FOX's supernatural drama series, Sleepy Hollow, has been suffering the slow, painful death of a thousand cuts for the past two seasons. And Friday night, they may have just ended it all with one massive slice to the jugular. If you haven't watched Friday's season finale yet, be warned, this article contains major spoilers.
In what the FOX network is calling a "bold move," Sleepy Hollow violently killed off Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie), a main character of the show and one-half of the witnesses tasked with saving the world. Needless to say, the fans are pissed and I don't blame them. Angry fans took to Twitter Friday night calling out the writers and FOX for wasting such a potentially great show, many condemning the show for treating black women as disposable.
@JoseMolinaTV But when they started as lead, were demoted to sidekick, then punted to team mate, that's shenanigans.— mokie (@mokie) April 9, 2016
I don't even want to watch the recording of the finale on my DVR, i don't feel like being told "fuck you" by @sleepywriters #SleepyHollow — Jean-François (@SpikeGhost) April 9, 2016
Its like some of these show runners get off on disrespecting fans and their intelligence. And this is what this is disrespect. #SleepyHollow— Story Spinner (@RoylinEP) April 9, 2016
@pmiscove pretty nervy to tweet Ichabbie fanart right before reducing Abbie to Ichabod's mystical plot device #SleepyHollow — Andrea Stewart (@AndreaM_Stewart) April 9, 2016
Write Black heroines/heroes. connect. Create. BE OUR OWN MIRROR. We cannot trust others with our story. We must tell it. #AbbieMills— Charney Penn (@VocalVixen) April 9, 2016
As a former fan of the show, the last two seasons feel like we were all victims of a giant bait-and-switch scam. Season one promised the supernatural adventures of two incredible characters, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Abbie Mills, a team of two equally strong individuals that promised to kick demon ass and take names. Mison and Beharie's onscreen chemistry was undeniable, resulting in a passionate first-season fanbase complete with a seemingly non-stop flow of fan art and shippers desperately hoping for a romantic relationship to bloom, dubbing the would-be couple "Ichabbie."
The show began to flounder late in season one with an influx of unnecessary characters (Katrina and Henry) and convoluted storylines. Season two slipped even further with the departure of Captain Frank Irving (Orlando Jones), a loss the show still hasn't fully recovered from. Abbie and Ichabod's partnership began to suffer as Ichabod's personal life took front and center and Abbie was relegated to supporting player, a background character with a shoulder for Ichabod to voice his family woes. Season three proved to be a dry husk of its former self with an insincere attempt to recapture the old partnership dynamic by making the witnesses roommates but still failed to restore Mills as a full equal to Ichabod. The deteriorating quality of Sleepy Hollow reflected in falling ratings and a move to Friday night -- a slot where shows usually go to die.
I could continue about how Sleepy Hollow lost its way when it began to stray from what should have been the main focus -- the partnership of its two main characters, Ichabod and Abbie. That relationship; that magical spark is what the fans responded to and when one half of that team becomes marginalized (as Abbie so clearly was), the show suffers. The inevitable lesson that FOX and the creative team behind Sleepy Hollow will soon learn, is that it's very difficult to have a show when you've managed to piss off your entire fanbase. And if by some miracle they manage to pull a fourth season out of their hats, they'll be hard pressed to rebuild that fanbase and win back the trust they have broken. And it's truly unfortunate, because Sleepy Hollow, the fans, and the actors, all deserved so much better.