First thing is first, WOW, Sleepy Hollow. While this post is not going to be in depth about what happened Monday night during the season two mid-season finale (for that, check out the SleepyCast: The Official Sleepy Hollow podcast, featuring an in-depth conversation with showrunner Mark Goffman) I will include the requisite spoiler alert here at the beginning of this article just to be on the safe side…
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about season two of Sleepy Hollow so far. I say “so far” because after a strong 13 episode freshman season, Sleepy returned for its follow up with an 18 episode order. The biggest criticism I can gather about season two is that it’s not enough like season one. So, let’s talk about that. It’s worth remembering that last season as we were on episode 1.11 we were nearing the cray-cray two part finale and then we were done. No more Sleepy Hollow for a long time. Now, here we are at episode 2.11, the mid-season finale, and fans and online journalists seem to be filled with anxiety.
Because of the SleepyCast and I suppose because I don’t scream at the writers on my show every week, I’ve been asked online if I “know something” that other fans don’t and that’s why I’m not upset. I’ve been told that I ask “softball” questions of the writers and creators of the series. But as I’ve told these people on social media and as I’ll write now, the answer to both of those things is “no,” I’m not privy to any extra information, I just don’t agree with a majority of the criticisms leveled at the season thus far. It’s as simple as that.
Think about Star Wars. Maybe you’ve heard of it? How sad would you be if the entire original trilogy only followed Luke, Leia and Han? Pretty darn sad when you realize you would never get to hang with Boba Fett, Yoda, Lando and the Ewoks because they don’t show up until The Empire Strikes Back or later. My point is, a great genre universe needs time to be built, developed and expanded. While, of course, we have to pay attention to the characters that got us there in the first place, I don’t think there’s any problem with introducing a Sheriff Reyes or Nick Hawley into the mix. By the way, helloooo, Nick Hawley!
On that issue, screen time has also been a big sticking point for a lot of fans so far this season. While I do feel like Abbie was our main focus in season one and Ichabod was slightly more of a sidekick, so far season two has spent a lot of time on Ichabod and his relationship with his wife Katrina. Aside from my own personal thoughts on the storyline, I do think from a writing perspective, this is kind of important. When Henry was revealed to be the big bad in the bonkers season one finale, that was a game change and I do think it makes logical sense to want to spend some more time with Katrina, his mother, to try to get to the bottom of understanding that enemy. In addition to Henry, Katrina has ties to Abraham over on the dark side, as well. Yes, if I’m being totally honest, the back and forth for so many episodes did feel a little frustrating to me. I’ve asked numerous writers throughout the process of the SleepyCast what the heck is up with Katrina. To quote Glinda from The Wizard of Oz, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” This still remains to be seen and the midseason finale answered NO questions for the audience in that regard, so we have to stay tuned.
And that’s just the thing: we have to stay tuned. The season isn’t over yet! Thanks, internet for turning each commercial break into the end of the world, “why hasn’t this happened!” kind of atmosphere. It’s silly, and if we’ve learned anything from this show it’s that Sleepy Hollow is very good at laying groundwork. Things from the past often rise up again to cause some major damage for our heroes. Secrets are kept and one thing Sleepy does very well is keep the audience in the dark just as much as Abbie and Ichabod. We’re on the ride with them, we’re part of the team, which means we know just as much as they do, which ultimately, when it comes to evil and thwarting the apocalypse, isn’t much.
There is still more to be discovered in Abbie and Jenny Mills, two characters who I love and want to learn more about. For those of you freaking out over the “death” of Orlando Jones’ Frank Irving, another fan favorite who was kept in the dark for a lot of the front half of the second season, do you really think that’s the last we’ll see of him? Do you really think that’s the end of his story? August Corbin got his head chopped off in the pilot and he’s still around plenty, so…
All I’m saying is, just because it doesn’t happen now doesn’t mean that it won’t happen ever. While I do acknowledge that the focus of the second season has changed since the first, I wonder if a majority of the web (fans and journalists, alike) frustration is because as an audience we’ve gotten spoiled by binge watching. Perhaps it’s because I grew up watching genre shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where it took nearly 22 episodes for a season’s mystery to unfold, and “annoying characters” were actually annoying. Like, Dawn annoying. For the record, you don’t know annoying until you’ve met Dawn Summers.
Sleepy Hollow has seven episodes left in the season. Showrunner and writer Mark Goffman said very clearly during the SleepyCast this week while discussing the mid-season finale, “I think it’s a turning point.” It sounds to me like the show is moving onto different topics and rightfully so. There are still lots of unanswered questions that were around before Henry slayed Moloch and there are many more that are now posed. For Sleepyheads like us, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when the show returns in January.
Sleepy Hollow, starring Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison, returns on Monday, January 5, 2015 on Fox.