9.22.2013

Black Girls' Night Out: Abbie Mills

***Warning:  Spoilers ahead.***

From the moment I learned about Sleepy Hollow last year, I knew I'd be watching once it premiered this Fall.  Since I love this genre, it wasn't going to be much of a chore, but the real selling point for me was that Nicole Beharie (American Violet, Shame, 42) had been cast as the female lead. 

As I'm sure we all know, black women usually don't get these kinds of roles.  We just don't.  If we're lucky, we might get a supporting role where our entire existence revolves around the white leads and whatever issues they're facing on a weekly basis.  Don't believe me?  Just hold your nose and check out The Vampire Diaries to see this play out in real time.

Now let's talk about the fabulous Lieutenant (now Sheriff) Abbie Mills, shall we?  And she is fabulous.  She's smart and beautiful.  Brave and compassionate.  She has her own agency.  She has her own backstory.  She's sassy, but not in that typical "sassy black woman" way we all know and hate.  And she's one of the only two people in the world that can save us all.  She's in the bible, y'all!

We start out with Abbie and her partner, Sheriff Corbin, having dinner in a diner.  A lot of exposition is thrown our way right out of the gate.  We learn that there have been all sorts of strange, unsolved killings and disappearances going on, that she's off to Quantico in a week to join the FBI, and that's there's something strange in her background that she just might be running away from but doesn't want to talk about.

After answering a police call about a possible disturbance at a stables, Corbin is separated from his dome by Headless, and Abbie finally meets Ichabod (who'd been arrested for Corbin's murder) for the first time.  While some people had a problem with the whole emancipation scene, I didn't.  I'm glad that the race issue was addressed rather than swept under the rug, and I thought the writers handled it well.  And if I didn't love Abbie before their exchange, I sure did love her afterward.
Ichabod:  If you're insinuating I endorse slavery, I'm offended.

Abbie:  Wait, back up. You're offended?
Despite the great chemistry that was apparent from the outset, Abbie wasn't here for Ichabod's bullshit.

Upon orders from Captain Irving (hee!), she takes Crane to a psychiatric hospital (during which we're treated to some great banter and a hilarious scene of Ichabod learning the ways of the electric car window) and shares a moment of vulnerability once there, opening up to him about what happened to her when she was younger.  Seems that she and her sister saw four creepy white trees in the woods one day, heard a scary voice, passed out and woke up on the side of the road.  Everyone thought they were crazy (except Sheriff Corbin we'd later learn), and her poor sister actually began to believe it.  Abbie, on the other hand, chose to go the suppression route and pretend it never happened.  And even though she still doesn't quite believe Ichabod's story, this is partly the reason why she doesn't think he's nearly as nuts as everyone else does.

After discovering Corbin's secret stash of really weird shit (including newspaper clippings of her otherworldly incident and a recording of all the strange goings on up and down the Eastern seaboard), she busts Crane out of they asylum and they go off on their Grand Adventure to stop the Headless Horseman (who we've by now discovered is actually Death, one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse). 

Based on a dream that Ichabod had of his dead wife, Katrina (who also happens to be a witch), he knows that he has to keep Headless from becoming reacquainted with his long-lost noggin.  They dig up his preserved skull from Katrina's body-less grave, but Headless rudely crashes the party and wants his property back. 

Of course they refuse, and Headless is none too pleased.  He goes after Abbie with a shotgun and nearly puts a round into Ichabod before Abbie saves his ass with a few well placed bullets of her own.  Ichabod fights Headless, John Cho's character Officer Andy Brooks betrays Abbie and almost loses a thumb in the process when she almost bites it off, the police look like the keystone cops up against the awesome that is the Horseman, and after all that, the coming dawn is the thing that ends up saving them all. 

Abbie and Ichabod share a subtext-filled moment in the street where they smile and eye each other, before we find ourselves back at the station and find out what's really going on.

Looking way more happy than he probably should after finding out that Abbie is no longer leaving for the FBI, Crane tells her that they are the two witnesses prophesized in the bible to fight evil and save the world from the Apocalypse.  As he'd already explained to her earlier, their fates are entwined and now we know just how deeply. 

Yup, our girl is that important to the overall mythology of the show.  We've learned early on that this is a character that won't be getting pushed to the side or put on the back-burner for other (white) characters like we so often see when it comes to characters of color.  Along with Ichabod, she's it, and despite some of the whining that's already started up with some fangirls, she's not going anywhere.

I don't know what I was expecting when I sat down to watch this show, but it far exceeded my expectations.  It was "time-traveling", fish-out-of-water, Headless Horseman, witches, demons, Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, magic, and the heralding of the literal End of Days goodness.  It was absolutely crazy.  

But crazy in all the best ways possible.


33 comments:

  1. "Long lost noggin" - FTW!!!!

    It's about time you posted this! *winks* I'll admit I am curious to see where this show goes and I will admit and impressed thus far with how Beharie (*squeal*) has been treated character-wise.

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    1. I was writing and revising all weekend. Writing one of these is harder than I thought. I had to re-watch the episode multiple times, for reasons... *blinks* Hopefully, it'll get easier for me as the season wears on.

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    2. Oh, honey...you're just rusty. You're actually an old hat at this.

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  2. This show has my complete attention. I was giggling like a maniac when certain ideas/nuggets/easter eggs were tossed out for us hungry fangirls. This show has pulled in approximately 13 million views...and I'm here for it. Fox, don't fuck around because some people are clearly unhappy with the casting and characterization. There are millions of us who approve (and even though them toenail-biting bitches are complaining, they can't do it unless they're watching).

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    1. toenail-biting bitches! I just had to repeat that!

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  3. I love Sleepy Hollow ever since I watched the cartoon as a kid, so when I found out about the cast for the television show I was all in. Keeping fingers crossed hoping Fox don't mess it up, but so far so good. Somebody mentioned on another thread that Fox was surprised by the viewership it got, I don't know why they feel surprised by that since Fox depended a lot on minority viewership back in the day (late 80's early 90's) to get established. New York Undercover, Martin, Living Single, In Living Color, Roc ... They all had high ratings.

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  4. Somebody mentioned on another thread that Fox was surprised by the viewership it got, I don't know why they feel surprised by that since Fox depended a lot on minority viewership back in the day (late 80's early 90's) to get established. New York Undercover, Martin, Living Single, In Living Color, Roc ... They all had high ratings.

    How quickly they forget.

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    1. Yes honey Fox thursday was the black night. Those were the days. You can cry real tears when you think about if BET really had its ish together

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  5. Thank-you Cinnamon! Yup, I mentioned that Fox was surprised, it's what I heard on Tumblr whenever it was on my dash, so naturally, I wanted to see if you guys were watching/ your thoughts etc. I'm just super excited to have other black woman to geek out with ! Thanks again! I wanna see what happens this week.

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    1. I have it DVR'd. Hopefully I'll have time to watch it tomorrow night.

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  6. I plan to squeeze in some time today to watch the pilot again. I just loved loved loved it. I can't wait for the next episode. Perhaps by then, I'll have something more coherent to say. Nicole Beharie's been my favorite for a very long time and I can't believe she's finally going to grace our television sets weekly. Unlike other shows, the premise for Sleepy Hollow makes it a candidate for international viewership.

    Everyone, Bob Orci DOES listen to fans. Find out where he's squatting these days and sing Abbie's praises. If there's something missing from Abbie's characterization, TELL HIM. He enjoys rational conversation and his disdain for the HATERS is pretty clear.

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    1. Everyone, Bob Orci DOES listen to fans.

      Well...now...I dunno about alladat.

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    2. I listen to lots of people. That doesn't mean I agree. When it comes to Orci, I tend to concentrate on rational conversations that lead to a better place. I tend to react badly to "fans" as well when they act as if the world will implode if they can't their way. The powers that be asked Nicole to read for this part and they full well what they were doing when they did it.

      I'll be watching episode 2 tomorrow. John Cho for the win!!

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    3. I'm so glad they brought John Cho back!!! I was so ticked when I thought they were going to off him in Ep 1 and then just leave him offed. I've never seen him in role like this and it's soooooooo refreshing. He does "dark" very well.

      *sigh* Does anyone else miss him as Demetri Noh?

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    4. I like it that Andy isn't really bad-bad, just bad enough. I could do with Demetri Noh and Captain Sulu.

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  7. And then there is Abbie's sis, Jennifer....

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    1. OMG - Lyndie Greenwood for the win! I think she may have finally landed a role I can stomach!

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    2. With Abbie as a main character, Jennifer has to be on Death Watch...

      I had no idea Lyndie Greenwood existed. She seemed adorable and personable on YouTube. Hope she can get a regular gig out of this.

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    3. With Abbie as a main character, Jennifer has to be on Death Watch...

      Oh, shit. I hadn't even thought of that.

      Goddamn it!!!!!

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    4. The Big Question: What time should we set the Doomsday clock? 4 minutes? 10 minutes? The powers that be could surprise us and allow Jennifer to be in league with the Big Bad. If so, she might last longer than usual.

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    5. Was her introduction to the show not epic? Shades of Sarah Connor in T2; pure badassery and absolutely zero fucks given. As someone who knows what meds can and can't do to mood perspectives, I love what the writers have intimated with Jennifer's character. It'll be a fine line she walks and I'm eager to see it played out.

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    6. Was her introduction to the show not epic? Shades of Sarah Connor in T2; pure badassery and absolutely zero fucks given.

      THAT'S WHO SHE REMINDED ME OF!!!!!!

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    7. The Sheriff told Abbie not to be afraid of her sister. Because Jennifer is no longer taking the meds that suppress her ability to see the demon(s), Abbie is going to need her help, which means that she's going to have to quit suppressing her own abilities.

      GYATDAMB, I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HOW THEY DO DIS HEAH!!!

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  8. I admit,I thought that this series would be a little bit much for me,but I sampled it and at least so far,I've been impressed by it. Not only is Nicole is in the lead,but this show has a lot of POCs in this show who aren't being put in the backburner. I'm just hoping that the creator of this series don't make the same mistake that too many of his peers have/are making. I'm also hoping that I'm not bragging about Sleepy Hollow too soon.

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    1. Yeah, so far we have a lot of POC and they aren't all the bad guys/damaged people. So often they like to show the black people having dysfunctional relationships among themselves or in their families, or they somehow make all of the POC damaged.
      Granted, they can be justifiably hurt/angry and WW will pour the hate on them but we have a black protagonist who is center stage, who isn't a sassy, asexual sidekick, who has two fine men who aren't black checking for her, has an equally fine, bad ass sister, and the Asian guy gets to be a generic bad guy that isn't related to his ethnicity at all. I was surprised to see John Cho and then surprised when it seemed as if they'd offed him in the first episode but it does show some range there.
      I feel like he's too well known to not stick around for a while since he is now the undead tool of one of the horsemen. Curious to find out how he fell in league with them too.

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  9. Loved it!
    Mostly because: Black Female Lead + Genre.

    I watched the pilot and 2nd epi yesterday. The predictable hateration has already begun. Some of the comments at the place where I watch this show:
    "She's a sucky actress"
    "She's so bland"
    etc.

    I just file my nails and grin at my screen.
    Sending this wish out to the Universe: Please Don't Fuck This Up. Don't End Up Like Twisted.

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    1. God! At least if they were going to express their same old racist comments at least be original with it...lol! Just like they tell us Black women to "get over it",they should get over it! I don't see why they should get mad at Black women leads? I mean they'rejust catching up to the years of Hollywood excluding them from pictures.They have no right complaining about it. It's a new day and I'm glad that people like Nicole are in leads. To see their (the racists) version of good TV is incredibly boring..and bland.

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  10. Though many dislike it, I am feeling the Monster of the Week. I love it because it provides more time for character fleshing. In this way, we get to see Abbie and Tom react to a variety of problems instead of one big ol' ISSUE. The pacing is good enough for someone like me who isn't practiced at watching much television. I haven't looked away yet. Kudos to Nicole, Tom, Orlando, John, and the rest of the cast. Can't wait until next week when Abbie faces her personal demons. I wonder if Mr. Crane will be the puppy dog sleeping at the foot of her bed. He's so happy they're on that journey together. Love the intro to Jennifer, too. She's gearing up to kick evil's ass.

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    1. I agree. It's very "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", which lasted 7 years and allowed plenty of growth for its central characters.

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  11. Cinnamon the way you just summarized the show was accurate and had me laughing. I found out about this show they day it premiered by signing into yahoo. I don't remember seeing any promotions about the show, but the next day I was Hulu and watched it and all I could say is that, that is how a show kills a pilot episode. You open a can on your audience. I like Nicole Behaire and seeing Orlando Jones was just, yes! I am here for this show :)

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one here for Orlando Jones.

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