Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Finale Review: Holy S#!%

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jan 21, 2014

Sleepy Hollow S01E12/13: "The Indispensible Man"/"Bad Blood"

A good television show is seamless. It pulls you in, it entertains you, and aside from those annoying commercial breaks, the story flows from one scene to the next until you look up and realize an hour has passed without even noticing. Even a ridiculously silly story can achieve this, and while I don't think I'd call Sleepy Hollow silly at this point, I'd definitely say that its first season was one of the most seamless seasons of genre television I've seen in quite a long time. The 13-episode season definitely worked in the show's favor here, because there weren't many filler episodes in the true definition of the word, and because from beginning to end, it told an exciting story that never once let up. It managed to scare us, make us laugh, and deceive us. There's not much more I could have asked for from the first season of Sleepy Hollow.

To be honest, I never saw the ending of "Bad Blood," the second hour of the finale, coming. I should have, of course, given how many hours I've spent in front of a television and how many of those hours included supernatural or science fiction mind-f****s. But the idea that Henry Parish was actually Jeremy who was actually War (the second horseman) never once crossed my mind. I always knew we'd see the likes of Jeremy again, and I had suspected he'd be playing for the opposing team when we reentered the picture, but having him be silently masquerading as a friendly character we already knew (and loved), and as a horseman no less, was never once something I'd considered. It is very interesting, however, that two of the horseman have been created by Moloch, and both were once human. Does this mean the final two were once human as well? And will they also be people who've been hurt by Ichabod in the past? If so, I think that's very, very interesting, and could be a great exploration of good and evil.

In addition to being completely surprised by the identity of War, I also never considered that Moloch actually had a purpose out there in the woods that day Abbie and Jenny came across him. I thought maybe he was just enjoying some gardening, or he was out for a jog. I jest, but I truthfully had just assumed it was a place where the two worlds met and he'd come through for some other evil business. I also never thought Abbie and Jenny were there because Abbie was drawn to it as a witness. But, of course, Moloch was raising Jeremy from his grave. The fact that none of this once crossed my mind is high praise, because I often see these things coming on account of how often similar storylines and tropes play out across genre TV, and because The Sixth Sense kind of ruined everything for me, but Sleepy Hollow managed to pull the rug out from under me and I think it deserves some recognition for that. So congrats, Sleepy Hollow, you done good.

The final two episodes of the season had a lot to tie up in terms of narrative—find the map to Purgatory, rescue Katrina, stop Moloch from raising the second horseman, and basically keep the apocalypse at bay. That's not even mentioning the B-storyline in "The Indispensable Man" that saw Captain Irving confess to killing hunky cop #1 and the priest in order to protect his daughter. I never expected the series to tie everything up in a nice neat bow, but I also didn't expect there to be no resolution at all. Even most cable dramas that air 13 episodes and have overarching plot threads that carry from season to season, also usually include some sort of resolution in the finale so that the season feels complete. If this were any other series, I'd be crying foul right now, but it's obvious by now that Sleepy Hollow isn't like any other series. It can get away with a lot of things other series can't because of how fun and compelling it is. But should we just give it a pass here because it entertained us?

Other than rescuing Katrina from Purgatory, not a single storyline of the first season was tied up. The entire second hour was one cliffhanger after another—Abbie was trapped in a creepy dollhouse in Purgatory, Jenny's fate remains unknown after the car crash caused by Steve, who, by the way, has now also kidnapped Katrina, and oh yeah, Ichabod's taking another dirt nap, only this one he'll be remember. Prophecies have been fulfilled, there are now two horseman galavanting around Sleepy Hollow, and somewhere out there I'm just really concerned that Evil John Cho is pinned under a lot of rocks for all eternity. I really liked his character, despite how ridiculous his storyline turned out to be (I don't want to nitpick, but his love for Abbie was kind of non-existant until the writers thought they needed it to be), but when you have John Cho, you should use him I guess. 

But I digress. I know it sounds as if I dislike that the series didn't tie up any of its storylines, but I actually think not resolving them was a bold, and also wise decision on the writers' part. It shows that the writers have faith in the story, and that they have faith in and respect for their audience. It also show that they have a much larger, longer plan in mind for the series and aren't just making shit up as they go, which is reassuring. It was smart to reveal Parish's true nature and motive in the finale, even if it broke the hearts of fans everywhere. The reveal, and the episodes themselves, left viewers on the edge of their seats, which means they'll be back for more come September. And when the show returns, there won't be any need for set up, and the story will just resume  as a seamless continuation of the first season.

All of this gives me hope that Season 2 will be just as wonderful as Season 1, and for a series that has never played by the rules, it makes sense that they wouldn't choose the finale to start adhering to them. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and there's very little that's broken about Sleepy HollowWaiting nine long months to find out how Ichabod and Abbie will escape, wondering where the series could possibly go next, or how it could get any worse for our protagonists, is going to be absolute hell. But I think it's also a good idea to take this break and I hope the writers will continue to be able to surprise us when the series returns in the fall. 


Decapitations this week: 0

– Things that confused Ichabod this week: Siri

– It was nice to see the callbacks to the fist bump and to Yolanda, who will forever remain the heart and soul of Sleepy Hollow, in my opinion.

– Ichabod got new old-timey clothes! Yay! Maybe now everyone will stop complaining. (Personally, I love that look on him.)

– How great was it to see Victor Garber play Ichabod's father? Answer: really great.

– As Henry/Jeremy recounted all the times he slyly let on to the fact he was a total sadistic whack-job, my mind kept screaming, "HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME," because like I said, The Sixth Sense was a very important movie for me. 

– Also, I get that Jeremy hates his parents for abandoning him and all, but like, bro, one was dead and the other was in purgatory. Cut 'em some slack, maybe? 

– Ichabod and Abbie trust each other, and from the moment he burned the map I knew he would redraw it from memory, but Ichabod seriously deserved to be clobbered for being such a jerk and lying to Abbie about it to make her trust him. I thought you were a gentleman!

– Will you miss Evil John Cho? Do you think this is the last we've seen of him? 

– What's Brom going to do to Katrina now?

– God, I hope Ichabod isn't claustrophobic.

– How will you pass the time between now and Season 2?

– What do you want to see in Season 2?

What'd you think of Sleepy Hollow's season finale?

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  • michaelcwiak Feb 21, 2014

    I think the concept of Moloch being able to create/determine the Horsemen is interesting. It also suggests that the two witnesses are such a threat to Moloch that he needs the horsemen to have some inside track in order to best defeat them. We know how blinded Ichabod is to freeing Katrina, to the point that he endangers his connection to Abbie (more on that in a bit.) What will his actions be now that he knows his son is one of the Horsemen? Will his attempts at saving him be part of his downfall, the way it has been so far with Katrina?

    That does make me ever-so-slightly concerned that Jenny could end up becoming one of Moloch's horsemen. When her and Abbie met Moloch in the woods that day, my first impression was not a pleasant one: Moloch wanted one, or both, to be his human surrogates, baby factories. However, if he sensed the fragile connection Jenny had with Abbie (lets not forget she is still upset at Abbie at being chosen instead of her,) he could easily use that manipulation to make her think he's on her side: become a horseman, protect your sister. Who knows, maybe she starts to develop feelings for tall, dark and British and its the final straw to push her into Envy and corruption. I HOPE it doesn't go down that route, but we've noticed the people most likely to turn are the very ones who think the Witnesses are responsible for their pain somehow. Too bad Moloch doesn't do Shakespeare, he would make a great Iago.

    I have a slight problem with Ichabod's antiquated clothes. I've mentioned this in other comments but his clothes identify him too strongly in his 18th century mindset. The more he wears his 18th century clothes, the more he thinks of himself as still being a soldier in the Revolutionary war, Katrina is his wife, Jeremy is his son, water should be free, etc. To some extent, its understandable, but he should know a soldier can't be distracted on the battlefield, trying to be somewhere else.

    And the more he tries to recreate 18th century America in the 21st century, he places his fundamental mission in jeopardy. That's because his need to free Katrina will blind him to the harm he can/will be doing to Abbie. It's a fundamental reason why I have such a hard time accepting Ichabod's declarations that Katrina is the love of his life. Do I think he loves her, of course. But would true love place your mission as a spiritual witness in jeopardy, cause you to act in ways that help to fulfill diabolical plans? It would make sense if falling in love with someone was a way to keep you from falling in love with someone else, blind you to the stronger, truer bond you have with that person. It's partially what made Ichabod and Abbie's journey into Purgatory so interesting, the metaphor embedded within it: when they remembered their connection, they could see past the attempts at tricking them. That CAN'T simply be a coincidence.

    It makes me wonder about Katrina's recreation of the church where she gave Jeremy up. What's interesting about this show is that we can't simply take things at face value. What I mean is that its obvious that people can be in purgatory for the wrong reasons, manipulated by forces beyond themselves. Therefore, we can't accept the idea that the people who are there necessarily deserve to be there. You can be punished/manipulated into suffering beyond what you deserve (victims of the Sandman, anyone?) It could be one of the reasons why Katrina is actually there to begin with: to motivate Ichabod into cleansing the place as one of the Witnesses. I wonder if the Witnesses have the power to absolve sins, or the perception of sins? It hasn't been explained how Jeremy became the sin-eater to begin with; genetic product of being Ichabod's son?

    Hopefully this is simply the first of seven (or more) seasons (will each season represent a single year of their tribulations?) That means that all the cliffhangers at the end doesn't really surprise me. All the major players needed to be placed in peril just to make the stakes all the more relevant. We aren't done with John Cho either. And I never had a problem with his supposed feelings for Abbie. It's already been established Abbie doesn't have a problem attracting attention (Luke, other ex boyfriends mentioned in passing) so I don't see why Brooks couldn't have been corrupted by unrequited feelings. Doesn't mean that she encouraged them, just means that she inspired them (maybe being a Witness ups your attraction factor, could help explain why Jenny wanted to be one. lol)

  • NeeUyank Feb 10, 2014

    I hate to think that we will have to wait until god knows when to see the resolution of this immense set of cliffhangers.. the thing is, I have been feeling something was off with Parish from the beginning.. but I was expecting something that would be related to "sin-eating" process, that the sins he has been consuming would have taken control over him, whatsoever.. and even at one point I thought he could have been the embodied version of Mallock.. but Jeremy? that was truly a twist.. him being so angry at his father was truly lacking grounds, yet, considering the fact that he was a very tormented kid having lived in a coffin for 200 years, expecting rationality would not make much sense..

    Of course somehow Abby will return, Jenny will wake up, Ichabod will rise and most probably, Katrina will be sent to purgatory (unless she finds a better surrogate such as Jeremy maybe:D).. now what I wonder most is, how will the story proceed from there on.. maybe more about the background of Katrina? the parents of the sisters? Ichabod? and maybe Ichabod's father will be one of the remaining horseman?

  • CharlieFurtek Feb 04, 2014

    Awesome season finale! So much happened! I don't think my mouth has been agape as long as it was during the Jeremy/Henry reveal since Marissa shot Trey in the season two finale of The O.C. I was totally blindsided. Well done, show!

    I'm glad that John Cho gets to finally be on a show that will see a season 2 (and hopefully he'll be apart of that!), because after FlashForward and Go On, I was a little worried that this one would not get the chance.

    I think that 13 episodes is a decent length for a season. Shorter season means less hiatuses, less reruns, and a more easily followed series. While I'm sad that there's fewer episodes, I'm glad that I have more time to catch up on my other shows. And there's a LOT.

  • gmanBegins Feb 04, 2014

    A season to smile about! A season finale to STAND UP AND GIVE A STANDING OVATION ABOUT!!
    That was just too much badassery for me to take! The more i think about. it..WE leave the Icabod Crane as we found him BURIED ALIVE!! BURIED ALIVE(To quote my man from wrath of Khan!!) Grade for the Season=A-
    Grade for the Season Finale=A+ SLeepy Hollow REST NOW!! AWAKEN NEXT FALL!! end SCENE!!

  • LexieS17 Jan 27, 2014


  • kalel32688 Jan 26, 2014

    EXCELLENT finale! When the reveal that Henry was really Jeremy came out, I was like "You [the writers] magnificent bastards!" Poor Ichabod, poor Katrina, poor Abbie, poor Jenny, poor everybody.

  • amandapelegrino7 Jan 25, 2014

    I think the end really got confused! Maybe it's a real problem to watch many series and don't remember details but during the final I was surprised, confused, trying hopelessly to figure it out every detail and... God! Thanks I just found this review!! I couldn't seriously understand Henry was War.
    When Abbie got to stay in Purgatory: ok, we would hope for this cliche; but everything else was unexpected! Henry is Jeremy AND War? (where are the beautiful DNA from Katrina and Ichabod??) Moloch captured Abbie and Jenny's memories?? Dead still want Katrina (creepy!!)?? HENRY IS JEREMY AND WAR!
    Okay... get over it and wait for season 2! I think Jenny will be saved and everything... she'll find Ichabod, he'll tell everything to her and they'll save Abbie and Katrina. Simple as that! And... maybe... the next Horsemen can be hurted by the other witness. We really don't know what Abbie did in the past, do we?
    Well... we have some months to speculate what the producers will do!

  • AbhishekAind Jan 25, 2014

    Dear lord that was one hell'u'va reveal.
    John Noble. Make him God, Archangel, Lucifer, Death, Horseman, Next door concerned neighbor or even that man on the sidewalk... he would make that character so riveting that it feels everything should be about him.
    I bow down to such authoritative acting.
    Fringe did that me... do not judge me!
    Now if they could just hire Anna Torv as Lilith/Archangel Gabriel/the fourth Rider... I would RIP. I would gladly ride into the Apocalypse and all fire and brimstone.
    3 horsemen are here on Earth [Technically one is looping in frozen time... but i digress] and Season 2 might start with the
    1. Rescue Mission [Though I wonder who will do that... Perhaps the members of power holding personal once the horsemen galloping around sleepy hollow? Members of Masonic Order? etc, etc]
    2. Moloch and his dark parade?
    3. Angelic Descent?
    4. 4th horseman being a man/lady [no gender bias] waking up and then gallivanting around sleepy hollow.
    5. Jenny being resuscitated in hospital [Who tho!]

    Overall Sleepy Hollow kept me on the edge. 13 episode format kept it tight. If only my other lovable shows would start following this rule as well [Wishing is not a crime]. I hope the producers realize this potential and don't bloat it next season even if it is offered full season order.

  • Larrystrawberry Jan 23, 2014

    John Noble as a villain=best tv ever

  • Ankh49 Mar 02, 2014

    So true. I found Henry Parrish a bit too goody two-shoes for my taste, so the 'reverse Star Wars' reveal was a huge relief! I hear that John has been made a season regular next season so we should see a lot more of him. Yay!! Can't wait for season 2. :-)

  • MirelaPilipo Jan 23, 2014

    I have really tried to like this show. I want to like it so much! I really do but apart from Tom Misons portrayal of Ichabod Crane there is nothing else that I enjoy here.
    I'm usually a sucker for the supernatural and sci-fi genres but I don't think Ichabod is enough for me to keep tuning in next season.
    As a Fringie, I'm a huge John Noble fan but I feel like this show has just wasted his talent. Just like they did with the "suddenly-in-love-with-Abbie" John Cho.
    Sorry "Sleepy Hollow", I really tried. :(

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