Happy Hollow-ween, Sleepyheads! (And, yes, it took me two seasons and change to come up with that.) Show of hands: Who’d never watched an episode of Bones before last night’s crossover special? Because I saw at least one Sleepy Hollow fan on Twitter last week admit to being a Bones noob, I’m assuming we are many, if not legion. (Isn’t that a saying? Opinions on Twitter are like cockroaches: Find one, and you’ll know there’s a lot more where that came from?)
So let’s start by playing “Bonin’ Up on Bones.” Bones is a forensic crime procedural currently in its 11th season, starring Emily Deschanel as Temperance “Bones” Brennan, ace investigator of corpses, and David Boreanaz as FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth. I guess that over the course of the past decade, Bones and Booth have coupled up and (apologies in advance) boned, as they now have two children who were obliquely referenced yet unseen in last night’s episode. I’m guessing that these kids are often absent in that TV-trope kind of way — like how Marshall and Lily went weeks on How I Met Your Mother never sharing a scene with Marvin (they even went on road trips without him!) or how the Barone offspring on Everybody Loves Raymond did little more than get shooed out of rooms by their parents. Having kids on a TV show is almost always about engendering pregnancy story lines and delivery high jinks and almost never about what the hell to do with them once they’re born. (Theory: TV writers are like Republicans; only interested in children during the fetal phase. Hey-o!)
I’m doing all this guessing, by the way, because it’s more fun for me to conjure up presumptions about Bones than it is to look up facts about Bones, because I wasn’t impressed enough with Bones to bother doing the latter. Bones was so dry and awkward, it made me count my lucky tribulations that I’m on Team Ichabbie rather than what I’d call Team Icky. Bones and Booth have no chemistry! I actually wrote in my notes at one point, “Sure they’re not brother-sister?” Their non-rapport felt like a crusty, day-old bread bowl filled with belittlement and sniping. Check, please.
I also have to say that I couldn’t have been less impressed by the title character, or by Deschanel’s bordering-on-bizarro line delivery. I get that she’s brainy and (I guess) a megadork, but must her vocal cadences sound like Sheldon Cooper doing a Forrest Gump impression? At one point, she said something to Crane like, “Actually, procreating is a significant part of our relationship.” Gah. That sentence is, ironically, its own prophylactic.
On the plus side, witnessing our witnesses in a different milieu had its enjoyable, illuminating moments. It was refreshing to watch the Bones ensemble side-eye Crane for the stuck-out-of-time freak that he is, and even though it’s total malarkey, I went along with the whole Booth-knew-Corbin thing. I especially loved Booth’s line to Abbie, “You still think you have to save the world all in one day.” (I actually think she’s chilled considerably on the world-saving front since the first season, but I appreciated Booth finding Abbie intriguing enough to dig beneath her surface a bit.)
The General Howe story line that carried through both episodes was a good one in my estimation. The “Greek fire” was cool, and I liked how Howe’s presence called back to previous SH episodes this season (in my head, Howe’s been known as the “give us the names!” yeller), and that even more SH backstory was teased with the discovery of a headless corpse in the church floorboards. The courier van was a cleverish way to transport Howe, physically and otherwise, into the subsequent Sleepy Hollow episode. (I actually let out a little “ooh!” when I realized that’s what was happening.)
Then, it was yadda-yadda until … Halloween apocalypse! I am of two strong minds about the zombie-soldier shootout: (1) It was awesome! The entire two-hour crossover should’ve been nothing but zombie-soldier-shootout-Halloween-apocalypse. (2) Um, here is an FBI agent firing her weapon multiple times among throngs of innocent trick-or-treaters congregating in a bustling downtown area as she pursues an off-book investigation into hocus-pocus forces. Consequences, fallout? Zip, zilch. This aspect of Sleepy Hollow’s third season — the fact that there’s hardly any explicable way to couch her supernatural pursuits into her new law-enforcement gig — is starting to become one I can’t abide by or suspend disbelief for the sake of. Funny how last season Sheriff Reyes was all up in Abbie’s business, yet this season, Daniel apparently has no interest in or knowledge of Abbie’s whereabouts.
Here’s something else I noted about Abbie last night, which I’m still pondering. What I wrote in my notes was, “She has a past and a future but no present.” What I meant by that was Abbie’s obviously got plenty of backstory. We’ve seen some of it ourselves, like her relationship with Corbin and her stint in purgatory. Other parts of it we’ve just been told about: her romantic relationship with Daniel, for example — or, for that matter, her romantic relationship with Detective Morales from before the first season. And we know at least a little about where she’s headed, that she’s on this new FBI career path, and that she’s got tribulations to endure and apocalypses (maybe more than one?) to thwart. But what does Abbie do in the present? She chases demons. She shoots at demons. She listens to Crane read from dusty books and piece together arcane historical knowledge. She waxes wry with Daniel. She definitely isn’t dating; she only gets to tease Crane about his own budding dating life. She definitely isn’t experiencing any crises of conscience or weathering any forks in the road about her need to fulfill her duties as a witness yet not be an FBI agent who openly shoots at zombies in public.
Those hypotheticals would be amazing; last night’s crossover was just meh.
- How long did it take you to realize that the Bones guest-star roster included both Walt from Lost (“Waaaaalt!!!”) and Ronald from Cruel Intentions? Double squee!
- Did anyone else’s ears perk up when Booth used the word “exsanguinated” in one of the early Bones scenes at the church? I don’t think I’d ever heard that word said out loud in my life until this season of Sleepy Hollow, and suddenly, here it is again! Do all crime procedurals drop “exsanguinated” into their scripts and I’ve just never noticed?
- Why do you think the Sleepy Hollow writers chose to dress up Abbie as Beyoncé for Halloween? And why that very particular (and, in my opinion, very iconic) outfit of all the Bey looks to choose from?
Booth: Judging from movies I’ve seen, this is a British redcoat. [Booth’s one of us!]
Jack: What kind of parent gives their kid the name Ichabod?
Crane: Very well-played, Sir. [Offers fist to bump.]
Jack: Back atcha, brother.
Jack: Dude, that is so Evil Dead.
Abbie: Benjamin Franklin invented Sex on the Beach?
Crane: He called it Fondle in the Forest.
Crane [looking at his bowling shoes]: I look like an Italian circus performer.
Zoe: I love the brocade waistcoat. Very John Adams.
Crane: She’d dismiss Moloch as a tall man with a skin condition. [Ha ha, Moloch callback!]
Bones: This is astonishing.
Crane: And yet only this morning, it was questionable.
Crane: Instantgram. Apparently I’ve been tagged.