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SLEEPY HOLLOW Mid-Season Wrap Up

SLEEPY HOLLOW Mid-Season Wrap Up

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!

Sleepy Hollow Ichabod and Irving

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.

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  1. christine says:

    Everyone has the right to their opinion and I am glad that you are enjoying the show I just wished I could join you.  I loved season 1 and I know understand the critics when they say that without the Ichabod and Abbie chemistry and dynamics the show would have never been a hit because it is hitting us in the face in season 2.
    Season 2 is not alright, it is not an I am being impatient type of wrong but an missing the mark wrongness that is driving fans away and that can never be any good.  There is legit criticism being made you don’t see it and feel everyone should just trust the writers and wait it out but things don’t work that way. Here’s an analogy for you if I go to a restaurant and the food is bad I will not be ordering dessert or making a return trip.  
    I don’t need the show to give me all the answers right now, but I do need them to hold my interest while they are making me ride it out.  The journey matters and this detour they have taken into the Cranes family issues are tedious.  The entire redemption arc is a failure especially at this point in time when neither horseman has done anything to earn redemption other than having an association with Ichabod and Katrina.  Katrina’s presentation is what it is you either ignore most of it and hope for better or have had enough.  
    The sidelining of Jenny and Irving is just wrong, I see no reason why either of them was missing for most of the first half or the purpose of showcasing Hawley as much as he was.  It not about not wanting new characters but Hawley replace Jenny in many ways and none of them was for the better.  Irving’s death was just cheap I felt cheated as a fan.  Not even a moment with his family this season to make it that more emotional and barely any thought of his predicament from the witness.  
    The biggest glaring disappointment of this season so far is the diversity, we did it go.  For a show that priding its self and was lauding for its diversity the landscape has sadly been whitened. 

  2. First and foremost a big thank you to Clark for doing the podcasts and for sharing her perspective on things on the podcast and here on the blog.  It’s a lot of work and it’s appreciated.  As a fan of the show we don’t always have to agree with her perspective but I believe we all need to respect her.

    I’m a long time genre TV fan who’s in his 50’s.  I’ve seen shows come and go.  What matters most to me is how entertaining the show is and how attached am I to the characters.  Season 1 did a fantastic job on both counts! It seems like the creators decided to go full speed with everything.  The nature of network TV is that the networks want to have shows that last long enough for them to recover their big upfront costs.  It’s all about the advertising dollars.  Just the facts of life in today’s TV world.  In order to sustain a show you need to have a pace that can last.  There’s no way they could keep up that season 1 pace over an 18 episode season 2 or the hopefully coming seasons.  Therefore, we get the slower main arc story telling, some new characters and a shuffling of which characters are in the forefront of the stories from week to week.   I still love this show but like many others I don’t feel it’s as engaging as it was in season 1.  I very much hope that the back half of this season will bring back the Abbie & Ichabod focused portion of the story that I fell in love with. IMHO, from strictly a story point of view the Katrina character hasn’t worked…yet.  I’m very willing to see what will come that will hopefully address that because I do believe it’s dragging things down.  A big part of what worked for me in season 1 was that it wasn’t about the romantic side of things.  That was refreshing.  Not that concerned with the relationship angst between Katrina and Ichabod or the Hawley and Abbie/Jenny pairing/history.    

  3. Romey says:

    Also, I love that they brought Hawley for a potential Bromance with Ichabod, I know it COULD be Irvine, but he’s basically TeamAbbie. TeamIchabod needs to grow a bit, especially since baby Jeremy is technically a wash and Katrina’s so *iffy*.

  4. Romey says:

    You’ve got one thing right, these new age fans honestly don’t know “annoying”. As in, Doctor Who’s Adric, Star Trek’s Wesley, need I say more? Just because shippers want a certain hookup, does not mean that Katrina, who actually has a very mysterious and intriguing back story, is “annoying”. If we’re being honest, she’s just in the way. Yes, Abbie and Inchabod have chemistry, but I feel that hooking these up (or worse, too soon) will ruin the entire show.  IJS

  5. flo says:

    The main complaint about this season has been the complete and utter turn away from season one. Yes. Weak writing and even weaker character development have been the problem. It’s almost as if Sleepy Hollow has lost its way. It veered off from its own genre  of apocalyptic, TWO witnesses, into a cheaper Buffy and weird cartoonish drama with the Cranes. I keep hearing “stay tuned”. I have, and have been disappointed each and every time. Nothing has been new, nothing has been shocking, and its been upsetting.

    I would take Dawn over Hawley any day. Because at least her character was brought into Buffy’s FOURTH season, not introduced into its second season while lets say WILLOW was shoved aside and not seen for half the episodes. Because that’s what this was like – with Jenny and Irving. Your opinion is that you think the Crane’s drama is important. Yes it is, something that could have been easily solved in maybe fewer episodes instead of 11 – once again, POOR writing. You know how much time Irving had to solve his own drama – ONE episode. And he was killed. HUGE problem. 

    And Hawley – exactly what could he do that Jenny couldn’t? Poor Jenny had to give up her screen time so some new character could be introduced to make googly eyes at Abbie. It’s so frustratingly ignorant. I can’t.

    Abbie certainly was front and center of season one because SHE is the audience identifier, but it was also Abbie AND Ichabod’s show. Now, its Ichabod’s show because he has to resolve some boring drama no one really cares about.

    I just think the writers need to focus on what made this show so fun in the beginning, Abbie and Ichabod. Don’t focus so much on something that’s second tier. This show is about the two witnesses NOT about saving a doomed marriage and a bratty kid.

    About binge watching – I don’t think that has anything to do with this. I think the ptoblem is that we’ve seen this all before, and seen it done so much better. Certainly season one of Sleepy Hollow was compared to other sci-fi genre shows but it was unique. Now, as mentioned, its turned into Buffy. We’ve seen it all before, so its that much harder to please us.

    The one beacon of light I can say that keeps me coming back IS Abbie and Ichabod. That is such a wonderful relationship. I adore that chemistry between Nocle and Tom. It’s so rare to have that, and should be treated as something so precious its priceless. It is. The comparions to Mulder and Scully were not for nothing. I think the writers need to remember that.

    Anyways, I like you Clarke. You are good people. 🙂 We all rant and rave, but for me, its out of love. I care about this stupid show. 😉

    Thanks for taking the time to listen to my rant.

  6. FG says:

    First I like to thank you for article, that is level headed and not full of hate. I expected this season with the bigger episode order to be different, because of things that happened last season. We needed to know more about Katrina and Ichobod because last season we really didn’t get to know much about them as people. Characters need to grow and for this show to be a well rounded show it needs to show that for every character. Every character needs there do. Do I wish we saw a little more of Jenny, absolutely, but the season is not even over yet. I am sorry that Irving died, I liked him, I would have loved to  seen a little more of his struggle but I don’t believe that it will be the last time we see him, Henry still has his soul and if Andy Brooks or Corbin are any indication he will be back. I think because of social media and the I want it now sort of attitude that people seem to have today (like binge watching) that people don’t have patience and for this type of show that lays the groundwork  through out a season like in season one, patience is needed, as well as growth for all characters or like I said before this show will not be a well rounded show and I don’t think anybody wants that.

    • MsGo says:

      Criticism does not equal hatred.  In fact, it usually just means that you care. 
      Indifference are blind praise can be waay worse.

  7. MsGo says:

    I just want to say that your Star Wars analogy doesn’t really work because Lando and Yoda were interesting characters to spend time with.  Hawley and Katrina are not. The journey has to be as interesting as the destination and it’s not. It’s reductive to say that fans have a problem because “It’s not like season one.”
    The Ewoks comparison is on the money though. 
    I find it interesting that you didn’t address the various problems with Katrina’s presentation thus far.  That is being chock full of anti-feminist tropes (wondering when they’ll tie her to a railroad track) like being inept and a pawn for two men’s pain. 

    Also very interesting that you failed to address the blatant whitewashing in season 2, which would be tolerable if it were characters audiences want to know about, like Joe Corbin and the sadly short-lived Caroline (which would have provided some nice world-building for the town aside from being likeable).

    But when you replace screentime of interesting characters of color (and outright don’t even address ones we’ve lost like Luke) with white ones who fail to resonate then it’s a problem.

    This goes especially considering Hollywood’s habit of sidelining, killing, and erasing black characters. 
     Another tidbit about Star Wars, since you metioned it?? Han Solo was originally going to be played by a black actor named Glynn Turman. Studios weren’t having it and Harrison Ford was cast instead. Lucas added the Lando character because he still wanted that diversity. That makes it so much more uplifting to see that the new version had a black face pop-up first in the trailer and possibily even leading it. 🙂 
    Look, we’re not stupid. We know that you enjoy having access to the producers, writers, and actors on Sleepy Hollow. You’re being “promotional” precludes that. I’m not mad at you, I get it. 
    That said, I’d love for you to ask the creators this question, worded like this: “If there comes a time when Katrina is free and being courted by bachelors, how likely is it that two of them won’t be white? …I ask in the context of Abbie’s suitors, so far.”

    • Clarke Wolfe says:

      The problem with this kind of comment is that it can’t, even for a second, imagine that a viewer and a fan would feel differently than you do. I don’t know what else to tell you.

      You might dislike Hawley but there are other fans, like myself, who disagree. You see problems with Katrina’s presentation and see her as a “pawn” but I’m not so sure yet… How can you be so sure? It’s not all said and done, not even close. And why are you so certain Joe Corbin will never be heard from again? (I liked Caroline too, by the way…)

      The fact of the whole matter is, there is a direct line, from me to them about all of this and insulting me by insinuating that I’m a liar is A) not cool, but more importantly, a complete waste of an opportunity to talk about something you’re clearly passionate about.

      • I have to side with Clarke on this one. Is this season as catch your breath shocking as last? No, but thats because we expect more of it now and also this was only a MID season finale. I personally saw that ending coming; but this wasn’t a super big unexpected twist season finale, it was only midseason. Though what the midseason did do like the full season 1 finale was leave us completely baffled as what comes next.
        There is great writing on this show and you just have to trust their is direction, even if you can’t see it just yet. Enjoy the journey and the characters you love. Has Katrina gone up and down in my book, sure; but i’m sure there’s a bigger purpose for her. If not, theres still Ichabod, Abbie, Irving and Hawley – yes, i think he’s great – to enjoy. ALSO, Katia Winters warned us preseason – at SDCC i believe – that we might not like her character for the first half of the season, but to be patient. That’s a warning i took to heart and i see now; but i will be patient cause the character has great potential. 
        All in all, keep up the great work, articles, and podcasts Wolfe. I love hearing your opinions and its nice to know I’m not the only one writing kind and hopeful articles on the series!  

        • MsGo says:

          I’m sorry to say, that in the context of being a black fangirl and being told to “be patient” many times before only to see my faves, sidelined for white characters, serve them without an fleshing out of their backstories, sacrifice everything for white characters who care less.
          …It would be idiotic for me to trust that things will change here.
          Especially given the that creators told me to “trust” that the mid-season finale would blow my mind and I’m sitting here disgusted by the fact that Irving was locked up, beaten-up in prison, and had his soul signed away, while his Team allowed him to rot…
          Only to pay that off in him dying kill some armor, not even granted a goodbye to his family.
          This good man dies, but Ichabod and Katrina spend half the season trying to redeem their mass-murdering son.
          Like I said, I see how deftly Clarke Wolfe avoided the racial subject that I brought up.
          Understandable because it’s uncomfortable to talk about.  But for white people?? That’s as bad as it get’s the horrible discomfort in having to talk about it.
          But for me… It’s just a fact of life. Discomfort is nothing to reality of rooting over and over again for characters who have brown skin like myself to be treated like fully realized human beings worthy of shine…While white fans are oblivious, –all while I grew up fangirling hard right along with them for leading white characters.
          It feels like a betrayal, honestly.
          And this show is following a well-tread pattern.
          Can Clarke also ask why Moloch was suddenly black when he was white all last season??
          Can Clarke ask why Jenny was upped to season regular only to have a white male introduced playing a much larger role than her, doing the same things she could do???
          Would Ms. Wolfe ask why Abbie was reduced to being “Mammy” for the Cranes??
          Would she ask who was paying to support the Cranes, and if Ichabod will ever return the favor if and when (hah!) she gets a viable love-interest??
          Would she ask if this thing, I’m supposed to be patient for, is going to result in more sidelining and killing of black characters I’ve grown to love so I can quit while I’m ahead??

      • MsGo says:

        Katrina has had 22 episodes, being unsure of who she is for that long is a failure,  Her barely completing magic without fainting and being captured is a failure.
        As I said, the journey has to be interesting so answering unanswered questions has to be interesting. The mystery is not enough. What has Katrina done that has made the journey to solving what we don’t know about her interesting? Please, be specific if you can.
        Hawley disrespecting Native Americans, and getting pissy because Abbie actually wanted to work on catching a demon who was killing people and childishly looking at to hook-up with other chicks at the bar, does not make him appealing to any woman. It makes him a swaggering entitled douchebag. …And I didn’t even get to the part where he had already slept with her sister.
        I’m still side-eyeing you for not addressing the racial issue that I brought up in my former post.
        And I do hope that you do ask that question.