Was she a consistently well written character? No, but I appreciated the actress’s valiant attempts to make her likable.
Was she well integrated into the show? Nope. Unfortunately, it was obvious that she was a third wheel in the much more popular pairing that was Ichabod and Abigail, the two witnesses, whose chemistry was the driving force of the show.
Whether you were an Ichabbie shipper or simply a platonic witness dynamic duo lover, Katrina was seen as a threat to both interpretations of the Icahbbie relationship, which greatly alienated viewers to the point of ratings dropping like a stone in season 2.
I could see what many fans of the show were complaining about, I also could see what TPTB were trying to do with Katrina by giving her a number of secrets (she was a witch who was a spy who manipulated situations and people to get close to Ichabod and get him in position to be the witness) as well as conflicting loyalties (she had a connection to Abraham but also fell in love with her mark, Ichabod; she dearly loved Ichabod but also knew her duty to make sure he fulfilled his destiny as a witness; she felt obligated to her son even as she knew he had been corrupted by evil and was against the cause of the Witnesses). They were attempting to round her out as more than a ghostly damsel and Mary Sue that we met in season 1 and make her a bit more of a mysterious cipher who had agency in this story and was a major player in the scheme of things.
The problem was that the only characters people wanted to see front and center are Abbie and Ichabod and by trying to make Katrina a third lead and push her into that spot was undoubtedly going to put Ichabod and Abbie at odds (had to storywise) and if you mess with that dynamic, you mess with the balance of the show.
And when you have a character suddenly be all things and have a pile of secrets, the inconsistencies begin to pile up in a way that smacks of desperation to integrate the character and an implied acknowledgement of a failure to do so.
So it was no wonder that a majority of the audience didn’t take to Katrina in season 2 and wanted her off the show as quickly as possible. She not only wasn’t contributing anything in terms of character to the show, she was messing up the best thing about the show – the chemistry of Abbie and Ichabod.
TPTB tried to stick the course with making Katrina fit in until late in the season when Katrina stopped trying to ride the line between supporting her husband and appealing to her son and threw in with protecting her son. As it was happening I was hoping against hope this wasn’t a caving in of TPTB to making Katrina a villainess to justify her dispatch from the show. I was hoping it was simply her slipping to willing antagonist for the legit reason of wanting to save her son. But as the subsequent episodes played out, Katrina, while given the righteous motivation of wanting to save her son from the corruption of Moloch, was going to accomplish her goal by any means necessary, including killing the two leads of the story- which we all know wasn’t going to happen.
Katrina was now a villain in the eyes of the story and would have to be put down.
So it came to pass in the finale, that Katrina dies by Ichabod’s hand in understandable self-defense; however you oculdn’t miss the subtext of just how done the show and Ichabod was with Katrina when even as he’s holding his dying wife in his arms – a woman who he had once loved and had borne his child and who he had just killed- Ichabod couldn’t even the words to acknowledge their past and his feelings on the moment. To be fair, Katrina was also less concerned with acknowledging Ichabod in her final moments and instead was happy to be reunited with her son in the afterlife, but for me Ichabod is the protagonist, a man of a good heart and no matter what Katrina had done, she had been something to him once but in her final moments, she was nothing. And that seemed to be the definitive statement of Katrina’s impact on Ichabod and consequently the show.
Whatever you thought of the character, she didn’t deserve to be written out quite so…harshly. Katrina did do a lot of good- Ichabod wouldn’t even be alive if she hadn’t saved his life on the battlefield. And had TPTB acknowledged that whatever Katrina’s initial role in the show had been constructed to be, that by the time she became corporeal to be reunited with Icahbod, she was no longer his leading lady, they could’ve covered new ground of having Katrina and Ichabod admit their time as lovers was the past and have them part as friends but still have her onboard as an ally in their fight against Moloch.
There were several other roles she could’ve played on the show, independent of being Ichabod’s wife and a plaything for Abraham’s Headless Horseman that would make her relevant to the story. One subplot I’m shocked they didn’t consider was having Katrina mentor Abbie’s sister, Jenny, in the ways of magic. We know the Mills women have magical prowess of their own through their ancestor Grace who in fact assisted Katrina in her cause back in the day and with the birth of her son. Katrina could’ve seen it as a debt she owed the Mills and so she would take Jenny (and Abbie if interested) under her wing to help her hone her power and skills, to tell her more about her ancestor and family, and actually be a part of Jenny’s character development as she stops being afraid of her own power and embraces it. Jenny in turn could help Katrina adjust to the modern world and over the course of the season Katrina and Jenny becomes friends which could’ve been the source of tension between Katrina and Abbie- that she’s supplanted her place as sister to Jenny but in the course of their battles, she sees the value of Katrina as a sorceress and a friend to not just Jenny but also to Abbie.
Instead, without TPTB having a clear idea of Katrina’s role in the show they actually had ( the Ichabbie Power Hour) rather than the show they had planned and wanted to have (Katichabbie), Katrina became a character that embodied all that was wrong with the show instead of an asset that helped elevate the show from a season 1 hit to a season 2 phenomenon. Sadly (to me) the name Katrina Crane is now forever etched into television pop culture lexicon as the worst kind of character (even worse than Oliver of The O.C. fame) which is a shame since on paper she could’ve been a real kick-ass character.
Many fans may continue to curse her name and existence (especially if Sleepy Hollow does not bounce back to its season one glory this fall) but I’ll always be a Katrina Crane fan, if not for what she was but what she could’ve been.