Sleepy Hollow: It’s Bonkers…But is it Bonkers Enough?

It’s still a little early to tell, but I think we’re on board with Sleepy Hollow, Fox’s entry in a season chock full of high-concept craziness. I wasn’t interested in it until I heard folks talking about how crazy it was. Having watched the first three episodes, I can confirm that craziness.

In just those episodes we have the Headless Horseman, who is Death, one of the Apocalyptic Horsemen, attacking during the Revolutionary War. Ichabod Crane is hired as an agent for General Washington to bring down this supernatural menace, and it’s clear that Washington knows of more unearthly menaces, including two competing groups of witches. Crane beheads the horseman and dies for his effort, but his wife, one of the good witches, casts a spell on him that blood-bonds him with the Horseman so that when the latter rises again in 250 years, Crane does as well. The Horseman chops heads off folks until he’s driven away by daybreak, but not before he gets hold of a machine gun. Oh! And his head was buried in Crane’s wife’s grave (where his wife’s body isn’t). The cop Crane partners with, Abbie Mills, saw a demonic figure in the woods when she was a kid and Crane is pretty sure that he and she are the Two Witnesses spoken of in the Book of Revelation (as read from George Washington’s bible.)

Wait, did I say that’s what we got in the first three episodes? Sorry, that’s what we got in the pilot. The other two episodes gave us a fiery hell witch and The Sandman, a Mohawk spirit that feeds on guilt. In fact, it’s the other two episodes that give me pause. There’s plenty of nonsense in them, but not quite enough. I’m kind of hoping the show ramps up the craziness a touch. Right now it’s trying to have it both ways, and I fear it’s going to lose itself in the process. I’d love to see it commit full-fledged to the bonkers stuff in the pilot. Then again, Crane is still walking around in his 18th-century clothes and no one has said a word about it.

It also helps that the two leads play it so straight (though not without some genuinely funny humor and good character bits.) The angry police chief, Captain Irving (geddit?), takes a refreshing stand of letting Crane and Mills look into all this weirdness. And then there’s Abbie’s sister, Jenny, who was confined to a mental institution after the encounter in the woods, but she’s all Linda Hamilton in T2, keeping pumped, non-medicated, and ready for when she’s called into action.

It’s a wild ride so far, so we’re staying put at the moment. I’m hoping it can pick up speed in the curves and really go nuts.

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