Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, Lyndie Greenwood, Nikki Reed and Shannyn Sossamon
Last year Sleepy Hollow ended strong after weeks of meandering with pointless side plots involving characters we didn’t care about (Hawley), characters who were boring (Katrina) and characters who’d outlived their usefulness (Henry). This ended when the show refocused on its core four: Abbie, Ichabod, Jenny and Irving.
Going into season three the news that we’d lost one of those four was upsetting to say the least. This combined with lackluster promotion, I almost missed that the show was even coming back, move this season to make or break territory for fans and the network.
So, let’s dive in and see if the magic is back.
We begin with Headless riding through the forest where he encounters Shannyn Sossamon being creepy. Meanwhile, Abbie’s got a new haircut and partner, C. Thomas Howell, at the FBI. What she doesn’t have is an Ichabod with a lick of sense. He’s somehow gotten himself incarcerated by ICE after dropping off the radar for 9 months after the events of last year.
He’s been there for 5 days, and has made friends with his cellmate, but didn’t feel the need to let anyone know where he is until Katrina’s pendent cracked for no apparent reason. After one more speech of great justice, he bounces when Abbie snaps him up, shocked that she’s with the FBI.
Somewhere in the woods surrounding Sleepy Hollow, two dudes are shooting up things when what looks like Zuul shows up to eat them for….reasons.
As they head out Ichabod fills Abbie in on his walkabout: he went to see if he had any descendants since all his actual family were super dead, and stumbled upon a Sumerian artifact at his own grave that he says predicts his and Abbie’s place in the mission to save the world. Abbie laughs in his face. She’s over this whole thing, 100% and would just like to focus on being an FBI agent, thank you very much.
However, on the way back to SH Abbie receives a call saying two bodies were found under unusual circumstances. Of course she still has Ichabod in the car with her so he ends up at the crime scene. He notices a footprint that isn’t any animal he’s ever seen, the aforementioned Zuul and says that evil has returned to Sleepy Hollow.
They end up back at Abbie’s office at the FBI, where Ichabod gets crushed on immediately by Abbie’s lab tech, and they find increasingly weird information about the crime scene until Abbie’s partner, Granger, calls her into a meeting about the sting the FBI is pulling that evening. He’s hilariously unfazed by Ichabod and I’m already liking him. Hopefully he won’t die.
Abbie goes to the archives with Ichabod and it’s a mess. The reason? The city is tearing down the location to build a strip mall and she and Jenny have been collecting and cataloguing everything in an effort to save all they’ve learned. Ichabod is horrified by this development, also with the information that Irving has peaced out, with Jenny’s help, to keep his family safe.
Once Ichabod’s done having vapors he tells the Mills Sisters that he thinks the creature is a Yaoguai and that he and his fellow agent, Betsy Ross, encountered something like it before at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Betsy left a message that can only be found in a box that she left behind. Jenny, of course, finds it immediately while Abbie and Ichabod spin wheels about how to get their hands on it. And, of course, it’s at a eatery on display in plain sight. Cue Ichabod vapors once more.
Meanwhile Shannyn Sossamon makes her shapeshifting way to Sleepy Hollow.
Jenny’s at the archives, giving massive sad face as she unpacks some boxes that are mementos of Corbin’s. She and Ichabod bond over being outsiders, she due to being an orphan touched by the supernatural, he by being the supernatural and decide to be outsiders together.
They also realize that A: the Yaoguai was summoned, B: it would be attracted to gunpowder and C: Abbie’s sting that’s going on right at this moment would be catnip to the thing.
Sadly it’s too late, she and Granger walk into the sting and right into the Yaoguai and of course Granger bites it because whenever C. Thomas Howell doesn’t play a douche he dies.
Unfortunately, the guy they’re pulling the sting operation on sees the damn thing, freaks out, escapes and returns later to take hostages, asking to speak Abbie and only Abbie. And because the FBI thinks he killed one of their own they’re going in full bore to capture him, which makes it a cluster since Jenny, Abbie and Ichabod need to kill the demon rampaging through the joint.
The gang manages to pull it off, and keep the FBI from finding out, or so they think. But they have bigger fish to fry, even if they don’t know it: Shannyn Sossamon has arrived and she’s Pandora.
Yes, that one.
While the episode started slow, once the gang was back together the beats felt right and it gives me hope that the show will get it together going forward. I’ll be interested to see how Betsy Ross actually figures in, since Nikki Reed is in the credits, and Shannyn Sossamon is always fun but I was bored by the same basic set up: Abbie’s mentor dies, she accepts her place in the supernatural world and she, Ichabod and Jenny then fight evil.
Hopefully going forward the good will outweigh the bad and Pandora will be a truly amazing bad guy.
3 out of 5 Headless Horsemen.