The formulation of this post started at some point between this tweet:

And this tweet:

with some final conclusions coming in at around these tweets:

Indeed, several TV critics on Twitter were aghast at what happened:

And several online recaps had the same theme throughout the post: If Abbie and Nicole Beharie are gone, then what’s the point of even watching the show? Just as important: Why on God’s green earth would the writing team as a whole (including the showrunner) go out of their way to lead the fanbase on and act like they were going to give the fanbase what they wanted (which is a final say-so on #Ichabbie) just to turn around and destroy the only thing that made the show worth watching?

To quote Vulture’s Rose Maura Lorre, “The latter statements [of Pandora stating in her dying breaths that Ichabod loves Abbie] lead me to believe that, intentional or not, this show’s careless disregard of its Ichabbie ‘shippers has been fucked up. Make them just-friends or make them more-than-friends, but have a conversation about it and stick to your decision. Don’t keep stringing the ‘shippers along with your hand-kissing and your ‘be still my beating heart’ (which no person has ever said platonically) while you know Abbie’s imminent fate full well.” And as The A.V. Club’s Zack Handlen wrote, “I’m not sure if there were behind-the-scenes issues we are privy to, but Beharie’s a crucial element of the series. Tom Mison is a fine actor, but without the two of them together, what’s the damn point?”

The chemistry between the two leads, Tom Mison and Beharie, was the only thing that kept mostly everyone tuned in. (I say most, because somehow, there are folks out there who think Sleepy Hollow is just Ichabod’s story of time travel. When was he the only lead on this show? I have a lot more to say about this later on in this post.) Sure, the creative elements that made up the show, like the lighting, the set design, the creature makeup and stuntwork, and the time travel/Christian apocalypse madness were amazing and really gave the show its creepy edge. But the glue that stuck all of those disparate parts together were the grounding forces provided by Ichabod and Abbie. Without one or both of them, the show’s just a bunch of junk, to be quite honest about it.

 

SLEEPY HOLLOW: Nicole Beharie in theÒRagnarokÓ season finale episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Friday, April 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Tina Rowden/FOX
SLEEPY HOLLOW: Nicole Beharie in theÒRagnarokÓ season finale episode of SLEEPY HOLLOW airing Friday, April 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Tina Rowden/FOX

 

So I ask again: Without Abbie, what the f*ck is the point of watching a fourth season?!

I don’t even like using coarse language, but how else am I supposed to get this point across? How much more plainly can I say it? Abbie was the show. Even Mison would agree to that, I’m sure, since he was never without a kind word to say about working with Beharie and being able to share the same breathing air as her. Mison has always stuck up for Beharie and looking back on it, it makes a lot of sense as to why neither Mison nor Beharie have done a lot of press for this season.

It’s slowly come out that Beharie was deeply unhappy during S2 and wanted out of her contract, and I don’t blame her for wanting to leave, because as I’ve written before, Abbie was made to be a house slave for Witchy White Feminist Katrina. As far as Mison is concerned, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Mison eventually leaves as well. If someone decides to interview Mison about his thoughts on everything, I betcha he’ll reveal his true emotions over this, just like how he did with Ichabod fawning over Katrina in S2. (To paraphrase him from an earlier interview, he had a serious disagreement with the writers about how Ichabod was acting out of character. We already know how he felt about Katrina from some of his DVD commentary, in which he shades Katrina for only being able to lift a stick even though she was supposed to be a powerful witch.)

I could just go on rambling, but I’m going to use my favorite writing tools—bullets—to boil down my points into easy-to-follow chunks.

• Abbie didn’t have to literally become the “mule of the world”: I know one of the things I wrote last year caused a dust-up, and I don’t know if any of my original point ever came across the way I wanted it to. There were two things involved in what I wrote: 1) that Abbie’s ways of dealing with emotions—bottling them up—is valid as a character trait and 2) that Abbie’s fate and worth should never be tied to a man and/or to white patriarchal acceptance standards. She can love Ichabod all she wants, but everything goes down the drain if her life and her worth as a character becomes completely dependent on Ichabod’s privilege as a white, straight, cis man. I was advocating that the show and some of the fans shouldn’t tie Abbie to such constraints. But things seemed to have gotten muddied in the shipping waters, and it became misconstrued as me saying that Abbie should never find love and that she shouldn’t be with Ichabod. That whole thing bothered me for a while, even more than when I got lambasted for supposedly being the Girl who Cried #Ichabbie in my interview with Sleepy Hollow writer Dana Jackson Leigh.
It’s only now that I realize that I was basing my entire article on the premise that Abbie would be eventually fleshed out and studied as a character and validated for her imperfect humanity, not that she would just be saddled with the figurative and literal weight of the world and get killed off without any character exploration. I wrongly assumed that the writers had figured out large chunks, if not all, of Abbie’s characterization, that they had a plan, and that at some point—either this season or the next—they would get into why she always stuffs her feelings. I wrongly assumed that they were going to show her inner life, her mental workings. Color me surprised and betrayed when I watched Friday’s episode.

I wrote my original post imagining that the writing team was looking at the show the way I was looking at it, which is that Abbie, in all of her flaws and shortcomings and her strength, was someone I could identify with. I truly identify with the trouble of processing emotions, of pushing stuff to the backburner. I identify with the fact that Abbie (in my mind) knows that she has a serious problem with emotions and that she should probably work on that. I understand how she is ready to keep people at arm’s length for fear of either losing them or somehow not meeting their expectations. I read all of that into the character, which is why I loved how she used workaholism as a crutch. But never did I imagine that they were going to leave Abbie as a shell of a great, complicated character.
I also never imagined that the writing team would literally make her a secondary character in her own story. The true lead of this story is Abbie, because without Abbie, the crimes wouldn’t get solved, the monsters wouldn’t have gotten killed, and Ichabod wouldn’t have a friend to navigate him through the future. Abbie gave him so much, and we were led to believe that it was because they were equal partners, not that she was being set up to become a sidekick to the sidekick. Yes, Ichabod is the sidekick in this show. He’s the one that’s been the tag-along as Abbie and Irving solved the cases. Ichabod isn’t even a U.S. citizen yet; he had to tag along with Abbie just to have a home! In the end, my fear of Abbie falling victim to the white patriarchy came true after all. In the end, Abbie was seen as less than, as replaceable. The fact that Ichabod has to go out searching for the next Witness drives home the idea that Abbie is just another cog in the wheel, while Ichabod’s still-preserved life (a life spanning 200 years), is much more important. Somehow, Ichabod is now the one that’s got the bigger, more important job, even though the story was never solely focused on him in the first place.

Abbie’s death isn’t the first time a black woman has been killed in a roundabout, discriminatory fashion. Too many times, minorities of all stripes are used as ways to prop up the white male characters. The last time I personally remember outrage over a black woman’s death on a show was with Taraji P. Henson’s character Joss Carter on Person of Interest. Like Abbie, Carter was also getting fridged out of her own story and was later killed off (more than likely after behind-the-scenes drama of the treatment of Henson’s character). Fans on Twitter have also cited Rutina Wesley’s Tara from True Blood as another example of a black woman getting killed for no reason. What’s so amazing is that just two weeks ago, Sleepy Hollow saw its own future with the horror show that was The 100 disaster. Alycia Debnam-Carey’s Lexa, one half of the same sex relationship #Clexa, was killed right after consummating her relationship with Eliza Taylor’s Clarke. The “Bury Your Gays” hate was just the teaser for more outrage, when Ricky Whittle’s character Lincoln was also unceremoniously killed. Afterwards, Whittle confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that he had been bullied on set and actively fought for his character to have more meaning. He also spoke against Lexa’s death, citing it and Lincoln’s deaths as “really weak” and “sabotaging the story.” These words could be aptly applied to Sleepy Hollow‘s poor handling of its stars, story, and fans.

Abbie’s death is even worse because black people, black women in particular, are rarely seen in horror. The cliche line “the black guy dies first” isn’t some kind of post-post-modern, cynical thing to just spout off; it’s a fact. The black person generally dies in horror, sci-fi, and action films. Even Jurassic Park, one of the greatest films of all time, still has Samuel L. Jackson dying for no reason, even though his character Ray Arnold stays alive throughout the entire book. (Spoiler alert: It’s actually John Hammond who dies in the book, as nature’s way of getting back at him for his hubris.) Don’t even start on the countless black men that have died in both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. The most legendary black person death in horror, despite his death, has to be Duane Jones’ character Ben in Night of the Living Dead, which is a masterful display of social commentary in pulp fiction and made history for having the black guy actually last all the way to the end, a victory in itself.

I wrote in my piece that black women have been described by writer Zora Neale Hurston as “the mule of the world,” and that couldn’t have been any more apparent than it was Friday. Abbie had already sacrificed herself in the midseason finale, but to have her do it again, in much the same fashion, is ludicrous. To have her save the world by herself could be seen as empowering, but it’s also very much indicative of putting all of the onus on the black woman to know her place, do her part, and ultimately suffer for it, while the white character gets to grieve, but also gets to live. Compare this scene to a show like Underground, which does a fantastic job of showing how much black women have been mistreated throughout history, either by the white men and women who either owned them or had higher status than them just because of their race, or even by other black women who are also drowning in their own suffering and see destroying another black woman as one less person to compete with for relief (I’m looking at you, Ernestine). Even with Underground‘s issues with death and blackness in its past episode “The Macon 7,” the show still imbues hope, as frail as it is, into the struggle for survival. These characters still know that there’s a better way for them. Or, to paraphrase Abbie and Ichabod themselves, there’s always another way. However, when it really counted, Abbie wasn’t given that promised other way. By extension, Beharie and the fans weren’t given that other way out either. It’s to the detriment of the show, which started out with amazing social and racial commentary, that it didn’t recognize that it’s black woman lead was the hero, not the mule.

 

• Not to do #NotAllWriters, but not all writers are at fault here: With all of this said, I’ll refrain from blaming individual writers. Overall, the writing team as a whole has to take the blame, but if we go by the individual writers, the deck was stacked against the writers of color from the get-go. There were less than a handful of POC writers on the Sleepy Hollow team, and I think that led to many of the problems in the latter seasons. Also, despite J.J. Abrams isn’t involved with Sleepy Hollow, to me it always seemed that the ghost of Abrams reigned supreme over Sleepy Hollow‘s first season, because the first season was spectacular in its sensitivity to racial and cultural discussions as well as fan engagement. Abrams himself might have not had a hand in Sleepy Hollow, but a lot of his surrogates did, such as K/O Paper Products, and Abrams seems to hire people who are sensitive to diversity and inclusion because Abrams himself is sensitive to such. (He has been vocal about inclusion before and after #OscarsSoWhite and has produced several projects about inclusion, including the mismatched show Undercovers, the NBC show starring two black leads before it was “trendy.”)

Even without the color/race issue, there’s still the concept of group writing. A writing team is an exercise in writing by consensus, with the showrunner getting the last word. At some point, someone’s not going to get what they want, and Abbie’s death seemed to be one of those unhappy moments. But, with less people of color to advocate for different outcomes, it becomes easier for the majority to get their way. So in our grief, we should remember that some of the writers are probably grieving as well. We will never know if there was another plan that got voted down, a plan to have the show go out on a high note and to at least give fans some kind of closure as far as Abbie’s validity and her relationship with Ichabod are concerned. Like Ichabod and Abbie always said, there’s always another way to get out of a jam, and even with Beharie wanting to leave, there was still another way her exit could have been handled (such as maybe both of the Witnesses dying and their journey into fighting the good fight from beyond the veil, like Katrina did during Season 1). But was that way proposed only to get rejected? It would be a crying shame if this turned out to be true.
The show destroyed Jenny, too: Abbie may be getting the brunt of the grief, but let’s also not forget that Jenny’s emotions were also sidelined. Again, I assumed that the show would delve more into Jenny’s own trouble with processing emotion, and to a degree, they did with her relationship with Joe. That exploration made Joe’s death all the more painful, because that meant that 1) Jenny would once again have to feel like everyone she loves dies and 2) It would translate to the fans as Jenny always having to suffer, just like her sister. For the show to pull that card on Jenny twice in two weeks is astounding to me. Jenny has always seemed, to be, like the most sensitive and emotionally vulnerable of the two sisters, despite her outward strength. She had already said this season how she hated getting close to anyone because they always leave her. Why did it make any type of storytelling sense to be the masochistic to Jenny? Do her feelings not count for anything either? As bad as I feel for Abbie, I feel nearly doubly as bad for Jenny, who was finally growing accustomed to putting down roots and living a (mostly) emotionally stable life.
• Ichabod is now a man without a home: Ichabod was also treated horribly. Ichabod has always maintained that he and Abbie were the only two Witnesses. The clumsy Avatar: The Last Airbender-esque caveat of a Witness’ soul getting reincarnated is something that we could have accepted if the show had started with that premise in the first place. Heck, even the Bible doesn’t state that Witnesses can be reincarnated into different people! What the Bible states is that yes, the Witnesses die, but they are brought back to life after they’ve served the Lord. They aren’t reincarnated; they’re brought back as themselves, similar to how Jesus served the Lord, sacrificed himself, and came back as himself, but holy. The Witnesses are supposed to become holy people.
Biblical theory aside, what sense does it make to have Ichabod, who has always been attached at the hip to Abbie, and—if the hints were to be believed—was developing a deep, romantic love for her, now suddenly without a love, without a home, and essentially without a purpose? What sense does it make to have Ichabod become the lead of this show, which has always relied on the power of two? Why should Ichabod, who has a core principle of railing against his own set of racial, cultural, and status privileges, suddenly become the privileged Dr. Who-esque white British male trope? Why should Ichabod’s internal logic be rewritten in order to make him okay with finding a replacement? If this was the Ichabod we knew in Season 1, the Ichabod who was ready to kill himself in order to save the world, then I think Ichabod would have sacrificed himself with Abbie in order to keep Pandora’s box from destroying everyone. If he jumped into the dreamscape with her in the second episode of the first season, then he’d certainly jump into the abyss with her to save humanity.
At the end of the day, the show forgot what it was, who it was for, who its characters are, and what its ultimate goal was. The only thing I have left, now that the anger has subsided, is just severe disappointment. Sleepy Hollow has always been a show that did things to extremes. It had the best pilot anyone had ever seen in years, then it had the worst season anyone had seen in years. Now it’s garnering the most disappointment anyone, fans and critics included, have experienced. If we could just revert back to the first season and pretend these last two didn’t happened, that would be great. If the show could just end its misery and get cancelled, that would be even better.

 

In conclusion: Before I end this already too-long article, let me state that if you became a lover of JUST ADD COLOR for my Sleepy Hollow commentary, then I am glad to have had you and I thank you for reading my countless words about this show. I know I had slacked off from covering the show on my site, but I was actually debating dropping it from my recap list altogether after the finale. I didn’t expect Abbie’s death was around the corner, so this final shock has certainly sealed the deal for me. I personally feel rather betrayed by Sleepy Hollow, since I, like a lot of fans and critics, rallied behind this show even when it was failing. But whatever, right? Stuff still turned out awful in the end.
In any event, I hope you stay tuned into JUST ADD COLOR, because I’ll be writing a lot more about other shows. I’ve got a lot planned, so I hope I can get to it all. If you came to me through Black Girl Nerds, don’t worry—I’m not leaving the site! I’m going to write more for Black Girl Nerds, including posts on a show I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for, Riverdale. Being a huge Archie Comics fan, this show is right up my alley. I love the subversive takes on the characters and the level of diverse casting that’s gone into the show. It’s certainly going to be an adventure.

Finally, as I said on Twitter, my anger has spurred me to write my own pilot. Do I know when my idea will become a show? Nope. But anger can be a great motivator, and I hope that other POC writers who are mad beyond belief will use their anger to create their own projects. It’s clear that diversity doesn’t start from the top down; it starts from the bottom up. We’ve got to be disruptions if we want the top brass to hear what we’ve got to say. Remember how wrongly Abbie, Tara, Lexa, Lincoln and countless others have been treated on these shows, and get to creating.
What do you think about the season (or probable series) finale of Sleepy Hollow? Give your opinions in the comments section below.

 

Monique Jones is an entertainment blogger/journalist. She’s written for Entertainment Weekly, Black Girl Nerds,Racialicious, and many others. She runs JUST ADD COLOR (originally called COLOR) and has introduced a new online magazine, COLOR BLOCK Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter at @moniqueblognet and the official Twitter for JUST ADD COLOR and COLORBLOCK Magazine,@COLORwebmag.

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  • Thanks for this. I’ve been a fan of Sleepy Hollow since the first season but it almost lost me during the Katrina episodes. I didn’t like how her character was so fair weather but everyone was expected to jump through hoops (portals and everything else) to save her. It was so annoying for me that when the Pandora character showed up, I was annoyed again. I didn’t want to see the same thing happen with a new evil but confused and possibly good white female character. I was pleased to see that not happen. Well it didn’t happen completely. Pandora was still a confused slave to her husband all while she was stabbing him in the back but it didn’t diminish Abbie’s character in the process.

    My excitement about the season began to grow, and I appreciated Abbie and Ichabod’s bond. I did not want them to end up dating. I wanted them to become a close brother/sister team so I didn’t prefer the shipping hints that started to creep up. But I am still shocked at the way this past season ended. It’s finally starting to sink in that Abbie is gone. She and Ichabod have “died” so many other times that I was operating on the assumption that she’d just reappear. But when they introduced the idea of an organization created to support or help the Witnesses and then said that there’s another Witness who will absorb her soul, I was like W-T-F? Then I was thinking this other Witness BETTER be another black woman. I will watch the first episode of the next season (if it got picked up. I haven’t checked), but I’ll be doing it with a strong side eye.

  • lovelyivy

    You get a slow clap for this. Bravo.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been more pissed off at a show. They squandered so much potential and goodwill from fans, it’s insane. We feel betrayed, stupid for going along with them on this journey and giving them the benefit of the doubt when it was clear that they were mistreating their POC characters, and worst, of all, deeply hurt. For too many of us, we saw ourselves in Abbie, and the show just told all of us fans who did to fuck right off.

    I don’t know that I will ever approach tv in quite the same way again, not for a good long time. And I will never invest in a WOC-led show that doesn’t have significant WOC writing and production credits ever.

  • Djinna

    I will not dignify Sleepy Hollow with one more watch. I have the season 1 and 2 DVDs (although they left Nicole off the 2nd season commentary… of her own show! Maybe stuff like THAT is why she left…). They used us as fodder for getting enough views and social media buzz to warrant a season 4, all the while cynically ship-baiting us and feeding us lie after lie. I will not even rewatch on Hulu as I won’t contribute one more view to their ratings – they have gotten enough from me. Season 4, if they are dumb enough to create it, will not have me as a viewer. I’m done with Fox period…

    • Zia Paul

      Oh, she definitely did say something about not being invited for the commentary, but has since deleted it. They weren’t even following her on twitter until she said something.

    • PhredG

      I also noticed that Nicole wasn’t in any S2 commentaries. I was waiting for another “Abbie has a FACT!” zinger and got . . . crickets. I plan to purchase the S1 DVD only for my collection. If there IS a S4 I may watch it just for Lyndie’s sake. I LOVED her in Nikita (actually thought she WAS British til I IMDB’ed her) and enjoyed her being w/ Nicole on this show. Wishing Nicole the best in the future. Looking for some new entries on her IMDB page.

      • Djinna

        I won’t watch Season 4, and part of it has to do with Lyndie. I understand she is under contract and has to be the public face of SH now, but I got a sense throughout that, when she actually SPOKE about the show, it was more about her than “the team.” She was dismissive, sometimes to the point of seeming annoyed, when asked about the Ichabbie story arc and its “shippers;” she just seemed very self-promoting and not supportive of her teammates (except for Katia, who she mentions at least one interview, and who is a good friend). Nicole, on the other hand, gave a nice shout-out to Lyndie when she appeared on the cover of a running magazine. I just didn’t get the sense that the support ran the other way. Lyndie even liked a tweet from Molina (one of the S1 writers, I think) who argued that minorities being written off shows/killed isn’t necessarily because they are minorities (in response to Nicole leaving the show) – it was not well-received by fandom. I think a lot of people are afraid that both Joe and Abbie were killed off in order to put Crane and Jenny together, which, in some of the promotionals for Fox, may occur (unless they are just testing the waters for a possible S4), but most of us are NOT here for that. Lyndie hasn’t shown the expertise to be able to carry a network show like this, and from her behavior, I don’t think she merits it, either.

  • Nica Waters-Fleming

    Though I’ve been a geek/nerd/scifi fan my entire life, I’ve never fallen so deeply for a fandom. Like you, I feel my anger subsiding. What remains is deep hurt, disappointment, and betrayal.

  • Sheryl Nantus

    Thank you for this.

    When I saw the pilot for SH I was thrilled to see a strong black woman stepping up and taking charge of the show, running the numbers and laughing as Crane staggered along behind. I loved seeing Orlando Jones and was VERY annoyed when they wiped him away. Jenny had a hell of a good start then she got dismissed while we were forced to watch Katrina take over the lead spot and her whiny, miserable love life.

    I wish Nicole Beharie the best and I will be following her career. She deserves more excellent roles like the Abby in the pilot and damn it, I want more strong, tough POC kicking butt and taking names!

    No season four watching for me. As far as I’m concerned the show ended last season. 🙁

  • Boo_Berry

    Forget this show! I know one thing that was good about it and that is that I hadn’t heard of Nicole Beharie before this Sleepy Hollow and now I’ll follow her wherever she goes. She’s got a fan for life!
    I just loved Abbie though, it’s going to be hard to let her go. It may sound dumb but I feel like I’m in mourning for a TV character!
    I loved how smart and savvy Abbie was, especially with plans to battle whatever evil she’d encounter. I loved how she could be kind and compassionate yet snarky and fun too. I loved how great she was at her job, how she always sacrificed herself as a police officer and FBI agent and then ultimately as a Witness. I loved how much she loved Jenny especially after being separated from her for all those years, Abbie was always there for Jenny. Abbie Mills was a better person than I am that’s for sure and I’m really going to miss her.

  • Kim

    I really enjoyed season 1, got through season 2 and saw improvements in season 3. So, I was looking forward to the adventures of Abbie and Crane in season 4. And then the finale happened.

    I was horrified by the finale. I couldn’t believe all of a sudden Abbie was no longer Crane’s equal. She was the lesser Witness whose job was to “carry him
    forward.” I was absolutely shocked by what I was seeing. Initially, when Abbie
    sacrificed herself, I was like not again. Why is she always throwing herself
    into the fire pit? I figured Crane and the rest of Team Witness will get her out of
    Pandora’s Box. But, when the truth was revealed that she was dead. I was
    like WTF is this nonsense!! And then to have her say in the dream sequence “her job was done” and it was all about helping Crane…I knew the writers were
    destroying Abbie’s legacy as a Witness on purpose. This show has always been about Abbie and Crane’s mutual respect, love(not a shipper) and trust in one another. This is how they were able to defeat monster after monster. They equally had each other’s back. They knew they could count on each other no matter what happened. Now for the writers to take this beautiful relationship, and make Crane more valuable than Abbie was a travesty. It lays waste to what Sleepy Hollow was all about… monsters and the Witnesses Bond to each other. I truly hope there isn’t a season 4. And if they do get it…I wish to the high heavens that its fails miserably.

  • increasingly disillusioned

    The line “our destiny was to carry your forward” from Abbie’s mouth, equating her with Betsy Ross and George Washington, two mere props in Ichabod’s story is appalling. Having her say this and effectively destroying three years of characterization and establishment of an EQUAL partnership of the two is the most unforgivable part to me me. I wouldn’t have minded Abbie dying nearly as much if she wasn’t made to say it was all for the White Man after a season of exceedingly sloppy story telling.

    • Rmineffe

      And I would be okay with that, if Ichabod was the only Witness, and if there wasn’t supposed to be two Witnesses. Then Betsy Ross, George Washington, and Abigail Mills pushing Ichabod towards his role would have made more sense. If there was a sense that this was Ichabod’s burden only, then okay. If Abraham, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, had returned again for a majority of season 3 to battle against Ichabod, that would have made sense, since Abbie doesn’t know Abraham. But it was never just Ichabod’s burden (to battle the apocalypse), it was Abbie’s too. That was made clear from the get-go. I honestly hate when writers pretend to know what they are doing, but don’t, and won’t admit it. Or when writers or showrunners don’t tie up plot holes.

      • SunlessNick

        It might also have been a poignant line if uttered the other way round. Ichabod equating himself with Ross and Washington, calling that the point of his generation, to lay a foundation on which later ones could build. And counting himself blessed because having met Abbie, he can be sure it was worth it (to echo that awesome line from Ben Franklin about her embodying the American Dream).

  • BurrowK

    THANK YOU. This is a perfect breakdown of everything wrong. I’m so fucking pissed off at this show.

    The *only* reason I kept watching was b/c of the Abbie/Ichabod interaction. The convoluted whatever that was happening on the show didn’t matter as long as it had that.

  • One problem with this show is it has to keep tying every Monster-of-the-week back to the American Revolution. Why? Because that’s Ichabod’s only period of relevance to American history, to the story of America, which is supposed to be the story of the show. He’s not even an American, since America didn’t exist as a nation yet when Ichabod died. He’s still British.

    From that point of view, it’s even more insane to kill Abby, because she is the real American on the show, she’s the one whose life has been marked and made and forged and everything else by the totality of the American experience of hope and freedom in the present day.

  • rikyrah

    I am still bitter. I was bitter on Friday. Slept on it Saturday, waited for my favorite SH podcast on Sunday and got mad all over again, and I am still pissed. I feel like I wasted 2 years of viewing. Just wasted it.?
    I don’t care if they get renewed for 5 more seasons, I’ll never watch it again.

  • Ronald T. Jones

    I’d been meaning to catch up on Sleepy Hollow’s 3rd season, but if Abbie is not going to be in the 4th season, there’s no reason for me to watch the show. It was bad enough that the Horseman was killed off. Now, Abbie? The lead? Ridiculous!

  • pretap

    Absolutely, positively spot on ALL the way around. My one MAIN HEARTBREAK with all of this, is the fact that almost “56 years” later it seems NOT much has really changed when it comes to POC, especially ‘women’ quite sadly.
    When I think of couples like “Valerie and David of Days of our Lives” (this one broke my heart as well, as their “on screen chemistry” was smoking hot and David Gutherie said before he died, “that his kisses with Tina Andrews were like heaven”, “Melissande Boudreau and her husband Rick Bauer”(us viewers saw this coming for a very long time but what did the Writers do to end it, brought his ex wife back they slept together, and he said he found out he still loved her. “Joss Carter and John Reese (Jim Caviezel finally admitted his “love for Joss”, ironically the show is now over for good even though “I’d KNOWN from the very beginning” that Caviezel’s character was wooing Taraji’s when some said ‘NO way’.
    There are MANY more I could go into but from what I’ve seen, Sleepy Hollow has now topped them ALL and that “hand kiss” had me shaking my head in disbelief after all this time. You kiss on the lips a lover you NEVER even spoke about, hadn’t seen in years but the “man you love” gets to kiss your hand?? REALLY???
    Well, I’ve made up my mind, unless this is turned into a horrifically crazy dream sequence, and put right muy pronto you can also count me out for season 4. That’s a wrap for me too. Thanks again, EXCELLENT read.

  • Steven Burns

    What a moronoic article. Beharie wanted out of the show, her being written out had nothing to do with her race no matter how hard you try to push that agenda.

    • Vicky

      Waiting…..Is that it, Bye, Steve.

  • Amaya

    I watched most of S1 with great interest because Abbie, Jenny, Andy and Orlando Jones. Plus that other hot guy who was Abbie’s ex that I can’t place right now. The show was interesting and unique and FUN! But once the Horseman was neutered and someone felt a dire need to shoehorn Katrina into every episode, it began to devolve. I knew this was coming, which is why I stopped watching after S1. They just do not want to make shows like this work, even with a devoted fanbase. What the actual hell??

  • Niqsanddimes

    Man. This says all the things I just couldn’t find words for. I was so mad. And I was trying not to be mad. But I’m disappointed. This show could have been legendary. It started out so clever, so witty. But. They just decided to NOT follow through. I’m usually more eloquent (or at least I think I am lol) but I just, I’m so mad. -_- Thank you for this article. It’s on point.

  • zoe love

    K writing this on my phone so sorry for typos. I tried Sleepy Hollow for the main reason, because there was black woman as the main character. Which made the show interesting, but I knew that I had to not get my hopes up too high because i knew in the back of my mind they might pull thid crap. Low and behold they killed her off.
    It’s detrimental to the show, in many ways. Regardless if the actress wanted to leave or not. Hopefully they will cast another woman of color to take the lead but I doubt it. Your right Ms. Jones, like Public Image Ltd. said “anger is an energy!” Use it.

  • Kati

    It’s so nice to see someone bring up the Bible in, what was supposed to be, a Bible-related show, and so sad to see how quickly it went off the rails with that. Thank you for mentioning that. It’s almost as if they weren’t even trying… and, like Abbie and Ichabod, apparently hadn’t read the Bible long enough to know that there’s no reincarnation in it, that Witnesses both give witness and witness the coming end, but don’t try to stop it (and should have been on Orion’s side all along), and that siding with witches is considered sinful. Maybe had someone known, we could have bypassed Katrina all together. lol

    That aside, part of the reason why BW seem so poorly treated might be because we accept it, and oddly enough, promote it by our irl actions. We can complain about BW characters being the mule of the world, but it’s an empty, vain complaint when we’re constantly taking it upon ourselves to go to bat for groups with flesh wounds when it comes to representation, while the treatment of Black characters, and dark-skinned BW especially, is flat-lining.

    People can cry “dead lesbian” all they want to (while ignoring that The100’s plot was obliterated and used as a prop for White LGBT angst), but we have documented proof of years of blackface and Black tropes so mountainous that it makes the number of dead lesbians on US tv pale by comparison. Yet when we write about the untimely and unnecessary death of a Black female character, what do we write?

    Example: “Abbie’s death isn’t the first time a black woman has been killed in a roundabout, discriminatory fashion. Too many times, minorities of all stripes are used as ways to prop up the white male characters.”

    …but those two sentences don’t even make sense together. We are talking about unambiguously BW characters who are used as props for White characters, so why is it so hard to focus on ourselves when there’s clearly a concentrated effort to discriminate against us the most? The mention of Tara, Jenny and Crane make sense as a show recap, as does Lincoln as we’re talking about adding color, but why Lexa? or even poc? Why are we always standing up for groups that don’t fight for us, and are often too happy to turn on and throw us under the bus (one need only ask Michael Sam, look up the records of those called racial slurs during Prop 8 protests, the Peter Liang protests, and others, if they doubt it)?

    It was expected for Ricky to speak out against Lexa’s death because he was on the show, but comparing the death of a character they didn’t hide the LGBT status of, with the death of a Black man they wanted the audience to believe was White (judging by how they try to erase actor heritage for Bellamy, Kane, Raven, etc… to me, I’d think that much more offensive than Lexa dying but it gets less attention, of course. They named Octavia for Octavia Butler but couldn’t bother casting any BW either), is false equivalence; as is any comparison of it to what happened to Abbie.

    I’m not sure what “white, straight, cis man” privilege has to do with Abbie either, unless we’re honestly going to go there and pretend Hollywood’s not chock full of White LGBT men with privilege who are making many of the decisions, including, the moment it became acceptable to, upping their own group’s representation to almost 50% on certain channels. Bringing up Ichabod’s sexuality makes as little sense as claiming Abbie has “privilege” as a Black, straight, cis woman, when clearly she doesn’t. White people have more privilege than anyone else on earth, period. The manufactured intersectionality is unnecessary when making that point (after all, it wasn’t necessary to explain the privilege of White people in Underground, was it?).

    But, oh, how eager we are to assimilate and how quickly we adopt the new terminology of our oppressors, created solely for the purpose of 1. making them comfortable in their newly acquired status as special snowflakes, and 2. dividing the oppressed even further by having them focus on what makes them different instead of what makes them the same, until they’re fooled into thinking they’re “people” (instead of colors), just long enough to fulfill their purpose as pawns. Have we, as a community, learned nothing from welfare and affirmative action stats vs. who’s portrayed in the media to use it more?

    Yes, we need to create our own, but until that happens and takes root, when it all boils down, if we can’t tell that sticking up for everyone else until they’re the majority and we are still the neglected minority*, is just reinforcing the very tropes that we complain about seeing on tv and in movies, then we, too, make up a very large part of the problem, because, in the end, all the writers are doing is having art imitate life. And, at the moment, rather accurately so.

    *(white feminism + white L+G+B+T+Q+I+A + all other pocs > just “Black people” and certainly just uBWs)

  • Did Nicole want to leave? I stopped near the beginning of S2 as I thought it was already turning into a bit of a mess (y’know, like Supernatural past season 5?). Or was this purely a studio decision? I’m curious as to the behind-the-scenes reasons.

  • rikyrah

    Excellent piece. This and others sum up well how the fandom feels about what happened to Sleepy Hollow.

  • ohsnaponu

    Well written article. It is interesting to note that it’s not only black people that are crying racism/unfairness regarding Ms. Beharie. Everyone is saying the same thing. Poor Tom Mison, an extraordinary actor. He can’t make his true feeling known until he gets out from under Sleepy Hollow. But it was he, in an interview you can still find online, who said that Ichabod is, and I quote, “Completely in love with her” (Abbie). What a way to FU a great show.

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  • miranda

    Finally getting caught up. Thank you for this wonderful piece. You really helped e get over my anger, too! Lol I am hugely disapppinted, but I feel better after reading this. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to work on next!

  • SunlessNick

    Something else I liked about the show was that we had a really refreshing case of the Magical Negro trope playing out in reverse, in that the most important thing Sheriff Corbin ever did with his life was help two black girls become the women, and heroes, they needed to be. (And was proud of that).
    But at the same time as sidelining Abbie and Jenny, and then killing Abbie, they’ve given him more agendas and secrets and minions, and eroded that element of the background away.

  • Jamie Jeans

    A great article as to how this show failed its fans after such an immensely wonderful and promising first season… with maybe a couple of hiccups.

    Without Abbie, there’s just no reason to tune in anymore.She was the center of it, from how Ichabod treated her to the multiple romance interests she had, to her growing relationship with her sister after so many years apart. How often was that done with a black woman as the lead?

    I wish Nicole Beharie the best in her future endeavours. But damn, what a loss…

  • Danelle

    I’ve been a fan of SH since the pilot episode. Love both Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie in the leads and agree with others here that the chemistry between them was something that was palpable, engaging, and worthy of far more exploration than it got. But I disagree with the thrust of this blog and so many of the comments. Beharie chose to leave the show, so she had to be written out. How is that any different from Dan Stevens leaving Downton Abbey and leaving so many of us fans heartbroken? People leave shows and go on to other things. That doesn’t mean there was a hidden agenda anywhere. From where I stand, the first season was edgy, well-written, and gripping. Things started to get silly for a number of reasons in S2 and S3 was boring, stupid, and about as scary as a trick-or-treater at one’s door on Halloween night before it even gets dark. One more stupid monster, one more near escape. And the Pandora character? Wretched. A complete rip-off of Alice Krige’s awesome, deliciously evil Eva Galley/Alma Mobley in GHOST STORY (1980), right down to the breathy, monotone-evil voice as pioneered by Krige for her character. No, the show is not failing because of anything having to do with color or lack of it – it’s failing because the writing has gotten REALLY BAD this past season and fans are leaving in droves.

    • Romey kimball

      THANK YOU!! I couldn’t agree more. I was dissappointed that Nicole left, but it was more because of where the entire storyline was going. Season 1 was so excellent for its superior balance of campy horror, impressive dialogue, and amazing monsters. I honestly suspected that somebody pissed off the geeks and they walked, taking away the key elements that made the