of a character no one particularly liked in Hawley, a Moloch plan that lacked the complexity of earlier efforts, and pushing Katrina down a flight of misguided plots—all of these gave the feeling that Sleepy Hollow no longer had a steady hand behind the wheel, and raised doubts that it could be what it was.
It’s difficult to pin down an episode like “Awakening,” because it’s an episode that keeps thwarting expectations. It keeps setting itself up for twists and then abandoning those twists in favor of new ones, offers up some fun alt-history that it offsets with bad characterization, and provides even more evidence of Sleepy Hollow fumbling in the dark yet snagging brilliance in said fumbling. “Awakening” almost needs two reviews, one for what happens in the first three-quarters of the episode and one for what happens in the last ten minutes, because while the first part is bog standard season two Sleepy Hollow the second could potentially be the show’s most inspired move all season.
Last weekend during the Fox executive session at the Television Critics Association press tour, Fox chairman and CEO Dana Waldron talked at length about their plans for the spring, which included thoughts on the direction of Sleepy Hollow. Waldron held off on announcing a season three renewal (even after handing them out to Empire, Gotham, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine), but said they were “hopeful” and there were ongoing conversations with the creative team. Citing a “high level of difficulty” in balancing the show’s characterization and mythology, she said that the show was “a little overly serialized” and promised that there would be a shift to “something that feels a bit more episodic in nature… it’s all about calibrating the show, not making dramatic changes.”
At a time when Sleepy Hollow is running the risk of losing its vital energy thanks to an excess of plots and characters, it’s important to remember the things everyone loved about the show in the first place. It captured the attention of viewers thanks to the ludicrous concept of a Headless Horseman wielding automatic weapons, and delivered that early and often. It moved past initial absurdity by capitalizing on the chemistry between its two leads and building a dynamic that everyone wanted to root for. And it managed to remain a consistently solid supernatural drama, deploying well-executed monsters and suspense.
Sleepy Hollow 1.12 “The Indispensable Man” and 1.13 “Bad Blood” an insane, relationship-fueled finale
Sleepy Hollow, Season 1, Episode 12, “The Indispensable Man” Written by Sam Chalsen, Damian Kindler, and Heather V. Regnier Directed by Adam Kane Sleepy Hollow, Season 1, Episode 13, “Bad Blood” Written by Alex Kurtzman and Mark Goffman Directed by Ken Olin Airs Mondays at 9pm (EST) on Fox The two-hour Sleepy Hollow season finale is very …
Sleepy Hollow Ep. 1.10 “The Golem” is an Emotional Midseason Finale with an Interesting Monster and Great Guest Performance
Sleepy Hollow, Season 1, Episode 10: “The Golem” Written by Alex Kurtzman, Mark Goffman, and Jose Molina Directed by J. Miller Tobin Airs Monday at 9pm ET on Fox Even though there aren’t that many, Sleepy Hollow cares about developing its character’s emotional lives. “The Golem” does an especially good job of this because the episode’s monster …
Sleepy Hollow 1.09 “Sanctuary” is a Decent Breather Episode Weighed Down by Cliches and a Weak Villain
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Sleepy Hollow decides to indulge in the haunted house horror genre. However, “Sanctuary” fails to be scary in any way because of shoddy camera work from director Liz Friedlander and an overall lack of atmosphere.
After the events of “The Midnight Ride” where Ichabod (Tom Mison), Abbie (Nicole Beharie), and Captain Irving (Orlando Jones) capture and neutralize the Headless Horseman, it seems his threat is over for a while. This isn’t the case as the Horseman’s probing reveal Ichabod’s deepest fears and yet another dark secret from his past. “Necromancer” also explores the idea of free will vs. destiny using the undead cop Andy Brooks (John Cho) and Ichabod’s wife Katrina (Katia Winter) as case studies. Writers Mark Hoffman and Phillip Iscove use both Ichabod and the Horseman’s past to create conflict in this episode while also giving it real thematic resonance. There is also a nice B-plot involving Jenny Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) and Irving as they work together to prevent the Hessians from rescuing the Headless Horseman. Even though it isn’t as humorous as previous episodes, “Necromancer” has a tight plot with only one possible hole in it near the end as well as strong character and thematic development.
After a couple of weeks’ hiatus, Sleepy Hollow returns and opens with Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Crane (Tom Mison) enjoying a baseball game. Abbie says she loves baseball because of its tradition, teamwork, and because it doesn’t discriminate. This scene is the foundation for the themes that Thomas, Kurtzman, and Goffman choose to develop in this episode. They choose to focus on Crane’s past and give a glimpse of the man he was before he became George Washington’s spy and met Katrina (Katia Winter).
Sleepy Hollow, Season 1, Episode 5: “John Doe″ Written by Melissa Blake Directed by Ernest Dickerson Airs Mondays at 9:00 PM ET on Fox In another wacky episode of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) meet a young boy, who runs through the woods and faints. He is wearing antiquated clothes, …
“We didn’t want things jumping out at you. We wanted you to feel immersed, as if you were inside the scene.” Director Blair Erickson can only be referring to 3D; unlike many lazily post-converted blockbusters, his Banshee Chapter was filmed entirely in stereoscopic 3D, a conscious choice from the outset of the film’s production and a risky experiment for something so low budget.