TV Recap: 'Sleepy Hollow' Episode 111 - 'The Vessel'


sleepy hollowSleepy Hollow Episode 111
“The Vessel”
Teleplay By: Melissa Blake
Story By: Mark Goffman and David McMillan
Directed By: Romeo Tirone
Original Airdate: 13 January 2014

In This Episode…

The captain is going a little nutty trying to figure out the threats that the park vendor made against his daughter. He has no recollection of the events. The woman from the park is on her way into the station, but she won’t be of any help either. She starts off a chain of passing the demon between various cops and detectives in the precinct. The first calls the captain to tell him to obtain the Washington bible by sundown or he will take his daughter. The captain attacks the cop who made the call, but the demon already transferred into Jones, a detective, who helps the captain move his daughter and ex-wife into a safe house until this demon thing is sorted out. Once at the safe house, Jones passes on the demon to Morales. The guys pace the perimeter while the family gets settled. 

The captain invited his priest to come to the safe house in case this demon decides to show up. He lines the threshold with salt, so Morales tricks Jones into wiping it away. Now that he can enter, he has no use for Jones, and breaks his back and tosses him into the bushes. When the captain goes inside, he finds Cynthia locked in her room, screaming, and Morales in Macy’s room, unconscious. Macy’s wheelchair is empty and when the captain turns around, his daughter is floating in midair, fully possessed. The priest tries to step in, but she kills him and attacks her father. The demon speaks, refusing to to give up Macy unless he gets the bible. Cynthia is let out of her room, but is horrified by what she is seeing. The captain promises to bring her to the bible.

During all of this, Abbie and Ichabod are trying to figure out what meaning Washington’s bible holds and who this body-jumping demon is. Abbie discovers a DVD made by Corbin, which promises to record his attempted exorcism of a young woman who he has known for many years and who has suffered from this particular demon possession many times before. He sets the camera down, and the possessed girl looks up. It is Jenny.

Out of respect, Ichabod and Abbie wait until Jenny is there and get her permission to watch the video. She knows of the possessions, but had never seen the video and did not know what happened during this so-called exorcism. In the video, demon-Jenny says that “this vessel has been marked” and promises to “kill the sister” - Abbie. Jenny shuts of the video and promises she has been free of the demon for years now. She doesn’t know how Corbin banished the demon, but she wants nothing to do with helping Macy.

Ichabod finds Jenny in her truck, the only reason she hasn’t left being that her truck won’t start. She admits that she used to hear the demon in her head, trying to convince her to kill Abbie. That was why she started breaking the law - so that she would be in jail and unable to hurt her sister. Ichabod is touched by this and convinces Jenny to come back inside. They watch the rest of the video, looking for some way to banish the demon, but that’s the thing: Corbin wasn’t able to banish the demon. That is why it is now in Macy. They do discover that salt can be used to trap a demon - it just won’t get rid of it. Demon-Jenny is reciting something indecipherable in the video. Abbie tries playing it backwards, and Ichabod instantly recognizes it as ancient Aramaic (because of course he speaks fluent ancient Aramaic) and translates it as “Ancitif cannot be defeated.” Checking with the books, Abbie discovers that Ancitif is a powerful demon that jumps between his victims, and is known to be a leader of Moloch’s minions. According to the books, the first people to encounter - and expel - Ancitif were some nuns who used a 14th century French lantern to capture the demon. Fortuitously, both Ichabod and Jenny recognize the lantern in the book. According to Ichabod, it was a gift from the French to Benjamin Franklin because they knew the war of evil was coming to the New World. According to Jenny, some end-of-days survivalists that she trained with had the lantern at their compound. And off they go. On the way, Abbie gets a call from the captain to “ask” if the bible was still in the archives; he was clearly trying to tip them off to his location in hopes that they would be able to stop this demon.

Arriving at the Weaver compound, Abbie insists that Jenny stay in the car, because if she is caught, she goes to prison for good. So Abbie and Ichabod - with guidance from Jenny via cell phone - sneak carefully into the compound, past booby traps and surveillance, then pick the lock of a huge storage container. Inside is all the typical survivalist gear, and less-typical anti-demon gear. They find the lantern, but the survivalists have them surrounded with flood lights and guns. Ichabod cannot sweet-talk his way out of this, but luckily Jenny appears, a gun in each hand. The leader of the band recognizes her and agrees to “loan” them the lantern. If it was so easy, why didn’t they just ask in the first place?!

Anyway, back at the archives, the captain can’t find the bible. He is starting to get nervous and the demon is starting to get pissed. They are confronted by Jenny, who the demon recognizes and taunts. But Jenny is backed up by Abbie. The taunts fly, and the demon lurches towards them - but is halted by a thick line of salt that the girls spread surreptitiously. Ichabod had been hiding with the lantern in a cabinet, and he jumps out now to complete the salt circle, sealing demon-Macy inside. He then chants and sucks the demon out of the little girl and into the lantern. It’s like Ghostbusters. The captain won’t let Cynthia near Macy until she shows she is all girl. Abbie and Jenny embrace, a true reunion.

Back at Corbin’s cabin, Abbie withdraws the bible from its hiding place. Ichabod is mixing up a liquid using common household ingredients that would illuminate an invisible ink. He had sniffed out a particular kind of invisible ink in the book and this mixture would allow it to glow in the dark. And it works: “December 18th 1799” glows from the pages. Ichabod recognizes the handwriting as George Washington’s, but the date written was four days after he died.

Dig It or Bury It?

A solid way to come back after a month’s hiatus. How can you go wrong with an exorcism story? You can’t. It was fun and creepy and moved the story along. Just an all-around solid episode.

My one (major) complaint: why the hell would Abbie and Ichabod assume that because George Washington had written a date in his bible, it had to be written on that date? Calendars were not a new invention in the 1700s; Washington had to know that December 18th was on its way, just after the 17th, but before the 19th. 

Douchey Time Traveler Thing to Say

Abbie finally has convinced Ichabod to try modern clothing. It doesn’t last long, and he is not fond of skinny jeans. “One sign of the impending apocalypse is surely skinny jeans.” He goes back to his old clothes, and Abbie has two words for him: dry cleaning. “Next time pick two words I might understand.”


War is coming in the two-hour season finale.