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Sleepy Hollow - Episode 3.11 "The Vessel" - Review

Hey everyone! I’m going to be filling in this week and bringing you this week’s recap. Can you believe that the finale is next week? The thought makes me incredibly sad, because this has been a wonderful show and a month without it sucked, so I have no idea how I’ll last all summer.

This episode again proved what I continually love about this show: an episode that for all accounts seems like it might be more of a filler episode turns out to be a wonderfully fun ride that adds some elements to the mythology and further develops the characters. Sleepy Hollow has dipped its feet into several genres throughout its freshman runs and it has handled all of them amazingly well. This week we can add horror to that list as well.

A lot of genre shows have played the possession card. It’s almost a rite of passage deal. Few shows delve into demonic possession. And even fewer focus of demonic possession of children. The show took a definite risk here and it played very well in their favor.

The threats against Irving’s daughter were hyped up this week: If Irving didn’t produce Washington’s Bible by sundown, Macey’s soul would be taken. Abbie and Ichabod go looking through Corbin’s files to look for any hint of this happening before, and they hit the jackpot. Jenny was previously possessed by the same demon, Anticif. Jenny is initially extremely uneasy to help. After a chat with Ichabod, we find out why: the demon implanted the desire to kill Abbie in Jenny and it was so strong that she would feel it even when she wasn’t possessed. And to keep her sister safe, anytime she felt like she might lose control she would commit a crime so she would be locked up. The trio go to hunt down the lamp that will pull the demon out of whoever it is possessing, and Abbie says she will be stealing it so there’s no chance of Jenny going back to jail.

Meanwhile, the demon succeeding in taking possession of Macey (and snapping some necks along the way). Irving brings it to the research hub, but finds the Bible missing. Jenny and Abbie manage to distract the demon which allows Ichabod and Irving to trap it in a salt ring and draw the demon out, saving Macey.

We end the episode with Abbie and Ichabod at the cabin. Ichabod finally confirmed a smell in Washington’s Bible as an ingredient used in invisible ink. After a brush with lemon juice, December 18, 1799 is illuminated on the pages, in Washington’s handwriting. The problem? He supposedly died on December 14, 1799.

This episode presented a couple interesting ideas that I want to talk about a little bit before we wrap things up. When Anticif possessed Jenny, he foretold Corbin’s death and whose hand it would be at. Telling someone they’ll die isn’t all that special, but knowing who will kill them adds an extra layer to the debate over destiny. Ichabod and Abbie’s family trees have obviously been intertwined for a very long time. The Witnesses are foretold in the Bible (as is their death). Moloch has told Ichabod that he will be the one to deliver Abbie’s soul to him. So it begs the question of how much of this is fate, and how much is the Big Bad posturing? And if it is fate, do our characters have any control over things? Can they change some of the things foretold to happen? What loopholes exist? Can they delay their passing? This show emphasizes the prophecy idea much more than a lot of other genre shows. It actually reminds me of Buffy and Angel quite a bit in that regard (which might be part of why I love it so much).
The other thing that has been bugging me involves Jenny and Abbie and their roles in all of this. We’ve assumed since the show began that Abbie and Ichabod are the two Witnesses, with good reason (they are the main characters after all). But if Abbie is the more important one in the grand scheme of things, why didn’t Moloch continue to go after her during her childhood? Why did he seem to focus exclusively on Jenny? Most bad guys will want to take out their biggest competition first, so that makes me wonder if perhaps Jenny isn’t the second Witness after all. I know that Anticif said “Hello Witness” to Abbie when she made her appearance, but Jenny was still standing right there. It’s just a little something that makes me wonder.

This episode managed to do several things: it tied up some storylines (or at least stalled the conflict), it gave us some more insight into Jenny, it gave us a pretty interesting set-up into the finale, and it brought some debates front and center again.

Some Other Notes:
--- I loved the height jokes. You gotta love the humor while committing a crime.

--- Ichabod in modern clothes! It finally happened! His look of disgust at the pink striped shirt was the highlight for me.

--- I am continually amazed at how quickly this show drew me in and entrenched certain characters and dynamics. The Abbie and Ichabod dynamic has been key since day one. They really do make this show. But looking back at the season, I really think it would suffer without the relationship between Abbie and Jenny. They have quickly added a lot of complexity to it and the two pull off that bickering sisters vibe very easily.

With that I turn it over to all of you. What are your thoughts on the episode? Any nagging theories or questions you want to share? Are you as depressed as me about next week being the finale? Share it all in the comments.

About the Author - Caitlin Rice Anderson
Caitlin is an avid TV watcher. Her all time favorite shows are Buffy, Angel, and Veronica Mars. Her current TV obsessions are New Girl, Once Upon a Time, Hannibal, and Sleepy Hollow. Outside of watching and discussing TV, she can be found pursuing her doctorate and impatiently waiting for the return of college football.

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