I think the unfortunate implication is Arthur, a black person, especially a freed slave already being mistreated being happy to die for the soul of Ichabod, the white guy. And then that same black guy absolved Ichabod of feeling any guilt, in essence, erasing any responsibility for his death. It also was a very surface addressing of Ichabod’s past life. Some people believe that Arthur wasn’t Ichabod’s first interrogation. Which means Ichabod has a hell of a lot more to feel guilty about. And the fact that Arthur’s death, his conversations with Ichabod involved Katrina instead of it being about him as it should rightfully be was badly done. Katrina wasn’t the one being tortured and treated like a dog. It was him. Also, Ichabod’s guilt and sin didn’t include the shit he did to Arthur previously and only focused on the fact that Arthur died anyways. Ironically, that was the one thing Ichabod was not responsible for. He couldn’t have known that he was being followed and that the demon was hellbent on killing Arthur.
At the least, he should have felt guilty that he participated in the dehumanization of another human being. He knew it was because of Arthur’s race he was being treated with such inhumane behavior but he went along with it. And the fact that it took just a pretty woman admonishing him in less than a hot minute to start to see the light was badly done. The entire arc was the hiccup of the entire episode. I mean, the whole Arthur dying happily to save the white man would be even more glaring if the entire show was just another white show where Arthur was the token character who got used as such a terrible plot device to absolve the white guy of his sins. But that’s just my take. This review http://io9.com/sleepy-hollow-s-sin-eater-is-an-everytrope-gift-baske-1458658297 talks about the same thing too which may be clearer than mine.
Personally, i think the racially problematic stuff could have been avoided if they had made Arthur white. It was unnecessary to make him black and then mishandle the payoff and resolution so badly.
Whether you agree or disagree, this person has made some very valid points. Was there a better way to handle this particular part of the storyline? Was there a better way to write this character? Could the same ends have been reached without the problematic portions? Was it truly problematic in the first place? Why or why not?
This show has been really good with diversity and its treatment of POC and their characterizations. However, that doesn't mean it's exempt from constructive criticism or honest debate when it's warranted.