Sleepy Hollow‘s Ichabod and Abbie can’t catch a break. Even after defeating the demon Moloch and preventing an impending Apocalypse, the Witnesses portrayed by Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie have not gotten much of a vacation. Henry and the Headless Horseman remain at large, the misguided angel Orion plots to cleanse the Earth at the cost of a billion lives, supernatural menaces continue to pop up and, from the sound of it, things are going to get much worse.
As the supernatural Fox drama heads into the home stretch of its second season, Spinoff Online spoke with Executive producer Mark Goffman about imminent threats, shining a spotlight on the Witnesses, the theme of redemption, Ichabod’s relationships and the serialized nature of the show.
Spinoff Online: After defeating the series’ primary antagonist Moloch, Sleepy Hollow hasn’t immediately replaced him with a new big bad. Has avoiding another multiple episode-spanning threat opened up some narrative space to explore other avenues?
Mark Goffman: Yeah, we thought it was really important to take a beat from Moloch’s death and let the characters take stock of where they are in life and their role as Witnesses. That really started an arc we’ll see grow over the back half of the season, about defining who they are as Witnesses and who they are to each other.
They also know that according to the Bible, now that Moloch is dead, there’s a long period of trials and tribulations ahead. It seems like they’ve made it past the first, but they don’t know what else is in store. That’s really interesting territory to be in for a while when they don’t know what’s going to come up next.
There’s been some criticism about the highly-serialized nature of the show lately. What are your thoughts on the stand-alone versus serialized episodes?
In season one, we came up with the endgame at the beginning and we knew exactly where we were going to go over the course of the season. When a season is only 13 episodes, you can really rock to that finish. This season, in doing 18, it definitely changes the way you have to pace out the show. That’s why we gave it this space after the mid-season finale to change course. It’s been a different season in that sense.
We haven’t seen much of Henry Parrish (John Noble), Abraham (Neil Jackson) or Orion (Max Brown) in recent episodes. What have they been up to?
We shall see. We have plans and ideas that have been percolating for all the characters. We hope at the right time to be able to bring them in and catch everyone up on what they’ve been up to. The main thing now is focusing on Abbie and Crane and getting to stay with them and their point-of-view on the world.
Last time we saw Abraham, he said he would refrain from killing as long as Ichabod’s wife Katrina (Katia Winter) worked on separating him from the Horseman of Death. How’s that been working out for them?
So far we haven’t seen him, so we assume he’s good on his word. It remains to be seen whether that will stick. He’s still in search of his head, which the Kindred has run off with. There’s some interesting conflict and story to be had there when these elements all come together again.
An undead Captain Irving (Orlando Jones) has resurfaced and Henry obviously still owns his soul. How concerned should they be over that little fact?
I would be very concerned. As much as they are relieved and want to embrace Captain Irving returning, they know he is not in control of his soul. They have struggled with this with [John Cho’s character Andy] Brooks in the past, so they have some experience with the undead. As much as Irving seems to present as normal, they are going to be very wary as the episodes progress. Abbie, Crane and Jenny are very resourceful and will be looking for ways to circumvent evil.
Is it even possible to break a deal with the devil?
Yeah, that’s a good question to ask. Is it possible to break a deal with the devil? Better yet, how do your break a deal with the devil, because I really hope there’s a way.
And will there be a price to pay?
We feel strongly that when you make a deal, there has to be consequences. Showing that for each of our characters is important.
Are characters such as Henry and Abraham beyond redemption?
Redemption is one of the themes we’ve been exploring throughout the season. The characters have to show signs of it to question whether it’s possible. It will be interesting if — and when — Henry is back, we see what he’s gone through and what might change our minds about him.
Katrina knew Abraham beforehand and has a belief that man is still there and that it was the overlaying of the Horseman of the Apocalypse that has turned both him and Henry so evil. The question is whether that soul is worth redeeming or did they make a choice and now they are damned and have to live with it? Katrina has been trying to make the argument that despite everything, if there is a way to separate that man, it’s worth doing.
Ichabod and Katrina teamed-up for a little adventure. Was that time together a step towards reconciling their relationship?
Katrina was in Purgatory for 200 years. That’s a real long time. Abbie and Crane were in it for a very short period and it took a real toll on them. As we get to see over the next several episodes, Katrina is going to continue to struggle to find her place in the modern world and place with Ichabod.
Are you surprised audiences haven’t warmed up more to Katrina?
The role of writers on a show is you have to fall in love with all of your characters — every one of them — and try to tell the stories from their point-of-view and make sure everyone understands where they are coming from. We’ve all done our best here and Katia is such a fantastic actress. There are a lot of people who have really enjoyed the way that story has borne out and others haven’t.
The members of Sleepy Hollow’s Scooby Gang haven’t all been under one roof since the mid-season finale. Will the entire team be uniting any time soon?
That’s something we know everyone wants to see. The short answer to your question is we are going to see a lot more of the characters in the back half. Whether they are all working together as much, we’ll have to see how that plays out.
What did new faces Nicholas Hawley (Matt Barr) and Captain Leena Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey) add to the series?
We wanted to expand out the world of Sleepy Hollow and show more depth to it. That’s something we want to continue in season three, is really getting to see more of the town. Having them allowed us to introduce more people, one of whom has no knowledge of the supernatural and one of whom now does. It was an additional resource that our team was able to go to and was a different flavor of people.
What’s on the horizon in terms of historical figures and ghouls that will be appearing?
We are going to introduce Thomas Jefferson, who we’ve certainly referred to before as the architect of the masonic cell where we’ve kept Headless. The really fun thing is it’s not just Ichabod Crane that gets to meet him. We’re going to see Benjamin Franklin again. We’ll see him in the finale in a context nobody would be able to guess.
We have Reavers that will appear and are an intriguing monster that protect something the Witnesses would find incredibly useful. We also have a warlock, which is the first time we’ve featured one on the show.
The season one finale featured cliffhangers at every turn. How ambitious is this year’s finale?
Creatively and production-wise, we are doing something in the finale we’ve never done before on the show. We’ve done a lot of crazy things, so it remains to be seen whether people find it as ambitious as before, but we’re definitely going for broke.
Lastly, what’s your gut instinct when it comes to Sleepy Hollow getting a third season?
We feel like there’s no other show like Sleepy Hollow on television. There are so many incredible elements going for it. We have a brilliant cast. We have a gifted production crew and writing team. This year, we’ve seen a lot of what works. We’re excited about the opportunities for season three. I think getting to focus on some of the things fans have gotten to enjoy will allow us to have a really exciting season three and beyond.
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