Sleepy Hollow Review: “Tempus Fugit”

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Here’s my review of Sleepy Hollow season two finale “Tempus Fugit.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.

When you were a child, did you like to play with the light switches? I did. It was fun, wasn’t it? To just flip the lights on and off by flipping the switch up and down. You could do it over and over again forever, or at least until someone yelled at you to stop messing with the lights (and then you could just go to another room and start again)

This episode “Tempus Fugit,” the season finale, felt like the writers were playing too, only it was with a “reset” switch instead of a light switch. They played with audience expectations and gave the episode possibilities for starting the series over only to have that change be undone by the end of the episode. It was a strange ride, but altogether not a bad one. It feels like the writers are ready to take risks again with the ridiculousness, so let’s take a look at what they did in this season finale.

As we saw at the end of the previous episode, Katrina’s time traveler spell sent her and Abbie back to before Ichabod beheaded the Headless Horseman and while Katrina was still pregnant. Throwing Abbie into the mix of this situation set up some interesting possibilities for future seasons. Would the entire timeline be changed forever? Would the writers make season three an alternate version of season one, set in Sleepy Hollow’s past instead of present? Like I continue to say in all of my reviews: it’s great when tv shows shake up the normal routine and tear down the status quo. For once we got to see Abbie as the one out of time trying to adjust to the past like Crane had to adjust to the present. The “fish out of water” story isn’t anything new, but it was fun just to see a different character experience it this time.

And to be honest, I would actually be quite excited about watching a season of Sleepy Hollow where Crane and Abbie team up with the founding fathers to defeat Moloch (again) while also battling Evil Katrina. Sure, we’ve already seen that in the first season and this premise would leave out Jenny and Irving, but still. The idea of something new is appealing since this season has floundered a bit in working out new storylines after Moloch’s ended.

But halfway through the episode, the writers couldn’t resist flipping the reset switch again, leaving that first possibility behind and resetting the reset back to the original. (Crazy, right?) But of course, we should have guessed that Abbie couldn’t stay in the past after Benjamin Franklin got beheaded, right? That was a gutsy move on the writers’ part because it certainly was unexpected. Just imagine the ramifications the death of Franklin would have on America’s history. But as fascinating as that might be, that would be a different show completely.

As such, Abbie has to go back to the present and that will send her to the exact same time she left, so essentially everything that happened in the past in this episode is meaningless. It was frustrating at first, to realized that there really was no point to what I was watching if everything was just going to revert back to where we left off with nothing changed. But I will say that it was worth watching simply to show off how awesome Abbie (and the actress Nicole Beharie) really is.

This is definitely an episode that lets Abbie shine. Sometimes it seems that Crane’s fun old-fashioned mannerisms give him the spotlight in most of the episodes, so it can be easy to forget that Abbie is quite the formidable and fun character herself. I can forgive the writers for spending half the episode on a pointless plot just because it was great to see Abbie react to the time period and to beat up the angry Colonel guy who definitely deserved that.

I would have to say that the biggest weakness to this episode is (as always) Katrina. We see that she’s consumed by grief over having lost Henry again and she feels betrayed by Crane, but the EVIL never quite seems fleshed out enough to be believable. I suppose there wasn’t much time for it in the episode, but it would have been nice to see Katrina struggling a little with her allegiance change. I mean, you don’t just wake up one morning evil and suddenly decide it’ll be good to kill your husband and other random people who might get in your way, right? …right? The transition just seemed too fast.

But on the other hand, the writers finally solved the Katrina problem by killing her off. I’m not gonna lie and say I was upset about this because I’m not. Her character didn’t contribute much and brought down the momentum of a lot of storylines, but it did seem like a cheap way to send off her character. All that build up with the trip to the past and her descent into darkness, only to have it all disappear as soon as they return to the present and as she attacks Crane. It all happened so fast that there wasn’t enough time for the audience to process it.

At the moment, Sleepy Hollow’s fate is still uncertain. FOX has yet to renew the show for a third season. But I’m satisfied with this season finale. The trip to the past was good fun and the characters’ stories all came to a point where they could easily continue forward. And the Katrina problem was solved once and for all. If the show gets renewed, I think the writers will finally be back on track to creating interesting television again. But if it gets cancelled, there was enough closure in this ending that I won’t be upset. Whatever happens, at least “Tempus Fugit” was a fun hour of television.

Additional Archive Notes

  • While it’s understandable that there wasn’t time in this episode for them, I missed Jenny and Irving. Hopefully they’ll be a big part of the action if there’s a third season.
  • I very much enjoyed Franklin’s reaction to Jefferson being on the (very useless) $2. “That sounds… cumbersome.”
  • Why do people dissolve into sparkly dust now when they die? Is that an evil witch/warlock thing?
  • I can’t believe they just casually mentioned The Kindred in this episode when we’ve been waiting all season for him to show back up. If there’s another season, I hope it focuses on The Kindred being some sort of vigilante superhero in the countryside as he waits for Crane and Abbie to call him back. I would totally watch that.
  • While I didn’t like Katrina, I do like Katia Winter. She gave a lovely performance and I hope she goes on to do more exciting things in the future.
  • I still don’t understand how they pick the episode titles. “Tempus Fugit” was just a phrase in the reverse traveler spell, barely even mentioned.
  • Hands down, the most hilarious bit of the episode was watching Crane try to use Abbie’s phone. The “slide to unlock” gag was the absolute best.

So that’s it for season two! If there’s another season, I’ll definitely keep reviewing this show. But if not, thanks for reading my reviews. I had fun putting them together each week. As always, feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments and discuss!


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