‘Sleepy Hollow’ Breakdown: ‘The Vessel’

Sleepy Hollow
Credit: Brownie Harris, FOX

SPOILERS AHEAD (or, um be-head?), so duck and cover, Sleepy Hollow fans!

Season One, Episode 11: “The Vessell”

Written by: Melissa Blake; Directed by: Romeo Tirone

After a month-long break, the danger in Sleepy Hollow is still ever-present. Yet much of the energy feels lost after so many weeks without our team of Apocalypse fighters. This week finds Irving trying to save his daughter from demonic possession while the others learn about Jenny’s own demonic past.

Quick Breakdown

After being verbally assaulted in the park, Irving brought in the offender for questioning. But we know that the man passed his demonic possession onto another woman. She arrives at the station for questioning as well, but the demon passes on to an officer instead. Irving is confounded by the witness’ lack of memory and feels like he’s going crazy. He gets a call threatening his daughter —  the deep, demonic voice claims he will posses his daughter unless he delivers Washington’s Bible. Irving checks the caller ID and realizes that the call is coming from inside the station. Irving tackles the officer making the call, but not before the demon jumps into the body of another officer — Jones.

Irving is freaked out, and calls his priest. He advises Irving to take Macey, Irving’s daughter, to a safe house and he’ll meet him there. Irving grabs his two best men — Jones and Morales — and takes them with him and his family to the safe house. Before running off though, he tells his drama to Abbie and Crane, urging them to find a way to stop the demon.

In the Archives, they find a video of Corbin performing an exorcism…on Jenny. They try to watch the video to discover how he saved Jenny, but the video cuts out at the worst possible moment. They call in Jenny to help, and she confesses some interesting facts about that time in her life. She’d been haunted by that demon for years, being told in her head to kill Abbie. She was so worried about these thoughts that she would purposefully get arrested to avoid Abbie.

She doesn’t remember much from the exorcism, but with some excessive viewing, they discover the demon’s name: Ancitif. (He’s famous for having possessed a bunch of nuns.) The Bible tells them there is a special lamp that can be used to dispel the demon. Crane is familiar with the lamp since the French sent some over during the Revolutionary War. Yet Jenny knows something more helpful, she’s seen the lamp in the possession of the Weavers, some very patriotic men she has helped in the past. Crane also proves adept at using a remote and freeze-frames the video so they can see that salt can be used to trap the demon.

The priest also knows that salt is a helpful preventative for demonic possession and spreads it around the entryways of the safe house (a cabin off in the forest). Jones and Morales see this, but only one of them knows what’s up. The demon has transferred into Morales’ body, and he convinces Jones to remove the salt from the doorway. He then dispatches with Jones, leaving his body in the bushes (Irving never seems to notice that he’s missing one of his bodyguards).

Irving does his best not to frighten Macey or Cynthia, who are confused as to why they’re being sequestered in the cabin. Macey goes into her room to study, and Irving and Cynthia chat about their options on the porch. Abbie calls with an update on their situation, and Irving urges her to move quickly and do whatever it takes. He then gets a call from Morales, but it’s actually the demon telling him to come back into the cabin.

Irving finds Morales on the floor and Macey’s wheelchair empty. She’s actually floating in the air in the living room, fully possessed by Ancitif. He kills the priest and threatens Cynthia’s life, telling Irving to take him to the Bible. He relents, but not before he calls Abbie to cryptically relay what’s going on.

The others race to the Weaver’s compound, where Abbie and Crane break into their storage container to grab the lantern. On their way out, the men confront them with heavy artillery. But Jenny is packing some high-powered guns as well, and she gets everyone out alive. With lamp in hand, they head to the Archives to save Irving and his daughter.

Irving can’t find the Bible at the Archives, and Ancitif gets pissed. Just as he’s about to squeeze Cynthia’s head off, Jenny shows up and has a mini-reunion with him. Abbie then pops in to say some threatening words of her own. They bait the demon who soars over to them, but he can’t quite reach them because there’s a semi-circle of salt in front of them. Crane appears and completes the circle while the girls distract Ancitif. Crane then uses the lamp, now fully lit, to dispel the demon. Everyone is OK.

Back at Corbin’s cabin/Crane’s home, Crane is mixing a little concoction with lemon juice and carbonated beverages. Abbie hands over the Bible, which Crane hid here, so Crane can perform an experiment on one of the particularly putrid-smelling pages. He suspects that invisible glow ink was used on the page and his concoction should reveal the hidden message. The ink works and they read a date: December 18th, 1799. Crane identifies the writing as belong to George Washington, but Abbie happens to know that Washington died on the 14th. So how did he write this date four days later?



The long break has killed much of this show’s momentum, and apocalyptic vibes seem out of place in the cold winter of a new year. But the story itself keeps pushing ever forward as events from the last episode pay off this week. Some revelations about Jenny’s own past also advance her character in an exciting new way, bringing the sisters even closer together. I hope she’s a full cast member next season.

Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…

Wardrobe Update: Abbie won some sort of bet (that involved surviving to the New Year) and makes Crane try on current clothes. He comes out in a pair of skinny jeans, but his patience lasts not even two minutes. He hurries to change back into his usual garb. I guess Crane will never evolve into a fashionista, but at least Abbie suggests he try dry cleaning.

“Time’s up, Dad!” –Macey in demon voice upon being possessed by Ancitif

“I guess my social workers were right: I am a bad influence.” – Jenny after Abbie says she’ll break in to steal the lamp.

Just because the date written was four days after Washington died, how can they deduce that he was alive on that day? Couldn’t he have merely written the future date before his death? With so little context for the date, doesn’t it seem like they’re jumping to conclusions? I guess we’ll discover more next week for the two-hour season finale.

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