I have been trying for weeks to find the “perfect” opening to come back to this blog. After being away for the better part of six months and with so much going on during that time with TV and movies, I was just waiting for the right thing to come along and motivate me to share my thoughts again. In the wake of several of my favorite characters on TV being killed off (or presumed dead), the final straw for me came in the form of the death of a major character on the FOX show Sleepy Hollow. And so I am here to rant. Or complain. Or both.
For the majority of season 3, I have felt that something was “off” in the writing and relationship for the characters of Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills and tonight I guess I know why: Abbie Mills was killed off after being “sucked in” to Pandora’s Box. There was no body to bury, but we did get to see her reunite with August Corbin in the “void between life and death” and through a vision, she got to say goodbye to Crane. BUT. WHAT?
Apparently there had been some talk on the internet of Nikki Beharie possibly leaving the show as early as before the season 3 premiere, but I had not heard of it until just now – when I went searching for something, anything, to make this make sense. Beharie’s presence on the show and the way she brought the character of Abbie to life is one of the best things about Sleepy Hollow, and I’m not exactly sure what the show is going to do now that she’s gone. When it was announced last year that she would be a guest at Dragon Con, it was one of the highlights of the con for me. As I said then (and my opinion has not changed at all):
One of the things that I absolutely love about Beharie and her portrayal of Abbie is that she is one of the few female characters of color that we see on TV today who can portray strength, depth, vulnerability, intelligence and sexiness…without taking her clothes off. Her character’s personality – her loyalty, her sarcasm, patience and understanding with the out-of-time Crane, her ability to think things through without letting emotions get involved – the character of Abbie is very good, without being unrealistic. She is (in my opinion) the epitome of “one of the good guys”, and it makes Abbie Mills one of the best characters on TV, period.
In addition to that, I will also say that the character of Abbie Mills is one of my favorites – especially as a POC character – because she is one of the positive POC characters on television today that does not have resort to the unattractive qualities we see in other characters on other shows to get her mission accomplished or to move the story forward. Abbie Mills does not lie, steal, cheat, murder, betray, sleep around, pout, use emotional blackmail or any of the other things we see in lead characters on TV these days. She is loyal, steadfast, compassionate, funny, emotional, intelligent and effective. The only other lead character I can think of on TV (the shows that I consistently watch) that is similar in my mind is Danai Gurira’s Michonne from The Walking Dead.
Another loss of the show is the undeniable chemistry between Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane, portrayed by Tom Mison. The relationship between the two Witnesses on the show has arguably been the biggest draw of the show and one of the reasons fans kept watching when Season 2 began to falter a bit. Even though we saw more of it towards the end, the relationship onscreen seemed a bit off-center and strained to me, and I just kept hoping that by the end of the season they would get back to the natural rhythm they had in season 1. For the most part it did, but at a high cost.
None of this is to say the rest of the cast isn’t excellent; personally I feel that Sleepy Hollow has had one of the best casts in TV, even though I was also highly disappointed in last year’s departure of Orlando Jones and his character, Frank Irving. (Don’t even get me started on that one…). If the show is renewed for another season, I will continue to watch, just to see what they will do with the characters that are left. But I will be honest, a Sleepy Hollow without Crane AND Abbie is not the Sleepy Hollow I feel in love with, and I don’t know if I will continue to be invested in the show with Nikki Beharie gone. I just don’t know.
Here is the photo op I was able to have with Mr. Mison and Ms. Beharie at last year’s Dragon Con. As I said, it was the Dragon Con highlight for me, and the only regret I have is that I missed the panel Ms. Beharie sat on (she’d had to leave when I was able to go to the panel the following day). Am I smiling hard enough?
I hope that we are able to see her (and Abby Mills) in some shape or form if/when the show returns but if not, I look forward to seeing what she does next. In the words of Ichabod Crane, “Godspeed, Lieutenant.”