Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sleepy Hollow

One of my favorite shows, Sleepy Hollow, returned last month. I had mixed feelings at first. You see, last season, one of the lead characters, Abbie Mills, portrayed by Nicole Behairie, died in the finale. I was devastated. Beyond the fact that she was an amazing character on her own, Abbie's bond with fellow Witness Ichabod Crane, was a huge part of the reason I fell in love with the show. (And of course, it doesn't hurt that Tom Mison is hot as hell!)

Like most other viewers, I loved the chemistry between them, which was in large part, because of the actors involved. Behairie and Mison played perfectly against each other, and Abbie and Ichabod's pairing was a perfect combination of loyalty, friendship and love. Even though Ichabod was in love with his wife Katrina, the deep abiding love between Abbie and Ichabod went deeper than that, even though it was never acted upon. 

The show in its first season was fresh and unique and filled with comedy, drama and endless scares. Washington Irving's Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman alive and well in the modern day! What a cool idea. In the second season, the show lost its footing a little bit, and I was not the only one who felt the storylines focused a little too much on showcasing Katrina (Ichabod's wife in this twist) and her son, and Abbie seemed to be relegated to the backburner, a supporting character in her own show. The missteps were troubling, but the show was still better than most of everything else on TV, as far as I'm concerned.

Season three brought the relationship between the Witnesses back to where it had been in some ways, in others it was still a little off, but for the most part was back on track. I looked forward to watching every week. But when the finale aired, and Abbie sacrificed herself to save Ichabod and the others, along with the world, I swore I'd never watch again. There was quite a bit of backlash about the character's demise, and a lot of it centered around a woman of color being cut from her own very diversely casted show. I understand, although because I really don't watch a lot of TV in general, that factor didn't home for me as much, What bothered me was that I had finally found a show that was compelling and funny and fun, and now it looked like it was all over. I did a little digging and while I don't know the entire story behind Nicole Behairie's departure, what I learned made sense. I wasn't sure whether I wanted it to come back for another season. When a fourth season was finally announced, I found myself still torn. Do I watch and be further devastated that they really destroyed the show I adored, or do I watch and hope like hell if somehow managed to recreate the magic of that first season?

I watched. I couldn't help it. Of course, the allure of Tom Mison was a big factor, but also, I reasoned that without Ichabod Crane, there really never would have been a show, so I decided to give it a chance. I'm really glad that I did.

Sleepy Hollow has once again captured my imagination and I wait anxiously for each new episode. It has also returned to inspiring me – I write like crazy after it's over. The new location of Washington, DC gives a fresh look and feel and the new characters have some fantastic chemistry with the returning characters, Ichabod, and Abbie's sister Jenny. The addition of a new Witness, a child this time, was a great twist. Ichabod works really well with Diana, who happens to be the mother of Molly, the new Witness, and is one hell of a bad-ass herself. Watching her navigate the new twists and turns her life has taken has been fascinating and Janina Gavankar has been great in the role.

There's only been one problem this season – with the show airing on Friday's my Little Guy's hockey practice interferes with my opportunity to watch the show in its entirety in its first run. I've been able to catch several episodes in full upon first airing, but for the most part, I have to DVR and watch later. Although, to be honest, I DVR each episode no matter what and re-watch it the following week.

This week's episode was one where I had to miss the first run. And damn it, of course it had to be the one when Ichabod and Jenny return to Sleepy Hollow with their new team. I finally sat down today to watch it. I can't wait to watch it again.

They jumped right into the supernatural from almost the first minute, and while the storyline was, as always, an edge-of-your-seat foray into the supernatural, what I loved most was the flashbacks and memories of Abbie. Ichabod remembering how he came to be resurrected in the 21st century was touching, but I sort of felt this episode was a tribute to Abigail Mills. For the season, so far, Abbie was never far from Ichabod's and Jenny's thoughts and I truly appreciated that she was mentioned regularly, not forgotten as if the character had never existed, as sometimes happens when actors leave their shows. But this episode was different. To me, Abbie's presence was strongly felt throughout, and the flashback and memories fit perfectly into the storyline. The usual comedic touches were A1, but the sorrow Ichabod and Jenny still feel over Abbie's loss was potent and tear-jerking. I also think the new team members gained a better understanding of the real meaning and weight behind Abbie's death, and the effect it ultimately has on all of their lives.

So, the writers and producers and cast of Sleepy Hollow – well done! I am hooked as never before and cannot wait to see where you take us for the rest of the season, and I hope like hell you get picked up for a fifth season.

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