Sleepy Hollow has always been a mixed bag of TV genres, but last night's "The Vessel" was the first episode that really felt like the series could also tackle a bit of horror. Up until now, it's been a supernatural buddy cop dramedy, but the story about demon possession—and the focus on Captain Irving's young daughter in particular—was creepy. It was surprising, but it was also very enjoyable, because I never expected it from Sleepy Hollow.
Demons and demon possession isn't a new plot for supernatural series—in fact, it's kind of standard fare—but in an episode that began with Ichabod wearing skinny jeans before growing tired of his "constrictive trousers," I was blindsided by just how much the episode affected me on a non-humorous level. I've never felt the need to turn away from my TV screen before, and certainly not during Sleepy Hollow, but it was done so well that I was a tad creeped out during both Jenny's and Macy's possession scenes. Most shows don't alter the facial features of the person possessed, but I think it really helped to sell how scary possession actually is. The way the demon moved, too, was also done really well, and thinking back on it now is giving me chills.
But if Macy had been possessed by a random demon with no purpose, I don't know that the episode would have worked or if I'd be praising it right now. The description for the episode only mentioned Jenny being possessed, and before the episode aired I thought, "Well that seems like filler." And it's true, it could have been a stand-alone storyline in a mediocre episode, but this demon possession storyline has been building for a little while now, perhaps even longer than we originally realized, and that's what made it work. The writers smartly tied the Ancitef possession to both Jenny's backstory (she'd been possessed by the same demon many times over a lengthy period of time following the encounter in the woods as a teenager), and the overarching Moloch storyline.
It wasn't exactly shocking to discover that Ancitef had possessed Jenny in the past, because I've often felt there was more to Jenny's story than the writers were letting on, but I didn't suspect that it went as deep as it was revealed in "The Vessel." Ancitef planted the desire to kill Abbie inside Jenny, so much so that she even felt it when she was no longer possessed. All those years Jenny spent locked up was often of her own volition. Whenever she felt the urge to harm her sister come on, she'd do something to get her thrown behind bars in order to protect Abbie. As soon as Jenny confessed this to Ichabod, I immediately just wanted to hug both Jenny and Abbie and make them braid each other's hair and talk about the importance of sisterhood, because I never saw this relationship becoming so important when Jenny was first introduced, and now I don't see how the series could continue without it.
But once again, like everything else on this series, everything's coming back around to Ichabod and the bible he was buried with. Ancitef (acting on Moloch 's orders) wanted George Washington's magic bible for reasons unknown, and possessed Macy in an attempt to get to it. Which is why demons are the worst. You know, maybe if they just tried asking politely people would be more receptive to letting them borrow things. But no, everything's all snapping necks (R.I.P. Priest), and killing hunky cops and throwing them in the bushes. Damn demons. You're what's wrong with this world.
Anyway, we still don't know why Moloch really wanted or needed the bible, but we do know that it's incredibly important, especially given what we learned in the final moments of the episode. How—but more importantly why—did Washington write the date December 18, 1799 in invisible ink in the bible? Considering Washington died on December 14, what gives? Was he brought back to life? Was he possessed? Was he a zombie? Given that the possibilities are endless in regards to the story Sleepy Hollow is trying to tell, it's anyone's guess. But we're heading in to the final two episodes of the season (the finale is two hours next Monday so check your DVR listings!) and I couldn't be more excited.
- Decapitations this week: 0
- Things that confused Ichabod this week: skinny jeans (I feel that)
- I apologize for the briefness of this review, but this is an incredibly busy week, but I'll be back with a full-sized, in-depth review of next week's finale.
- Ancitef foretold of Sheriff Corbin's death at the hands of Steve, and he also said he'd be the one to kill Abbie, which brings the idea of destiny back into the spotlight. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.
- Tom Mison's eyes were incredibly distracting this week (that might have just been me though)
- OF COURSE Ichabod (and Jenny) recognized the lantern needed to send Ancitef back to hell. And OF COURSE there was one just outside Sleepy Hollow.
- OF COURSE, Ichabod knows ancient Aramaic. Of course he does.
AIRED ON 1/20/2014
Season 1 : Episode 13