I’ve been a fan of Sleepy Hollow, in all of its zany glory, since it started. I loved the characters. I loved the crazy plots. I admit, I got lost a few times because of convoluted historical tie-ins, but in the end it didn’t matter.
The show was a panoply of awesome: a truly diverse cast; talented performers; and strong female characters. In addition, the chemistry between the two actors was intense. The fact that one of the lead characters, Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), was black and and the other, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) was white, was a cherry on top of the sundae.
That was in Season 1. In Season 2, something went terribly wrong. The relationship between Abbie and her formerly estranged sister was downplayed. Her boss, Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), was sidelined at a mental institution n.a.. Her coworker, Andy Brooks, played by John flippin’ Cho, disappeared (Cho went to star in his own sitcom, Selfie, so maybe that couldn’t be helped, but nevertheless it was a loss).
New characters were added, and other characters, all of them white, moved to the forefront. They included Ichabod’s wife, Katrina, a supposedly powerful witch whose spells rarely seemed to work or were completely underwhelming (although I guess you could say it’s sweet that Ichabod respects his wife’s skills so much); Nick Hawley, an artifacts dealer and total broheim; the Headless Horseman, whose head was now added so he could sulk more effectively; and Ichabod and Katrina’s son, Henry Parrish. Other than Parrish, who is played by the always-watchable John Noble and who was integral to the plot, none of these characters connected with the audience: they were just given a lot of screen time and the audience was expected to be interested in them.
And then they started separating the two leads, whose charming back-and-forth was integral to the show, and started to work on the Cranes’ failing marriage. I don’t know if it was a stalling tactic to keep the leads apart, but during the process Katrina revealed herself as being nearly unlikable, showing inexplicably divided loyalties, keeping secrets from Ichabod, and putting everyone’s lives at risk. All of a sudden, it was the Crane Show with sidekick Abbie Mills.
People got really, really, angry, and ratings went into freefall. The show’s third season was (and remains) in doubt. Then, out of nowhere, things got better, for the most part. Ichabod and Abbie started working together again. Captain Irving and Jenny returned to the scene. The Headless Horseman was killed off, Henry took a hiatus, and Hawley was, well, there is no better way to describe it than Poochied.
Things were looking up.
Then this happened. In a TV Guide interview last week, Tom Mison said that Ichabod is “completely in love” with Abbie. Think about how often that happens for a second. Most “will they/won’t they” couples are discussed in the coyest, most noncommittal of terms. In this situation, though, even while the episodes currently showing featured Ichabod and Katrina’s tedious relationship, Tom Mison did an interview that changed Ichabod and Abbie from “will they/won’t they” to “they do and they will.” Meanwhile, the actor playing the Headless Horseman made it clear he would not be returning to the show. Could it be that the show’s producers were attempting to right the wrongs? I think so, especially with what happened last week, which closed with the two leads back together, doing karaoke.
Since Mison’s statement, there has been a backlash from a small but vocal group of fans who don’t want the two leads together, but for the most part, people are excited and optimistic. As a fan of the show, I hope this new energy and mid-course correction have come in time to guarantee a third season.