'Sleepy Hollow' Episode 'Dawn's Early Light' a Highlight Before Inevitable Cancellation

The once promising supernatural drama is on its way out, but "Dawn's Early Light" is a hell of way to face the end.


The worst thing about Sleepy Hollow isn’t that it’s bad, but exceptionally mediocre. Mediocrity is a fate worse than death, and it’s driven the once fevered Sleepyheads away from their favorite show. Season 3 will probably be the last for Fox’s supernatural procedural, but with just a few episodes left it isn’t going down without a fight. “Dawn’s Early Light” is a faint throwback to the pure electricity and fun that made this show so great in the first place.

Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod (Tom Mison) learn they must return to the catacombs for plot reasons, but to get there securely they need a map. Since Uber can’t get them there, so they seek guidance from our forefathers because, well this is Sleepy Hollow. The actual, honest-to-God painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware leads them, at last, to the flag of Betsy Ross (Nikki Read). Sewn with a special gold thread, the flag led General Washington into the catacombs because, surprise, it wasn’t New Jersey Washington led his troops into that Christmas of 1776. Remember when Sleepy Hollow used to have fun with its historical revisionism? It remembers too.

Besides being nostalgic about its better, earlier seasons, Sleepy Hollow finally brings into the fold Reynolds (Lance Gross), Abbie’s FBI boss in a move that’s too little too late. Nothing made sense about Reynolds from the beginning, because Sleepy Hollow already had Orlando Jones’ Frank Irving who was pretty much the same as Reynolds except the useless romantic subplot. It’s inexplicable Sleepy Hollow wanted to again keep the underworld away from Abbie’s superior, and in the end nothing remotely interesting happened out of it. It’s only now with two episodes left can Reynolds, who is annoying and sucks the energy anytime he’s in the frame, be of any use.

But at least now the fun can start. Abbie and Ichabod learned only last week their role as Witnesses is inherited through bloodline, a wrinkle that can be very interesting (now that Abbie and Jenny have welcomed back their father, with caution) or be even more rubbish that can’t actually hurt since nothing can plausibly rescue the show. Meanwhile, Pandora has cut ties with the Hidden One and it’s seriously the first time this story has been engaging, and Reynolds is now joining the fight against the paranormal with our heroes which means there’s no more dumb lines like “We’ll talk when you need me” and “I’VE GIVEN YOU ENOUGH SPACE ABBIE.” With Reynolds able to bring the FBI in, can we expect to see a full-scale humans versus demons war which the show should have already been by now? See, this is Sleepy Hollow making us ask fun questions, not looking at the clock wondering if it’s over.

Whether Sleepy Hollow nails its finale won’t matter. The light this show had is out. We Sleepyheads only have the good memories of Ichabod, a man out of his time, clashing with modernity and Abbie eye-rolling in the way only she can, and it’s nice the show remembers too.