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YMMV / Sleepy Hollow

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  • Actor Shipping: Between Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. It doesn't help that they're adorable together.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Despite being the Big Bad of seasons 1 and 2, Moloch dies very easily. Same thing goes for Katrina and Henry, who were supposed to be a powerful witch and warlock respectively, yet are killed by a simple bullet and knife wound.
  • Author's Saving Throw: In the opening episode of season 4, both Ichabod and his new ally Diana both admit how this new "change" in their lives is heartbreaking and ridiculous. Said change is the loss of their partners, one of which was Abbie. Fans saw this as the show being self-aware.
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  • Badass Decay: The Headless Horseman. During season 1, he was the walking embodiment of Nightmare Fuel, an unstoppable killing machine with a passion for decapitation. Their first attempts at Character Development, while somewhat humanizing, kept the terror in check, as he had to possess someone to communicate. The Reveal that he used to be human, if anything, made him more nightmarish. But he then spends most of season 2 pining after and being manipulated by Katrina. He effectively regains his head, cutting back on the entire point of his unsettling appearance, not to mention getting far less involved in the action and actually losing the few encounters he was given. Fans were not happy.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • There is definitely a rift between those who love Katrina and those who think that she takes precious screen time away from the other actresses. So much so that the ratings began to plunge downward from "Deliverance" and onward as some frustrated viewers who disliked Katrina's takeover began to jump ship. It didn't help that, in season 2, she makes a series of bad decisions, most of them based around the possibility of somehow redeeming Henry and/or Abraham, only for none of them to pan out until the season finally culminates in her turning into a murderous enemy. (One of the people frustrated by the character, it turns out, was Katia Winter, the actress who played the part.) Basically, there weren't many complaints when Katrina bought it in the season 2 finale.
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    • Diana Thomas from season 4 became one. Many see her as a poor Replacement Scrappy for Abbie, while other have warmed up to her due to how she has a slight-self awareness in that she doesn't like "change."
  • Complete Monster:
    • Moloch, the Big Bad of season 1 and the first half of season 2, is a ruthless and relentless Fallen Angel whose goal is to unleash the Apocalypse to destroy and subjugate all who live. As guardian of Purgatory, it is Moloch who devises all the tortures its prisoners suffer. Trapped in Purgatory, he steadily corrupts humans to act as his servants, including Ichabod Crane's best friend Abraham Van Brunt, who becomes the Horseman of Death in return for Moloch promising him Ichabod's beloved Katrina, whom Moloch holds prisoner in Purgatory. Moloch spends centuries manipulating events, turning numerous humans into monsters and orchestrates murder after murder, punishing failure with brutal execution or torture. He attempts to steal Ichabod and Katrina's infant son Jeremy, then waits nearly two centuries to liberate Jeremy from being buried alive to turn him into his the Horseman of War and set him against his parents. Whilst Jeremy comes to see Moloch as a father, Moloch viciously abuses and manipulates him, informing Jeremy he is only a servant who should follow his will before sending him on a potential suicide mission.
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    • "Go Where I Send Thee": The Pied Piper is an extremely sinister demon who is known for mass slaughter of soldiers and for what it does with children. Each generation, the Piper preys on a daughter of a specific family; the child, when she turns 10, is kidnapped and taken to the Piper's lair to await her fate, which is usually her bones being made into the Piper's instruments—but only after being starved to death. What's worse, however, is what happens when the girl is rescued. Out of nothing but spite, the Piper proceeds to infect all the girl's siblings with a fatal illness to force the parents to either return the chosen girl to the Piper or watch their other children die. While the Piper was betrayed by his employer, his Revenge by Proxy far outweighs this excuse; considering he seemed to enjoy killing and made a Deal with the Devil beforehand, he was psychotic from the start. Even in Sleepy Hollow, the Piper remains one of the worst Ichabod and Abbie have ever faced.
    • Season 3: The Hidden One was a cruel, arrogant, hot-tempered deity, driven by lust for power and a hatred of mankind. Ten thousand years ago, due to his evil nature his fellow gods banished him to the Catacombs, where he seduced Pandora, promising he would make her his wife if she freed him. Giving her a box which could steal a god’s power, he sent her to slaughter his fellow deities, leaving him as the one all-powerful god. However, using a mystical artifact to strip him of his power, the humans imprisoned him in the Catacombs. In the present, Pandora managed to free him, however due to Abbie Mills his power source was lost. Obsessed with restoring himself, his minions summoned monsters from all over world to Sleepy Hollow so he could feed off them, causing many deaths. When The Kindred and Kindress instead fell in love, the furious Hidden One murdered them. Despite initial appearances the Hidden One proved too only care about power, mistreating and berating Pandora. Attempting to kill the witnesses the Hidden One trapped himself in the same spell that originally defeated him, where he learned that acting in good faith Pandora had told the original humans of its existence. Not caring that she saved him for a second time, the Hidden One proceeded to torture his wife. When Jenny Mills tried to stop him from restoring himself, The Hidden One cursed her boyfriend Joe Corbin to become a Wendigo, forcing Jenny to kill Joe. Finally regaining his former powers, the Hidden One imprisoned Pandora then bragged how he would wipe mankind out gradually, so he could bask in their fear and suffering.
    • Season 4's Big Bad, Malcolm Dreyfuss, was an internet tech billionaire who's obsessed with gaining immortality. Originally a harmless, nerdish man who was forced into a Deal with the Devil, to avoid keeping his end of the deal Dreyfuss sought the most powerful mystical artifact of all, the Philosopher's Stone. His pursuits caused numerous deaths, including Diana Thomas's partner and friend Eric, Dreyfuss's efforts climaxed in him attempting to sacrifice over a hundred thousand people. Gaining his immortality, convinced he was destined for greatness, Dreyfuss sort to conquer America. To accomplish this he raised The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; spreading a supernatural plague through Washington, causing multiple deaths through spontaneous combustion or having their soul devoured, for his horseman of Pestilence and then releasing a Chinese hunger demon which killed several people through either starvation or cannibalism, to raise his horseman of Famine. His plans succeeding, Malcolm turned Diana into his horseman of War effectively killing her. Dreyfuss then attacked Camp David and used the Four Horsemen to slaughter the entire US army, forcing the government to crown him immortal dictator of America. Malcolm proceeded to ruthlessly suppress all freedoms and execute all dissidents, using the Four Horseman as his personal hit squad. Unable to kill the Witnesses, Malcolm had Crane imprisoned and adopted Diana's daughter Molly, rechristening her Laura; he spent years lying and manipulating Laura, until upon one assault to wipe out the last of the resistance she learned the truth. Realizing that Laura was going to attempt to undo his handy work, Malcolm immediately tried to murder her. Despite his claims and excuses, underneath a seemingly earnest façade Dreyfuss was a callous, ruthless and fundamental selfish man, who proved that sometimes humans can be just as evil as demons.
    • Jobe, a Prince of Pain from Hell's sixth circle, served as Malcolm's assistant, bodyguard and assassin throughout the season. Implementing the majority of Malcolm's plans, Jobe never missed an opportunity to commit murder, often choosing particularly painful methods for his victims. It was Jobe who originally shanghaied Malcolm into a deal for his soul, setting him off on the path to becoming a monster. Without Malcolm's knowledge, Jobe manipulated the terms of the deal to also send his best friend, the completely innocent Ansel, to hell. Jobe personally joined his fellow demons in torturing Ansel for twenty years even carving his name into his chest. Assisting Malcolm every step of the way, Jobe murders Mr. Wong in such a brutal manner it's mistaken for an animal attack; tortures Jake Wells for information, partially through physical pain, partially by giving him a nightmarish vision of him murdering Alex; and raised an army of Hessians as Draugurs to restore the Headless Horseman. Having no more use for them, he sent them to burn Sleepy Hollow to the ground. Disliking the prospect of serving Malcolm for eternity, Jobe helped bring about his downfall, and happily dragged the screaming Dreyfuss into Hell. Beneath his professionalism and tranquil appearance, Jobe was an arrogant, disloyal, sadistic monster.
  • Creator's Pet: Once Hawley was introduced, he ended up appearing in every episode for no reason, having more screen time than anyone besides Abbie and Ichabod (to the detriment of Jenny and Irving), taking the street connection spot (and, most of the screen time) from Jenny, and getting in a Love Triangle between Jenny and Abbie.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Headless Horseman and the Sandman.
  • Die for Our Ship: Some Ichabbie shippers were hoping that Katrina was dead/will die. They got more virulent once she was out of Purgatory. They got their wish in the season 2 finale. And then came the season 3 finale which killed Abbie off too.
  • Ending Aversion: The season 3 finale message board comments suggest there are a goodly deal of lapsed fans who have decided not to catch up with the show upon learning that Abbie, the secondary lead, is Killed Off for Real in it. The show was cancelled after four seasons and a significant drop of ratings since the decision.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Captain Irving has gotten this treatment for his ability to dish out the snark.
    • The Washington Archives duo of Jake Wells and Alex Norwood are being praised as the only good additions to season 4 and wished that they hadn't been introduced in a post-Abbie season.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Ichabod and Abbie.
    • After "Necromancer," a lot of fans are shipping Jenny and Irving.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Ironically, it is both this and Friendly Fandoms with Pitch (2016). Pitch fans are often fans of the first half of Sleepy Hollow, as both have significant black female leads while disliking the show after Abbie was Demoted to Extra and eventually killed off.
  • First Installment Wins: season 1 was massively popular and critically acclaimed, gathering a lot of praise for its tight writing, a variety of interesting and complicated storylines, and a brilliant cast. Then the other seasons happened.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With Elementary, as they both have female characters of color who take no shit.
    • With Pitch (2016), as they are both Fox shows with black female leads.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • It'll take a long memory, but when John Cho guest-starred in Charmed back in The '90s, his character was heard to sarcastically mutter: "My afterlife is in the hands of a cop named Andy" (referring to another main character). In this show, he plays a zombie cop...called "Andy."
    • Similarly, from the movie version of The Return of the King, when we meet Denethor for the first time, Gandalf tells him that "War has come to Gondor." Apparently, War was already there, ruling as king.
      • Doubly hilarious when Henry comments later on how "Fathers are never what they're cracked up to be." Considering what Noble's character was like in the films...
    • If you remember the character Amandla Stenberg (Macey) played in The Hunger Games, you'll know she gets horribly killed by a rival Tribute. In Sleepy Hollow, she plays Captain Irving's handicapped daughter Macey who gets possessed by a demon and kills two grown men singlehandedly. Talk about Took a Level in Badass...
    • The last episode Clancy Brown appeared in was titled Ragnarok. Then, in 2017, he voiced Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok.
  • Informed Ability: Katrina is mentioned numerous times as being an incredibly powerful witch, yet performing simple spells often seems too challenging for her.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Andy Brooks and the Headless Horseman. Brooks is being forced to work for Moloch against his will and is plagued with guilt over it. The Horseman is basically evil because his best friend inadvertently "stole" his girlfriend and he got shot and turned into a monster when he lost his temper about it. He's gaining some points with fans due to his wanting Katrina to accept him of her own free will (although he does say he'll force her to be with him if it comes down to it) and telling Henry that he refuses to cause her any unnecessary pain.
    • Actually, Andy had already sold his soul to Moloch when the series started, and it's strongly implied that he did it for the same promise Moloch gave Headless, that Moloch would give him the woman who didn't want him (in Andy's case, Abbie). He slightly redeems himself after Moloch kills and resurrects him by trying to help Abbie a few times.
  • Magnificent Bastard: It's hard not to be impressed with Henry/Jeremy/War after what he pulled off over the course of season 1.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "NO JOHN CHO STOP NO" is an oft-heard cry in reaction to Andy Brooks.
    • As of "Bad Blood," Ichabod needs to make a list of people he's pissed off.
  • Narm:
    • The Headless Horseman's Horse is in the habit of rearing and whinnying for no apparent reason every time it appears on camera. While it's believable that the Horseman encourages his Horse to do this as an intimidation tactic, it also does it of its own accord while rider-less. After the first couple of instances, it quickly crosses the line from dramatic to absurd.
    • Towards the end of the series premiere, the Headless Horseman attacks two police officers by shooting at them. With an assault rifle. It's just wacky to see, and it made him seem less menacing than when he was going around decapitating his victims with an axe.
    • In Ichabod's version of Purgatory, he's confronted by his father, played by Victor Garber, who tries to convince him to drink some wine, which would trap him there. Ichabod figures it out...and his (now demonic) father raises the glass to his lips and shatters it by biting it, causing blood to pour from his mouth while he bellows at Ichabod in rage. Chewing the Scenery indeed; it's simply ludicrous.
    • Andy's transformation into some sort of half-demon/half-human...thing. It looks ridiculous, and after all that, he's dealt with incredibly easily. He goes from being dead to demonic to dead to demonic to dead in the space of about...oh, ten minutes or so.
    • Katia Winters has a very...interesting...method of delivering her lines, to the point where the fans who rather dislike Katrina have started calling her "Whispers" or "Whisper Witch."
  • Narm Charm:
    • The show basically runs on it. The vast majority of critical reviews (favorably) use some variant on "stupid, goofy and batshit insane" to describe it. On the other hand, many people watched the series specifically expecting this trope, only to find it a lot more straight-up enjoyable than they anticipated.
    • One of the most notable instances was Captain Irving doing a Matrix-style dodge to avoid a spinning axe thrown by the Horseman. In slow motion, no less!
  • Nightmare Retardant: Possessed!Macey from "The Vessel" is probably supposed to be scary. But a bad make-up job, the actress slipping a little in mouthing the Voice of the Legion lines, and...well, the fact that she's a short teenage paraplegic really nullifies it.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Badass Biker Big Ash only had a short scene in "And The Abyss Gazes Back," but fans are already campaigning for him to become a series regular. It helps that he's played by Eddie Spears.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Janina Gavankar's Diana was this for Abbie before any of her episodes even began. This has died downed considerably since the season 4 premiere and she is now more of a Base-Breaking Character.
  • The Scrappy: Betsy Ross. Getting hammered in as Washington's greatest agent and Ichabod’s partner despite never having been mentioned before, and taking time and focus away from other already established characters, made her quite unpopular. Compounding these issues, all her appearances (barring one) were told from Ichabod's recollections, making providing her with any form of Character Development or establishment incredibly difficult. Many fans complained that the near-constant praise she received felt unearned, and they were unable to relate to her. The fact she also took away from the Mills and Crane pairing also didn't help.
  • Shipping:
    • Within a day of the premiere, people were already shipping Ichabod and Abbie (Ichabbie, or Crabbie).
    • Da Chief's actor, Orlando Jones, ships EVERYTHING.
    • Some of the current popular ships include Katrina/Abraham, Abbie/Hawley (whose shippers are usually in Ship-to-Ship Combat with Ichabod/Abbie and Jenny/Hawley shippers)... Really, there's pretty much something for everyone.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • The Ichtrina ship went down in flames as of the season 2 finale in which Crane stabs Katrina and kills her in order to save Abbie.
    • The Ichababbie ship did the same at the end of season 3 when Abbie was Killed Off for Real. The fandom as a whole was not happy.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Already suffering from the Sophomore Slump, season 2 was universally agreed to be inferior to the first series. This was due in part to a shift of focus away from Ichabod and Abbie's relationship and already popular characters onto other less popular and more controversial ones without them receiving any Character Development to balance it out. The second half became even worse. Killing Moloch gave what had been (up to that point) the series plot an unsatisfying conclusion, the remainder of the season lost direction, with the writers forced to randomly introduce new antagonists who never lasted longer than one episode. This completely destroyed the series' sense of urgency and faith that there was an overall plan, causing many fans to lose interest. The disjointed nature of the penultimate episode and the season finale did little to help.
    • Season 3: The first half was regarded as something of a return to form, with a stronger storyline and a new villain, Pandora. However, the second half proved to be worse, with Pandora being reduced from the mastermind to her husband's submissive (not to mention abused) follower. The Hidden One was underwhelming, with him doing little more than sitting around and whining about his loss of power. The majority of the episodes had no overall focus, save the vague idea of restoring the Hidden One to his former power. Killing off Joe Corbin (one of the more well-received changes of the season) wasn't taken well either, made worse by the writers choosing to do so by reintroducing a problem that had already been solved twice by this point, in an act that they unashamedly admitted was to make Jenny more miserable. The season finale was greatly disliked, due to it stuffing the Hidden One's death and Pandora returning to being the main antagonist resolution into one episode while most fans felt it would have benefited from more time. It climaxed in killing off Abbie in a way that pretty much destroyed what was left of the show's fanbase.
  • Shocking Moments: The first season finale's ending: Henry Parrish is actually Ichabod and Katrina's son Jeremy, risen from the dead by Moloch 13 years prior, and the second Horseman, War, and the episode (and season) end with Ichabod trapped in what was formerly Jeremy's grave, Irving in police custody, Katrina in the clutches of the Headless Horseman, Abbie trapped in Purgatory, and Jenny unconscious in a car wreck after the Headless Horseman shot out one of her tires.
  • Sophomore Slump: Season 2 was considered a letdown compared to the first due to an overemphasis on personal subplots at the expense of the historical and biblical aspects of the show, poor writing for Abbie that sometimes strayed toward Chickification, fan favorite Jenny Mills being Out of Focus, a new focus on Katrina that wasn't rewarded with actual Character Development, the Villain Decay of War and particularly Headless, and the introduction of Hawley. Viewers seemed to concur with this analysis, as the ratings dropped precipitously in this season (with some blame also being laid on the "limited series" tag, as other shows in this category like Under the Dome and The Following also suffered this). Despite the ratings struggles, the show will get a chance to turn things around after getting renewed for another 18-episode season on March 18, 2015. Clifton Campbell has been named as the new showrunner. It may help that Hawley was Put on a Bus and never mentioned again and that Katrina was Killed Off for Real.
  • Special Effects Failure: The CGI bird that does Katrina's bidding looks really fake.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Katrina's death in the season 2 finale has (so far) been largely celebrated by the fandom, if Twitter and Tumblr are any indication.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Fans of the show are starting to complain that the writers keep killing characters who had the potential to make the story more interesting, such as the priest in the pilot and poor Caroline, who could have been a great recurring character but instead is unceremoniously murdered for the simple crime of crushing on Ichabod, after one scene in the first season finale and about seven minutes of "The Weeping Lady."
    • If you were looking forward to Katrina bringing some much-needed magical expertise to the side of the heroes, her handling during the second season becomes nothing but one disappointment after another; a voluntary prisoner of the Horsemen for most of the season, accomplishing little of value, then she gets a few episodes of contributing only to turn evil in the season finale and get killed off.
    • Solomon Kent is a rather clever, charming, powerful, and ruthless warlock whose main motivation to be on The Dark Side was covering up the accidental (wo)manslaughter of his love interest; Katrina had a boatload more reasons tying her to the good side and was switched in about two episodes, so this guy could have been turned into an enemy, opponent, or floating voter type of character as needed. Oh, and the directors apparently thought of him as the type of warlock who would prefer to do his spells shirtless—not a bad counterpoint to all the corsets Katrina had to show off this season.
    • Abbie, the second lead character, fell Out of Focus as time passed, with fans and her actress becoming frustrated that her life and relationships were terminally underdeveloped/examined compared to Ichabod's. The season 3 finale, in which she was killed off, alienated a significant chunk of the fanbase—possibly for good.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The second season finale set up what could have been a brilliant premise for the third series. Abbie and Katrina are transported to the past, where Abbie is immediately treated with disdain for being black. She then has to find Ichabod and convince him that she is from the future, and that Katrina is a witch hell-bent on revenge. There was even the possibility of Katrina rekindling her relationship with Abraham, but instead the issue was resolved in one episode, making it all seem very anti-climatic.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: Frequently described in reviews as The X-Files, only stoned. Alternatively, it's also been described as Fringe on drugs, which may strike some as Hilarious in Hindsight given Walter Bishop's predilection for LSD, as well as John Noble joining the cast in the sixth episode of season 1.
  • Unfortunate Implications: It has been pointed out (spoilers at link) that it isn't exactly great for a black female character to state that her purpose was to help a white male character (when that contradicts her earlier stated purpose of saving the world alongside him as an equal partner, not a helpmeet) and then die.
  • The Woobie:
    • Ichabod is killed, crawls out of his grave to find a world he doesn't really understand, his wife is dead, and everyone he meets thinks he's insane. Okay, Katarina's not quite dead but still. Things went From Bad to Worse for him when he found out what happened to his son; the sheer brokenness of his face after he kills the Golem (his son's replacement father figure and an embodiment of his rage, pain and grief) is enough to break the hardest of hearts.
    • Abbie, who sees the trees and Moloch in high school, is pretty much ostracized after the fact because of it, then turned to drugs and running with bad people to just try and forget, before she was arrested and managed to turn her life around. And now, she's lost her partner Gus Corbin, who was a surrogate father to her, a friend of hers, and once again, everyone is starting to think she's crazy.
    • Jeremy, Ichabod's son. Poor, poor Jeremy. First, his mother is forced to give him up, then his powers activated as a baby, resulting in him accidentally burning his foster family (Abbie's ancestors) to death. Then he was shipped off to an orphanage where he was beaten and maltreated. He managed to use his powers to create the Golem, but not even this was enough to stop him being hunted down and the Golem banished. And what became of Jeremy? The Four-Who-Speak-As-One killed him by stopping his heart and buried him somewhere in the woods. He became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds as of the end of season 1. Turned into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds now that he's been revealed to have been Hiding In Plain Sight as Henry Parrish, and is in fact the second Horseman, War.
    • Katrina's husband was essentially killed, she gave birth to a child she had to give up, and then spent 200 years in Purgatory. In the season finale, she is finally brought back to the real world, only discover that her son Jeremy is alive, is War, and hates her, and to be abducted by the Headless Horseman. Then in the second season, the show seems relentlessly determined not to allow Katrina and Ichabod to have even a moment of stable happiness together.
    • Poor sweet Caroline; she develops a huge crush on Ichabod but then mistakenly thinks he's married to Abbie, which turns the situation very awkward indeed, and then is drowned by the Weeping Lady aka Ichabod's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Mary, simply because she fancied the wrong guy.


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