Sleepy Hollow S1 Ep11: The Vessel

Sleepy Hollow has returned after a holiday break that followed the two most lackluster episodes of the series so far (both Ichabod/Katrina flashback centered, Abbie-lite episodes), and, thankfully, the magic is back. Note to the writers: The Ichabod/Katrina story on its own isn’t that compelling, even with a secret Crane baby. Um, especially with a secret Crane baby. It pretty much wasted valuable Abbie and Jenny time. And also Jenny and Frank time. Who’s idea was it to not show Jenny and Frank’s Thanksgiving?

But I digress.

Things are back on track. There’s the worrying matter of Moloch’s demand that Ichabod deliver Abbie’s soul to him, and the  worrying matter of Ichabod in skinny jeans (he changes back into his musty old clothes after a couple of minutes), but the main thing is the matter of the creepy guy who threatened Frank Irving with harm to his daughter Maisey in the park in the last episode. We know that he was just a regular non-creepy guy momentarily demon possessed (the white eyes are a giveaway), and also that the demon jumped into the body of a nearby woman before the man was arrested, so he’s naturally confused during the interrogation. The demon is still close to Frank — it’s slipped into the police station via the woman, where it jumped into the body of a cop, who taunts Frank, again threatening his daughter if he doesn’t get George Washington’s Bible. Just as Frank figures out who the demon is possessing, it makes another jump, into Devon Jones, the blonde detective guy and Luke’s partner. With threats of an attack against Maisey that night and blood dripping out of the ceiling to spell “THE BIBLE,” Frank decides to move his ex-wife Cynthia and Maisey to a remote cabin in the woods (yeah, it doesn’t sound like a good idea when you say it like that, does it?)

Back at Corbin’s cabin in the woods, Abbie and Ichabod,  aware of the danger to the Irving family, start looking for a way to take care of the demon without giving it Washington’s Bible. They discover some old VHS tapes of a demonic possession — and it turns out, it’s Jenny. Not wanting to violate Jenny’s privacy, they have her come over to watch it with them. Jenny’s knows that she had been possessed, but she had never seen the tapes and had little memory of it. As they watch the footage, the demon not only knew that Corbin would be killed by the Horseman, but was determined to kill Abbie via Jenny. And, with that, pieces of Abbie and Jenny’s tumultuous past start to come together: Jenny had committed crimes in the past to protect Abbie, so she’d be locked up and unable to kill her. Seriously, so much better than a secret Crane baby.

The Mills sisters decide to play the video backwards, and, thanks to Ichabod’s fluency in ancient Aramaic, are able to identify the demon as Ancitif (based on a demon that is said to have possessed a series of nuns in 17th Century France). Thanks to their advanced supernatural knowledge, they know how to capture Ancitif: all they need to do is trap him in Benjamin Franklin’s lantern. Fortunately, Franklin’s lantern is stored in the compound of local doomsday preppers connected to the relic shop from an earlier episode, so the trio sets off.

Meanwhile, things at the safe house are going about as well as expected, considering Demon Devon and Luke are in charge of protecting Maisey. Ancitif jumps from Devon to Luke soon after they arrive. Frank’s priest is also there, spreading salt and holy water at the thresholds — which would have protected them, but Luke had Devon clear the salt from the doorway, then unceremoniously murdered him. With just one jump separating it from Maisey, Ancitif casually follows her into her room, and all Hell breaks loose. Ancitif goes full Exorcist with Maisey, causing her to levitate, distorting her face, and giving her body the ability to walk again. The priest attempts an exorcism, and is killed before he can say “the power of Christ compels you.” This demon is not messing around.

With no time to lose, Abbie, not wanting to add to Jenny’s long police record, decides to break in to the compound to retrieve the lantern. She and Ichabod find it, but are caught by some of the doomsday prepper gun nuts. Jenny intervenes from a nearby roof, and we discover that the preppers are aparrently apocalyptic monster wranglers themselves who display a deep respect for Jenny (the one guy actually bows to her after letting Abbie and Ichabod go. We just spent two episodes flashbacking to a  secret Crane baby instead of the story behind this?).

By this time, Ancitif, still possessing Maisey, has started to loot the archive in search of Washington’s Bible, with Frank and Cynthia desperately trying to free their daughter. Ancitif  baits Frank, telling him the accident that disabled Maisey was all his fault. Instead of giving it the reaction it wanted, Frank digs deep and reaches out to Maisey, and for one moment, she connects. She’s overtaken again quickly, and Ancitif attacks Cynthia, grabbing her by the neck (but not snapping it to kill her instantly, as with Jones and the priest, suggesting that Maisey was fighting it). The Mills sisters arrive just in time, and lure Ancitif into a circle of salt so Ichabod can capture it with the lantern. Maisey goes back to her normal self, and the Irvings collapse into a relived embrace. Overwhelmed by the emotion of the day, Jenny embraces Abbie as if she had never been able to embrace her before.

In the epilogue, Ichabod discovers a message from Washington in the Bible — December 18, 1877. Abbie points out that Washington died four days before on December 14, 1877, so he couldn’t have written the message. Which… I mean, he could have written it before he died, but they’re assuming it was written on the 18th for some supernatural reason we’re sure to find out in the two-hour finale, airing next week.