Saturday, March 21, 2015

The epic Sleepy Hollow Season 2 Rewrite Pt1

I've made no secret that I've been having issues with Sleepy Hollow Season 2. Even though the episodes started off okay, and ended closer to how they should be, the sophomore slump hit this show hard, and there's just a lot that I can't let lie when I have the power to rewrite it, so here's my Better Than That version of the series.

The rules:

  • Keep the main plot points to prove that they can still have made this season, just better
  • Remove the most problematic, stupid, nonsensical, and pointless stuff and replace it with something that worked with the plot as established, was true to the characters, included all the characters, and kept the momentum up
  • Rearrange some of the points that were underserved so that they could become proper plot details and compelling story
  • Everything in season one stands as is, because while it wasn't perfect, in comparison, it was a shining example
So! Act I: Things are worse now...

This Is War

This episode was actually pretty great. We got an epic Ichabbie hug. We got a lot of awesome illusions. We got Jenny being a badass. We got good set up for the season.

So we're keeping:

  • The whole surprise-party / Archive / the Key / Henry being a bizarrely adorable captive surrounded by houseplants / it being an illusion thing
  • Ichabod getting himself out of the box, especially the part where he records a dying message for ABBIE, not for HIS WIFE
  • Jenny getting herself out of the Warehouse and Henry reading her sins to get what he needs, and every second of the Ichabod Drives An Ambulance thing
  • Katrina in the cabin stabbing Ol Headless and escaping was pretty cool, so we'll keep that
  • Most of the Purgatory scenes, because they were great: Andy Brooks helping her to remember he's human, the mirror-contact and the Epic Hug and so many shoulder and hand-grabs afterward, the double and the key and all of that
  • Getting the Key with Jenny, and Jenny hugging Ichabod and reminding him how to function in the underworld
What we're losing:
  • Shirtless Headless was the start of him not being an actual villain, and getting totally defanged, so we're ditching that mess
  • Katrina being IMMEDIATELY recaptured before she even escapes the room
  • Henry being gifted a fancy set of armor instead of being changed into War directly
  • Everything about Moloch being in focus, moving normally, and wearing clothes--naked, blurry, not-moving-like-a-human-at-all demon-kings are much scarier and less cheesy
What we're adding / changing:
  • Katrina gets out of that room, narrowly avoiding Headless, and hides out in the woods, where she tries to call on her powers and finds she's still weak--and that nature doesn't seem to like her much; things aren't just not responding to her, she's getting weird unnatural results; she's recaptured because she's sort of horrified and lets her guard down, not because she's an idiot who can't do anything. She gets the necklace after she's back inside, and it burns her or something so we know for sure it's bad news, not just letting her see his head--which only looks like his Abraham-head when he's making an effort, and looks like that gross old skull when he's angry, maintaining his villainy and scariness.
  • Henry is gifted the mantle, not an automaton, and it changes him physically--and Moloch actually gives him orders.
This way, we have a set up where K is not useless, Henry has a much more clear role as a tool without all the gross grovelling, and there's not that disconnect between him being gifted power in this episode and him being punished in the next for the same thing. Mostly, though, that return episode was something close to what we'd expected from the previous season, and it was great.


This one was also not bad, but had some of the seeds of stuff that got out of hand later, so we'll do a little surgery, but also mostly leave it alone. The real work comes later in this season!

What we're keeping:

  • The Kindred, of course
  • The dream at the beginning, where Ichabod foresees the ritual of binding, and especially "you must be alike in every way"
  • The whole intro of Reyes was pretty great, how she was immediately on the wrong foot with Abbie, but also caring and considerate of the fact that she knew Mamma Mills, and later, how she thinks she knows that the town is having some sort of cartel problem.
    • And all those other cops! Look how Abbie knows them all, and they all have things to do!
  • Abbie and Ichabod finding and then scoping out the Willow Point Estate, and their various conversations about how they need to stay focused and Ichabod trying to jump the gun and Abbie stopping him
  • The argument in the cabin about whether it's worth the whole raising-a-monster thing, and Ichabod just loudly declaring that they will
  • The fight Katrina and Headless have about how Ichabod couldn't let Abbie stay in Purgatory more than a few hours, but let his wife stay for centuries, because that's some truth right there (though in his defense, he couldn't help her because she put him in stasis, so it's really sort of her fault), and "Moloch has a plan for us all"
  • Visiting Frank in jail and telling him to plead crazy by telling the truth--and him telling them where he hid the Head
  • All the bank scene, every second of it
  • Jenny getting caught with illegal weapons and getting sent to jail
  • The whole scene in the Tunnels, looking for the body and finding it with the booby traps, Abbie's flashbacks, them talking about what their greatest weaknesses are and whether they're actually weaknesses, all of it. That scene was beautiful.
  • The "I wanted it to be you, I just wasn't ready to marry anyone" line, because that was good stuff, even if it was a lie. It buys good time.
  • The battle with the Kindred against War and Death is pretty great--so we'll keep all that.
  • Katrina saying "this is not my world" and Headless saying "it won't last long"
  • I guess we can keep "still no sign of the Kindred"--and then later, have it show up when it's needed, because it's bound to Abbie since she said the words
  • Reyes visits Frank before Henry shows up, and looks a little sharply at Henry but doesn't listen to all the crazy from Frank; she does, however, make notes in his file

What we're losing:

  • That statement that the body is pre-enchanted so all they have to do is say the words

What we're adding / changing:

  • Katrina listens actually carefully instead of really obviously and poorly; Henry knows that I&A are coming, but it's said incidentally to Headless, not as a weird threat to Katrina
  • The Kindred ceremony doesn't work when Ichabod says the words, but the second time around, Abbie says them and they do work--setting up that she has magic in her somewhere, and that Ichabod can't do magic because he has conflicted loyalties and you have to have absolute will to make it work
  • They don't tie up Katrina, they block her into one room with magic, which she then starts to systematically dismantle, proving that she actually does have power and understand how magic works. More strange things happen, but she has to get out so she's motivated.
  • After Katrina says she wanted to marry Abraham, and it turns his head from a gross skull to a lovestruck human-head, she says that Ichabod was a mission, something that got out of hand, but she's seeing more clearly now.
  • Katrina wants to leave, but Headless is on his way back and she's still trapped; she chooses to stay because otherwise Ichabod will be caught--he doesn't make it all the way in there just to have her refuse him. It's a matter of snap decisions, not of her being a lame-o. He goes, and Katrina gets her barrier down just as Headless shows up and finds her free; she says she wants to help the battle since she enchanted the Kindred to begin with, but the battle is already over. The necklace changes her a little more. 
  • When Abbie goes to see Jenny in jail, we'll keep Reyes and her mistrust of Ichabod, because that's great, but instead of Jenny just rolling over and taking it, we'll have Reyes revoke Abbie's guardianship, and give her a note on her record--and send Jenny back to Tarrytown because obviously she's still crazy and dangerous.
  • Frank gets his new lawyer, and it's Henry, and it matters that he was hired by Cynthia--but instead of Frank casually and accidentally signing over his soul, they're interrupted by a very angry Jenny being dragged back to her old cell, which they've been holding for her. Jenny and Frank make eye contact, and he doesn't sign anything; he says he's tired and he needs to look it over better later.
This way, we keep the core of the story, where they raise this monster that is the opposite of Death, and they ridiculously don't put it away again when they're done with it, and then we can use it later. We also keep the concerns Abbie has with Ichabod's loyalties, and we make a point of that time when he just overrides Abbie and Jenny and declares that they're going to do this whole Kindred thing. Meanwhile, we build on the idea that Katrina isn't all that she seems, and we give Jenny and Frank something to do when they're out of the picture, so that they aren't sidelined--they've got plot and purpose, and they're together, not rotting in separate cells while the plot continues to move on without them. Also, it stifles Henry a little, and removes a lot of Frank's passivity from this whole beginning of the season.

What're your thoughts on my construction of these first two episodes? I'll be doing two at a time periodically to get me through the break until I have my Season 3--because they totally got renewed! Whooo!
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