Season two of Sleepy Hollow started off almost exactly the way I wanted it to: going full-tilt crazy. What I love about the show was how much of it is forward momentum and how little time it spends dithering around. The season premier gave almost no damns about anyone who hadn’t watched before, and even big fans like us were all, “wait, did we somehow miss an episode?” because of how fast and crazy the proceedings were going. Whereas some shows would take the elements in the previous season’s cliffhanger and keep drawing them out, we had pretty much all those plot points wrapped up by the end of the first new episode. And then, to address one of the remaining ones, we built Ben Franklinstein’s Monster.
But in the last couple of episodes things have slowed down and, in my opinion, some missteps have been made. Sure, even at the first season’s breakneck pace there were some clunky, filler-ish episodes, but those at least served the purpose of establishing that Weird Stuff was going on. That’s been well established by now. To have John Noble’s Horseman of War sitting back and doing dumb Mister Mxyzptlk or Ethan Rayne stuff when he has an Apocalypse to usher in is just a waste of talent. And while Spook of the Month isn’t a bad side trip to make, why import in a German one when there’s a lot of old American folklore you can explore?
But the most disconcerting trend is the appearance of two new characters, Leena Reyes and Nick Hawley.
Reyes is the new Sheriff, taking over for Irving, who is still incarcerated. One of the things I liked about Irving’s character was that, although he was The Angry Police Captain, the show didn’t lollygag around in getting him on board with the situation. He saw weird junk, saw that Mills and Crane were handling it, and he was down with it. But now he’s in the clink, and has been replaced by an even Angrier Police Captain, who doesn’t want Crane working with Abbie and doesn’t want Jenny around either. Separating the main characters (Katrina is also away, but not due to Reyes actions) doesn’t do anything except slow the pace way down, which I would argue is the worst mistake this show could make. In addition, so far Reyes doesn’t make up for this in any way. The added complications to the plot haven’t been offset by any kind of new angle or contribution by the character; so far she is simply a speed bump. To have lost Irving (who wasn’t even in the season premier) in favor of Reyes hasn’t paid off at all, even if Irving’s family side junk was the weakest point of the first season.
Then there’s Nick Hawley, a/k/a “Indiana BROnes”. He’s some kind of freelance mystical geegaw finder who’s a bit of a roguish mercenary and also a bit of an obnoxious pain in the ass. He’s only been in two episodes so far and I already hate it when he’s on-screen. Again, we already had a better character who does what he does — Jenny — who has been pushed aside in favor of this dude who adds nothing but “tension” to the proceedings. Here’s the thing: this is the story of a small group of people trying to avert the Apocalypse; I think your tension needs have been taken care of already.
Sleepy Hollow’s first season was a short one, and they had no idea if they’d get renewed or not. This probably contributed to the refreshing feeling of momentum on the show. Having won a following and more time (a second season and a longer one at that) I don’t want to see them plop down into an easy chair and settle in for a long ride. I understand they’re not eager to get to the end any time soon, but I really think the show will lose what makes it fun and special if they drop the pace they established last season. I’ve already seen too many scenes of Katrina overhearing plans and feeling threatened. I want to see her and the others do things. Don’t leave Franklinstein waiting out there too long.