Welcome to the first-ever Sleepy Hollow Round Table!
We're starting the discussion with the second episode, "Blood Moon," and joining us at this lively debate are staff writers Jim Garner, Michelle Carlbert and Carissa Pavlica, along with Hank Otero, proprietor of Hanko9 Entertainment and Enrique Rea, owner of Spartantown.net.
So pull up a virtual chair now and join in as we talk about what's working and what's not so far on the new Fox hit...
Did the second episode live up to the premiere?
Jim: For the most part it did. I was a bit disappointed with the back peddling that Abbie did. She seemed pretty set on believing Ichabod, given that she put Post-It Notes all over the motel; yet, she still kept doubting the things he said.
Hank: I think it would be tough for any episode to live up to that premiere. I mean, the writers jammed so much into the first forty some odd minutes of the show. That said, I do think this second episode did a great job of continuing to flesh out our lead characters. We had a chance to visit with Katrina early on and learned more about Abbie's backstory. The writers also gave us a new villain, which means Headless won't necessarily be the center of every episode. That would probably get pretty old quick, right? Plus, I loved the opening credits sequence... Yeah, I'm a sucker for a great opening sequence!
Enrique: I don't think it lived up to the pilot. It took a different path and stood on its own, but it was hard to live up to it. No longer chasing the Horseman and now battling a vengeful witch was interesting, but as with the pilot a ton of information was being thrown our way. I do like the continued growth between Abbie and Ichabod.
Michelle: The second episode definitely lived up to the premiere for me. Does that mean that it was exactly on par with the premiere? No, but it would be hard for them to do that every week. I think this episode took elements from the premiere and built on them, which is exactly what I would expect a second episode to do. I am just as in love with this show as I was after the pilot, perhaps even more so now that I've seen how they are willing to continue to go in new and interesting directions with the story.
Carissa: I was left a bit disillusioned, but I am a tough critic. I don't often gives others a break and I don't expect them to be given to me. That said, the premiere let me know the capabilities of this team. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, especially, were responsible for my beloved Fringe - and even that show let me down at times. Including the dynamic duo of Tim Mison and Nicole Beharie, I'm giving all of them a lot of latitude to make mistakes.
What did you think about the introduction of the witch from the dark coven? Since she was killed so quickly, do you expect more will come?
Jim: I think she is just the tip of the iceberg. I suspect that the dark coven is the reason that the horseman (and Ichabod) have been awoken and we will see more of them.
Hank: While it was an important link to Katrina and the two covens, the "baddie" seeks revenge on the descendants of those that killed her has been done before. I'm sure the writers realized this and even switched it up a bit with the little blonde boy's story. I did find the witch's resurrection sequence to be unique, don't remember ever seeing a character line up their bones and be reborn like that before. The visual effects are top notch, movie quality. If Serilda of Abaddon, (high priestess of the dark coven) was killed off so quickly, I'm not sure what the plan is as far as witches moving forward. The two covens do seem to be an important part of the mythology of the show though. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Enrique: I do expect more because it seemed her quick defeat was used to move the story forward but not meant to be a vital piece of the puzzle.
Michelle: When she was first introduced, I thought perhaps that she was going to stick around and be another dark force for them to battle. The fact that they defeated her so quickly actually excited me as I took it to mean that they're going to keep bringing in new baddies for them to fight. I was worried that only having the Horseman (or Horsemen, as the case may be) to battle would get boring after a while. Knowing that they will have other creatures to fight makes things very exciting for me.
Carissa: I'm starting to feel like a dark force to be reckoned with at this table. No wonder I'm always dead last. The idea of a witch being related in any way to Abaddon excited me, and I was sorry to see her taken down so easily. I would have liked to see her perhaps retreat, temporarily. The ease in which she was defeated threw me. It's been one day and our dynamic duo is already capable of eradicating evil in less time than that. It makes me scratch my head. I would have liked to have seen Irving's reaction to the news (if he would have even flinched at the story), because I believe he will be a dark force in town.
Were you surprised to see both Clancy Brown AND John Cho back and in action?
Jim: I loved seeing Brown as Abbie's personal spirit guide. Maybe if he shows up for a few episodes, she will begin to believe more. As for John Cho, wouldn't someone notice the body missing from the morgue? And are you telling me there are no other witches from the Dark Coven around that could have played look out for the crispy spirit?
Hank: Yes! Surprised and extremely pleased, because I was totally bummed out that they killed those actors off so quickly in the premiere. With both Sheriff Corbin and Deputy Andy (or dark-side Sulu, as I like to call him) appearing in episode two, the writers are hinting that no one stays dead for long on this show. Hey, maybe Serilda of Abaddon is not dead after all? I'll have to go back and re-watch her death scene, well... her second death scene.
Enrique: I was glad to see them both back - especially Brown. His mentorship means a lot to Abbie and holds the key to a lot of things she isn't aware of because of his research into all the supernatural stuff. Cho plays a great creepy guy even if I don't buy that no one noticed him walking around stealing police cars.
Michelle: Yes and I LOVED it. I've been a huge fan of Clancy Brown's for years and when I saw his name on the pilot, I got as giddy as a schoolgirl. To have him killed off so quickly broke my heart, but I was beyond ecstatic to see him back. I hope this means he will continue to be around to give Abbie ghostly guidance. As for Cho, who wouldn't love a guy who can make you laugh while also looking as scary as hell with his head hanging off his back? At this point I will happily have them both stick around.
Carissa: As noted in my review, I thought it was pretty bold to kill off to big names in the premiere. To bring them back immediately felt like a letdown. Clancy Brown's return as Sheriff Corbin was far more organic to the story and I welcomed it. Like Jim said, can somebody really tell me there were no other dark forces around to help out the "crispy spirit" in a town Corbin had declared crawling with them in the papers Abbie had been researching? Where are all of those people now that there's a headless horseman, a dark witch and a dead deputy roaming the streets? You'd think they'd be out chanting and gathering their dark forces in some gleeful manner.
What are your favorite elements of the series so far that you hope stick around for the long haul?
Jim: By far my favorite element is the dialog writing for Ichabod, along with Tom Mison's delivery. The choice of words and the crisp way he pronounces them has me developing a man crush on him. I'm also thrilled that they expanded the story beyond just chasing a headless horseman. Fighting evil give them a much broader brush to paint stories with.
Hank: I've got to say, my favorite thing about the show so far, is the relationship and chemistry between the lead actors. I think I'd be happy watching Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie read the phone book to us on a weekly basis. It's amazing how something as basic as the lead's chemistry, can make or break a show. I love the overarching mythology the writers have set up. Everything from the covens, the demon, to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Book of Revelation. There's just so much story to be mined from the Bible. I also love the tone of the show, it's beautifully shot and the music score fits perfectly. Sleepy Hollow is an old-fashioned adventure show and though I wasn't sure it was going to work for me, I'm definitely on board now!
Enrique: The show hinges heavily on the two leads. Without them the show goes straight to camp. The dialogue is crisp but not hokey. Their chemistry is supremely important in keeping audiences engaged, especially when there isn't much happening on screen. I have a crush on Nicole Beharie. She is perfect.
Michelle: Much as others have said, the relationship and chemistry between Ichabod and Abbie is one of the main things that drew me into the show and I hope that never goes away. At this point I also hope that it never turns into a romantic interest but seeing as I also said the same thing about shows like Castle and Bones, perhaps I should just see what happens. I also like the spooky/creepy/scary cinematography and hope that stays as well.
Carissa: I'm on board with the leads, as well, with just a bit more respect for Tom Mison. The way he delivers his lines as if he is so aghast at modern life and taxes and how everything we fought to become free has fallen by the wayside is utterly mesmerizing. He can take a simple line that out of someone else's lips would be boring and raise them up as if written by Shakespeare. The general mood that the filming and lighting evokes also gives Sleepy Hollow a feeling unlike any other program on television right now. There's no mistaking it when you look at the screen.
What about the episode didn't you like or would you like to see changed moving forward?
Jim: I want Orlando Jones to see "something" so he won't question Abbie so much and help her get the job done. And, someone please stop by Sears and get Ichabod a change of clothes. He shouldn't need to wash them in the motel bathroom!
Hank: I hope the writers steer clear of the more clichéd horror tropes. If they have to use them, they should try to somehow put a spin on them to surprise the audience. I also hope they have a solid plan regarding the impending apocalypse; it seems like they do. However, if that is this season's endgame... what about Season 2? In the premiere, Ichabod mentions two witnesses brought together for a seven year period. Is it possible the writers have a loose outline for seven seasons? Supernatural on The CW is going into its ninth season, so why not, right?
Enrique: I'm curious if the show is going to go the way of demon-of-the-week or will a more cohesive storyline emerge. We'll see, but so far so good.
Michelle: When I saw the pilot, I found the appearance of Ichabod's wife a little annoying for some reason - almost as if she was intruding on the chemistry of Ichabod and Abbie. I understood her better in this episode, but I do hope that they don't have plans to resurrect her as well. I'll be happy to see her just stay in his dreams.
Carissa: Things need to stop being set right in front of them when they conveniently need them. A comment posted under the review pointed out how odd it was that they found a mysterious tunnel behind a flimsy wall in a building that had undoubtedly been renovated many times over the centuries. That lead to the room happened to be holding all of the artifacts needed to defeat Serilda, as well as the final resting place for Sheriff Corbin's paperwork (which had seemingly been moved overnight - the same time frame in which Ichabod wasn't afforded a new suit of clothes). You know, stuff like that - it needs to be less obvious. Some work needs to be done to get to that point or groaning shall commence (louder groaning).
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.