Sleepy Hollow Season 3 Recap

Sleepy Hollow Season Premiere Recap: 'It Already Feels Like Home'

Within the first few moments of Sleepy Hollow‘s Season 3 opener, the Headless Horseman is magicked into vapor and sucked into a box — a fitting metaphor for how the Fox series is handling the remains of its troubling second season as it moves into a hopeful third.

But what’s left to fear when the drama’s central bad guy is so easily dispatched? And why should we care about this new, hooded woman and her weird ramblings? Fear not, kind friends.

The premiere reinstates (with vigor!) what we’ve loved about the smirkingly supernatural tale, quickly reuniting apocalypse fighters Abbie and Ichabod and returning them to knowing, zinging form. And though the series makes very clear that most of Season 2 is shelved in that box with ol’ Abraham, the transition feels like a logical progression for the Witnesses and their peeps.

I, certainly, felt relief watching the episode; make sure you hit the comments later to say whether you did, too. And with that, let’s all crack a blueberry stout and review what takes place in “I, Witness.”

A FRESH START | As I mentioned, the episode opens with a hooded woman — who, from her dress and deportment, apparently attended Katrina Crane Finishing School — stopping the Headless Horseman in his tracks and sucking him into an ornate box she carries. It’s a little unclear who she’s talking to, but she says something about delivering the Horseman of Death, and now she wants something in return: Fear.

Sleepy Hollow Season 3 Premiere RecapCut to a guy running in an alley and then accidentally slamming into a garbage-can lid that’s put in his path. No, the cat did not sit on the remote, accidentally switching you to a CBS procedural: We are now in the world of FBI Special Agent Abbie Mills, and the guy is one of her shifty informants in the impending bust of a huge drug ring. Abbie’s haircut and blazer, her tough-but-well-meaning senior agent, his “You’re not at a small town sheriff’s department anymore” dialogue — it all has me a little worried that we’re moving into NCISleepy Hollow territory. But the textbook G-man/G-woman stuff swiftly shifts to the background when Mills gets a call. “He’s where?” she asks.

CELL-BLOCK RANDO | Cut to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, where Ichabod has spent the past five days after trying to bring back a shady-seeming antiquity. He’s wearing orange scrubs and his hair is noticeably shorter, and we learn that he’s been gone on a “walkabout” for nine months with nary a text message in the meantime. “Indeed, there is much upon which we need to catch up,” he says. “You think?” she replies, consonants clipped.

Chagrined, Ich explains that he went into his absence looking for solitude but then not talking to Abbie became a habit, “a deeply regrettable one.” Anyway, the reason he’s called is because he wears Katrina’s enchanted necklace — the one the Horseman gave her, which was linked to Abraham’s soul — and a few nights before, it went all busted Horcrux on him. Crane reasons that the broken necklace indicates that someone has bested the Horseman, and “dark forces are in motion.” So with a little federal maneuvering (and a very funny, wordless exchange in which Ich and his cellmate thump their chests and flash the peace sign), Ichabod is a free man. (Side note: The quick sequence in which Ichabod dresses in his colonial clothing was pretty great, no?)

‘LEFTENANT’ FOREVERMORE | While they drive, Abbie tells Ichabod he can keep calling her “leftenant,” despite her new gig. “‘Agent’ doesn’t sound right,” she says, playfully flicking her hand into his cropped ‘do. “I can only handle so much change.” Crane goes on to say that he’s alone now that Katrina and Henry are gone — if you re-watch, check out Abbie’s face when he drops that one — and that maybe their deaths “closed a chapter for us.”

So, in search of a new purpose, Ichabod took a flight (“Crane on a plane?!,” Mills says. “I miss everything!”) to his family’s ancestral home in Scotland to learn whether others from his bloodline had had a brush with Witness-ship. In a crypt, he found a tablet that, translated, read, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and which might hold clues to their ongoing mission.

Abbie can’t keep her laughter in check, pointing out that translations of dead languages are highly subjective. (Side note: Plus, isn’t the Book of Revelation their mission statement? And is Abbie forgetting about the whole seven-years-of-tribulations thing? Last I checked, we’re barely into the third.)

NOTHING TO FEAR BUT… WAIT, NEVERMIND | They’re interrupted by a call, which sets up our Monster of the Week: Two guys were arguing in a cabin, and now they’re both dead. What we know and what Abbie and Ichabod eventually deduce: The men were killed by an evil beastie that left behind some red residue on the stairpost.

They leave the scene to visit her new office at the FBI field office — looks like she shares a decorator with Grimm‘s Capt. Renard — and it is so adorably cute how happy Abbie is as she talks about plans to take the drug ring down. A forensics tech named Agent Pendrell Dani enters to ogle Ichabod… oh, and to mention that the victims both had high levels of hormones associated with terror. Ichabod thinks a research party is in order. To the archives!

Sleepy Hollow Season 3 Recap

BETSY ROSS HAS IT SEWN UP | Sadly, Team WTF’s homebase is about to be rubble; the city sold the building — which is, for the moment, still standing — to a developer, who’ll demolish it and probably turn it into a mini-mall. Crane’s outrage over the matter is tabled when Jenny enters and hugs him hello. Hi Jenny! The quick update on her: She definitely helped Irving escape, a la Witness Protection Program, to keep his family safe and she’s trying to find a job.

Let’s shorthand the research and rush right to the Ross: The trio eventually realizes that the demon they’re looking for thrives on the combo of fear/gunpowder and made an appearance at the Battle of Bunker Hill. That leads Ichabod to relate a story of Betsy Ross, who apparently was a cool, ballsy broad Gen. Washington trusted to carry secret messages to and from the warfront. (Side note: I like Nikki Reed in the role, and I love how she seems to discomfit Ichabod in the extreme. Anyone who can render him speechless is worth learning more about.)

Eventually, Mills x 2 and Crane find that the key to stopping those demons is shooting them when their eyes go all cloudy; hence the “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes” thing. (Nice twistory there, Sleepy Hollow.) It all comes to a head at the drug ring bust, which unfolds in pieces. First, Abbie’s superior dies from a slash from the beast — note to self: Never be that woman’s boss. Terrible things happen — and the bad guy gets away. Then, Abbie goes in to negotiate with the seriously freaked out drug lord (who saw the monster kill Agent Granger), reasserts her purpose as a Witness, saves the day, collars the crook and still manages to save Ichabod from literally getting scared to death. Best part? The Witnesses share a heartfelt hug and welcome each other back to their destiny.

CHEERS! | At the bar later — hey, Jenny’s got a job as a bartender! — Abbie makes sure Ichabod knows, “You may not have family, but you are not alone.” Aw, guys! (And why is Ichabod shot-gunning that blueberry stout?) When she goes to settle the tab, she accidentally bumps into the hooded woman from the opening of the episode (whom we later saw chanting and watering a tree with eau de fear or something of that ilk, for reasons unclear right now). The woman is in contemporary clothing now and introduces herself as Pandora.

“Like the lady with the box?” Abbie says, smiling, but Pandora mentions how it’s really a dowry and then things get a little strange for a moment. (Side note: I will forever love this show for moments like when Abbie gestures toward Ichabod and he does the prison peace sign while Jay-Z’s “Hard-Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” plays on the jukebox.) Abbie welcomes the newcomer to town and walks away as Pandora’s eyes go all funky. “It already feels like home,” she says. Pretty sure that’s not a good thing.

Now it’s your turn. Grade the season premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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66 Comments
  1. Kafiyahbelloi@yahoo.com says:

    Sleepy Hollow was back to form!!!!! I loved every second of it!!

  2. steven says:

    “Eggs Benedict Arnold. For Shame. For Shame” So funny.

  3. Anice says:

    The Sleepy Hollow we know & love is back!

  4. Angela says:

    Okay, that was GOOD. So happy to see Ichabod and Abbie haven’t lost that snappy banter and close bond. So many great moments between them here. So many. That hug at the end was so sweet. I’m glad she’s allowing him to keep calling her “leftenant”, too.
    Also, I REALLY like FBI agent Abbie. Like, a lot. She’s gotten even more bad*ss, if that were possible.
    I liked Ichabod and Jenny working together a bit, too, along with their little reunion. So long as the show keeps focus on those three working together, with some side help coming in every now and again, then I’ll be happy, ’cause they make one hell of a team.
    The whole jail thing and Ichabod’s reaction to the Founding Fathers restaurant was hilarious. And I want to hear the full story of his adventure on a plane!
    Already enjoying Pandora as the big bad for the season, I think she’ll be suitably creepy. And I’m cool with and intrigued by the whole “Betsy Ross was an undercover soldier” deal, and hope the show keeps more of the focus on that part of her life and less on the romance side.
    Agreed, too, on the “whites of their eyes” thing, along with the “red devil” deal. Very clever.
    Very good start to the season. Keep this level of fun and excitement going and I think we’re in business :D.

  5. Jaime says:

    Get rid of Katrina 2.0 and it’ll be great.

    • Ugh says:

      Oh just stop it. Betsy Ross was absolutely NOTHING like Katrina.

    • Lorrie says:

      I agree! And it sucks that she is a permanent cast member. It seems as though her character is an afterthought.

      • Ugh says:

        You’re being ridiculous. She had ONE SCENE.
        But any other females on the show who aren’t Abbie or Jenny or a baddie are “Katrina 2.0” huh? We see right through it. Stop.

        • delorb says:

          She’s like Katrina is so many ways. Not from this episode, but from all the leaks about her character. I found this episode to be kinda dull and lacking. There was no spark between the witnesses. None of the seat of your pants feelings from season 1. They easily found out who the demon was, what his weakness was and how to kill it. All while getting us caught up on the retcon and Ichabod’s ceaseless complaining. Ho-hum. The demon was so ‘wash, rinse, repeat’, that he could easily have been the Golum or Serelda (sp?). I wanted a formulaic show, but not THIS formulaic. I half expected them all to jump in the air at the end and remain suspended there.

    • b says:

      Betsy Ross was badass. Nikki can act I think she took this gig to prove this to the people that have written her off because of Twilight and her marriage to Ian S from TVD

    • tvjunkie says:

      At first I thought you were talking about Pandora, because so far she has more in common with Katrina than the Betsy Ross character.

  6. Nissa says:

    As much as I loved Abbie and Crane, I’ve had issues with the show since season one. Season two tanked for me. I couldn’t even get through a complete episode. This premier sounds promising, but I know about the upcoming crossover with Bones. That to me is everything I think is wrong with the show and more. It disappoints me that they’re going in this direction. To those that have seen the premier, should I chance it again and just skip the crossover episode? Or should I stay far away from this once loved show?

    • Kafiyahbelloi@yahoo.com says:

      Watch, watch, although I don’t know what problems you had with season 1, however this episode was great!

    • To be fair to “Sleepy Hollow”, it’s much more of a jump-the-shark moment for “Bones”, which has had no supernatural inklings to this point. I can see why the “Sleepy Hollow” EP’s would agree, as it can only help their show…”Bones” on the other hand??

      • suzi says:

        Booth (and Brennan) dealing with Corporal Parker’s ghost, a truly psychic psychic, Brennan’s transference during The Doctor in the Photo, and her maternal “visions” during A Shot in the Dark…a few supernatural inklings, I’m looking forward to the crossover.

      • There were supernatural suggestions plenty of time in Bones, but they will DEFINITELY not introduce the supernatural into Bones via the Sleepy Hollow crossover. The showrunner assures us that there’s nothing to negate Bones’ beliefs that will happen during it. I think they’ll have a few quirky moments, even questionable, but at the end of the ep it won’t change the dynamics of either show. Of all the things I was worried about before this awesome premiere for Sleepy Hollow, this crossover was not one of them. I think it’ll be a fun episode.

  7. sladewilson says:

    They got their mojo back!!!! Abbie was in rare form tonight. I missed Sleepy Hollow….

  8. ViningsGal says:

    I thought it was okay, not great. I miss Orlando. And the whole Betsy Ross character is ridiculous. They need to put it back on Monday nights and give Ichabod back his hair! I can’t see it making it on Thursday nights.

  9. Jerry says:

    So that’s what Sleepy Hollow is like without Katrina. I nearly forgot. Much better than most of season 2, but it’s missing the ridiculousness of season 1 that made it entertaining. Feels very “safe”

  10. “Never be that woman’s boss. Terrible things happen. ” took me awhile to notice, far more than it should have, but — Headless beheaded the Kurgan. I’m disappointed in myself for not realizing it sooner.

  11. Babybop728 says:

    Loved it! I think it’s weird that Betsy Ross is a regular character, but I’ll see what they have planned. I honestly didn’t think season 2 was that bad, so I’ve never needed coaxing to come back.

  12. Chloe says:

    I wasn’t as put off by Season 2 as many others were, although it did have issues. However, the Season 3 premiere was awesome. Ichabod in jail is classic! I’ll miss Irving, and even Henry at times, but I’m so glad Katrina is gone.

  13. m3rcnate says:

    It didn’t BLOW my mind, but that is okay, it was a fun season premier and felt like S1 Sleepy Hollow. That is a great thing. Keep it up.

  14. Noel Roberts says:

    It was okay. It felt a little forced at first (some of the jokes ran flat a bit), but then warmed more as it went along. They all just felt kind of disconnected, which I guess would be the case since they decided to separate them off screen. Just weird to me that evil was on a time out until they got back. It was almost too neat. However, I missed them dearly, so of course I will watch.

    • Sleepybabe says:

      Wait, what do you mean separate them off-screen? I did feel like the chemistry was off there. Even Jenny’s hug was warmer than what we saw from Abby and Crane. I thought it was coz of Betsy

      • Noel Roberts says:

        They separated them. Crane took off and Abbie went to Quantico. Yeah I agree re: the hug. I don’t think it was because of Betsy. They just seemed disconnected. Abbie just came across as hard. I’m really hoping they’ll get back into a groove.

  15. Coal says:

    More Jenny, that’s cool, no Frank that sucks. Enjoyable episode all in all.

  16. Liss says:

    Really enjoyable ep, looking forward to next week. And after being unsure when the news broke about her introduction, gotta say I really enjoyed what we saw of Betsy Ross. She can stay :)

  17. b says:

    I enjoyed the premiere! Nikki Reid was a badass as Betsy Ross and Pandora was intriquing i dont think she’s this seasons Big Bad I think she’s working for whoever it is

  18. herman1959 says:

    It was OK, but I think that introducing Pandora and Betsy Ross in the same episode was too much. However, I loved Jenny and Crane’s haircut. Let’s see what next week brings.

  19. Tom says:

    I seriously don’t get why everyone hates Katrina so much

  20. Matt C. says:

    I’m one of the few Sleepyheads who didn’t mind season 2, but even still, this premiere definitely felt like a step up from that season. Honestly, as long as the show continues to revolve around Abbie and Crane (and Jenny!), none of the other stuff bothers me.

  21. hannibal812 says:

    Very disappointed that C. Thomas Howell didn’t last the hour. He had good chemistry with the ‘Abby’ character

  22. KC says:

    So good – can’t wait for the rest of the season!

  23. Jen says:

    Agent Pendrell reference! NICE! Also, I enjoyed the premier and think it bodes well for the new season. I think the Betsy Ross character will be cool as long as they leave her story in the past and don’t try to muck things up by bringing her into the present somehow.

  24. A says:

    Imagine how laughable it would be if this show tried to introduce “Sexy Benjamin Franklin” as a main character. But apparently the unnecessary addition of “Sexy Betsy Ross” is totally fine.

  25. Morisot says:

    I thought Jenny got slashed in the warehouse…

  26. Very well said! Big changes, but they returned Sleepy Hollow to its first season form. If anything, Abbie is even more badass than ever, more self assured, and definitely better dressed. Jenny is well established as a core character. Ichabod has, for the most part, worked through his angst and returned to his mission. That scene of Ichabod changing back into his own clothes was a symbolic moment. And super hot! Even putting ON clothes, Tom is sexy as hell!

  27. Kansas Blutbad says:

    Captain Renard from Grimm,. Excellent!

  28. smartysenior says:

    I thought it was delightful and set up the season beautifully. Everyone is back together, the chemistry is there between all three of them, good plot, great one liners, monsters and wisecracks, Ichabod reacting to the modern world, I really couldn’t be happier.

  29. Donna Peckham says:

    I may have missed something, but how could Ichabod go back to Scotland? Did he somehow get a passport?

  30. AM68 says:

    It was nice to see the show back to form. It felt like the good old days while still pushing the story forward.

  31. Dani says:

    Sleepy Hollow is back and better than ever. Though time has moved on in Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod, Abbie and Jenny are still the same characters I love to watch. There take on Betsy Ross is interesting and Pandora is going to be a lot of fun.

  32. Galli's mom says:

    Oh Crane, I’ve waited so long! These are some of the best writers ever. After wrapping everything in a big bow of closure last season (in case we didn’t get a season 3) they’ve managed to bring us back in admirably well.
    I like the singing witch. Big Bang Theory has “Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty”, Sleepy Hollow has “Nice Horsie, in the Box Horsie”. I will miss him and his crazy red eyes.
    Who did the makeovers? Abbie, what happened to your pretty hair? Crane, you’d be gorgeous if you were bald, but pleeeeeease, don’t cut anymore!

  33. Brigid says:

    Welcome back Sleepy Hollow! Great episode! I have to say that I was one that didn’t mind season 2 but I am glad that Henry and Katrina are gone as their stories did run their course. Lucky Ichabod, the only man amongst 4 beautiful women. The addition of Pandora and Betsy Ross look to be promising, looking forward to an amazing season!!!!

  34. Sarah says:

    Always fun to see C. Thomas Howell!

  35. Kat says:

    I have to saw, I fell of season 2 but I did love this episode. I plan on watching and sticking with season 3 as long as the stay on this path. Thank god for the reboot!

  36. Liz says:

    The writing and direction has never been award winning and everyone did pretty good with what they were given, except Tom Mison. I’m sorry, but he was so awkward. He did have some really stupid lines to pull off and his hair is so awful and distracting. Stop making him seem like such a baby and, also, take him to a barber please.

  37. Izzie Duquette says:

    Awesome times TEN! So good, I really hope more people catch up and watch it.

  38. DonnaMama says:

    it’s in a bad timeslot

  39. Nancy Nolan says:

    Really? Betsy Ross? Not only is the character stupid but Nikki Reed is awful in this idiotic role.

  40. Veto says:

    Betsy Ross? How does Betsy Ross relate to the tale of Sleepy Hollow? The show’s gone too far off the rails. Without looking I’ll bet they’re working with totally different writers from seasons 1 and 2. I’m watching Season 2, on DVD, now, and it’s much better than what I’ve seen of season 3 so far. The show’s gone so far off base that if the next episode is anything like the 1st, (what is it, 2 or 3 that have aired so far?), I’ll be done with it. Does anybody remember the tale of Sleepy Hollow? It’s about Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Those 2 should be in all seasons of the show. If not, why call it Sleepy Hollow?