Sleepy Hollow Recap: Demon on Parade

Photo: 20th Century Fox Television
Sleepy Hollow
Episode Title
The Vessel
Editor’s Rating

For such a long while we’ve been waiting, we patient, unflagging Sleepy Hollow fans, waiting and wondering. And last night, it all paid off — all that pent-up viewer tension, all that cautious will-they-or-won’t-they anticipation — and we finally (finally!) were afforded a glimpse of exactly that which we’d forever tarried upon.

I am talking, of course, about the decision to outfit Tom Mison in skinny jeans.

I’m not sure which is the more appropriate way to commemorate this historic beefcake milestone: requesting a moment of group silence or writing a blow-by-blow account of such an exquisite, sublime piece of clothes-on fanporn. Since I don’t know HTML code for typographically signifying a moment of silence, I’ll go with the latter:

Abbie (upon seeing the bedenimed Ichabod Crane): “Hell hath frozen over indeed.” Rawr! That zinger turned out to be only the first delectably tart barb in an episode chockablock with them. I felt like I was back in April 2013 watching all of my besties on Happy Endings take the piss out of each other.

Crane: “I don’t understand your obsession with my finery.” That’s fine, Crane — you feeling flummoxed only ups your dish factor.

Crane: [Attempts to sit down in jeans.] Oh, Ichy! You truly are my crush object and my gay hubs rolled into one. I mean, who hasn’t found themselves doing the whole stiff-legged, bad-Frankenstein-impression thing while working in a new pair of blue jeans (in Cranespeak: “restrictive trousers”)? Amirite, ladeeeez?

Crane: “One sign of the impending apocalypse is certainly skinny jeans.” Another thing that is certain: Every female Sleepy Hollow fan will bust out this line the next time she’s in a fitting room. Another sign of the impending apocalypse: everything else that goes down in this super-intense, watch-from-under-the-covers episode, which sets up next week’s season finale quite nicely.

Captain Irving is still mega-freaked by what went down in the park during the last episode, when he was confronted by a human-inhabiting demon warning him that his daughter was gonna get it. He hauls in the mortals from that incident for questioning, which means he inadvertently invites the demon right through the front door of Sleepy Hollow PD. The demon takes over the body of a uniformed officer, who dials Irving’s cell, who sees on the display that the call is coming from inside the building! (I found that joke very amusing when I made it to myself inside my head.) But I was disappointed by Irving’s lack of police work in that moment. He IDs which officer’s possessed, but rather than yell at everyone to stay away so they don’t make contact with him, he draws his gun without warning inside a police station? And then he doesn’t secure the perimeter when it’s clear the demon’s already passed on to another body? Well, at least he calls his priest to meet him at Macey’s safe house. Because, you know, protocol. (Also, salt. Lots and lots of salt.)

Abbie and Crane, snooping around Corbin’s old stuff, find a video of Corbin playing supernatural scientist with a possessed Jenny from years ago. The reveal of Jenny as the possessed woman Corbin’s been observing was of course not a surprise, and even if it was, what matters here is the delight of finally seeing Corbin again. Here’s also where the fright factor really starts to kick in, with the possessed Jenny predicting, “You will die, August Corbin, at the hands of the horseman of death,” then warning that Abbie’s next.

I love that the Abbie-and-Jenny relationship came to the forefront in this episode. Their dynamic had been set up in the first few episodes so authentically — but then, like many of Sleepy Hollow’s story lines over the course of the season, took a backseat as other bits of narrative action played out. Crane and Jenny’s heart-to-heart in her car about Abbie, and the choices Jenny’s made to protect her, was very sweet and touching, two words I never thought I’d use to describe the prickly Jenny — who, I will admit, I really didn’t like until now.

The only thing I don’t like about Crane, meanwhile, is that he’s a know-it-all. Case in point: While studying Corbin’s video, Crane posits that Jenny, talking in tongues, is actually speaking an old Greek dialect. Abbie suggests listening to the audio in reverse since, ya know, that’s how demons talk, and then voilà! “That’s ancient Aramaic!” Crane declares. This leads to the immediate discovery that the demon they’re dealing with is Ancitif, known to be a leader of Moloch’s minions, and — whaddayaknow? — Crane recognizes, in one of the old tomes they consult, a drawing of a particular lantern known for its demon-thwarting properties that once belonged to his old buddy, Ben Franklin. Jenny also recognizes said lantern, so they know exactly where to go next. (Narrative efficiency on Sleepy Hollow sometimes feels criminal.)

At Billy Bob Redneck’s Westchester County Compound, Abbie and Crane break into a storage barn to swipe the lantern. Meanwhile, stuff’s really going down over at the safe house, where the demon’s now passed into the body of Detective Luke Morales. I’m using his full name as a formality, because it’s been so long since we’ve seen him that I feel like we’re practically strangers all over again. Not that I ever felt chummy with Morales prior to this episode. I mean, we all agree he was the most useless supporting character heretofore, no? Was he hanging around all this time just so he’d be offed in the line of demon duty? I wish so but suppose not, as the demon ultimately leaves him for Macey, and then we never see him again.

Even though we’ve all seen The Exorcist, Macey’s Linda Blair impression was still spooky as get-out, right? I think I released an audible “Oh, noooooo,” when she first appeared. (Which I recall happening right before a cut to commercial; fantastic use of ad breaks in this episode to really cliff-hang the fright factor.) From this moment forward, my typewritten notes grew less and less legible as I could not keep up: Orlando Jones’s whimpering pleas to have his daughter back; Crane hoisting Abbie up to grab the lantern (only those two could make giving someone a boost a toe-curling delight to watch); the standoff outside the barn (go, Jenny!); and most especially Jenny and Abbie’s demon tag-teaming at the end.

Obvious burning question leading into the season finale: Are we going to meet George Washington? And if so, is there going to be some bit of hoary guest-star casting for the part of George Washington? Actually, now that I think about it, I have nothing but questions for the season finale. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen! Predictions welcome in the comments below.