Full disclosure: I’ve never seen Bones before. I mean, generally speaking, I know that it’s been on the air for a long time, and I know Ace watches it occasionally, and that’s about all I know about it. But when FOX announced that it was doing a special Sleepy Hollow and Bones crossover event for Halloween (with a namesmush hashtag, #HollowBones), I was actually kind of excited. I wanted to see how other detective-ish folks would react to Sleepy Hollow’s particular brand of crazy, and I wanted to see how Ichabod worked with people who were not as attuned to him as Abbie is. Unfortunately, by the end of the dual episodes, I was left wondering what the point of it all was. Spoilers after the jump!
#HollowBones started in Bones’s home court. Throughout the entire two hours I only managed to learn the names of Brennan and Booth, so Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth and their team discover a (recently) deceased woman and a (less recently) deceased British officer from colonial times, both buried in a church. They’re able to identify the woman, who turns out to be a med student who’d recently gotten into witchcraft. They’re less able to identify the officer, which is when Ichabod and Abbie invite themselves in. Ichabod works with the forensic team and they figure out that the officer is General Howe, whom Ichabod had once tried to kill, and Abbie works with Booth, who tells her that he’d known August Corbin and Abbie was just a chip off the old block. Together, the teams manage to find the woman’s killer, and Ichabod gets General Howe’s bones released for transport back to Sleepy Hollow and the 9 P.M. Sleepy Hollow timeslot.
Once we’re in Sleepy Hollow territory, Pandora attacks the courier van and resurrects General Howe, who promptly attacks Ichabod and Abbie in a creepy old mausoleum. Howe and his undead soldiers prove impossible to shoot, so Ichabod and Abbie go back to Brennan and Booth in D.C., hoping that Bones’s forensic team can help them find Howe’s original burial site and that the site will have some kind of clue as to killing the undead. Once at the original burial site, we find out that the colonies apparently had napalm?! what the fuck?!—which they used to kill undead soldiers. Armed with this knowledge, Abbie and Ichabod zoom back to Sleepy Hollow and burn the fuck out of some undead soldiers, while Brennan and Booth are left in D.C. with the knowledge that after eleven whole years on the air, they can only manage to look and sound like they’re reading their lines off cue cards held just slightly too far out of their line of sight.
I honestly didn’t see the point of the crossover—surely Bones had other spooky procedural mysteries they could solve, and Sleepy Hollow could definitely have used the time to stay in New York and actually figure out what Pandora’s been up to for the past four episodes. But it looks like this cross-network promotion brought up the ratings for both shows, and after last season, Sleepy Hollow probably needs all the help it can get on that front. Still, since Bones is ostensibly set in D.C., I can’t help but feel that Sleepy Hollow missed out on a real opportunity here. Is this the first time Ichabod’s ever been to modern-day D.C.? Imagine him going around to all the monuments and reflecting on the good old times, annoying tour guides by correcting their information—imagine his reaction to the completed Washington Monument! Imagine Abbie taking him around to the MLK memorial and the Holocaust museum and all the Smithsonians and schooling him on everything that happened after he quote-unquote died! We had two hours and we only got to see Ichabod in D.C. for two seconds?! I call bullshit.
On Sleepy Hollow’s side of things, it’s not that this was a bad episode, precisely. It was just as charming as ever (I especially loved Jenny dressed as a Mountie for Halloween), and it doesn’t look like it’ll ever be as terrible as the whole Katrina debacle again, thank goodness. If the show wants to be just Team Witness bowling and laughing at Ichabod together for an hour every week, believe me, I’m all for it. But every week we get something cute and we get Ichabod and Abbie asking each other “What’s Pandora doing? I dunno, do you?” And Team Witness isn’t that stupid. It’s been long enough—let’s figure out what the plot of this season is going to be.
The one thing I did like about this episode were the hints that August Corbin wasn’t exactly who he said he was. Since Corbin trained pretty much everyone (sans Ichabod) on Team Witness, and since he’s always been held up as this saintly father figure, Corbin’s integrity being called into question is going to have profound implications for Abbie, Jenny, and Joe. Joe is the only one to act on it this episode—he and Jenny find out that the smuggler Atticus Nevins, who’s being set up as a villain for our heroes, worked pretty closely with Corbin in the past and might have useful information. Joe corners Nevins’s associate and demands a meeting. Unfortunately, Abbie’s FBI boss gets pictures of Jenny and Joe and Nevins’s associate, and now he also wants an explanation. If Corbin was a bad guy—or even if Corbin was just hiding something big—it looks like we’re going to get some major character development for three-fourths of Team Witness.
At the end of this episode, Pandora says she only needs one more flower on her death tree, so hopefully next episode, we’ll get some answers. Or at least some progress. But as long as Sleepy Hollow can keep its charming interactions between its teammates going, I’ll still enjoy it. As long as they don’t do another half-assed crossover.