“Sleepy Hollow” season 2 was a mixed experience and now that Season 3 is a go it’s time to give my thoughts fully on the season and what I see as the best and worst futures for the show. First, the reason the show was a mixed experience was due to the inconsistency of the episodes in narrative structure (didn’t know if the show wanted to be an arc or episodic show), dropped narratives and it’s inability to handle minor characters.
What made Season 1 work was it’s arc heaviness. Moloch was trying to come back into the world, the Headless Horseman was a threat and Ichabod was trying to reach Katrina. This was the main focus of Season 1 and it never got away from that really, which made it very strong. This show had elements of that but felt like it was playing with a lot of ideas. Henry Parish (The Horseman of War) actually succeeds in bringing Moloch into the world and the first half is good about tying all that together, but in the second half they do a whole bunch of one off episodes that try to tie in Hawley’s adopted Mom and others that just felt like filler, even if they were enjoyable. This made the show feel lost up until the very end when they focused on the core relationships of Team Sleepy Hollow and their relationships to Katrina and Henry, giving us a very entertaining last two episodes that captured at least some of what made Season 1 great.
Another issue, tied to the inconsistent narrative of arc and single episodes was the dropped narratives. At one point Abraham the Headless Horseman says he will wait and not kill anyone until Katrina can find a cure to his curse, this is never brought up again. There is now an angel named Orion running around who wants to cause destruction, he is never brought up again. Also the Reyes arc with the police department and her relationship with the supernatural is never fully dealt with either, or her relationship to Detective Irving. This really hurt the overall feel of the show as these are important characters and relationships. Season 3 has the potential to solve some of these issues.
The final issue of the problems I had with this season were how minor characters were handled. Katrina had no motivation until the very end when Henry wants to start a Coven with her, after that she goes bad and wants to bring him back to life. Henry also didn’t have any motivation after he killed Moloch and his plans for World Domination didn’t feel fully fleshed out. There is no need to bring up Hawley, I hated the character and how contrived he felt. Benjamin Franklin also felt the same way at times, until the Finale. Before the Finale he was the McGuffin for everything this season. They also didn’t know what to do with Abraham the Headless Horseman, which is a shame given how important he is to the lore of the show as a Horseman of the Apocalypse. But even given these issues, there is promise in what they got right.
The Promise and Potential Problems of a Season 3
First, I want to go into the problems. The problems is this show could become something like “Supernatural” a show that is wholly “Supernatural” and has no arc or direction (“Supernatural” really should have ended at Season 5), this could lead to it being a Monster of the Week type show which would only hurt it as with it we’ll only see character arcs retread and the Apocalypse will keep getting pushed into the future, which will hurt the lore and potential mythology of the show. They could also bring back Hawley, Katrina and Henry which would be wrong, their stories are done. When a character is gone, let them stay gone so our core cast can develop as people. No contrived writing, which is what I see happen when a show becomes too episodic and doesn’t have an arc to reel it in.
The promise of “Sleepy Hollow” is in it’s Finale. What was the thing that Abbie’s ancestor warned about? She implies their mission as Witnesses isn’t done, which means there is a bigger bad out there. They could go the Devil route, which would be cliche but would work and from there have our heroes be pushed to their limits and have things change in “Sleepy Hollow.” For now Sleepy Hollow the town is static even if our characters have changed. Eventually it has to go the way of “Buffy” and destroy the town or change it in a radical way to show that the Supernatural can change this world. Changing the world will force our characters to change and that core cast is the reason I watch the show beyond the Mythology Arc. Jenny, Abbie, Ichabod and Irving were big reasons I kept coming back. I want to see their stories and the story of Ichabod and Abbie as Witnesses finished. If the writers milk it, I will eventually stop watching. I want a show that has an ending, which means bringing about the Apocalypse and giving our witnesses a role in dealing with the implied bigger badder villain out there. That is the promise of Sleepy Hollow.
Final Score of Season 2: 8.3 / 10. Potential to be great again.