Sleepy Hollow S4 has me thinking in a way it never has before. The writers, who wrote these episodes long before the November elections, have displayed prescience concerning current events in the real America. I’m probably reading too much into it, but after episode 11, the Way of the Gun, I can’t look away. Up until this episode, the writers have been carefully crafting a difficult but plausible transition necessitated by the loss of Abbie Mills at the end of S3, which moved the action of the play from my beloved Sleepy Hollow to Washington, D.C. (But make no mistake, this relocation did not diminish the memory of Abbie who remains very much on the minds of Ichabod and Jenny throughout the whole season thus far.) The writers took the remnants of the original story to a location we all have our eyes on right now- the capitol of our nation.
I don’t need to rehash the story because the people who will read this have already watched and re-watched each episode at least once or twice. But last Friday night, when Ichabod Crane took a magic bullet for Agent Thomas, and our champion of democracy was turned into the Horseman of War, I just lost it. My genre story suddenly became an allegory. This little story started with a grade school play about Valley Forge, a place where great sacrifices were made, and where soldiers were molded into an Army inspired by the vision and words of General Washington, a true leader. Cut to the final scene and we see a would-be leader, Malcolm Dreyfus, with the assistance of his demonic companion, Jobe, point his weapon and hit the wrong target, Witness Crane, who begins his transformation into the very being he has been called to destroy – The Horseman of War. Before our very eyes we watch as Tom Mison masterfully uses word and expression and voice to show Crane trying to resist, but finally overcome – “I have become war!” Who didn’t feel a wave of hopelessness at that declaration.
Before this year, my twitter feed was mostly Sleepy Hollow. But gradually my feed has become post after post of a president making decisions that are dragging a lot of us in a direction as far away from the principles of democracy as Crane now finds himself. At the agency of another, Crane is turned into a thing he has raged against. And every time I check twitter or the news media I feel the same about our nation. At the agency of our current president, we are become War!
This is just my reflection. But it reminds me of how important genre shows are. They can be stories or allegories. They can play with the past, present, and future. Fact, fiction, and legend can exist together. You can spend your time wondering what will happen next week, or you can reflect on a single moment that seems to reach out at you and shake you from your complacency. Sleepy Hollow has had a tough 4 seasons, but for those of us who have stuck with it, we continue to be enthralled as the writers explore the value of our democracy through the life and times of Ichabod Crane.
Photos – Fox