Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Review

Sleepy Hollow - "Spellcaster"As much as I love Sleepy Hollow, there was something off about this season. While I enjoyed the season for similar reasons as I did last year, there seemed to be a disconnect. There was just something that wasn’t outright clear that didn’t feel as fulfilling as it did last year. I wish I could say I knew exactly what made the season feel off, but I can’t. Instead, we’ll go through the more tangible elements that we can nail down.

Abbie and Crane remained the centerpiece of the show. Without the pair of them the show wold work. Despite the creative changes behind the scenes, the heart of the characters remained in tact. The two did fall further into their roles as Abbie became more stone-fisted with the things regarding the Apocalypse. Abbie’s entire encounter with Orion was a sign of this. She was able to pull back, but she’s gotten to a point were she won’t just let things slid. The issue with Frank was a further indicator of this. While one would normally be thrilled by the return of a loved one, she quickly threw doubt Frank’s way and for good reason. On the other side of the spectrum was Crane who managed to grow both more stern and more welcoming. We saw as Crane further adapted to this world. He’s no longer in a place where he is clueless to the world around him. With that came a sympathy for the people now, but Crane’s involvement in the Apocalypse is more than just being a witness. Crane was completely tied up with the issue considering his son was a horseman and his wife sympathetic to both her son and their common friend (who was also a horseman). Those entanglements made him wish to be more lenient towards their opponent’s when Abbie want to strike. It caused a rift in their friendship. Honestly, those episodes were some of the more difficult episodes to get through since we didn’t have that chemistry that held the entire show together.

Sleepy Hollow - "Pittura Infamante"Unfortunately, I we were forced to see more of Katrina and Crane together this season. Whereas Katrina was physically separated from everyone last season. This season she was brought into the fold. This led to the audience being forced to try to come to like the unlikeable Katrina. There really was no winning for Katrina. She suffered a position of being a Mary Sue. She was powerful. She was beautiful. She was loving. Unsurprisingly none of this ever made her feel real. Her biggest flaw was her inability to give up on her only son that she never had a chance to raise. She never gave up hope and even with that it made her feel even more perfect. Katrina was the perfect out that the series used. Watching Katrina and Crane’s martial strife wasn’t nearly as compelling as the writer’s seemed to imagine. Instead it felt more forced, largely because when the relationship between Crane and Abbie oozed chemistry and they were only friends. Yet, we were supposed to believe that Crane and Katrina loved each other, despite the lack of chemistry. Thus when they finally went down the road to splitsville, I was relieved, save for the continued time put on them trying to work things out. When Crane chose Abbie over Katrina I felt like not just Crane, but the show, let go of a relationship that just wasn’t working anymore.

Everyone knows that Abbie and Crane are the heart, but that didn’t mean there weren’t other characters around. The early part of the season made it seem as though we were going to get more with some of the other characters. They gave us hope that their characters would continue to be fleshed out. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen for the other characters. Outside of Crane, Abbie, and Katrina characters got very little time for development. Jenny became a plot device, used to do dirty work that Abbie didn’t have time to do. Irving was shut off for half the season and then given an unconvincing half-baked evil act for the remainder of the season. All the wonderful growth Henry showed last season as we learned more about him and who he was got pushed to the side in favor of Henry the repeat failure. Yet, he still managed to have enough of his plan go right each time that the plot moved forward. At the end of the day the other characters had things to do, but didn’t have material that would allow them to grow as characters.

Sleepy Hollow - "Tempus Fugit"The plot this season was a combination of fantastic and dragging, which left me lukewarm. This is ultimately because the season felt to long, adding in monster of the week episode’s that didn’t further the Apoclaypse problem or character drama. While I have to commend the writer’s for making monster of the week episodes feel fulfilling as they related certain elements or clues to the overarching plot, they still felt more detrimental than productive. I’m still wondering why we really needed to see Hawley’s family drama and I’m probably one of the few people who enjoyed his character. When an episode’s focus was on the main plot, they tended to be a bit better. However, following the death of Moloch, the show felt lost. It struggled to find it’s footing and where it wanted to head. Even Abbie wondered what they were doing aloud. It was that sort of uncertainty that ruled the second half of the season and brought it down. In fact, the majority of the episodes in the second half didn’t even address the problem they confronted at the end.

The season two finale also felt incredibly tied up. That is not something I’m opposed to at all. The issue I had with just how closed up everything was is that it left no open ends. There were strings left to be sorted. Sure, they alluded to new adventures to be hand and there is the Apocalypse still certainly trying to make itself happen like Fetch, but it doesn’t leave any hopes. Rather it felt like the end of an era in Sleepy Hollow. Let’s note that Sleepy Hollow has not yet been renewed. With it’s rating numbers having dropped considerably, Sleepy Hollow has found itself in a place where it may not be renewed. On one hand, if it doesn’t get renewed then this feels like a fitting series finale. If the show gets renewed, FOX has already indicated that the show goes a procedural route, thus cutting out much of the serial nature that made the show great in favor of the episodic. While this is unfortunate, it would mean at least that we’re getting more Sleepy Hollow.

Check out the season gallery here. What did you think of the season?

4 thoughts on “Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Review

  1. I was pretty disappointed with this season. Like you I can’t quite put my finger on why I liked it less exactly. I was surprised I felt bored watching it as often as I did. The first season wasn’t perfect, but it was never ever boring. I definitely think a lot of the supporting cast was mishandled as you touched on here. Jenny and Irving were a big part of why I liked Season 1 while Henry was a big reason I had high hopes for Season 2, so the way they bumbled those characters’ arcs was an issue. Hawley was kind of lame too. I did enjoy the finale quite a bit. Having Abbie be the fish out of water for a bit in the past was pretty fun. I hope the end is an indication that they might get back to focusing on that group of four’s fight against evil in a more focused way next season (if there is one). I also wasn’t a fan of the comments that it will be less serialized. Makes me think the showrunners don’t know what went wrong with the show this season either.

    • One thing that I didn’t realize until mid season was actually that the original show runners left after season one. After all their plans for how the show would go, no doubt losing that trajectory hurt the show.

  2. Perhaps their leaving explains it. S1 was fantastic, but S2, barring a few moments, was downhill all the way. In S1, we got a collection of interesting characters with their own stories and their own skills and areas of expertise; in S2 the secondary characters were reduced to the equivalent of plot devices, only to be used when there was no plausible way for Abbie or Ichabod to take on their role.

    Not one secondary character made it through S2 without being turned into a cipher or a bad joke. Jenny’s magic went nowhere; Hawley’s weapons knowledge and access ended in the pointless ex-foster-mother drama; Katrina’s deconstruction started in the La Llorena botch; Irving sold his soul without noticing, and the family he loved so much dumped him like a plague victim. Henry descended from ‘frighteningly efficient force for evil’ to ‘bumbling villain with abandonment issues’; the Headless Horseman was reduced to ‘jealous of Ichabod’s natural superiority’. Even Moloch, after all that build-up, was dispatched in little more than nothing flat.

    The worst of it was that the writers sacrificed the secondary characters only to turn Abbie and Ichabod into Scully clones — and unfortunately, I mean the character from Bones, not the character from The X Files. I’m sure the actor did the best he could, but the writers made Scully so unrelievedly perfect the only thing remotely interesting was whether the writers would have him raise the dead or just continue to imply that he could if he wanted to. In S1 Abbie and Ichabod were smart, capable, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances; in S2, it was as if the writers were determined to make them all things to all viewers, and for me, it just didn’t work. Strong lead characters are set off by strong secondary characters; a story is far more interesting when each character brings something unique to the table. When secondary characters are reduced to nonentities or eliminated, the weaknesses in the lead characters only become far more apparent, and the story suffers as well, because with the leads having to do everything, the story has to be simplified as well.

    When secondary characters are pointlessly flattened or wasted, I take it the writers consider their audience incapable of following anything more complicated than Kraft Mac’n’Cheese instructions, and it puts me off the show. Someone said that S2 had been an exercise in Die For Our Ship, but I think it was a case of the chemistry between the leads being so vivid that the writers thought it didn’t matter what they did to the characters and storylines that had provided a showcase for that chemistry. They’ve pushed the ‘Reset’ button, but for me, it’s too little, too late. I’ll remember S1 as marvelous, and S2 for what it could have been. If there is an S3, I won’t be watching.

    • It really is shocking how different the seasons felt. Having different show runners, a longer season, and a push for less serialized material left the writers in a place they didn’t know where to go. Many people dropped off and it showed in the ratings. The episodic nature FOX seems to want for next season is even more off putting.

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