Last night’s premiere of Sleepy Hollow was everything I hoped it would be. It was fun and fast and creepy and charming. Best of all, they gave you a ton of story right up front. No dragging out this headless horseman thing for three episodes before getting to the mythology – we’re there.
This isn’t just about Icahabod and the Horseman. There are covens and waring factions and soon the world (or upstate New York) will be over run with creatures and demons as preparation for the arrival of the four horseman of the apocalypse.
But I’m getting a “Head” of myself. Let’s back up and recap a little.
We begin in 1776. Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), British though he may be, is fighting alongside General George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Suddenly, a masked man on a white horse comes barreling toward him. The man is carrying a broadsword and he has a bow-shaped (as in bow and arrow, not a bow tie bow) scar on the back of his hand. Even in the heat of the moment, Ichabod sees the scar, knows this is the man he’s been born to defeat and he strikes back.
In the end, they both lie wounded in the mud. Their blood mingles. The horseman is without his head and Ichabod barely hanging on.
(High praise for everyone involved in the battle scene. It was epic.)
Fast forward to 2013. Icahabod digs himself out of an icy (?) grave in a cave which is loaded with potions and trinkets – looks like witch work to me. He makes his way out into the world and right into the path of an oncoming truck.
For a moment it’s the Dark Shadows remake all over again, as Icahabod tries to reason through what kind of monster just whizzed by.
Speaking of Johnny Depp, did anyone else get Jack Sparrow flashbacks every time Ichabod let loose with a sarcastic or dumbfounded reply? Tom Mison did an excellent job playing a man out of time without over doing it. He was just curious enough and confused enough for it to work. And I love that he solemnly and steadfastly he stuck to his story about being from the 1700s.
Time to switch sides. Enter Lt. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) and aging, burly Sheriff Corbin. Abbie’s talking about leaving for the FBI academy and Corbin is teasing her about running away.
From what? We find out later that she’s running from the four white trees and a spooky creature in the forest. The vision she saw as a child drove her sister crazy, but Abbie’s hanging on to reality – until she sees something she can’t explain – a headless horseman.
The horseman kills a local, then chops the head off of Sheriff Corbin. It seems like a case of wrong place at the wrong time but later Abbie discovers a secret cache of files in Corbin’s office. The man has been collecting data on unexplained occurrences for years. Turns out there are two covens fighting for control of the area. And what Abbie saw in the woods when she was young – it wasn’t a hallucination. It was the beginning of the end.
On high alert for a mysterious stranger, the police pick up wandering Ichabod who tells them he’s from the past and ends up in the mental ward. But Abbie believes he has the answers she needs to not only explain Corbin’s death but her own connection to the ghostly events in Sleepy Hollow.
The two set off together and the fun begins. Ichabod and Abbie (or Tom and Nicole) have terrific chemistry. I love that Icahabod is smart in his own way. Sure he doesn’t understand electric car windows or Starbucks but he understands war and a big one is coming.
With the help of Icahabod’s ghostly, witch wife, they find out that Headless is one of the four horseman of the Apocalypse. He wants his head back (which Icahbod retrieves from his wife’s grave) and then all hell will actually break loose. In the mean time, dozens of demons and creatures are going to walk the earth. Sounds like a job for Sam and Dean Winchester. Alas, Ichabod and Abbie are on their own.
And that’s only half of what happened in the episode. There were betrayals and beheadings, a spooky bird, a reflection of evil and so much more.
I can’t wait for next week. Here’s a look at episode 2 “Blood Moon.”