Sleepy Hollow: The Complete Third Season
It looked like the third season of Sleepy Hollow was getting back on track after a second season that lost its way, revisiting too many previous plots. Unfortunately, by the end of this most recent season, things were not where viewers wanted.
The first scene of season 3 shows the headless horseman sucked into Pandora’s cube, indicating new threats and looking forward by killing the villain of the previous two seasons. The new showrunner, Clifton Campbell, seemed to be interested in getting back to what fans liked about the series: the partnership, Ichabod Crane’s culture clash with modern society, the humor, the historical tidbits, and the adventure.
As this season begins, Abbie (Nicole Beharie) is an FBI agent, while Crane (Tom Mison) is in jail for smuggling an artifact into the country. They’ve been separated for nine months until he contacts her to say his dead wife’s magical pendant has gone dark, indicating change has come. The two need to find their way again together, as the show and viewers must as well. Their archive building is under threat of demolition by real estate developers, and they move in together since Crane no longer has a place to stay.
The other regulars are Lyndie Greenwood (Abbie’s sister Jenny, just as determined but less law-abiding), Nikki Reed (as a kick-butt spy version of Betsy Ross in Crane’s flashbacks), and Shannyn Sossamon (as Pandora). Sossamon does a great job being creepy although many of her scenes in the first half of the season are solo. It’s wonderful to see such a female-driven cast with such powerful, compelling actresses. And the chemistry between Beharie and Mison is as strong and entertaining as ever.
I also enjoyed seeing how Zach Appelman as Joe Corbin, son of the sheriff who was such a substantial figure in season 1, got involved with the team, particularly Jenny. I know it’s part of the genre to put the cast through hell, and that’s what keeps us coming back and talking about the show, but I wish there could have been more of a happy ending for Joe and Jenny.
The first half of the season is back to monsters of the week with an overarching villain, but that’s a workable structure that allows for plenty of character work, particularly when a demon seeks out those with secrets or the team has to help children whose parents don’t believe they see monsters. (That one turns out to be a twisted take on the Tooth Fairy, which allows for working in Paul Revere’s dentistry.) Crane meets a young woman who helps him navigate the historical permit process, while Abbie reconnects with a former co-worker (Lance Gross).
My favorite parts are when Crane encounters today’s world face-first. His studies to become a citizen get him ranting about historical errors and his visit to the theme restaurant Colonial Times is hysterical. I enjoyed rewatching these episodes — even the zombie Revolutionary War general one — more than I expected to. There’s some clever outwitting of the monsters.
Unfortunately, then we hit mid-season, and they separate the team, only to reunite them before splitting them permanently. It would have been fascinating to hear what really happened over the course of this season, why Abbie was going to die and wound up rescued from limbo, only to leave the series anyway. But that’s not something a company promoting the fourth season of the series wants to dwell on.
DVD Set Details
The DVD set is minimal (and no Blu-ray version is available). The 18 episodes are spread across five discs, and the only extras are deleted scenes (34 minutes of them, 31 short scenes that I didn’t think contributed much new, although Jenny gets some good focus, as does Abbie’s boss) and a gag reel (4 1/2 minutes of the usual face-pulling and flubbed lines, without the language bleeped).
Although episode five, “Dead Men Tell No Tales”, concludes a crossover, the previous Bones episode, “The Resurrection in the Remains”, is not included in this set, which is disappointing. At least, though, the Sleepy Hollow episode gives us the characters in Halloween costumes.
There’s only one insert in the package, a picture of Mison in costume that simply says “Sleepy Hollow season premise 2017 Fox”. That launch date is Friday, January 6. It’s back to 13 episodes from the longer seasons 2 and 3; hopefully, that will keep it focused and more entertaining.
Although Beharie is gone from the show, I’ll be checking it out to see if the new approach to Mison’s character’s mission and the new characters are worth watching. (The studio provided a review copy.)