Sleepy Hollow: Why Katrina Had to Die

Ichabod and Katrina on Sleepy Hollow

Poor Katrina Crane, arguably one of the most reviled TV characters in recent history, has been killed off — at the hands of her heroic husband. It says a lot about Katrina, that this act will probably inspire more Ichabod love The show had a witch of a problem. Here are some thoughts on why it was time to say ding-dong.

First Things First: Katrina served a purpose in the first season of Sleepy Hollow. Time traveler Ichabod needed an emotional tie to his past. Katrina served as a handy device. She also helped define Ichabod as a devoted romantic leading man.

Shipping Zone: Shipping was almost inevitable and probably intended by the writer (these friends sure do like the lingering embrace, murmuring and sidelong glances, don’t they?), that’s what happens when there is a third party. I covered soap operas for more than a decade. I know ship fuel when I see it. When the promotional material features a man and a woman reaching for each other, that right there is deliberate ship fuel.Sleepy Hollow promotional poster Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie share such intense off-the-charts chemistry they may have unintentionally made life harder for the writers. It’s doubtful that they expected the ship to go full-steam ahead. If the show was deliberately shipping, they know that any ship worth its salt needs a solid spoiler. Katrina was perfect for that role. What kind of man would Ichabod be if he just forgot about Katrina while she was still trapped?

Say What? Katrina became annoying when her scenes were all relegated to cryptic whispering that wasn’t always consistent. To free her, the answers were in Washington’s Bible. She was in Purgatory because why? Was it Moloch? Was it shadowy enemies who trapped her?  We certainly didn’t hear anything about the Four who Speak as One, did we?

No Contest: When action girls like Abbie and Jenny are running around preventing an Apocalypse, a breathy damsel in distress just looks useless. Who didn’t feel sorry for poor hapless Katrina? Eighteenth-century ladies did not know hand-to-hand combat.

Emotional Rescue: It was vital that Katrina be rescued. Ichabod could only let her drift around Purgatory for so long. He needed to save her because romantic leading men are always potent.

Truth be Told: Things went sideways once Katrina was depicted as shady. She neglected to tell Ichabod that she was a witch and that they had a son. She had enough time to whisper everything else, why not that?

Epic Fail: All this talk about rescuing Katrina, and once Ichabbie made it to Purgatory, she was all, “I have to stay here unless someone takes my place. Oopsie.” Really? So if Ichabod arrived alone, would he have had to stay behind? Abbie was the one to make the heroic sacrifice.

Power Outage: Once out of Purgatory, Katrina’s powers were diminished. Really? Did she have to power up like a Samsung Galaxy? It gets worse. Within minutes of her release, Henry announced that he was the Cranes’ son and handed her over to Abraham. Still a damsel in distress.

Here We Go Again: Repeated rescue efforts were foiled — by Katrina. She allegedly remained with Abraham to spy on his plans with Henry. Nothing to see here, just a woman hanging out with her old boyfriend and bratty son. Uh-huh.

What a Witch: Once she fled Abraham, she spent a wee too much time regaling Ichabod with the tales of how Abraham served her quince tea. It was revealed that in addition to being a sorceress and bearing a son, Katrina had a hand in a rival falling to her death. Katrina did not actually kill Mary Wells, but she did forge a letter to make Ichabod think a defeated Mary had returned to England. And since she’s a powerful witch, why couldn’t Katrina save Mary? It would make Ichabod love her even more. And it’s not like Mary was competition. And there was more back-and-forth with Abraham.

You Had One Job: At a certain point, Ichabod, Abbie, and Jenny learned how to perform incantations on their own so they didn’t really need a witch. Abbie routinely saves Ichabod and Ichabod routinely saves Abbie. They rescue and protect each other. That’s how Team Witness works.

The Lame Game: Katrina was reduced to more embarrassing tropes like the mystical pregnancy. Always a victim, that one. Her son Henry was behind it, but he could still be saved, right? Right? He enabled his mother to be impregnated with an evil baby, but he’s not so bad, right? Ugh.

Something Wicked This Way Comes: This allegedly powerful witch couldn’t do much more than float a flower. Willow Rosenberg was floating pencils in high school, girl. Solomon Kent made the mere suggestion that she embrace the dark side and that was all it took for Katrina to go bad. No internal struggle just bam! “I’m evil now.”Buffy the Vampire's Willow floating a pencil

Burn Book: After joining forces with Henry, Katrina decided she was the second coming of Regina George. (She’s not, Regina George had power.) Upon embracing evil,  she haughtily disrespected Ichabod with the put-down that it could never work with a “mortal man.” Oh? Since when? “Bye, Felicia.”

Thrill Kill: With Henry dead, Katrina performed a spell to go back in time and make sure that Ichabod died for real and would not be resurrected. Instead of doing it on her own, she had to ask  Horseman for help. Grace Dixon reversed the spell (on her own, thank you very much) so Katrina landed right back in the present. Attempting to kill Abbie didn’t pan out. As she used what magical powers she had to strangle Abbie, Crane saved his Leftenant by stabbing Katrina. It was a mercy killing.

While it’s plain the vast majority of fans and entertainment critics are breathing a sigh of relief, it’s only fair to note that Katrina has her defenders.

Those on Team Katrina have often passionately Tweeted about her beauty (the actress is beautiful, no argument there) and her marriage to Crane (they were indeed married.) They see great Ichatrina chemistry. These concerned fans criticized the show for not sticking to the original story: there was no Abbie Mills in Washington Irving’s tale and Ichabod loved Katrina. Of course, Irving’s Ichabod was not a drop-dead handsome and heroic figure, he was an unattractive coward and Katrina rejected him, but why quibble? Things did turn out better for Ichabod and Katrina in the Johnny Depp film version, so it’s safer to go with that as the source beyonce-oopsmaterial.

As much as many fans despised Katrina, her droves of defenders have their own gripes and feel unheard. Abbie has been drawing ire, there have been Tweets about her “tone” and “attitude” and she has been given the moniker “Miss thing.” After the karaoke episode, she was labeled “Beyoncé.”

Wait, is that a dig? That sounds like a compliment to me. Maybe it was because the Tweeters confused Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” with Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love?” It would be awesome if they started calling Abbie “Patsy Cline.” Make of that what you will.

Katrina loyalists have also decried those whom they see as “loud,” “bullies” and “Twitter trolls.” Tom Mison’s remarks about the doomed Crane marriage and Ichabod’s love for Abbie was seen as a “betrayal” These Katrina fans are not going to sit still for this. They have railed at the show for what they see as “pandering to the loudest voices.” To counteract the #RenewSleepyHollow campaign, there is a #CancelSleepyHollow campaign. Make of that what you will.

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Elaine G. Flores, Chief Editor
Elaine is the chief editor of TV Recappers' Delight. She's an experienced entertainment reporter, reviewer, editor, blogger, columnist and Bon Vivant.

7 thoughts on “Sleepy Hollow: Why Katrina Had to Die”

  1. Melissa says:

    Like most, I love John Noble. He was so great as the introverted sin eater. I would’ve preferred they left him in that capacity and revealed the utterly painful KATRINA to be the big bad at the end of season ONE. She was fresh out of purgatory after hundreds of years, so it made perfect sense. Witch or not, there’s no way that place didn’t affect her when it nearly took down Crane and Abbie in mere minutes. No way. So instead of asking how Katrina’s evil side suddenly appeared out of “nowhere” people should be asking why it didn’t appear SOONER. Instead the writers wasted the perfect opportunity to make Katrina relevantly bad. They were forced to kill her off, but she likely could have stayed on in a SUPPORTING capacity as the witch on the side of whoever the next big bad was. I’m not a fan of Katrina, but I think a witch is important to the show; I hope a new one comes along soon.

    Ugh, so disappointed that just when things were great again, the season ends. So much could’ve been done, but instead we were subjected to Crane Family Drama and Katrina uselessly mulling about in a used corset for much of the season. I’m a fan of the genre, so I still enjoyed most of it. Honestly, even during the worst episodes there are hidden gems. I think Deliverance is the most hated episode and even that features a poignant, yet hilarious, Ichabbie voting opening scene. The course is corrected, and I hope there is much more to come! No cliffhanger is only because they aren’t sure about a renewal. Goffman sure sounds confident it’s coming back, though, doesn’t he? I truly hope it’s true…But it was a tidy ending nonetheless and relatively sad with the feeling of finality so prevalent in the final scene between Abbie and Crane.

    1. Elaine F. says:

      Thanks for writing, Melissa. I think Katrina could have made a splendid Big Bad. The time to do it was probably at the end of the S1 finale. I can see Henry welcoming his mom and then tossing Ichabod in the grave. Or they could have played it so that the audience knew she was evil for most of the season and then let Ichabod find out as he did. I would have found it less frustrating to know that she had a plan and was playing the Witnesses. The mystical pregnancy in “Deliverance” was a low point. Mr. TV Recaps thinks the show is going to be renewed and TPTB are just dragging it out to get us whipped up when it returns. Mr. TV Recaps is probably also tired of hearing me obsess over this. :)

  2. Cindy Klein says:

    I’ve only just found this “review” and although it made me laugh, I think the obvious “shipper” influence makes this thing null and void. The reviewer also forgot to mention the petition launched by shippers to force a pairing between the white male lead and the black lead. I’ve seen enough tweeter and petitions to know that threats and racism on the side of the black females played a huge role in the way the treatment this character received. Read this with a HUGE grain of salt balanced squarely on the writer’s shoulder and the PC pandering done in this series not in an attempt to tell a good story, but to soothe the ruffled feathers of a SJW fandom fighting for ownership.

    1. Elaine F. says:

      Hi Cindy. “Thank you” for “commenting” on this “review.” Ships ahoy!

  3. Gayla says:

    The only thing wrong with this show is that Abby and Ichabod didnt get together! If people wanna go with the original story then Ichabod wouldnt be handsome AT ALL and Katrina wouldnt want him, being she rejected him in the original story! Stop wanting one thing without the other! This story is MUCH more interesting and up with the times! I HATE that the writers werent brave enough to form a romantic relationship between Abby and Ichabod! It would have been awesome! Shame on the writers for not letting that happen! As for Katrina,…BORING! I spent most of the beginning waiting on her ass to die! She got on my nerves! Even after her death, Abbey and Crane STILL wasnt allowed to form a romance!!?? Really???!!

  4. Skylar says:

    I don’t mind Abbie and Ichabod not getting together. It would be interesting, sure, but it’s nice to see two people who are in close proximity, a man and a woman, and not in a relationship. In a society that seems to force the idea that two people with compatible genders/sexualities HAVE to date each other, it’s refreshing to see them just stay close friends.

  5. Mark Willoughby Wood says:

    I totally disagree. Katrina should not have been written down the dark path unless caused by forces beyond her control. The tug of a 3-some causes great drama… and while we’re on it Henry’s hatred of his parents is totally unfounded once the truth was told him. How can you hate a father who died before knowledge of even a pregnancy?

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