“Sleepy Hollow”: Reading More Post-Season Tea Leaves

Since the TCA comments came out, people have either been freaking out, maintaining hope for a third season, or silently hoping for Sleepy Hollow to get its death throes on.

I think that even though the Cancellation Bear is right in saying that S3 isn’t a definite lock, I won’t say that the show is going to pull a complete Marie Antoinette (or Headless Horseman) and get its head chopped off. But, I will say that, like Marie Antoinette, the show pushed the buttons of its subjects one time too many, and the people are ready to storm Versailles and rob the show of its vestments.

With that said, here’s a rundown on all the theories and rumors I’ve come across.

Worry about less serialization

Some are saying that “Pittura Infamante” gave a glimpse of what a serial-less Sleepy Hollow could look like. I’d say that that’s true in a sense; we dealt with a singular villain and there was nothing else about Henry or strange Crane drama outside of Ichabod and Katrina trying to repair their sham of a marriage. But I also don’t think this is what Fox had in mind, since they’ve made it clear that they have a clearer knowledge of fan’s gripes than they’ve let on. Also, the idea of a serial-less Sleepy Hollow has been discussed by Aaron Baiers, VP Television Development for Kurtzman/Orci Productions on Twitter and by Len Wiseman on Access Hollywood:

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&isUI=1

I don’t know if I wrote this, but I always had a feeling that “less serialized” wasn’t exactly what Fox exec Dana Walden meant. I think she meant much like what Wiseman said, that the show needed to get out of the soap opera rabbit hole it’d gotten itself into. Neither Walden or Wiseman said it (due to PR speak), but it’s clear that the only rabbit hole we’ve experienced this season dealt with Katrina and Ichabod’s Crane Family drama. That really sucked the life out of the show, and not necessarily because it was their family that was the focus.

The reason Crane Family Drama doesn’t work is because its’ a storyline that doesn’t add anything to the missions at hand. Henry being Jeremy and Henry/Jeremy trying to kill his parents was the good side to the family drama  since he was the Horseman of War and had a stake in the Apocalypse, but when it got to Abraham and Katrina and how Katrina jerks all her men around got to be too much. Abraham shown as a man who made a horrible decision is okay, but a redemption plotline is not the best since it takes all of the stakes out of the show. If everyone can be redeemed, then what’s the purpose of an apocalypse? Especially if one of the people that’s on the “redemption” list is Moloch himself? Seeing Katrina actively attempt to redeem baby Moloch is hilariously bad decision making.

Abbie’s family drama, on the other hand, is extremely pertinent to the show since 1) it’s rarely focused on and 2) Abbie actually has a lot of magic in her lineage that needs to be explored since it could help win the war against evil. Almost everything about Abbie’s lineage is active, while everything about Ichabod’s is passive. Abbie is “called” to her destiny by the arrival of Ichabod, while Ichabod was more-or-less drafted into it when he gets killed in battle and saved by Katrina. Abbie’s family members (her mom, Grace Dixon) are always active members of their own lives, while Ichabod largely has stuff happen to him. The more we focus on Abbie and the Mills women, the better.

In short, I’d say that Sleepy Hollow will be less serialized when it comes to the soap opera element of Crane Family Drama. But it won’t be less serialized about the show’s main draw, which is fighting off the apocalypse.

Could Katrina actually get killed off?

Baiers has told fans on Twitter to hold on just a little more, since Ep. 15 is when things really change. He also gave a little timeline of when the writing crew actually did start changing storylines to address some fandom issues.

There’s also some rumors floating ’round about Ep. 15 about something major happening with Katrina’s character. Here’s the extended synopsis of “Spellcaster,” which might make fans interested in the show once again:

Preparing for an auction of artifacts and mementos once under the possession of Queen Elizabeth I, the discovery of “The Grand Grimoire” – a rare journal containing spells of forbidden black magic which once belonged to the Royal Court’s “sorcerer supreme” – attracts the attention of Solomon Kent, a powerful warlock who, despite his own magical nature, was responsible for triggering the Salem Witch Trials.

Having escaped Purgatory following the demise of Moloch, Kent has come to claim the powerful tome for his own malevolent intentions. In the wake of the mysterious deaths of two auction house employees, Ichabod and Abbie are called in to investigate and, after learning of the mystical book’s recent reappearance, elicit Katrina’s help in their mission.

Katrina discovers that despite the book’s power, Kent will not be able to avail himself of the spells within until he tracks down several of the book’s absent pages, and Ichabod and Abbie quest to secure them before their antagonist… but they may already be too late.

All the while, Frank Irving tells Abbie that his soul is “pure” in the hope it will quell her concerns about his being under demonic possession, but she remains understandably wary.

Henry, uncertain of his new place in the world, grapples to find his identity, while Katrina discovers something new, and something disturbing, about herself and her abilities.

Guest Starring JOHNATHON SCHAECH as Solomon Kent

This episode is written by co-executive producer Albert Kim, who, at least from this tweet, doesn’t seem crazy about either Katrina, Ichatrina, or both. Which is funny to me.

To get to the short of it, Katrina learns something drastic about her herself. Seeing how Ep. 14 is where the storyline starts changing to appease fans, could the thing that Katrina learns is that…she’s EVIL? I sure hope so. That’s about the only thing (other than her getting killed/sacrificing herself) that will redeem what little characterization she has.

Is Len Wiseman the new showrunner?

Due to that video above showing Wiseman and Orlando Jones at the TCA has led to fan speculation that Wiseman has been tapped to be the next showrunner. I have nothing conclusive on this front, but it’d be interesting if this turned out to be true. Wiseman directed the Sleepy Hollow pilot and seemed to have more of a hand in the first season as opposed to this season. Key word is “seemed.” I don’t know any of this as fact.

Mark Goffman has always been the showrunner,  and under his reign, S1 was great, save for some offbeat Katrina moments. Since it’s been his creative outlook that’s been guiding the show so far, it’s clear that something creatively went off the rails. Or, one could argue that a blinding love for Katrina went off the rails, even though Katrina’s the only character that hasn’t been properly developed. I’m speculating, but it’s something interesting to have Wiseman show up at the TCA previews instead of Goffman. However, maybe Goffman was busy. I don’t know.

EDIT: According to the comment below, Goffman was still in North Carolina overseeing the filming of the finale, which finished today. So that answers the question about where he was, but the drama of the post-season is just beginning.

But another thing that’s in favor of someone else being given the showrunning reins is some scathing critiques from the interwebs, and not just from the fans. Tom and Lorenzo seems to speak for a lot of folks out there when they wrote this:

“Showrunner Mark Goffman seems to have absolutely no idea why Sleepy Hollow became semi-popular in the first place. It wasn’t because of the hot, whispering white lady, Mark [Goffman]. It was because of the two leads and their insane chemistry with each other.

Abbie getting sidelined so much that it’s gone past tin-ear writing and started looking like a deliberate downgrade for the character…So we had a main story that was pretty good, except Katrina was playing the Abbie role and we got a side story where Abbie pretty much played the Jenny role. The lead co-star continues to get sidelined in the story and treated like a supporting character and frankly, it’s starting to get really…we won’t say “offensive,” but problematic. How can it not when you sideline the lead black actress and continually shove a white supporting character the fanbase seems to hate into her role, over and over again?”

With a large swath of the fanbase saying this, it would behoove Fox to redefine the direction of the show, whatever that will look like in the end. To be clear, I’d never want for anyone to lose their job. But if Fox ever decided to change showrunners, it’s not like Sleepy Hollow would immediately die. Just take a look at The Walking Dead; it’s had beaucoup showrunners who have had different takes on the series and the show is still on and going strong. But again, I’m not one to advocate for someone losing their job. Jobs are valuable, you know.

That’s all I’ve got to say about this for now. Except that Sleepy Hollow itself tweeted me!

That’s pretty cool (and funny, since the conjecturing I was talking about was this post, which is much more serious than they thought I was talking about). I’ll let you know if they actually say they’ve read my recaps and theories.

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11 thoughts on ““Sleepy Hollow”: Reading More Post-Season Tea Leaves”

  1. Mark Goffman was (and still is) in North Carolina overseeing the shooting of the season finale (which wrapped today). That’s why he wasn’t at TCAs. Just check his Twitter feed–he’s been tweeting photos from there since January 9 (right up to today).

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    1. Thanks for that update. I saw his Twitter today as I was writing this, but I’m glad that you said he’s still in NC. As I wrote in my article, I didn’t want to say “OH YEAH, LEN’S THE NEW SHOWRUNNER!” I said, “Goffman could have been busy,” and I’m glad that he was. I’ll update my article with this info.

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  2. There are a lot of great points here but I would like to push back a bit on the idea that, rather than being overly about the Cranes, the show should be overly about the Mills. I think there is a bit of an echo chamber effect going on with the vocal fans calling for more Abbie. I def want to see more of Abbie’s history but I would not love a show that shifted to be much more about that and abandoned Crane’s family & background. What I WOULD have liked is for this season to be balanced and would like that in S3. Anyway, just saying that there are plenty of us drawn to Ichabod and his story and that has to be part of a SH that keeps its original fanbase.

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    1. For sure, there’s a lot about Ichabod and his background that drew me to him and the show as well, like his stormy relationship with his father. That’s one element that I’d like to see explored a whole lot more in the show. For now, it just seems like it’s been dropped to the side in favor of the Henry drama, which is a valid storyline in its own right. I guess to be more clear, I think when the Henry drama started to mesh with the Abraham-Katrina drama is when it became an overload of Crane family problems for me. I don’t really care about Abraham or Katrina’s love; I care most about what makes Ichabod a Witness and some of the stuff that was brought up in the Henry/Katrina/Abraham mess wasn’t really as relevant as it could have been to why Ichabod’s a Witness. I think it was largely muddied because the writer direction seemed off during the middle of the season. In short, I want the show to be more balanced, about Abbie AND Ichabod and why they’re Witnesses and less about “Peyton Place” soap opera elements. Hopefully that clears up what I was trying to say.

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    2. I think that when people say they want to see more Mills family that’s only because it seemed to resonate a bit better than the Cranes. Yes it about the struggles of the sisters, but it is and can be much more than that.

      Think back to the Momma episode and how packed with emotion it was. I actually cried a few days after when I remembered those two little girls holding hands as their mother started ranting and raving. Or think back to their scene when Abbie says she will become Jennifer’s guardian. That small scene was not about the apocalypse, but it fit. THAT is what I want to see more of. That emotion; which those two actors always bring.

      Contrast that anger, pain, fear, frustration and hurt with the Cranes and the Cranes pale in comparison. That along with all the repeated themes are what really hurt the show. How many ways and episodes did it take to let us know Henry had parental problems? How many for Katrina to express how she wants to redeem Henry and headless? How many for her and Crane to break up and make up, only to break up again?

      IMO, four episodes placed sparingly throughout the season for the Crane drama would have limited the number of complaints. While I do ship Ichabbie long term, I don’t tune in to see just them every week. I want my scares, mixed with humor. Not 11 episodes of Cranes repeating what went before.

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      1. I agree that the Mills drama does resonate better than the Crane drama. Somehow the Crane drama just comes off as tone-deaf, mostly because most of the people in the Crane drama make some terrible decisions that lead to their own misery.

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  3. Yes that makes a lot of sense. I agree the whole Abraham-Katrina thing is not that interesting and frankly doesn’t make much sense. At least the Henry-Ichabod-Katrina thing relates to Ichabod’s always wanting to “redeem” people. And the “table” scene between Noble & Mison was just brilliant. But after a point, the story became quite strained and was repeated and repeated for no clear reason.

    So yes, more on what lead them both to be witnesses, and also what shaped them as people. Mama was great for understanding that chaos that made up Abbie’s early life, for example. Would love to see more on how that lead her to be so controlled in her life and relationships. And yes I would love to see them address Crane’s relationship with his father again. It was a shame to drop it after the intriguing clues we got in S1.

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  4. The problem with SH is that it has mishandled really good plot devices or characters that could have added to the overall mythos of the show. E.g By now we should know more about Rev. Knapp, Corbin, Jenny’s globetrotting for artefacts, Katrina’s coven, Jenny’s possession by the demon, etc. Even in S1, the writers have not been using these teasers to be best of their ability. It’s what keeping the show from being 10/10 instead of 7 or 8/10 IMHO. I think they’ve depended too much on Nicole and Tom’s chemistry without developing the above plots and more that could have enriched the show, and given them many, many arcs to explore in future seasons.

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