My mind was on Abbie Mills when I was getting ready for work this morning. Last night, a gifset came across my dash. It featured the three most important relationships in Abbie’s life thus far: the one with Jenny, the one with Corbin, and the one with Ichabod, and it quoted Abbie talking about the constant loss of foundation. She lost Jenny when she was younger, and she’s recently lost Corbin. What I observe from both relationships is that she had existed as someone who was….rigid. She had tucked away a lot, denied a lot, and even though she forced it on a daily basis, she simply was not comfortable in her shoes.
Enter Ichabod and his insistence that she is destined for greatness. Not by herself. But with him at her side.
I said in my review of The Gollum that Abby would more readily say that she and Ichabod were friends, as opposed to just partners. It wasn’t a slight against Abbie or Ichabod; it was simply my observation, based on what had been happening on the show at the time, aided by Ichabod’s frequent requests to deal with anything Jeremy-related alone. I believed that, at that point, Ichabod would more readily boast about their working Save the World relationship than anything personal.
I’ve let go of that belief after the season 2 premiere. In word and deed, Ichabod shut me up. His insistence changed in the premiere, from simply wanting his Witness in crime back to desperately striving to save the friend to whom he had made a promise. Unsaved voice recording anyone? In the season 1 finale, he was a lot less vocal about not wanting Abbie to stay in Purgatory.
Now Ichabod has always been ride or die for Abbie in terms of their working relationship, so maybe I would’ve made this post absent of the season 2 premiere, but in light of This is War and all of those wonderful scenes, I want to spotlight Abbie’s naked eagerness to have Ichabod as a friend.
There is an eagerness on her part to nourish the foundation with Ichabod; there’s relief in it, almost a desperation to hold on to it, and that is not a bad thing. She’s eager to support Ichabod to the best of her ability; she wants to help him reunite with his wife; she wants to help him find information about his son; she expresses sympathy for the fact that he’s living in the 21st century without anyone he knows
or a keen fashion sense.
Abbie’s been walking strong and burdened for her whole life, going back to before she spotted Moloch, when the burden on her shoulders was existing in a chaotic household while looking out for her little sister. Watching her revel in finally having a friend is something incredibly remarkable and rare, because Abbie Mills is a fictional Black female character on American television, and her friend is White, and….we can actually see why she wants to hold on to Ichabod and what they have, why she knocked her entire body into him when she went in for that hug.
Abbie’s not Ichabod’s sounding board; his life is in no way more dramatic than hers; his pain doesn’t matter more; his loss doesn’t matter or mean more. And after Henry and Moloch’s hallucination, he didn’t relax for one second while she was standing on less than solid ground in Purgatory just because he was finally reunited with his wife.
How many times have we watched the Black female character be forgotten by their White
lead bestie (usually female) just because White bestie’s love interest or they themselves was going through something totally terrible, or totally happy, or totally angsty, totally about them?
There are plenty of recent examples of the loyal Black female character who proudly points to some White character as their best friend while the White character is written to value heaps of people above said Black woman. I mean I’m sitting at my desk, and I’m listening to Olivia “My vagina ain’t apolitcal” Pope reserve a table for herself, Bonnie Bennett, Tara Thorton, and Mercedes Jones, with Martha Jones possibly joining them later.
Way before Ichabod convinced me that he saw Abbie as a friend, he convinced me that he was her partner, jumping right out of the gate swearing to Abbie that he was such: Fates entwined, destiny, just the two if us, families entwined, perhaps all we really get is each other, you can’t leave Sleepy Hollow for Quantico, his reliance on her judgment, and all of his hollering of “Leftenant!”
Ichabod offers rock solid support and open admiration, and it’s as beautiful as it is rare to watch this Black woman on television allow herself to rely on it, so much so that when she reunites with him after what turned out to be an emotionally draining separation, she almost cries.
It’s refreshing to watch a Black female character enjoy a friendship that has fallen into her lap. It’s incredible to watch her strive to hold on to something that’s good for her, something that’s made a positive change in her emotional and mental health.
The TV gods will give us Black women tv watchers a romance, and sometimes we’re lucky and it’s not complete shit that the producers don’t even care about, but the friendship? They always want us to believe that the friendship rocks and makes sense even as they fail to care about that, too, outside of occasional scenes to show that the White bestie has one more friend (because they always have multiple close platonic relationships. They won’t do any justice to our (main) platonic relationship, as if to say that our (main) romantic relationship is the only aspect of our emotional development that comes close to meaning anything.
Black characters on television are afforded two things: friendship and romance. The shows typically fail to do justice to both. And that Black girl’s lucky if she ever interacts with her family in a way that means anything, right Lacey Porter?
Sleepy Hollow came out of the gate with the beginnings of an important friendship with Abbie, almost immediately followed by the introduction of the only family that she has left, with the subject of her romantic desirability frequently referred to through Andy, Luke, and the continued wonderful scenes with Ichabod (I know they’re gonna go there, so I’m just cruising).
I was thinking about Abbie Mills while I was getting ready for work this morning, and I thought about her open enjoyment of Ichabod’s stuffiness, her laughing at him and with him, the mental side-eyes that are clear to see on her face every time he starts doing too much, and her frank comments about him having a more than high opinion of himself and his abilities. She likes him, she admires him, she wants to keep him, and none of it comes at a cost to herself. She does not hold everything that he has going on above everything that she has going on, and you can look no further for proof than her quietly questioning Henry about the likelihood of Ichabod selling her out to Moloch last season.
I still believe that Abbie reached the friendship stage before Ichabod did, and there’s nothing wrong with that, because he did give her reason to. He burned his only method of reaching Katrina just because Abbie wasn’t completely for that method, and he was sincere about it, despite succumbing to his fears of never reuniting with Katrina a couple of hours later.
On top of that, he amuses Abbie, he believes in her, he side-eyes her in a way that’s not disrespectful, he trusts not only her ideas but her misgivings (which is an important distinction to make because trusting her ideas is easy as those help him save the world, but trusting her misgivings can possibly be seen as slowing him/them down). And he cares about, and dare I say downright stans, her relationship with her sister.
Abbie Mills wants to hold fast to her friendship with Ichabod because he leaves her looking like this
It’s a nice and welcomed change of pace for her and for me, avid tv watcher who’s often left cursing the day my Black lady faves decided that they wanted a White bestie.
*Captions are mine, gifs are not.