Sooo, First off I’ll admit to two things. 1. I don’t actually normally watch Sleepy Hollow. It’s first two seasons were shot in Wilmington N.C where I lived at the time they were shot. I knew people that worked on it. So, I tried to watch it once or twice during the first season but I could never really stay interested. So, this cross over episode was the first I had seen in a while. 2. I thought this crossover was one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard attempted on television. It makes no sense as a crossover. Bones has always been set firmly in our reality. There is no magic or time travel or monsters or anything else paranormal or supernatural. It isn’t that kind of show. By crossing over with Sleepy Hollow they have now changed the universe the show exists in. Which….creates a lot of issues. If the supernatural exists in their universe then it opens up more possibilities for their cases. Possibilities that won’t be investigated because they don’t know they exist but if the supernatural exists in their universe then wouldn’t they encounter it? It just messes up the whole premise of the everything. So…I was very against this crossover from the get go.
However, If you over look the implications of saying these two shows exist in the same universe then it’s not a bad episode of Bones at all. It fits with the rest of this season in that it’s well written and fun to watch. It’s the Halloween episode. Magic and the supernatural never actually occur on the show. The only things suggesting that it exists at all are the murdered woman’s belief in it and possession of an ancient Book of Shadows and the presence of Ichabod Crane himself on the show. If you don’t know anything about his character, believe his explanation of inherited handwriting to explain a letter found in the archives of the Jeffersonian and don’t watch the Sleepy Hollow half of the crossover then you could be completely unaware that the crossover implies the presence of the supernatural in the Bones universe.
Speaking of Crane, Tom Mison is a brilliant actor. He obviously fully encompasses this character. It had to be a challenge to take this character out of Sleepy Hollow and into the Jeffersonian in Washington DC and have it still be believable and not come across as a caricature. He manages it quite well. Which is a feat accomplished because of his talent at portraying this character and surprisingly well done writing.
I didn’t expect to enjoy this episode of Bones but I did. It’s a cute, quirky, fun episode.
The Sleepy Hollow half of the show is a bit more problematic for me to review. As I said, I don’t normally watch this show. I didn’t really HAVE to watch it this time. The Bones episode as a stand alone ties up it’s story perfectly well. During the case, Ichabod Crane helped arrange the transportation of 200 year old remains of a British Soldier to Sleepy Hollow. Brennan signed off on the transportation and the body left the Jeffersonian.
The Sleepy Hollow episode starts with the truck transporting the remains being ran off the road and the body being reanimated. Must like the Bones episode, it also works just fine as a stand alone episode. You don’t absolutely have to know the things that happened when Ichabod and Abbie Mills went to DC for the episode to make sense. It helps to know that the body came from DC and that Ichabod and Abbie went there to assist with a case so that it makes more sense when Brennan and Booth show up on Sleepy Hollow but you can figure that out from the things said in context of this episode. It was obviously orchestrated carefully so that this was the case. I imagine they are aware that these two shows don’t have a huge crossover audience.
Booth and Brennan come into play when Crane and Abbie go back to the Jeffersonian to ask for Brennan’s help when they are in need of an anthropologist. After Brennan assists them she then insists on seeing the case through. The investigation keeps Crane and Abbie in DC for a bit, though. Brennan and Booth never travel to the town of Sleepy Hollow, interestingly. Perhaps this is a choice made to keep the knowledge of the magic and the supernatural from Brennan and Booth. It’s one thing to establish that Bones exists in a world with magic but it is another thing entirely to make Booth and Brennan aware of the existence of that magic. Which takes a a delicate dance that the writers do a very good job with.
They do a slightly better job with hiding the supernatural elements of the story from Brennan and Booth on Bones than they do on Sleepy Hollow but that makes sense. A couple of clunky moments during their brief appearance on Sleepy Hollow is to be expected and they aren’t anywhere near as awkward as they could have been.
I’ve been doing my own delicate dance with this review trying to avoid spoilers for either episode. Which is why I’m being a bit obtuse but the basic premise of Bones involves a case where they find a young medical student’s body buried under a house along with a steel coffin containing a 200 year old headless body. Sleepy Hollow continues the story of that 200 year old body and involve what are basically zombies. The episodes are only subtly linked by that body being involved in both cases and by the main characters crossing over on both shows. Either episode works just fine alone (and would have worked just fine without the characters crossing over). So, don’t feel the need to watch both shows if you usually don’t. It really isn’t absolutely necessary.
In conclusion, my assessment of the crossover is that while saying these two shows exist in the same universe is very problematic the episodes themselves weren’t bad. Seeing the very different characters interact was interesting and the episodes were fun.