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 Hollow. Waiting 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?
AIRED ON 4/8/2016
Season 3 : Episode 18