I became a devoted “Sleepy Hollow” fan last year when it premiered. I was pleasantly surprised by the pure fun of the show and gave it a wide berth on its odd use of history and Bible verses. As always, I am concerned for the second season of any high concept program as balance can be difficult to maintain. The balance between drama, humor, tension, etc., can get lost when moving into the sophomore year. Based on the first episode of Season 2, I see none of that good balance has been lost, and I am ever so pleased.
At the end of last season, Ichabod (Tom Mison) was stuck in a coffin. Abbie (Nicole Beharie) was stuck in purgatory and Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood) was probably dead in a terrible car wreck. Henry Parrish (John Noble) was revealed to be Ichabod’s son AND the Horseman of War. Things looked bad in the best possible way.
The season opener kicks off with Abbie and Ichabod a year after last season’s finale trying to get some details on a key that was in the possession of Ben Franklin (Timothy Busfield). Turns out that Ichabod apprenticed under him and saw the key firsthand. They question the now captured Henry, who they have somehow managed to subdue. Something felt off about the story, and small details were left here and there to indicate things were rotten in Sleepy Hollow. Of course, the whole “one year has passed” was a trick on the part of Henry, who is in search of the very important key. He wants intel and uses Abbie and Ichabod’s minds to find its whereabouts because it opens the gates of purgatory and would allow Moloch (Derek Mears/Luke Smith — riding scenes) and his minions to come through without the exchange of a soul.
The duo is smart and figures it out, but just a tad too late. Henry sees that Jenny knows of a sketchbook in the archive that has the location of the key noted inside. Yes, she’s alive and being held captive by the evil Henry and his minions. He reads her sins (I forgot he could do that) and is on the hunt for the all-important key to Moloch’s freedom. Jenny, ever the resourceful one, escapes and gets into a gun battle with the minions.
Katrina (Katia Winter) is in the clutches of the Headless Horseman (Jeremy Owens), but she is allowed to see him in his original form as Abraham Van Brunt (Neil Jackson) via the use of a necklace. He gives her an ominous warning about the future as there aren’t any other kinds of warnings but ominous ones in Sleepy Hollow.
Ichabod manages to escape his coffin, find Jenny and assist in her rescue. They both set off to find the key as this will allow them to save the trapped Abbie. Abbie needs to communicate with Ichabod and isn’t sure what to do, but she gets some help from an unexpected source, Andy Brooks (John Cho). It’s now a race against time to bring Abbie back from purgatory and prevent Moloch from coming through with her.
The cast is in fine form, and the addition of Busfield as Franklin was a nice touch. Ken Olin directed the episode, and the two worked together in “Thirtysomething” in the late ’80s, early ’90s. Busfield’s Franklin comes off as blustery, overly intelligent and slightly bohemian, and his performance made me smile more than once.
Mison and Beharie had good chemistry last season, and it’s even better now. It’s not romantic, at least not to me, but like that of friends who trust each other implicitly. Greenwood brings a nice energy as Jenny, and I was glad to see her back. Noble is his usual awesome self. Now that the truth is out, he can let loose the devilish part, and he appears to be having a good time. I also hope Cho gets to stick around a bit longer.
The story was fast paced and had a good amount of humor and drama. The MacGuffin in the beginning felt right at home in the twisted world of “Sleepy Hollow.” There were a couple of really nice effects bits, one involving mirror work that looked great. In the art direction department, Moloch’s lair was really nicely done. I was entertained throughout.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
Very little didn’t work. I did have one eye-roller of a moment when Ichabod escaped the coffin (any normal person would probably have been dead), but it’s a high concept show. There’s going to be eye rolling moments. One more thing … the man needs new clothes. We get it. He’s from the past. Take him to an outlet mall and get him some nice pants and a shirt.
I’m happy to see one of my faves from last season back, and back with a vengeance. Keep up the good work.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
“Sleepy Hollow” is based on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. The series was created by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, Len Wiseman and Phillip Iscove. “This is War” was written by Mark Goffman and directed by Ken Olin. It starred Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Noble, Lyndie Greenwood, Katia Winter, Neil Jackson and Timothy Busfield.