How Abbie Mills' Death Changes 'Sleepy Hollow' Forever

Fox has not announced plans yet for Sleepy Hollow Season 4, but it hasn't canceled the show either. After three seasons of being a fan of this show, I can't believe that I'm now hoping for the latter. Abbie Mills was killed off in the Season 3 finale of the supernatural drama, radically changing the course of the show. It's a change that, for many fans, was extremely surprising and unwelcome. The show took off in its first season partly due to the absorbing and fun set-up of a Revolutionary War captain and a modern-day cop fighting demons in upstate New York, and partly because the combination of Abbie (Nicole Beharie) and Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) was a chemistry miracle. Since its premiere, the show was about two foretold Witnesses, bound together by fate and duty, completely equal in consequence. Abbie's death changed all of that, and I don't know if the show can survive it.

What happened to all that "our bond" stuff, Sleepy Hollow? I signed up for Abbie and Crane, partners in sexual tension, baked good tasting, and fighting evil. Sleepy Hollow without Abbie is The X-Files without Scully. It's Castle without Beckett. Sherlock without Watson. Abbie was the force that grounded that show. Her pragmatism, toughness, and rich emotional life are what made it possible for Mison to shine as Crane, a man-out-of-time who has heart-to-hearts with the OnStar lady and gets in a huff because the pen at the bank is on a chain. They are a team. It was magic.

Abbie and Crane's partnership was important to me because neither one of them simply accepted it as destiny. They worked to be faithful and respectful to one another; they nurtured that bond like a houseplant. It's too rare to see a woman of color as a lead in a network drama, particularly on solid and equal ground with a white man. Crane and Abbie took turns saving one another. Crane held Abbie's opinion in the highest regard and Abbie wasn't idealistically impervious. It wasn't easy for her to ask for help, but she would (with the symbol from the catacombs, with her sister issues) because she knew her partner would never think her weaker for it.

Abbie Mills and this partnership meant so much to so many fans. Based on the finale, Abbie's soul will show up in another Witness. This Witness will likely be related to her, because apparently the duty runs through bloodline. What will Crane's relationship with that Witness be? How will the show write a character who is a reincarnation of Abbie in some ways but a fresh presence in another? Will Crane be as in love with this new person as Pandora and Betsy Ross said he was with Abbie? Since there must always be two Witnesses, there's no time to gradually build up a character and a relationship. The new Witness will have to be immediately accepted, and that's asking a lot of the audience.

No matter what happens next, for fans and the town of Sleepy Hollow, things just won't be the same without Abbie.

Images: Tina Rowden/FOX; Giphy (3)