[This is a review of the Bones-Sleepy Hollow Crossover Event. There will be SPOILERS.]
The time of year has come when your favorite shows do their best holiday-themed episodes, and this year, Bones and Sleepy Hollow are no exception. Not content to simply bring two spooky Halloween-related installments, Bones and Sleepy Hollow had a special two-part crossover event, instead. When FOX announced they would be merging the more grounded-in-reality Bones and the supernatural Sleepy Hollow, the most common reaction was “Huh?” The big question was: How can you blend two worlds based in universes with different rules. The better question is: Did they pull it off?
Kicking off the first of the two hours is a new episode of Bones, where a body is discovered in the floor of an ancient church. As the squintern team investigates, a second body is discovered, only this one is headless and over 200 years old. Cue Witness Team of Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills. A newly-minted FBI agent, Abbie presumably hears about the body through FBI channels and heads to the Jeffersonian with Ichabod. The rest of the Bones episode unravels why and how the modern corpse is tied to an 18th-century British soldier.
A point has to go to Bones, who doesn’t skirt around the fact that Ichabod is an odd character outside the Sleepy Hollow city limits. Throwing the formal Ichabod into the shiny and modern Jeffersonian lab adds levity to an episode that centers around a victim who dabbled in death and the afterlife, which is fitting for Halloween. Booth and Abbie pair off to investigate the victim, while Brennan and Ichabod focus on the body of the British general. It comes out Booth knew about Abbie through her now-deceased mentor, Sheriff Corbin. It’s an interesting connection and, if they choose to go down that road, could lay the groundwork for possible future visits between the Jeffersonian team and the Witnesses.
The second hour takes viewers back to Sleepy Hollow and the abduction of the bones the Jeffersonian team had just identified. Pandora, still stirring up trouble, resurrects the bones of General Howe, who just happens to be an old nemesis of Ichabod’s. Abbie and Ichabod are up against an army of the dead and enlist Booth and Brennan’s help to science-up the original resting place of Howe’s bones. A little bit of mayhem ensues when Brennan and Crane are trapped in a tomb filling with colonial napalm gas. While Booth and Brennan don’t find themselves in catacombs often, it was fun to see David Boreanaz playing around in dark tunnels again. (Angel, anyone?)
Both episodes leaned more heavily on playing the characters against each other than on a specific storyline. While Booth and Abbie play seamlessly together, as two FBI agents looking for the facts, Booth and Ichabod have a harder time finding common ground. Then again, Brennan has a hard time finding common ground with anyone. They do come together out of mutual respect for academia and there is some comedy gold in Brennan advising Ichabod on the benefits of a sexual relationship with his partner. Ichabbie shippers everywhere rejoice!
As fun as it is to see the characters play, it doesn’t make up for some gaping holes in the storylines that bring them together. They solve the first hour murder, but it’s never fully tied together how or why the victim is with the remains of General Howe or how the victim has a book that is related to his resting place. Thankfully, neither show breaks their own rules, so the fun awkwardness in Brennan and Ichabod’s exchanges don't extend to trying to explain Purgatory and the Horsemen of the Apocalypse to the otherwise grounded Brennan.
With Halloween upon us, the crossover episode feels more like a fun-sized candy bar: a treat to enjoy and not think about again. There's justifiable room for Abbie in the Bones world, but there’s not much room for Brennan or Booth to play in Sleepy Hollow. And really, there's shouldn't be. All in all, Halloween is a time for pretend and the Bones-Sleepy crossover episode only pretends to make sense.
Bones and Sleepy Hollow continue next Thursday with 'The Senator in the Street Sweeper' @8pm and 'This Red Lady from Caribee' @9pm on FOX.
Photos:Patrick McElhenney and Tina Rowden/FOX