I’d never seen the two characters who make out in a car in the opening of this week’s Sleepy Hollow before, but I sure had a lot of feels about them the moment they appeared. For one thing, an introductory shot of two randos kissing added insult to last week’s injurious finale, when Ichabbie ’shippers were left with nothing but a bunch of hand-holding at tender and triumphant reunion of our soul-mated witnesses. For another, any time some unnamed, never-before-seen characters are brought in to set an episode’s plot in motion, it usually means we’re headed for another monster-of-the-week procedural. Third, funnily enough, their make out sesh made me wonder, “Hey, whatever happened to Zoe?”
Ah yes, Crane’s misguided-from-the-start romantic interest of season three was brought back last night for the first time since before the mid-season premiere, only to be summarily shown the door. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am! (Sorry, Miss Corinth ... sorry again, just Zoe.) I kid, but hey, the show did bother to supply a rational reason for the end of Zoe’s tenure, as she was so frustrated by Crane ghosting her that she left. At least the writers didn’t ghost Zoe themselves as they’ve done so many other supporting and recurring characters over the last three seasons. (Abbie’s Sleepy Hollow PD boyfriend Luke ... is he even alive? Did he survive being attacked by Macey when she was possessed? How’s Macey, by the way!?)
Last night’s episode did mostly abide by SH’s MOTW standards, as the snooping and sleuthing and demon-fighting proved to be as entertaining as it always is, which is to say, certainly entertaining enough. But with Zoe’s coda and the unexpected (and pretty unnecessary) return of The Kindred, what last night’s episode really gave me (for better or worse) was reason to ruminate on SH’s inability to figure out what to do with anyone beyond the short term, which I consider to be one of its key flaws. As Abbie would say, "What is this, amateur hour?"
“That is what happens when you ignore things,” Zoe trolls Crane when she runs into him with an armful of dead plants at the garden center — a line that also works as a dead-on allegory for SH’s habit of letting storylines and character arcs wither on the vine. It’s apparently a very hard habit to break. This fall, Danny was vibing up a storm with his ex-girlfriend Abbie and laying down the expository knowledge needed at each and every crime scene and dropping tantalizing hints about “nurturing” Abbie as an “asset” for an unknown higher-up. Since the mid-season premiere, he’s basically been relegated to just filling in narrative blanks and not much more — this is a guy who’s in the main credits!
I’ll acknowledge that Danny’s declaration of love (past and/or present) for Abbie toward the end of the episode was intriguing, especially as it paralleled Crane and Zoe’s farewell scene, in which Zoe tells Crane that she thinks he’s ready for a high-caliber commitment, just not with her. Were these two scenes meant to tell us that all other romantic obstacles have now been cleared and that Ichabbie is ready for takeoff? Or are we now actually going to see a Danabbie ’ship play out in real time, not just in backstory? To either, I’d say perhaps, but based on history, probably not. I’m expecting business as usual next week.
Sleepy Hollow made an attempt last night to Say Something about reuniting and love and how and when we know we’re ready for a big commitment and yada yada, but it wasn’t executed sharply enough for me to decipher or care enough what that was. I guess there was a narrative reason to bring back The Kindred, but I can’t tell you exactly what it was either. (I also don’t find The Kindred as memorable a Big Bad as the show seems to think he is. Even with Sophie coming in this week to perform backstory-explaining duty, I had to do a little memory replay in my head before I felt up to speed about who The Kindred was.) It seemed like the love story between The Kindred and his Bride of Frankenstein was meant to offer a parallel to Crane and Zoe’s relationship-ish, except who cares? Nobody’s even on Team Crainth (Corane? Ichazoe? See, they don’t even have a good team name!)
(Big aside I’ll put here: I’ve also got issues with the quality of Sleepy Hollow’s writing on a micro level. For every one of Crane’s juicy bon mots, there’s a clunker of a line like when Unnamed Sexual Assault Guy started taking advantage of that girl in the car by telling her he’s doing “whatever the hell I want.” Oof. That’s what Sexual Assault Guy says in an after-school special; is it too much to hope that SH’s dialogue come off as a little more sophisticated than an after-school special? Also, why does that woman then act so effing calm when she’s a) almost been sexually assaulted and b) talking to a stranger with a HUGE SWORD?)
Despite everything I’ve just said, let me reiterate that “Kindred Spirits” was certainly entertaining! I thought the meet-cute scene between The Kindred and his zombie woman was clever and unexpected and borderline hilarious. (They could’ve played up the genre-and-trope-busting absurdity of it all a bit more.) I’m glad Abbie’s going back to the FBI and I was intrigued by the suggestion she may be suffering from some sort of PTSD and/or supernatural flashes that may or may not be portend dangers to come. Perhaps, much like Crane’s carelessness towards Zoe’s feelings, the problem is me. Perhaps I’m getting too caught up in our witnesses’ grander mission — and my grander thoughts about what Sleepy Hollow could be — when I really should just be happy with SH for what it is. But I’m afraid, Miss Corinth, that my mind remains elsewhere.
Crane: If we’re brisk, we can make it to Colonial Times for their early bird special.
Joe: You’re carrying around a Zippo from the 90s when you’ve got a flashlight on your phone?
Crane: I am bringing the desert climate to our mid-Atlantic abode.
Abbie: Is this new Tex-Mex decor really our new normal?
Crane: Yes! We’re a succulent family now!
Crane: And yet, because I want it, it is so. The beauty of America. [Ed.: This is one I plan on reciting in my head for every splurge purchase I make from now through eternity.]