Previously on Sleepy Hollow, ‘Delaware’
Let’s get the details of this episode out of the way: Betsy goes back to her own time and Abbie/Crane/Pandora defeat the Hidden One, although Pandora forgot to mention that her help comes at the price of ABBIE’S SOUL. More on that later. Also, she double-crosses Team Witness (minus Joe, plus Papa Mills) and takes HO’s power as her own. Ichabod and Jenny take Pandora out with an assist from The Headless Horseman himself–that may seem like a typo, but it is not–and now Crane is being whisked away by a secret government monster-hunting organization while he waits for his new mysterious Witness-from-Abbie’s-bloodline to make an appearance.
In what felt like a series wrap-up move, there were lots of closure moments: Corbin and Abbie’s purgatory ice cream social, Corbin and Joe’s purgatory beer, Jenny on her way to spread Joe’s ashes, Papa Mills passing on advice (and historical paperwork) to Crane before vanishing like a fart on the wind. If this were going to be the final episode of the entire show, just about everyone from this season got to be useful for at least a second–even Headless H. Horseman got to play! Closing with Sympathy for the Devil to match the opening scene from way, way back felt like a wink and a nod from the writers–if it’s just a season finale, it’s all perfectly scrubbed clean for next season’s new Witness to put his or her stamp on it. And if it turns out to be the series final, what a well-rounded, circular reference they’ve left us, and look at how clever they are.
But even with all of the cameos and the closure and the action and the flashes and the bangs, it felt fractured and weirdly devoid of emotion. The fake tears department must share in the waning Effects budget, because poor dead Wendi-Joe didn’t even elicit a tear track when Jenny told Abbie he was gone. All of a sudden Papa Mills knows his way around their batcave, Danny and Sophie are helping the cause by watching The Weather Channel, Horseman has the power of the Crystal Skull. Up is down! Left is right! And we’re left watching an episode that makes about 25% sense because to the writers, the ends justify the means. Who needs a cohesive story when they’re just going to scrap it all at the end and (try to) start again next season?
And now for the outrage: Abbie is dead. Abbie Mills, one half of the Team Witness that this entire show is built around, is dead. She didn’t even make it to the halfway point of the episode, although truthfully she saved herself a lot of trouble; I barely made it to the halfway point myself. In fairness, she did get more screen-time than I would have thought, considering her soul was sucked away at the 20-minute mark. There was a neat style of flashback where Crane revisited Abbie in several of the more memorable scenes of the last three seasons, and it was a little bit of fun to see how far the two of them have come in their hair and clothing choices (my personal preference was her short hair on the porch, and his long hair in the prison).
But let’s be clear. It’s not just the fact that she’s dead, or that we all know this show will not be able to eke on without her (try as they might for an undeserved renewal). It’s just that it’s all such a waste. It was a waste of a character, a good, savvy, smart woman who didn’t let the terrifying details of her job get in the way of doing it. A woman who could make jokes and also catch a criminal, who was one of the good guys–a woman we could watch be a badass with our daughters and our nieces. It was a waste of an actress; Nicole Beharie brought a naturalism to a show about a supernatural horseman and the apocalypse that I don’t think any of us would ever had expected. She raised her eyebrow along with the rest of us whenever Crane gave one of his mystical explanations. She made Abbie skeptical but willing, which is who we all were when the show started. It was a waste of a Lead Woman of Color, which you can tell by flipping through any of the thousands of cable channels is happening few and far between. I understand that Nicole no longer wanted to be on the show after season 2, which seems to speak volumes for itself. She was condemned to be a side-piece on her own show.
It was a waste of the chemistry between her and Tom Mison, which was off the charts even through the very worst episodes and kept us going through the famine that was season 2. Every meaningful glance, every light touch, every hug, sent legions of us into fanfic-ing swoons, and just a cursory search on the internet could have shown the powers that be that this was not just a ‘ship but an outright force of nature.
The slap in the face is that this has all just been a waste of our time, and our support, our tweets, our Facebook likes, our fandom. We, the Sleepyheads, were awestruck in season 1. Remember how good season 1 was? Remember all of the clicks and shares, all of the promises to our uninitiated friends that this show was everything they had been looking for? We were the ones who stuck it out through season 2–we knew how bad it was getting, the side-eyes we were getting for watching this weird show with supernatural love triangles and daddy issues. The writing had gone in a hell of a bizarre direction, but we cheered when we saw the light at the end of the tunnel and knew we were coming out to a season 3.
And then this… this is what we get? This is what our devotion earns us? You give us this woman that is finally interesting, craft her a show that is new and different and diverse, you make us fight for her and her relationships and her family and then you stab her in the back when she turns around (twice). You, Gods of TV Writing Rooms, kill off one of OURS, and then tell us at the end of the episode “Don’t worry. She’s replaceable”?
So rest in peace, Sleepy Hollow. We loved you for as long as we could, but guess what? You’re replaceable, too.