Lt. Abby Mills (played by Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod Crane (played by Tom Mison) looked to be in deep in trouble at the end of the freshman season of FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow.” (If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go watch it now because there are spoilers below.)
In the season finale, Mills was trapped in Purgatory after taking the place of Crane’s wife, Katrina, (played by Katia Winter). Ichabod vowed to return for Mills. As soon as Ichabod reunites with his wife on the earthly plane, the Headless Horseman (played by Jeremy Owens), who is discovered to be Abraham Van Brunt (played by Neil Jackson), an old friend-turned-rival of Ichabod, arrives. He takes Katrina away after Henry Parrish (played masterfully by John Noble), who was believed by Mills and Ichabod to be an ally, reveals to Katrina and Ichabod that he is not only their son, but also the Horseman of War, proudly serving the evil Moloch (played by Derek Mears).
With that revelation, Ichabod is buried alive and Sleepyheads around the world had to wait several, long months for the return of this fun, creepy, action-packed show.
With its second season premiere, entitled “This Is War”, Tuesday night, it appeared that it had been a year since Ichabod and Mills had escaped their prisons, but at the cost of those they loved. They both believed Katrina and Mills’ sister Jenny (played by Lyndie Greenwood) had been killed by Moloch.
They also believed that they had captured Henry in a way that reminded me of Crowley, the ruler of hell, being held by Sam and Dean in the CW’s “Supernatural. But, in “Sleepy Hollow”, it all turned out to be an 18-minute long (14 minutes without commercials) mind game set up by Henry and Moloch to find a key to open Purgatory. Abby and Ichabod remained in their prisons and Katrina and Jenny were very much alive.
The season opener had lots of great highlights. The first is the bond Abby and Ichabod have, even within an illusion created by their enemies. While Ichabod says he loves and adores his wife, he seems to have a deeper connection with Abby and the chemistry seems to be very strong, regardless of the fact that they are the prophesied “witnesses” who will fight to stop the coming Apocalypse.
The second highlight was the too brief team-up of Jenny and Ichabod, who, after escaping his premature burial in an explosive way, came to Jenny’s rescue in an ambulance (I love irony) and didn’t know how to put it in reverse.
“Must learn to drive,” Ichabod says. I love it. The one-liners are some of the bests I’ve heard since the days of “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” television series.
Abby isn’t the only Mills who has a deep affection for Ichabod as Jenny hugs him before he enters Purgatory to rescue Abby. Jenny understandable has feelings for him, especially since he was one of the first people to believe her without a shred of doubt. Ichabod is quite the ladies man, isn’t he?
Other standouts include the reappearance of Andy Brooks (played by John Cho), who appeared to have died last season, Moloch new and creepier design, brief Ichabod vs. Ichabod fight (which brought to the awesome Clark Kent versus Superman fight of “Superman III” to my mind), a not so headless Horseman and the introduction of a nudist Benjamin Franklin, who Ichabod said was full of himself.
I also enjoyed the fact that Moloch doesn’t dwell on setbacks, but continues to forge ahead. This separates him from other bad guys who waste time berating their minions. When he appears before Henry, Henry begins to throw empty praises and pleas of forgiveness to his master. Moloch quickly tells Henry to pick himself up and prepare for a new plan: controlling a suit of armor telepathically.
And while people complained last season about Ichabod calling Abby “Leftenent”, that old English word was quite useful when Abby had to behead one of the Ichabods. That was a plot device that paid off in spades with a great scene and a great explanation.
That’s what makes Moloch such a great villain. If Plan A fails, on to Plan B. If Plan B fails, then it’s on to Plan C and so on and so forth until he escapes.
Missing from Monday night’s fray was the talented and funny Orlando Jones, who plays Capt. Frank Irving, who will no doubt return in future episodes.
As Abby said minutes before the end of the show, “this is war” and this Sleepyhead is enjoying it.