After a long winter break Sleepy Hollow returned last night with an episode that was wonderfully reminiscent of some of the creepiest horror movies ever. Part The Exorcist, part Fallen, and part Paranormal Activity, “The Vessel” was a great reminder of this show’s excellence in scary, biblically inspired plots, and will surely have viewers excited for next week’s season finale.
In case any of us had been wondering what Ichabod Crane would look like in a pair of skinny jeans, this episode opened up with Crane trying on some new threads courtesy of Mills. And he basically looked like Adam Levine. It was excellent. But work pulled the two witnesses away from this fall-into-the-Gap moment, as Capt. Irving called to explain some strange going-ons. The demon from “The Golem” episode was carefully and creepily making its way to Irving’s daughter Macey by jumping from one body to the next every time the host (or vessel) made physical contact with someone. It kept speaking to the Captain through various bodies and demanded that Irving hand over George Washington’s Bible, which had been buried with Crane and held secrets that could both empower and/or destroy it.
Irving’s family was the focus of the episode, but it was the return of the other Mills sister that really heated up the plot. Jenny appeared in footage Abbie found that was left behind by her mentor, the late Officer Corbin. Corbin had come into contact with the demon when it first possessed Jenny, and the video showed a frightening version of Abbie’s sister, eyes glazed over and face terribly distorted. Jenny spoke the demon’s words, foretelling of Corbin’s death by the Horseman and predicting a similar end for Abbie. When Jenny saw the footage, she admitted to Crane that she had spent years in juvenile detention centers and asylums not because she was reckless or just plain delinquent; instead this was all a result of her very specific attempts to keep herself away from Abbie, lest she become possessed by the demon and harm (or kill) her sister.
As Crane and the Mills sisters attempted to uncover more information about the demon (called Ancitif), Irving mistakenly brought his family to a “safe house,” unaware that one of his officers had already become the demon’s vessel. It didn’t take long for the evil to make its way into little Macey, and wasn’t that a sight to behold? Macey, suspended in the air above her parents, looking like she’d been beaten with a demon ugly stick. Crane, Jenny and Abbie discover that the solution to this demon problem lies in a French lantern that could exorcise and capture the demon, but obtaining it would require a little breaking and entering on their part. This was an excellent scene, as Abbie takes on her sister’s role of the bad girl for a moment, picking the lock to the shed that held the lantern. In the end Jenny still has to out-badass her, as she knows the strange, rifle-toting men who are in possession of the lantern and has to bust out of the car—a gun in each hand—demanding that they allow her to take what they need. (She looked pretty gangsta, and Abbie and Ichabod could only look on in awe.) Team Jenny over here.
Time is a-tickin’ but they make it to Irving, his wife, and Ancitif/Macey in time. A little salt around the vessel plus the lantern, and the exorcism goes off without a hitch. (It was also pretty gross to witness, though no head-spinning occurred.)
Aside from scaring the mess out of everyone, the storyline in “The Vessel” was also meant to reconnect Irving with his family and his faith. He was forced to call on his pastor for protection, and he finally had to show his estranged wife what it is exactly that keeps him so busy in his little town. Now, having witnessed the horrors of Sleepy Hollow through their daughter’s possession, chances are she’ll be a little less critical of Irving. Who knows? There might even be a rekindling of old flames, although Jenny and Irving had been looking kind of cute together a few episodes back.
And since Sleepy Hollow is as much about exorcising personal demons and monsters as the physical ones, it was important that Irving succeeded in saving his daughter, as a way of coming to terms with Macey’s accident. Similarly, Abbie and Jenny developed a renewed understanding of one another via the exorcism they performed together.
In the episode’s final moments, Crane whips up a batch of homemade invisible ink (because he’s Crane, and he knows how to make homemade invisible ink) in an attempt to uncover any possible hidden messages in Washington’s Bible. All he discovers is a date, which only holds significance because it’s written in Washington’s handwriting and proves that he was—somehow—alive enough (or undead enough) to write in his own Bible four days after his death. Viewers will have to wait until next week to find out if this means there was, for a time, a George Washington ghost floating about (or something even creepier than that). Either way, the two hour season finale promises to be quite the thrill.
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “One sign of the impending apocalypse is skinny jeans.” —Crane