Sleepy Hollow's Abbie Mills: Death of The American Dream | The Mary Sue
The chemistry between Sleepy Hollow's Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane) and Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills) is unmistakable, whether you see them. Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane work together, as equals, on the show. . Abbie and Jenny stems solely from their strained relationship as children, episodes and creating memes, interacting with their ardent fans in a way. SLEEPY HOLLOW: Abbie (Nicole Beharie) in the “Whispers In The Dark” the lack of any kind of relationship for Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie).
With Katrina dead and Hawley gone it was time for Abbie and Jenny to get their screen time back. Then everything changed when Betsy Ross appeared. Betsy Ross will go down, in my humble opinion, as one of the stupidest things this show did.
For a show that was celebrated in season one for its diversity, it continued to peel back its characters of color and add the most irrelevant white characters they could dust up.
Betsy Ross was the cream of the crop, second only to Hawley, in being a huge waste of time. Plus, guess who got a relationship story again?
One in the past with Betsy, and one in present day with a colonial history-buff Zoe. Well, she got sucked into a tree once. After being brought back into reality with help from Ichabod, Abbie did have a fairly good storyline dealing with her PTSD from being in a world devoid of time, but even that in the larger picture was too little too late.
Where is Abbie Mills? Ichabod Crane goes it alone in the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ winter premiere
Even her eventual relationship with Daniel, her boss and former flame, got very little development and the timeline itself is wonky at best. Excuse me while I go scream into my pillow. The actress wanted to leave, and rightly so, considering the material she was getting, but that is the problem—the story made her want to leave. There are people who, despite the poor second season, still stuck with the show because they wanted to see Nicole as Abbie Mills.
The sad reality is that hunger, that need to see ourselves, still exists in media and with every step forward, there are several steps back that only reinforce the need to see the few that do it well survive.
Abbie Mills was supposed to be our Buffy, our Scully. Abbie Mills held in her the hopes and possibilities of what a dark skinned black woman could be on a network sci-fi show. Sleepy Hollow reinforced the expendability that black bodies are in genre television, and proved that protagonist protection does not extend to us.
We are not safe. How did it happen? Sleepy Hollow's assets are numerous, yet each one is comparatively hard to find on network TV and, in many cases on cable.
What every TV show can learn from Sleepy Hollow
Let's look at each: First and foremost, the series boasts one of the most diverse casts anywhere on television. Two of its four series regulars are African-American Nichole Beharie and Orlando Joneswhile all three of its most frequently recurring characters — played by John Cho, Lyndie Greenwood, and Nicholas Gonzalez — are people of color. The pilot wastes no time in addressing Ichabod's experience with slavery, as the displaced revolutionary asks Beharie's skeptical Abbie whether she's been emancipated.
In a later episode, when Ichabod praises Jefferson, Abbie and Frank immediately point out the Founding Father's hypocrisy in denouncing slavery while owning many slaves and fathering children with Sally Hemings — a view which Ichabod grudgingly comes to accept. Though it shouldn't be remarkable for shows to address racism in realistic or emotionally honest ways, sidestepping those issues is still the norm in mainstream media.
Where is Abbie Mills? Ichabod Crane goes it alone in the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ winter premiere – Screener
The same study observed that shows with the highest percentage of racial diversity in their casts also performed better in the ratings than shows with less inclusive casts. As the study's author, Darnell Hunt, pointed out: The show's diversity of gender is just as impressive. Thankfully, many broadcast shows now feature a female lead — although aside from Sleepy Hollow, only ABC's Scandal features a female lead who's also African American — but far fewer feature more than one strong woman in a regular or recurring role.
Sleepy Hollow boasts three: All three are capable of saving the day in their own way, and in one memorable episode, the trio work together to save a kidnapped Ichabod, deliciously subverting the traditional "damsel in distress" narrative.
The relationships are stronger, too. Despite the fervent fan base rooting for something romantic to develop between Ichabod and Abbie regardless of the fact that he's still married to Katrina and the palpable chemistry between the two, there's a refreshing lack of jealousy or cattiness between the show's women. Abbie has done nothing to undermine Ichabod's relationship with his wife, nor shown anything other than a platonic affection for him; Katrina hasn't hesitated in turning to Abbie for help when necessary, and the friction between Abbie and Jenny stems solely from their strained relationship as children, not from disagreements relating to men.
It's as if women can maintain relationships without being defined by who they're dating — a novel concept! For all those genuine landmarks, Sleepy Hollow also has an admirable sense of humor about itself. A show that's mashing up Biblical prophecy with urban legends, the Founding Fathers, and time travel can't exactly take itself too seriously, but the show has toed the line between playful campiness and pure cheesiness to great effect so far.
It's not afraid to poke fun at its own surrealism in places, but it never becomes so self-aware that it undermines the drama of what's occurring on screen.