CUE THE BATTLE AXES AND MUSKETS AND OTHER REVOLUTIONARY WAR ACCOUTREMENTS! It’s that kind of pilot, and time’s a-wastin’.
Our hero, Ichabod Crane, is in the thick of battle when an ominous red coated horseman approaches. Crane, meet Bane! (Or is it only me who thinks our horseman bears a strong resemblance to The Dark Knight Rises villain?)
Ichabod is in the employ of one George Washington. Washington sends Ichabod on a very important, top secret mission: to kill…some guy. Some horseman guy. Who is really dangerous.
Cue the horseman guy who is really dangerous! Ichabod recognizes him on sight! The culprit is on a horse and swinging an axe (Horse? Check! Dangerous? Check!), which, as far as identification purposes go, does help. Ichabod knocks him off said horse. (It’s not a particularly high one, but it seems our Horseman will hold a grudge, regardless. Anyway….) They fight. The horseman delivers a fatal-ish blow to Ichabod. Ichabod delivers a not-so-fatal-but-definitely-cosmetically-damaging blow to the horseman by severing his head in turn. And were this not a supernatural drama, that would be the end of that.
Fortunately, this is no such tale, gentle reader. Cut to Ichabod rising from his grave! One of the many, many perks associated with being married to a witch. Sure, she might have neglected to mention her real occupation to him before their trip down the aisle, and she feels a wee bit badly about that, but on the other hand, he does get to LIVE as a result, so….forgive and forget, eh?
Ichabod stumbles from his grave, through the woods, and onto…what fresh hell is this? Streets made of concrete?! Massive semi trucks that move with the force of a thousand horses?!
Cut to Abbie, our plucky heroine, sitting in a diner with her crusty yet kindly old partner, the Sheriff (Clancy Brown). She knows all about new-fangled modern marvels, like streets made of concrete and trucks that move with the force of a thousand horses! She’s less certain about her own mental state. See, there was that one time with her sister in the woods, when they both saw a mysterious possibly-human-but-maybe-not figure arising against a backdrop of four white trees and…..oh, never mind. An awkward memory from another time. Let’s all just move on with our lives, OK? And apply to the FBI, and stuff. Her crusty old-timer partner is sure gonna miss her, but you know how these young people are, all ambitious and something-to-prove-y! Abbie only has to suffer through one more small, measly little week of a small, measly little career in this small, measly little town.
Only there’s trouble at the mill! No, wait….trouble on some farm! Our crime fighting duo shall investigate.
Fittingly, it’s a dark and stormy night when they arrive at the farm. Abbie goes to find the farm’s owner at the house while the Sheriff decides to investigate the barn nearby. After a token requisite amount of investigating, Abbie discovers a discarded shotgun. And the farm’s owner. And the farm’s owner’s head nearby. As she radios to her partner, he’s got his own host of horrors to contend with. Like, that headless horseman who has appeared before him and who is not so easily (or at all) felled by bullets! If the Sheriff’s boss hears about how he failed to take down a prime suspect, surely heads will roll!
Oh – perhaps I
spoke wrote too soon….
Poor kindly old Sheriff. Poor kindly old Sheriff’s head.
Our cranium-free criminal makes his escape on a horse from the barn….but not before posing dramatically to give Abbie an eyeball full of odd. No head? Mysterious hand tattoo? Period cos-play stuff? Girrrrrrl, you can bet the FBI won’t be able to offer you cool working conditions like these.
Meanwhile, Ichabod has caused a bit of a stir in town, running around like a lunatic who has just crawled out of a grave from a bygone era. What with that trouble at the
mill farm, it would probably be a good idea to haul such a suspicious looking character in for questioning.
Ichabod passes a lie detector test with flying colors (and a few raised eyebrows, too, seeing as how the results suggest that he believes his own story). He even admits to beheading his adversary…..centuries earlier. (What is the statute of limitations on beheadings by battle axe, anyway?)
Abbie, meet Ichabod. Ichabod, meet Abbie. They banter a bit about slavery being abolished before Abbie’s boss (played by Orlando Jones) declares Ichabod a few projectiles short of a musket. Abbie wants to question Ichabod herself, but her boss says no. (The “hell” before “no” is unspoken, yet heavily implied.) Undaunted, Abbie offers to drive Ichabod to the nuthouse, so she can at least question him en route.
(Something tells me the dynamic between Abbie and her boss man is gonna work a little bit like Ricky and a certain spotlight-loving redhead from I Love Lucy. She just wants to be in the show, darn it all, whilst he tries to keep the fumbling to a minimum.)
But who can resist such persistence and pluck? She’s so cute when she makes that I’m-determined-to-make-a-name-for-myself-in-the-upper-echelons-of-law-enforcement face. Fine. Just this once he’ll allow her to drive a mentally unhinged prisoner clad in revolutionary war finery and gravedust to the nuthouse amidst this rash of mysterious local beheadings. It’s a simple assignment, and she better not screw it up.
Only Ichabod just wants to make one little stop en route….to his former grave, where he shall proceed to convince Abbie that he’s not crazy! They find a dusty old Bible, from which he reads a passage about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Thank God! Now she’ll surely believe him.
Cut to an old priest, who has up until now been lurking about and casting inscrutable looks upon everyone who dares to fall under his mysteriously watchful gaze. He now turns that gaze – and some serious supernatural Jedi telekinesis type moves – toward the headless horsemen before him!
Alas, he’s no match for our skull-less scoundrel. Another one bites the dust – with a neato first person perspective of what it must look like to have your head chopped off by an axe wielding demon.
Abbie soon arrives on the scene with explicit instructions for Ichabod to wait in the car. Given how he’s utterly befuddled by modern marvels like automatic windows and car door handles, she’s able to buy herself a quality 60 seconds of lead time before having to explain his presence here at the scene and NOT at the nuthouse. Doh! Abbie’s in trouble, again. (Get used to it.) Meanwhile, Ichabod follows a mysterious hawk to the grave of his dead witch wife.
Abbie has no choice but to complete her task of driving Ichabod to the looney bin. Before leaving him, she confides that she and her sister once had a decidedly supernatural experience in the woods. Made her sister go batshit crazy, and it put more than a tiny dent in her own self-confidence. Which is why she’s only about 80% mistrustful of Ichabod, and 20% intrigued by his tale.
20% is fine. Ichabod can work with 20% for now. Baby steps.
Abbie finds her way back to her crusty yet kindly (and – lest we forget – recently headless) former boss’ office and starts poking around. She finds a hidden stash of research that delves into this town’s nefarious past. Would you believe there have been hundreds of unsolved disappearances and murders in the general region since the 1700’s?! (What with you watching a show entitled Sleepy Hollow, I’m guessing you may be inclined to answer with, “Yeah, sure. Why not?” Which saves me from a lot of pointless explanation, so thanks.) And there were two covens active in this very town, many moons ago.
We also soon discover that Ichabod’s witch wife is alive. Sort of. See, he has a vision, in which she informs him that she’s trapped in some otherworldly supernatural realm. And she’s gonna help him sort this whole mess out from beyond! Step 1: find and then hide the Horseman’s head from him! If that gets reattached, all hell (but first! Three other Horsemen!) will break loose. And helpful hint – the Horseman is allergic to sunlight.
Poor Ichabod awakens to a sort of Nurse Ratched/R.P. McMurphy dynamic blossoming between himself and a certain asylum doctor when Abbie re-appears, demanding that they release Ichabod! Which they do. (NOT so big on crossing t’s, dotting i’s and other pointless forms of paperwork-completing bureaucracy around here! Phew.) Ichabod and Abbie compare notes. Hers came from her former crusty yet kindly boss’ top secret stash of clues. Ichabod’s come from his prophetic dream starring his not-exactly-dead witchy wife who is trapped in another dimension.
Now might be a good time to point out that one of Abbie’s cop co-workers, Andy Dunn (as played by John Cho), is acting a little twitchy. Like pretending to call in backup, but not. Sure, “twitchy” is not an unreasonable reaction when there’s a headless horsemen on the loose, but regardless….. we don’t really trust him, do we?
Abbie and Ichabod secure the Horseman’s head. The Horseman wants it back, and he’s not about to let a couple of new cops who’ve stumbled onto the scene screw that up. He throws down some serious gunplay before that pesky rising sunlight starts to slow his roll. Our Horseman’s gonna have to put a pin in this and revisit his whole to-do list (1. Retrieve head. 2. Recruit minions and sidekicks, but ideally ones who are way more competent than that fuckwit, Andy Dunn. 3. Get the band back together. (Hellooooo? We’re still three horsemen shy of a full apocalypse here!?) 4. Resume evil plan to wipe out all of humanity.) another day.
Also…you think your boss is bad? Try getting backhanded by a headless horseman with supernatural strength. Poor Andy Dunn. He doesn’t lose his head, exactly, but the boss’ idea of how to rearrange it is gonna require customized neckholes in Andy’s t-shirts from now on.
Abbie’s boss has to admit that Abbie might be onto something. He’s even suddenly OK with her time traveling sidekick who speaks of things like curses, apocalypses and a shared destiny of preventing the End of Days. (Mind you, that last part was mostly discussed sotto voce between our two new besties.)
Let’s nail this noggin-less nutjob already! Game on.