Sleepy Hollow Premiere: “I, Witness” Recap

The plot of Sleepy Hollow may have picked up nearly a year later, but the show certainly picked up where the finale left off with its “apology tour” dedicated to the audience after royally screwing up the majority of the second season. The good news, for the most part it’s paying off. Sleepy Hollow may have actually gotten over the sophomore slump, much to the relief of Sleepyheads everywhere. We had sassy Ichabod. We had witty Abbie. We had badass Jenny. We had an Ichabbie hug. We had Ichabod rants about modernity. We even had a nod to “Yolanda” with Yolanda 2.0 (a.k.a Jesus). There were more than a few nods to the things that made Sleepy Hollow great. While I’m still wary of whether or not the writers and co. actually know what drew viewers to the show in droves to begin with, I appreciate the effort. It made for a fun premiere.

We opened with the Headless Horsemen being sidelined by this season’s new baddie, Pandora, with nothing more than a creepy lullaby and a little witchy action to cipher all of the power of double H into her box. She unleashes the demon that will wreak havoc for the remainder of the episode. I find this exciting. Not even a full two minutes into the episode and Pandora has already successfully done more effective magic than Endless Whispers A.K.A Katrina Crane did in two seasons. I’m instantly intrigued. My favorite Lisa Bonet doppelgänger, Shannyn Sossamon has breathed life into Pandora, with a perfect air of mystery and subdued power, that reminds me of her previous role as vampire baddie, Coraline, on the tragically short-lived Moonlight. I’m already looking forward to what her stint as Pandora has in store for us for the entirety of the season.

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We shift to F.B.I. Agent Abbie Mills, taking down her C.I, with the winter soldier’s luxurious locks, and a trash can lid a la shield via Captain America. She asks him if he misses her, and it’s then, that I know we’re in store for some tongue in cheek dialogue for the remainder of the hour. I’m perfectly okay with that. The answer is yes! Of course we missed her, dammit! She’s reamed out a bit by her curmudgeon boss, but beneath all the blustering you can tell that he respects and cares about her. And she respects that he’s such a hard-ass. And it’s a throwback to just how much Abbie values and needs the father figures in her life.He reminds her that she’s overall doing well, and I’m thankful that he acknowledges just how fast up Abbie is moving in this whole F.B.I affair, because it was one of the things that gave me pause.

She receives a phone-call, and that’s where we’re given what we’ve all been waiting foe; the reunion between our favorite dynamic duo. Ichabod Crane, has become a world traveler in the nine months that he’s been away. So a phone-call leads Abbie to no place other than I.C.E, I.C.E, baby. (Apologies, I couldn’t control myself). Ichabod, somehow, I’m assuming with the papers that Hawley provided for him last season, has managed to leave the country and travel about in search of his roots, but is detained by Immigration Customs for returning with an artifact. The doors open, the music swells, and awkward Ichabod Crane is standing there in prison orange and a matching haircut. Because even when our favorite witnesses haven’t seen each other nor communicated in nearly a year, they’re still in tune enough to get matching haircuts. Any annoyance or anger Abbie may feel towards Ichabod temporarily leaves, because even though we can probably guess she’s a bit peeved, she can’t help but smile. I mean look at him:

courtesy of fanpop
courtesy of fanpop

Crane admits that he’s been detained for five days prior to his reaching out to Abbie, which understandably grates her nerves, and the tension between them is thick. We find out then, that Crane has been gone for nine months and hasn’t so much as made a phone call. Abbie, gave him some space because she understood he was grieving for Katrina and Jeremy, but time went on and he never reached out. Well, from the sounds of, he went to “walk about” and a twenty-minute span of clearing his pretty little head led to nine months of radio silence. The brevity of just how torn apart they became after the finale hits us. I cannot fathom that for Abbie, a woman who has her fair share of abandonment issues, that the man out of time whom she took in like a stray dog, suddenly took off on her into a world that he’s not entirely accustomed to, sat well with her. I can imagine many sleepless nights and wondering if he was in fact alive or dead.

For his part, Crane admits that he initially needed the space, but then the space became habit, and the unspoken nature of it is that he, after a while, he didn’t quite know how to find himself back. It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances, “regrettable”, as he put it, but certainly understandable and relatable.

They shift to Katrina’s necklace and he recounts the previous night’s activities.Which gives a flashback to one of the highlights of the episode, Crane, or shall I say partaking in his ritual of confiding in his bunkmate Jesus (A.K.A Yolanda 2.0) when Katrina’s necklace (that Crane notably was wearing around his neck) is aglow. The moment was comical and a throwback to  Yolanda the Onstar lady.

Abbie wanted to get straight to the point, asking what he was trying to smuggle in, and informing him that she joined the F.B.I while he was away.

The next scene was nothing short of masterful. With cool shades of blues and grays in the backdrop we’re graced with Crane’s silhouette as he’s “suiting up.” The boots, the cinch of his belt around his trousers, the infamous coat. It was a scene fit for a superhero, only made more brilliant by the signature Sleepy Hollow music playing in the background. It was easily one of my favorite scenes of the episode, and God help me, there were many. The response to it seemed to be an overwhelming one, as Albert Kim released the section of the script as it was written. Equally as fantastic. He’s back.

courtesy of tvequals.com
courtesy of tvequals.com

Crane is just on the verge of giving a fantastic diatribe that I for one and looking forward to like the unapologetic fangirl that I am, about rights to personal property and the screwed up system, when Abbie shuts him down, exasperated already, and it’s as amusing as was the following moment when our awkward, bumbling, socially inept Crane throws up the deuces to his favorite comrade, Jesus. The premiere was chalked full of all the funny little moments. When Abbie asks him if he wants to stay with his new friends, Crane quickly declines and C-dawg is straight outta the building.

The demon of the week kicks off when this creepy red devilish thing, that reminds me too much of a terrible Halloween costume, takes out two hunters. Before agent Mills gets the call, she’s listening to Crane regale her with some tales of the past year. They involve Crane on a plane (I truly hate we weren’t gifted with that footage) and him “returning to his upright and locked position”…yeah, don’t ask.They have a quibble over what Crane should call her, because she’ll always be “lieutenant” to him. She allows it because she can only handle so much change, and she reaches across to tug at his short locks, and if that isn’t a sign as to how much Abbie has evolved I don’t know what is. Out of the pair of them, Crane is notoriously more tactile. Abbie has never been a touchy-feely type of woman, but her need to touch him comes up frequently throughout the episode, and I for one appreciate that evolution of her character. Especially as it pertains to how close she is to Crane. Abbie asks him again why he didn’t contact her, and she’s justifiably perturbed at this, because they are supposed to be partners. Crane feels that, they are only a team in the work sense if they have a mission. And that he feels alone in this time with no family and such. I felt Abbie’s pain for her. There’s family of blood, yes, but there is also family of choice, and regardless of what’s going on, the Mills sisters are Crane’s family. Crane shares that he found a Sumerian tablet that he feels prophesies their war against evil and Abbie laughs, ever the skeptic. It’s a classic Scully and Mulder moment, and Crane has his work cut out out for him, since Abbie happily regressed to being the skeptic.

A phone call takes Abbie, with Crane in tow to the crime scene. Which, I’d love to know what protocol is for as far as bringing friends to crime scenes, which is the first of a couple of times when I questioned what Crane’s new role would be in assisting Abbie on a professional front. Crane wanders around the crime scene, his gorgeous jacket flapping in the wind,and I was momentarily distracted because I wanted to be inside of that jacket, preferably with him in it. But I digress. He found some supernatural clue to which he used some supernatural mojo to confirm, and I’ll be honest, the demon case of the week wasn’t all that interesting and took a backseat to just getting the gang back together again. But it’s abundantly clear to him that “evil has returned to Sleepy Hollow” Abbie’s “oh hell no face” is classic.

Cue credits. It should be noted that Katia and Orlando are missing. One of those is upsetting, the other not so much. In their place is Shannyn Sossamon and Nikki Reed as Pandora and Betsy Ross. Quick question? If Betsy Ross was a seamstress why didn’t she sew a little more fabric onto the top of that outfit to cover up her breasts? Is it wrong that that’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw her outfit? That and the fact that it reminded me of the sexy costume section of the Halloween costumes at a convenient store? Sexy pirate to be exact.

courtesy of justjared.com
courtesy of justjared.com

Abbie drags Crane to her new office at the Federal building, because she actually has an office which is totally realistic. A nice office at that. Abbie is so happy and proud of herself for making this move that she always wanted, and she says as much to Crane. He, on the other hand, is torn between being happy for her and maybe feeling left behind, because I got the impression the entire premiere that he didn’t quite expect things to change so much while he was gone. For a man two hundred and some odd years past his time, change is not necessarily his friend. He seems to struggle with his place, his role, and it shows all over his face. Tom Mison again, is excellent with his facial expressions, so is Nicole Beharie so they both do a brilliant job of putting more behind the words they’re saying. It’s fun watching them play off of one another again.

Abbie’s boss stops by her office to remind her that matters are pressing in the Chinese drug lord case that they are working on, and rightfully looks put out by the tall British man just chilling in her office. Again, is it customary to bring strangers into your office and expose them to your white board of suspects? Does Crane still have his credentials as a consultant? What’s the red tape like as far as him even inhabiting the same space as Abbie when she’s on duty? Inquiring minds want to do know, dammit.

Crane again is affronted by the mere thought that Abbie’s professional career could take precedence over the apocalypse and while his intentions are usually good, he comes across entirely selfish for wanting her to abandon what she’s doing to accommodate him and the apocalypse. He tries chiding her in that professor-ish way of his, like the little red devil whispering into her ear things to get her to do his bidding and it’s not working. It shouldn’t. He doesn’t have the right to come back to her nine months later and assume that they can just pick up where they left off. He knows that too, which is probably why he’s hiding behind their greater purpose as witnesses instead of having an honest and real discussion that carries all the way through, unlike the little attempts made up until that point.

It’s at that moment, when I made the connection. If the audience is like Abigail Mills in this premiere, the show is like Ichabod Crane. They screwed up last season. They know they did. They lost a lot of us along the way, and some of us, like Abbie have moved on. Or, we’re willing to go along, but we’re skeptical at best. Crane suiting up, its like the show suiting up and trying to find its balance, getting back on track again after they went so horribly off. Crane, trying to convince Abbie to jump back on board this fantastical ride of fighting the good fight, even though she honestly has every right not to, not to mention better things to do… Crane is the show, whispering in our ears and begging us to continue on this journey with them. Have a little faith. We’re a team. We’re in this together. Crane reminding Abbie of their duty, of the seven years of tribulation, even though she rightfully pointed out that Crane went looking for a purpose and conveniently found one. That’s great for him, but not enough for her. But for the moment she’s there and willing. This back and forth plays out for the remainder of the episode and probably will play out for the rest of the season. We’ll see Sleepy Hollow. We’ll see.

Their little chat is interrupted by Dani from evidence who is not just man hungry but thirsty when she sees Crane. And he’s the tall glass of British that she’s hoping will quench her thirst, but Crane is so dismissive of her that it’s comical. He doesn’t even bother introducing himself, and he promptly shuts the door after her, as if he was waving away an annoying gnat, and that entire scene was comical.

Crane believes the science they received won’t take them very far,and hopes that their research will. This leads them to their abandoned emporium, clothed and cloaked and boxes galore, because the place is being shut down in favor of a mini-mall. Just another thing to add onto the list of changes Crane was not prepared for upon returning. He rants about the history behind the place and even says something along the lines of “is there no regard for the past” and it’s a telling statement. It reads as “is there no regard for me?” He’s back to being a man out-of-place, all the things familiar to him being ripped away and erased and again, I feel like this season, some time will be spent with Crane trying to find his place in the world as he knows it now. It’s an interesting rant of his, one that I both agree with but feel defensive of, like the millennial that I am.

Crane’s reunion with Jenny is refreshing. He almost seemed surprised by her warm reception, but while it’s no question that he and Abbie have a special bond, he shares his own unique one with Jenny as well. If anyone understood Crane’s need to get away, Jenny would have. They always had an instant connection. He respected her from the moment that he found out she was a freedom fighter.The pair understand each other in a different way than Abbie, which has always made Crane the perfect foil and go between for the Mills sisters. He and Jenny share a similar curiosity,adventurous,rebellious, impulsive, renegade/trailblazing/radical justice seeking quality. They share a similar restless spirit and purposelessness as they try to understand their place in the world. They have always had an interesting camaraderie, like brothers at arms. So it was great seeing her hug him so fiercely, while Abbie looked on amused. Jenny relayed the message that Irving had to get away from it all and implied that she helped him, because she understood it.

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The team is back. Jenny is every bit as crucial to team witness as the witnesses themselves, and the show went out of its way to remind us,or more accurately remind themselves of that. She ran down all she knew about the demon of the week. She provided intel in mere seconds and even said that see’s good and what she does, and it was a tongue in cheek moment that nodded at how she was pretty much replaced unnecessarily by Hawley last season. As I said, the premiere was an apology tour.

Crane regale the Mills sisters with the supernatural spy ish that connected to their demon of the week who they determined had been summoned by someone extremely evil and powerful. We’re given a flashback of this agent who was highly skilled in combat and evasion, and it’s our first introduction to Busty Betsy Ross. Jenny, is rightfully baffled by Betsy Ross the seamstress being some super badass supernatural spy. Me too, Jenny. Me too. Crane reveals that Breasty Betsy Ross was more than just her seamstress cover. Clearly, because her outfit depicts that she doesn’t know a thing about sewing or coverage. and Abbie teases Crane, because as we know, he had a fling of sort with Ms. Ross. The Mills’ reaction was priceless and every bit the same as mine. I do love the Mills sisters, because if they don’t give us anything else they give us great reactions.

Anyway it’s evident that in the flashback Booby Betsy Ross, and Crane are partners. She’s meant to come across as brash and ahead of her time. She’s meant to be bold and cheeky and all of that. She’s feisty. I get it. I certainly didn’t hate it. Or her. I’ve been on Team ‘Give the Woman a Chance”, my reservations on her being added in aside. I like Nikki Reed, even if I didn’t care for the idea of Betsy Ross. I think in the flashback I get a sense of what she’s supposed to be. In a way, she reminds me of Jenny, just with not as much depth and not as instantly likeable. She has a way of keeping people on their toes, Crane in this case, as she casually flirts with him, then teases him about being prim and proper when he doesn’t respond back in kind. I don’t, see anything remotely romantic. I don’t think we’re supposed to see anything romantic either. Not even after she planted a wet one on him “for luck.”  She even goes as far as to say “Someday some woman will make you forget all those manners and cause you to do something impulsive. I hope I’m around to see it.” which implies to me, that she doesn’t plan on being that woman. I know Ichabbie shippers, casual or diehard, probably squealed because Crane has never been so impulsive as he’s been with Abbie. Even without shipper goggles on you can’t argue against that.

Braless Betsy Ross doesn’t seem that bad. I understood why people were concerned at the idea of her and I’ll admit I wasn’t enthused after hearing the news about her, but so far, I don’t take issue with her. As I said, in a way, she reminds me a bit of Jenny, so much so that if she ever were to grace us with an appearance in the present ( I hope not, to be honest but still) she and Jenny would make excellent friends. Imagine the delinquency they’d perpetuate together? Hell, I’d even consider shipping them. Jentsy? No? Okay, fine. But I still take issue with her appearance. Supernatural and sci-fi shows have a horrible habit of sexualizing women when they don’t have to. There’s a difference between a woman owning her sexuality, and her being sexualized. Ross, the super spy, by all means, I’m for her wearing the traditional male clothes of the time. The trousers and the boots (although didn’t Crane mention in the pilot something about women wearing trousers as if it was the first time he ever saw it?). I love that. I’m all for that. But when you get to the corset top with her cleavage spilling out, it’s not cool, it’s not empowering, it’s not even sexy, it’s kind of offensive. Not just offensive, but ridiculous and impractical. While one can argue that as a female spy utilizing her body to get what she wants is a great perk. It sort of contradicts with what they’re setting her up as, so it reads as unnecessary and impractical. I hate it. I will continue to hate it. If she’s meant to wear the men’s clothes, let her wear the men’s clothes…she looks great in them. If she wants to switch it up and wear the traditional dresses and corsets, then fine, but stop mixing the two, when it’s not even functional as an outfit for the sake of aesthetic, is all I’m getting at.

Crane’s time at Colonial Times was nothing short of comical. As it was meant to be. It was utterly ridiculous that Ichabbie were able to find a centuries old note from Betsy Ross at that place, but I don’t care because I’m a sucker for every single time Crane rants and raves about the state of modern society like a crotchety old man. His happiness over finding and Abbie stealing the message is short-lived when he realizes that she’s dropping him back off at archives alone to figure it out because she has her own priorities. Abbie’s new position, while it has its many perks, will clearly be a source of tension for the pair.

We break to see Pandora casually strolling down the road and refusing the hell of a ride from a nice sleepy hollow sheriff, which thank God. there was a moment when I thought he might be a goner. Pandora crosses the border into Sleepy Hollow in a hooded cloak looking equal parts stunning and evil, and I’m honestly ready for her to just eff ish up. I really, really, really like Pandora. She seems promising as a villain. I don’t even know what she’s truly capable of yet, but she’s believable as a powerful witch, but not too powerful where she won’t be stopped. That already makes her better than Katrina and Jeremy Crane and Black Moloch. Not to be confused with White Moloch, who was infinitely more creepier.

Jenny is back at archives going through a box marked Jenny and Corbin, and it suddenly gets very dusty in the room for me, right around the time she pulls out a photograph of the two of them. They never really dealt with either of the Mills sisters mourning the loss of their surrogate father. It lingers around them at certain moments, and I hope that with the addition of Joey Corbin this season (Yayyy!) that we’ll get to see more of that.

Jenny and Ichabod share another great moment, where she admits that it would be nice if she could put relic hunter down on a job application, because Jenny is extraordinary at so many things but doesn’t quite have the resume to land her a steady job. She’s not made for that type of life. From the sounds of it, she’s been temping. Ichabod admits that he too has been seeking employment. She tells him that it’s good to have him back and that now they can be misfits together, and it’s a truly sweet scene. As I said before, Jenny and Crane have a special bond. It’s one that I’ve always enjoyed, just as much as Crane and Abbie, so I’m glad that the threesome are together again, but I also look forward to seeing Jenny and Crane’s friendship develop further too. In a way, they’re kindred spirits. With their combined sources they figure out that the demon will be at Abbie’s sting operation, and off they go.

Abbie figures this out shortly after they do, when she catches the red demon running across the roof above her. It appears just as her boss is trying to take down the drug lord and effectively kills her boss right before her eyes. Agent wasn’t down. Agent was dead. It’s disheartening to think that Abbie lost another mentor. She just keeps losing them and while we’re not seeing it, I know it has to be taking a toll.

Team witness reconvenes at the archives,put together the remainder of the message and get an eye-roll inducing “don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes” bit in reference to handling the demon, before Abbie is summoned to a hostage situation because the drug lord knows that Abbie is the only other person who saw the demon. team witness takes their respective places, Abbie with her F.B.I. team as she’s sent in to talk the man down while reaffirming her role as a badass witness who has seen it all and has no qualms about taking down baddies demonic or otherwise. And Jenny and Crane are outside in the peripheral, armedto the nines thanks to Jenny’s arsenal of weaponry ranging from the standard glocks to the mystical macguffins used to take down supes. If Jenny and Crane’s camaraderie is that of war brothers, they certainly partner up well as soldiers, it’s mostly unspoken but they cover each other with ease, like they’ve done it their entire lives. Jenny and Crane’s relationship will be one to watch this season. I’m excited.

courtesy of fanpop
courtesy of fanpop

Crane and Jenny split up, each with their own weapons locked, cocked, and loaded and Crane chooses to be the distraction to lure the demon out while Jenny takes the shot. Because the only one with better shot than Jenny Mills is her sister. A slight misplacement of an elbow has Jenny backhanded by the  demon and Crane sprawled a floor below it all ready to be pounced upon until Abbie comes in saving the day. One thing that hasn’t changed is Abbie Mills has no qualms about shooting a monster as her first option. It’s the most realistic approach to some seriously unrealistic situations and that’s why I love her.

The demon is taken down, Crane is no worse for the wear and after she asks him if he’s okay, she welcomes him back, with the cutest smirk imaginable and the pair hug. It’s easily one of the best Ichabbie hugs to date, in part because it felt so well-earned after the episode. It wouldn’t have felt so good watching it if it had just happened the second they reunited. Their was a promise in that hug. The pair are truly reunited, and again it isn’t lost on me that it was the show’s olive branch via the pair to reunite the two in such a physical sense. We get it guys. You’re sorry. Ichabbie hugs are the best, because there is something magical about watching a pair with such a ridiculous height difference cling to each other like they are each other’s lifelines. Plus the matching haircuts, guys? The matching haircuts. And the matching smiles. Ugh, these two will be the death of me. Abbie Mills of a season three is a woman who doesn’t shy away from the physical gestures and I find this development an intriguing one. It’s character growth. Subtile but there. I’m warmed by the scene, but in the back of mind I’m wondering who is checking on poor Jenny.

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Team witness celebrate at the bar, because where else do you celebrate? One of Jenny’s temporary jobs is as a bartender.  Crane is laying them back. Abbie reminds Crane that he has a purpose and belongs there. Crane reveals that it’s not the country he thought it would be but it is the one that he has and he must accept it as it is just as it accepts him. Part of me reads this as a reference to Abbie herself. His partner in life was supposed to be Katrina so he thought, but he has Abbie. And he must accept her, and her new position, just as she accepts him. It’s a sweet moment. Which is made sweeter when Abbie tells Ichabod that he may not have family but he’s not alone. I’d argue that he has family. They are his family.Family is what you make of it, and it wasn’t so clear as it was watching them take down the demon as a team, with heart to hearts galore in between.

The pair part ways as Abbie goes to retrieve more drinks and Crane takes interest in choosing the Annie soundtrack on the Jukebox. I still think Jesus was talking about Jay-Z but whatever. and it’s then that Abbie bumps into Pandora. She comes across mysterious and introduces herself, using her real name at that. She even explains, with the passion of someone who knows the story from a personal perspective the connection between Pandora and the box, that she said was a dowry, as in marriage. Abbie mistakes her, you know, being the actual Pandora, with her geeking out about Greek mythology and says that her friend is the same way. She signals to Crane who throws up his second deuce of the night, which had me sliding to the floor laughing hysterically because Crane, for however suave, confident, and attractive Tom Mison is, he’s still a colossal dork. An adorable dork. Adorkable.

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twitter

The exchange between Pandora and Abbie would seem innocent enough if Pandora didn’t come across so creepy. She also came across like she was seriously liking what she saw in Abbie Mills, but let’s face it, Abbie has a beauty that transcends sexuality so the sapphic vibes I was picking up from Pandora was not surprising at all. Abbie’s lack of suspicion that after just discussing mere minutes ago that a big bad sent the demon and that a new evil was in Sleepy Hollow, that a mysterious woman with a raspy voice looking at her like she’s prime rib, who just so happens to be named after a Greek mythological character, well, that was surprising to me. Dammit Abbie!

I haven’t entirely forgiven Sleepy Hollow for some of the mistakes they made last season. I’m still bitter about the lack of promotion of the show until the week before the premiere aired. Don’t mind me. I’m petty. But if the rest of the season is as promising as the premiere than I’ll be happy sleepyhead. Apology accepted. For now. Just don’t screw it up.

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