Sleepy Hollow starts with protagonist Ichabod Crane trying to kill a mysterious red-coat soldier wearing a mask and with a bow tattoo on his hand. The soldier cuts him down, even after getting shot, and as he falls Crane manages to cut off his head. Both men die, and 250 years later Crane wakes up in a cave, and stumbles out into a brand new world.
Meanwhile, Abbie and her partner (the sheriff of Sleepy Hollow) investigate something mysterious at a nearby farm. There, the sheriff is killed, his head cut off, and Abbie witnesses a strange man, wearing a Civil War era red-coat, ride off into the night.
Abbie and Crane meet, and Abbie realises he could be the only link they have to the horseman. They begin to unravel the mystery together, with Abbie having to throw out her ideas of how the world should be after she sees that the horseman does not, in face, have a head.The pilot of Sleepy Hollow doesn’t hold a lot back. The cards are laid out nicely for the audience, rather than being kept close to the chest. We learn that the horseman is death, that Crane was connected to him and his wife – a witch – performed a spell to link the two together. Crane is the first witness, and it’s possible that Abbie is the second, destined to work together for seven years to stop the apocalypse. They – and we – learn that they need to keep the horseman from becoming whole, from finding his head.
So we know the direction the series will take. We know how high the stakes are and know what our protagonists have to face. Question is, will the series pull all this off?
As a fan of Supernatural, I feel like I’ve already witnessed two people stop the apocalypse and deal with the horsemen. And the series has already given itself a set deadline; seven years could mean seven seasons, if they survive that long. But it’s risky, because it means anything up until the seventh season could leave things open, could give no satisfying ending, and if the show did get cancelled, that would make things difficult. Or, if it’s successful, what happens after seven years? Do they keep going? Do they extend it out so Abbie and Crane end up fighting something else?
There’s a lot in the first episode to take in, but it doesn’t feel like it’s all been squeezed in unnecessarily. It would have been annoying if this stuff was held back from us to keep us watching. Instead, explaining the overall situation means that right from the start we’re invested.
The characters work well together, and it’s entertaining to see Crane trying to get to grips with the new world, where black women can wear trousers and work in law enforcement, and where there’s a Starbucks on every street. It’s done quite well, and it’s not too over the top or used too much.
Sleepy Hollow’s pilot episode did exactly what a pilot episode should do, and fingers crossed the season keeps up the standards set by this episode.
Always on the lookout for new things to watch and read. If there’s a film, book or TV show you think I should check out, let me know in the comments or drop me an e-mail at email@example.com.