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Sleepy Hollow season premiere recap: 'This Is War'

Action, adventure, and Naked Ben Franklin welcome us back to TV’s most enjoyably ridiculous thrill ride.

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Sleepy Hollow
Brownie Harris/Fox

Sleepy Hollow

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie, John Cho, Katia Winter
Mystery and Thriller, Crime, Sci-fi and Fantasy

Previously on Sleepy Hollow: EVERYTHING. ALL OF IT.

But seriously, folks—can you imagine even attempting to step into the wacky, overstuffed world of Sleepy by skipping season 1, then tuning into tonight’s premiere? Clearly, the folks at Fox can—which is why “This Is War” opens with a lengthy “previously-on” sequence that handily summarizes (or at least attempts to summarize) the first season’s major plot points.

Come to think of it, much of tonight’s episode seemed designed to explain the show to new viewers, or at least to remind old ones what the hell happened last year. Considering just how long it’s been since season 1’s finale first aired—nearly 250 years!—some of those flashbacks and callbacks were helpful. Others were clunky, like Jenny reminding Ichabod not to eat or drink anything in Purgatory… seconds before an Ichabod doppelganger offers a Purgatory-trapped Abbie a sip of water. Come on, Sleepy; you’re smart enough to know how smart your viewers are. You don’t have to hold our hands.

Generally speaking, though, Sleepy kicked off its second season with an episode nearly as action-packed and gloriously cheeky as last year’s premiere. The hour was so kinetic, in fact, that I didn’t realize how little actually happened in it until a few hours after I finished watching. As entertaining as it was—Naked Benjamin Franklin! Ichabod driving an ambulance! Abbie shooting two guns at once! Jenny kicking ass and taking names, then kicking the asses of the people whose names she just took! Katrina still being a character!—”This Is War” functioned largely as a giant reset button, neatly resolving most of the finale’s cliffhangers and reuniting our central twosome after a bare minimum of separation.

Some questions remain unanswered; the premiere had no time to check in on poor, incarcerated Captain Irving, and it remains to be seen whether Crane’s witch of a wife will be able to escape Headless’ clutches (or if anyone will care if she does). But on the whole, tonight was all about throat-clearing and setup; we’ll have to wait until next week to see what season 2’s really going to look like.

So let’s dig into that cleared throat. But not, like, in a Dr. CokeFoot kind of way. Ahem.

We begin with a shot of Ichabod underground that quickly morphs into a bit of alt-universe fan fiction—in which a year has passed since Henry Parrish’s ascension, Henry’s a captive in the tunnels beneath the Hollow, Jenny and Katrina are dead (must… stop… making Katrina jokes…), and Ichabbie’s all alone in a secluded cabin, lit only by the flame of one seductive birthday candle. We’ll call this The Scene That Launched A Thousand ‘Shippers.

NEXT: Sigh! Nothing gold can stay