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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Oh My God! They Killed Kenny [Insert Female Series Lead's Name] #SleepyHollowFinale #TheBlacklist #Review #Recap #NBC #FOX

Oh My God! They Killed Kenny [Insert Female Series Lead's Name] #SleepyHollowFinale #TheBlacklist #Review #Recap #NBC #FOX

All Blacklist pictures courtesy of NBC unless otherwise noted. 

I want to try making this as short as possible but you all should know how that goes by now. To begin, I don't know how much I'll mention about Sleepy Hollow as I wasn't that thrilled with the season (potential series) finale. I will, however, say that I thought the writers and creators made a very interesting and bold decision. In fact, that seems to be the trend as The Blacklist made the same decision less than a week later. And that decision? Kill off one of the leads.

It's interesting to me how the current in-thing to do on series this season is to either kill off one of the main leads or change the character so radically that they are barely recognizable (cough *Olivia Pope* cough). But I find it even more baffling that the victims have been all women so far. Now I am not usually one to point out sexism, but that, I do believe, screams of sexism.

All Sleepy Hollow pictures courtesy of FOX unless otherwise noted

Let's back up here and recap the two episodes. On Sleepy Hollow (#SleepyHollow) the "witnesses'" three season journey finally came to an end when, in an act of desperation, they managed to free themselves from that strange waylaid void that existed as the once prison for a banished god. But in escaping they came back with Pandora's box intact, which she'd later use against her god/ex-boyfriend. The problem? The box, for whatever reason, required the soul of one of the witnesses.


Yeah. If it felt like a very strange throw-in to the series that's because it was. From what I've read, Nicole Beharie (the actress playing Abbie Mills) wanted to leave the show for whatever reason. Looking at the underside of the business let's remember how rare this is. Usually an actor likes to keep the steady paychecks rolling in, especially if they are the lead of their own show (I'm lookin' at you Grey's Anatomy. You know you should've died with Derek or, hell, even four seasons ago). Not only that but when they do decide to leave a show after being the lead it's usually after they've put quite a few years in; both casts of Friends and Seinfeld shrugged at another season until Seinfeld saw that final season paycheck and the Friends cast somehow negotiated what is still the biggest group contract for a show ever. Not to mention that this is a woman, an actress saying she's done with a network show, let alone a person of color. Literally, it is nearly unheard of, especially since the roles for black women are so few and far between. With that said, she was building an impressive resume before she got the show.

Talking to my Dead Ex-Captain/Sheriff 
But with all of that said I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that Nicole Beharie has built up a very long list of rumors within the industry referring to a very nasty or not-very-good attitude. I wouldn't normally give much credence to such rumors, however, this personality seems to have been confirmed by Beharie in an interview where she mentioned growing up as somewhat of a bully due to her size. She was small but needed to make a point that she wouldn't be picked on, ending up becoming bad herself. I say that to say that maybe the producers wanted her gone for that reason. Remember, this is only speculation.

By now you realize that the box took Abbie's soul, dooming her to death in a twist that came out of left field. As I'm sure many viewers like me thought through the episode, this would be a huge plot for next season. Hell, Crane himself was dead, so was his wife as she was stuck in purgatory for a full season and a half. They killed "Harold" (the Asian guy) and killed Orlando "the Black captain guy" Jones twice... or was it thrice? I don't know. They love killin' Black people on this show. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be visiting Sleepy Hollow anytime soon. I suppose Abbie's just dead dead as opposed to dead but... It should also be noted here that since this is the lowest-rated show on the network, the show itself will probably be dead soon, too. Still, if it manages to come back it will have been a very bold choice for the narrative as it completely changes the show and puts a coffin nail in the "will they/won't they" of Abbie and Ichabod's relationship--a dynamic naturally inherent in this type of show.

While Abbie's death was unpredictable, it came on a dying show that few people watched so maybe the word bold is misplaced and overused in reference to it. However, The Blacklist's (#TheBlacklist) decision to kill off Elizabeth Keen defines the very word.

On Thursday's episode Keen (played by Megan Boone) gave birth to her hurried baby with Tom while on the run from the villain Mr. Solomon. Having escaped the church where she and Tom were supposed to wed, they got into a car chase through the city ending in Tom strategically crashing the car into the back of a truck. A distraction, it supplied a split second for them to escape. Though they made it to a Kangaroo Hospital setup by Red at the last minute where Keen delivered her baby, the crash not only caused secondary internal damage to Keen but only temporarily paused the chase. Mr. Solomon was sent to do one thing: retrieve Keen, and he'd succeed no matter what.

I'm Not As Good At My Job As My Sly Grin Suggests
Well, he failed. In fact, his plans led to the death of Keen. The injury caused by the crash shutdown Keen's internal organs (her lungs) causing the doctor to have to induce a medical coma until they could get to a real hospital. But on their way to the hospital the doctor and Red lost her. She never awoke from the coma and died in the middle of a roadside standoff between Red and Mr. Solomon during the absence of Tom who stayed behind to take care of their newborn baby. And that's all she wrote.

This twist came out of nowhere. The very premise of the show was partially built on the relationship between Keen and James Spader's Red. She's in the synopsis of the show. Not to mention his relationship with her subtracts a huge subplot/mystery of the show as we are left with the question of why he wanted her in the first place. We spent a full season believing he was lying about not being her father, another season thinking he may have killed her father and this season not knowing why he was around if he was never going to reveal his relation to her. Yes, they tried to distract with the plot about the Fulcrum and blah blah blah. That turned out to be a weak overarching plot for the season as it didn't explain why he'd stay around for her after her memories of the Fulcrum could not be recovered.

Lizzie, at this point even I don't know. 
Not only are we left with her death leaving a gaping hole in the show, but we also are left with a very unsatisfying feeling on how she left (if this is the last we see of her). The season seemed more to push her to the side in some instances within the last few episodes, which was probably due to Megan Boone's real life pregnancy. However stripping away her FBI status was something many viewers saw as fixable so long as the writers came up with something great. Now that she's gone, it's difficult to see how the show will maintain its thrust. With his sole reason for turning himself in and working with the FBI now gone, why would he continue?

Behind the scenes, for weeks we've heard talk of a spin-off show, which--pardon me, I meant completely pointless, unnecessary and superfluous spin-off--will be headed by a female lead and focus on Keen's widowed ex-hubby Tom and, presumably, the new baby. While the events of the episode centered around Mr. Solomon will certainly give the two of them real animosity (Solomon is set to be the main villain), it seems like they sold the cow instead of the milk. First off, while I know that Spader was the star and selling point of the show, I thought this show was still female-led with Keen. Are they aiming to have a woman in a Red-esque role? What is the point to spinning off this show in the first place? And was there any conversation about keeping Tom on this show instead of spinning it off? Granted, I don't know much about the show yet as the rumor leak continues, but it sounds like something similar to White Collar or ABC's The Catch, but I'm probably completely wrong on that.

Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly 

Back to Keen's death, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the writers struggled to write in Megan's real-life pregnancy. What I wonder is if having her first child made her less inclined to spend hours and hours away from her newborn child. If that is the reason she left, then I can fully understand. But any other reason would seem very arbitrary. Plot-wise, it wouldn't make sense for her to have faked her death and not end up with Tom again if she truly was in love with him and wants to raise her child. This makes it all the more curious on why they'd make this narrative decision. We'll see if the show can recapture the sizzle it once had without her, but from here it looks to be very choppy waters ahead.

What do you think? Do you think Sleepy Hollow will return for another season? What about The Blacklist? Do you think that was a bold decision or a foolish one to get rid of Keen? Or is she really dead? If she isn't dead, who do you think faked her death and why (maybe she did it to get away from Red as opposed to Red doing it)? Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my new 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
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Until next time, "Wait, so you're saying that you faked your death?"
'Yeah! I've done it. I've done it before and I'll do it again.'
"What the hell kinda craziness is that?"
'I try to fake my death at least once every two years. Need to see if the right people gon' show up to my funeral. Plus, it's the best way to get a free meal. I be up in that post-funeral reception.'
"Hell naw!"

P.S. Ok, that isn't technically a quote from anything yet. It's actually from another comedy I'm working on right now, but don't yet have a name for. I don't know if it'll stay in the finished manuscript but we'll see. I'll think of something better next time.

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