SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 1 Finale Post-Mortem: Mark Goffman on the Henry Twist and What Comes Next | Give Me My Remote

SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 1 Finale Post-Mortem: Mark Goffman on the Henry Twist and What Comes Next

January 20, 2014 by  

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[Major spoiler alert: This post contains massive, massive, massive spoilers for the SLEEPY HOLLOW season finale. If you have not seen the final two hours of the season, please go watch that first, and then come back to read this interview.]

Son. Of. A. Witch.

SLEEPY HOLLOW threw viewers curveball after curveball during its utterly insane two hour finale, but arguably nothing topped the reveal that not only was Henry Parrish the second Horseman, but he was also Jeremy, Ichabod and Katrina’s presumed dead son.

I mean…

As if that wasn’t traumatic enough, Irving confessed to murders he didn’t commit to save his family; Jenny was in a car accident thanks to Headless; Abbie stayed behind in purgatory so Katrina could temporarily leave and cast a binding spell (and poor Abbie only discovered the truth about Henry/Jeremy when it was too late and the younger versions of herself and Jenny revealed the parts of her memory that Moloch had taken away); Katrina was taken by Headless, who only found his former love thanks to a deal with Henry/Jeremy; and Ichabod was buried alive, forced to live out the same fate his son suffered through.

To get a little insight into what went down — and what’s to come — I spoke with SLEEPY HOLLOW executive producer Mark Goffman (who co-wrote the final hour of the season, “Bad Blood,” with SLEEPY HOLLOW co-creator Alex Kurtzman)…

This is the kind of season finale that has the potential to cause a Twitter meltdown. Are you guys going to be monitoring social media to see the reaction to the finale as everything plays out?
Mark Goffman: Yes! We do that every episode. All the writers and some of the actors and a lot of the crew…we’re all fairly social media active. It’s fun to engage with the fans.

Let’s get to the big shock of the hour: when was the Jeremy twist crafted?
MG: That was one of the very early pieces we put in place. We knew [that arc] when we pitched [Fox boss] Kevin Reilly and Fox our plan for the whole season; we knew that in June. The only question was when to bring in Jeremy and who would play that role. We fairly early on decided we wanted it to be someone older than Crane, because it sort of hid the ball a little bit. It also seemed like a really interesting notion to see someone that was older than him be his son.

Alex Kurtzman came up with the idea of the Sin Eater, and all of the pieces fit into place.

Was there a lot of talk about who specifically should play him? John Noble (Henry/Jeremy) is so very good at playing those kind, but also kind of out there characters…
MG: Perhaps he was a kind man, but [Henry’s] role on the show was a Sin Eater; he was a very dark character. We found him alone and someone who was pulling sin out of death row inmates. He had a very dark path that even he couldn’t hide from us. So we thought that was a hint, and it was definitely part of his long con to win Crane and Abbie over — to be the reluctant hero and the reluctant participant joining them.

Personally, I loved the use of flashbacks to showcase how many clues really were there from the start. Was there a lot of discussion about how and if those scenes should be highlighted?
MG: Oh, yeah. THE USUAL SUSPECTS is one of my favorite films, and the way that film ended, and you have that sudden insight that Kevin Spacey is the mastermind and [the] Keyser Söze [reveal], it is so iconic. So when we were crafting this season, we thought, we have 13 hours to play out this ruse, and we really went to town.

We could have built an entire episode out of flashback moments between John Noble’s character and Crane and Abbie, because almost every line, we tried to layer with a double meaning. It was a lot of fun to craft. Putting the finale together was very much a Swiss watch, because it’s an entire act of revelation, but it’s so fun to watch them. And John Noble, he’s amazing.

And you’re right, that he was able to strike that balance all season of being someone who seemed idiosyncratic and on the one hand, not totally in control of his gift, but well-intentioned, but the whole time, he was hiding the fact that he’s talking to his father… I hope when you go back and watch the Golem episode, it’s all the more potent.

Oh, I think fans are going to be going back to rewatch as much of season 1 as possible, whether it’s by watching episodes they saved on their DVRs, or waiting for the season to be released on DVD.
MG: Yeah, I hope so! We had a lot of fun putting those little Easter eggs in and planning out the whole season. It was a thrill to write this finale where so much of it already felt like it was baked in. I’ll never say writing a script is easy, but we had so much material to draw from to tell the story that it was a lot of fun to write.

Well, every single character was in dire shape when the season ended…
MG: That’s the only fitting thing to do on this show! [Laughs]

Absolutely. And what’s made even more atrocious for them is that they’re all separate from each other. What can you tease about what comes next?
MG: Well, the first thing we’re going to have to do is very quickly, every one of them is in a situation they can’t be in for very long. I mean, they’re very close to death, and in Abbie’s case, stuck in purgatory, which trapped Katrina for more than 200 years. These are the worst of situations to find themselves in, and they’re all separated. So, somehow, somebody has got to be able to overcome and try and rescue the others. And it could be a combination of people, it could be some new people that we meet next season. I think we’re just going to have to tune in to find out.

Part of having war come to SLEEPY HOLLOW is we want to play a season, thematically, about war. And about distrust and about people turning on each other. That’s going to be part of what ends up happening in SLEEPY HOLLOW, and with that, we get to populate the town with a few more characters.

Given a few of our beloved characters are in a fair amount of danger that could potentially take them off screen — Irving being charged with murder, and Jenny was in that terrible car wreck — do you see all the characters who we ended the season with continuing on with the show in season 2?
MG: I think no one’s safe on this show. And I think that’s part of the fun in getting to do it. And things are going to change in SLEEPY HOLLOW. We don’t know who’s going to come back. Well, I know who’s going to come back. [Laughs] But as beloved as these characters are, [returning] is not always a given. We’ll have to wait and see.

I hope they do, because we’ve been tremendously fortunate to have such a talented cast. In writing and creating these characters, you sort of fall in love with them, so you never want to lose them. But I think it’s important to keep in mind, we want to keep the audience on their toes.

Makes sense. I know there’s a bit of time before you officially go back to write season 2, but as of now, do you anticipate there being a time jump when season 2 picks up?
MG: I’d like to start the show — well, let me put it this way: one of the great things about the show is we have flashbacks, and we have dream sequences, and areas where time seems to bend. I think we can take some time to understand where every character is, and give some context to where we find them, before we really have to address where they are.

But at the same time, I think we all want to know what happens to them, and I think they deserve to have their situations addressed pretty quickly. So I’d say, yeah, we’re going to get into seeing what happens with them in real time pretty fast.

Very fun. It’s kind of crazy to think that Ichabod waking up all these years in the future might arguably not be the most life-changing and dramatic thing to happen to him this season, but I could argue that finding out Henry/Jeremy’s true identity might top that. How will that knowledge change Ichabod going forward?
MG: I think this season was so much about discovery for both [Ichabod and Abbie]: understanding their roles as witness, understanding their role in time, for Crane, that in season 2, this is now when he gets a little foothold, and the two of them once they get together — when they do get together, if they do get together — will really be able to train and get on the offensive.

I think that’s a big difference in how they’re going to approach the season. Whereas in this season, they were a bit behind in so much of it and trying to catch up on events that now they’ll get the chance to get ahead of them. They’re back with a vengeance. They’re back and they don’t want to be fooled again.

I mean, that’s a fair paranoia. Now that this long con has been revealed, do you think fans should be wary of every other character — both returning and new — on the canvas and wondering if there are any other large deceptions going on?
MG: [Laughs] I hope so! Look, I think for as many twists we had this year, I hope people are just as surprised and astonished by what we do in season 2.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store. Now that season 1 is completed, what do you feel was the biggest lesson you learned?
MG: I think a lot of the big swings have paid off. I think people have really responded; as crazy as the show gets, the characters remain grounded, and treat the world realistically, like we do.

I also have been delightfully surprised by how much people have responded to the historical element. I think it’s such a blast to look at different parts of our American Revolution and what our Founding Fathers fought for, and get to reconceive them and those events through the prism of Crane and SLEEPY HOLLOW.

Be honest…is your head spinning? Did you yell at your screen during the finale? (I did.) Let’s hear what you thought of the SLEEPY HOLLOW finale…

Related:

SLEEPY HOLLOW: John Noble Previews the ‘Astonishingly Good’ Season Finale
SLEEPY HOLLOW: Nicole Beharie and Orlando Jones Tease the Season Finale
SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 1 Finale: ‘The Indispensable Man’/’Bad Blood’ Photo Preview

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