One of the most remarkable things about Sleepy Hollow — aside from the fact that, you know, it exists and isn’t terrible — is how goddamn great Lieutenant Abbie Mills is as a character. With all of the recent talk about angry black women, and all of the subsequent, necessary talk about how that is just the most played out stereotypes in recent history, it’s surprising that one of television’s most intelligent, well-spoken, hard-ass women has yet to have a think piece written about her. (This is a good start, but it doesn’t do the character justice.) After tonight’s episode, that should change.
Because, among all of the mythological hoopla that goes down this episode — and there is plenty of it, most of which centers on what Lt. Mills gleefully refers to as “Franklinstein’s monster” — the most “fuck yeah”-inducing moment of the episode, or even the entire show, comes when Lt. Mills busts out a shotgun. But, I digress. How do we even get there?
The episode begins — again — with a dream, this time with Crane dreaming of Katrina’s beheading. This is spurred on by his reading of a lost gospel of the bible — which Lt. Mills already knows about, because, duh — that details a binding ritual between a harbinger of the apocalypse (in this case, the Headless Horseman) and a bride (Katrina).
“Not exactly up to Martha’s Stewart’s standards,” Mills says, to which Crane asks, “Martha who?” “She’s, uh, big in the wedding industry,” Mills replies, in one of the show’s signature “educating Crane” moments. (One of the show’s best comes later, in this same episode, when Crane enters a bank and is greeted by an employee waving a credit card offer in his face. Unsurprisingly, Crane has more than enough willpower to decline. And rant.)
From here, the two uncover another one of Benjamin Franklin’s plans to thwart evil: Basically, to create the kindred, his own version of Frankenstein’s monster that would be capable of destroying the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Only this corpse bouquet requires a piece of the Headless Horseman in order to come to life, which Franklin wasn’t able to acquire. But guess what? Lt. Mills and Crane have the Horseman’s head. So, they must collect the head, track down this “Franklinstein’s monster,” and reanimate it so that they can defeat the Headless Horseman and free Katrina.
However, Katrina, having convinced the Horseman that she may decide to be with him of her own free will, decides to stay on as his captive while acting as a mole for Lt. Mills and Crane. This doesn’t really matter as far as the monster is concerned, as he is already fighting both Horseman of the Apocalypse. (Interestingly enough, Crane’s son Henry seems to control War as if he were an avatar.) Oh, right: This is also when Lt. Mills starts tearing shit up with a shotgun before telling Crane to stop being such a baby re: Katrina. That pretty much sums up the supernatural plot for this episode. Unfortunately, things happen in the real world, too.
You may or may not recall that, at the end of Season 1, Captain Irving (Orlando Jones) took the fall for murders that were committed by an evil spirit, landing him in jail and creating a vacancy in the Sheriff’s office. Enter Sheriff Leena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey, House of Cards). “Great,” you might say, “Sleepy Hollow continues its trend of multicultural, against-type casting.” Wrong! Unfortunately, Reyes seems to exist solely to be a pain in the ass for the Mills sisters et al. This is made 100% clear by her first words to Mills: “You won’t be late again.”
A lot of disappointingly cliched stuff comes after that, from Reyes being familiar with the Mills’ mother to her being a Sleepy Hollow native who wants to save the town from chaos. It’s a real bummer of a character at this point, and I’m not just saying that because I enjoy the free-wheeling nature of the show when it’s basically a bunch of ghost hunting. Because the show insists on being based in reality, I can understand the importance of a real-world conflict: These people are fighting inter-dimensional spirits and uncovering plots that deal with multisyllabic ancient texts. It’s easy for the viewer to get lost.
The only problem is that this character, as she has been introduced, is beneath the world that this show has worked to build thus far. Throw in the fact that she confronts Irving in jail, hooks him up to a polygraph, refuses to believe that he isn’t scamming the machine, and sends him away to face electroshock therapy, and we basically have an archetype on our hands. (And it’s one that was already done by Dexter .) She even arrests Jenny (Lt. Abbie Mills’ sister, if you aren’t following) for possessing firearms. It’s clear from Reyes’ attitude that she has nothing but ill will toward the Mills sisters and Crane, whom she refers to simply as the “history consultant.” That’s fine, but there needs to be more. And as of yet, there isn’t.
On the plus side, this gives the audience a clear villain to root against. It’s just a shame it’s such a tired villain. Perhaps, with the end-of-episode twist of Irving being tricked by Henry into signing his soul away in blood, presumably to the service of Moloch, Reyes will be forced to question her supposedly sound judgment. Until then, we can just hope she becomes yet another headless member of the cast.