After a long summer of waiting, we’ve come to the third season opener for Sleepy Hollow. A genre show lasting more than two seasons on FOX is nothing to sneeze at; particularly with some of the issues this show had last season. Still, the season closer had many grand moments (even with the Dark Phoenix trope). It’s almost like the show needed to find its direction again after killing of Moloch… and that’s one brilliant thing about this episode (directed by Robocop himself, Peter Weller); we open not with an Abbie and Ichabod lamenting their place in the world, as he did several times in the past. No, instead we have an Abbie who has very much moved on.
Not away from Crane, just on. She’s finally in the FBI, and it clearly suits her. It’s been nine months since our heroes last saw each other. Unlike some shows, where people put their lives on hold, they’ve all had their little adventures. Sadly, Irving is gone, but Jennie is still there.
The story? Oh right. Our new bad is apparently Pandora, who captures the Headless Horseman in the first minute and a half of the show, via a certain famous box. This shows her to be more capable/confidant than our protagonists. It also leads Crane to finally get in touch with Abbie, who finds him detained by immigration. Why? For trying to smuggle an old tablet (that he found in his own crypt), back into America. It’s a good thing she got him though, because she’s then in place to get called to a crime scene with him there, and he’s able to know that a demon did it. A demon set forth by Pandora.
Abbie’s new FBI boss is a boring “tough cop riding the rookie” cliché, and just forgettable as sin. Luckily we don’t have to put up with him long. Man, Abbie does not do well with mentor figures. On the other hand, is it too soon to say I love FBI tech Dani? The absolute blatant way she gaped at Ichabod was just perfect. Excellent facial expressions (and how I would likely react if I saw someone who was that pretty). Hope we see more of her.
We learn the Archives have been sold to a developer, which is a bit troubling. As Ichabod notes, it’s stood since colonial times; how is that not a landmark? For goodness sake – it contains one of Benjamin Franklin’s sketchbooks!
The reinvention of Betsy Ross as not just some seamstress and former crush of Ichabod’s, but butt-kicking secret agent would be neat if not for the fact that by her introduction I’d already grown weary of the whiteness of all the new characters.
Realistically, the show has only traded one person of color for a Caucasian (three left, three joined the cast – no sign of Hawley thank goodness). But we’ve also lost sheriff Reyes (who I hope we get back) and with Irving, we lose his wife and daughter. Ross should logically be white, but could Pandora not have been at least a wee bit Mediterranean? Sleepy Hollow was a welcome rarity for its overall diversity. Hopefully that is not lost as the season goes on.
Back to the story! Crane in a Colonial Times restaurant should be hilarious, but I can’t help wondering how he hasn’t come across the concept before. As the show goes on, these scenes can start feeling forced.
Turns out the demon is drawn to gunpowder, and of course there’s a big FBI shootout about to go down. “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” turns out to be more than a famous quote. Ugh. Abby has a great moment with the guy the FBI is hunting for killing her boss/partner. Then we get to see Jennie and Ichabod together in action – not something we’ve seen a lot. They have good chemistry. Abbie saves the day, as all it should be. Then she finds a hidden tablet behind the tablet Ichabod brought to America – with an image of two people. The guard comments that it looks like them, which is a funny thing because it really only does if you see them as hunters (or as the tablet calls them, destroyers).
There’s also a cute moment with the closing background music, as Abbie bumps into Pandora-in-disguise, which ties into a thow-away line made by Ichabod’s cellmate. A very nice touch. Also, thank goodness Sleepy Hollow’s writers are smart enough to have Abbie recognize the name from mythology. I hate when shows have characters not know grade-school stuff.
Overall, this episode has a ton of what I loved about the first season; Jennie and Abbie are awesome, Tom Mison’s Ichabod is just a fun character, and the supernatural danger doesn’t feel forced. If the writing can keep up, then I look forward to another season of this being my weekly crack.