Sleepy Hollow: I Witness – It’s a Hard Knock Life


While it is always good to see anything directed by Peter Weller (RoboCop, Longmire), the season three premiere of Sleepy Hollow, I Witness felt a little lacking in the character department. With the last season exit of John Noble (Fringe, Devil’s Playground) and Katia Winter (Banshee Chapter, Dexter) this first foray into Sleepy Hollow with a new “big bad” felt a little underpopulated.

The last horseman, the headless chap, is dispatched early on in I Witness by a singing Shannyn Sossamon who plays Pandora (the girl with the box). While it was nice to see Sossamon gainfully employed after Wayward Pines,  the song picked for her character to sing was…in a word, vile. Still, she looks to be an interesting addition to the verse. 

Stars Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie and Lyndie Greenwood are all back as Ichabod Crane, “Leftenent” Abbie Mills and her sister Jenny respectively while Orlando Jones is missing, his character has moved away from the rather busy burg. Nikki Reed, as Betsy Ross (so much more than a seamstress) will be a regular considering that flashback sequence in I Witness and the IMDb credit list.

The plot of the first episode continued with the tradition of tongue in cheek humor.  Pandora releases a Chinese demon which is “fear” and can only be harmed when its eyes go white. This is then incorporated into American history to imply that “only shoot when you see the whites of their eyes” referred to colonist militia shooting the demon “back in the day” and not the enemy red coats.

Since the last season ended, Abbie is now with the FBI, and her boss is C. Thomas Howell, aka Special Agent in Charge Granger. Crane has been searching for his identity and then detained in immigration when he tries to bring a historical artifact into the country.

On a sidenote, Howell has been one busy chappy this year, showing up in ABCs Stitchers as Kirsten’s Clarke’s (played by Emma Ishta) dad earlier in the year.

The writing for this episode was rather interesting with Crane telling Abby at the end of the episode that he apparently was not too pleased with how the country he fought for has turned out, but, it is the only one he has. This bit of dialogue feels like a not-to-thinly-veiled patriotic moan about the state of America.

The demon was   scary enough and Pandora may turn out to be as interesting as Noble’s Henry Parish, but as good an actress as Sossamon is, one cannot quite picture her chewing up the scenery with the same zeal as the Australian actor.  Still, since Katia Winter left, there needed to be a pinup replacement and apart from being a very qualified performer, Shannyn is truly lovely to watch.

Mills and Mison, as well as Greenwood, still have that splendid chemistry and it will be interesting to see just what Nikki Reed’s Betsy Ross and Crane got up to in the old days. It is, however,  the humor; those good old sly, eye winking moments that continues to make Sleepy Hollow a  treat to watch.

For example: At the start of the season opener, Crane is in the detention center and questioning his role in life and what the whole thing is about. His cell mate, peeking out from under the top bunk, states that “It’s a hard knock life…for us.” Later, when Pandora and Abbie meet at the bar and Crane is back at the table, the music playing in the background is “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”


Clever and witty, as usual, with a high caliber director (Weller) helming the first episode, FOX have opted to open strong with their third season.  Certainly the old regime will be missed but thus far the show’s newest additions look to be on par with the old crew and this should be a good season for fans.

Sleepy Hollow airs Thursdays on FOX.  Check out the newest season and see if they can outdo that last one.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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