This was one of the shows I couldn’t wait to premiere. I have always love Washington Irving’s story of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I loved the movie with Johnny Depp (my husband and I watch it every Halloween.) So when I found out it was going to be a TV show, I was thrilled yet skeptical at the same time. How are they going to pull this off for a TV series? It’s a pretty simple short story so how do you stretch it out over 22 episodes a season for potentially 5-6 seasons? You put a spin on the original story…that’s how! Are they going to be able to pull it off? Time will tell but for now, I’m in 100%.
We start off in the 1700s during the Revolutionary War where a British Ichabod Crane (played by Tom Mison) is fighting for General Washington and the Americans against the British. Huh? We learn he defected to our side and became a spy for Washington. Anywho, here comes the Hessian with his broad axe and super creepy mask to fight Crane. They duke it out colonial style and the Hessian gashes Crane across the chest while Crane chops his head off. He is rushed to the infirmary where his wife Katrina is there trying to nurse him back to health. He blacks out. Next thing we see, he waking up in a cave 250 years later. He’s walking around surprisingly well for a man who was frozen in a cave for 250 years. But he does almost get run over by a tractor-trailer because he’s admiring this amazing material he’s noticed on the ground….asphalt. Suddenly, Crane realizes he isn’t in Kansas anymore and runs to town.
Meanwhile, we meet Abbie Mills (played by Nicole Beharie) who is having dinner with her partner talking about how she’s heading off to Quantico. Let’s pause for a minute. I’m not sure why shows do this. We learn that Abbie has been accepted to the FBI and there are only a handful of these positions available and she’s received one of them. It’s obvious this is something she wants and is a huge deal. But you know what’s going to happen already…she’ll meet Crane, she’ll get wrapped up in this case and she’ll blow off Quantico. Now, I’m not an expert in the area of law enforcement but I do know that if I received an offer to go to the FBI, our nation’s top law enforcement agency, meanwhile a revolutionary war solider and a murderer with no head is running around my town, I’m out of there as fast as you can say Quantico. I’m not sure why this needs to be interjected in because in my opinion, it knocks her decision-making prowess down a few notches in my eyes. Just let her be the detective in Sleepy Hollow when this all goes down. Sheesh. Ok, back to the story. She and her partner get a call about wild horses at a property not to far away and they go check it out. The wind picks up and the thunder and lightning start…..you know that’s never a good sign….and when they get there, the owner has been decapitated and the partner and Abbie meet the not so dead Hessian sans head. Promptly the partner loses his and Abbie watches the Hessian ride off into the moonlight. Why didn’t the Hessian go after Abbie?
Crane, who almost gets hit by a police car, get arrested for the murder because, I’m not really sure why. Abbie comes into the station with her Capitan, Frank Irving (played by Orlando Jones) and when telling him the story of who she saw, Crane completes the description for her. I thought one of the most well constructed parts of the show happens here when Crane asks if Abbie’s been emancipated and Abbie calmly tells him that yes she is a female detective to boot. He’s thrilled because slavery always bothered him. This was very well done because it nodded to the audience that they know we aren’t stupid and that logically, Crane being from the 1700s, would have a much different opinion on a black woman interacting with him. So they address it with humor and dignity at the same time. It was great. Irving wants Crane in an asylum but Abbie thinks he can help her figure out what’s going on. So she goes against her Captain’s orders and takes Crane to his “cave dwelling” to get some more answers. While taking him there, he passes a priest whom he recognizes from his time in the infirmary. Strange. Is everyone in this town over 200 years old and looking fabulous? Unfortunately, Crane never gets to chat up the padre because the Hessian has found him and lopped off his head while the priest tells him “I’ll never tell you where it is.” Where what is? I realize how dumb this question in later on.
As the rest of the episode unfolds, we learn Abbie has a sister and when they were young, were in the woods when they came across four strange white trees. They also claim to have seen some sort of object around the trees. They weren’t sure if it was a person or an animal of some sort, but when no one believed them, Abbie’s sister went insane. We learn Ichabod’s background when he’s strapped to a polygraph (another great scene.) We also meet Katrina. Now I’m not sure where Katrina is. She’s in some land where she’s trapped and she’d really like to get out but only Ichabod can help her. She tells him that the Hessian is actually one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse (yes you read that right and no this didn’t turn into a Supernatural review) and that if he finds his head (which is buried in her grave) it will awaken the other Horseman and bring them to their land which would cause a cataclysmic problem. She tells him that the Hessian was buried under water and Crane was buried to protect himself because on the battlefield, their blood mixed and now Crane and Hessian are forever linked…which is why they arose at the same time. Utterly confused and scared, Crane urges for more information but Katrina forces him to wake up and he and Abbie start working together to figure out what the hell is going on. Abbie goes to her partner’s office and learns that he has been investigating these strange phenomenons for quite some time. He even knew the story of her and her sister. When she tells Crane what she found, she realizes she needs to complete the work of her partner and help Crane in stopping this Apocalypse from happening. Um, this would be a great time for her to call the Winchester Boys for help…just a suggestion.
Wow, so a lot happened in that episode. As pilots go, I thought it was VERY well done. I like the idea of putting a twist on story we’ve all come to know. Actually, the writers didn’t have a choice if they want this to last a few seasons. I think the chemistry between Mison and Beharie is fantastic and they play off each other very well. Especially their timing comedically. Their banter is very natural and when you’re taking a heavy topic and putting a comedic spin on it, you need actors who call pull it off and they do. I’ve always loved Orlando Jones (although he’ll always be Clifford Franklin from the Replacements for me.) But I wonder if he knows more than he lets on. Maybe it’s unfair because Captain Renard from Grimm was part of the scheme that now I think every police Captain is in on it, but when Abbie was leaving her partner’s office, Irving had a look on his face that said “boy I hope she didn’t find the secret stash of information I know about in here.” Because it’s clear there are some town folk who know what’s going on. John Cho’s unfortunately short-lived performance cleared that up. Usually if a headless solider from the Revolutionary War shows up in your apartment, chances are you’re slightly freaked out and running for your life. But Cho’s character simply told him “I know where it is.” The “it” Cho was referring to was of course the horseman’s head. So it’s clear there are some people around town who know what’s going on and many who don’t. I’m sure over the course of the season and series, we’ll be introduced to many towns people who may or may not know or who may have a connection or rooting interest in seeing these Four Horsemen come to life. And I think the big question for me right now is what does Abbie have to do with all of this? She and her sister saw the trees and the creature all those years ago, she’s the only one willing to give Crane the benefit of the doubt, she saw said creature again at the end of the episode (which nearly made me jump out of my skin), and the Hessian didn’t kill her when he had the chance. Why? I can’t wait to find out!!! Finally, how is it that some people have made the journey 250 years and look exactly the same? How did that happen? Are there more people from that era walking around we haven’t seen yet? And where the hell is Katrina? So many questions.
One day into the new season and already I’m bursting with excitement for the new TV season. This was great start. I didn’t get to see Bones yet but I heard the premiere was pretty strong. And I have a good feeling this one might stick around because the critics were mostly positive on this show going into the premiere and I hope the ratings were solid. They should be because there is no competition right now so it was smart of FOX to start the week early. But what did you think of Sleepy Hollow and are you as hooked as I am?
DVR RATING: 5