‘Sleepy Hollow’ Is Probably Going To Get A Lot Of Hate Mail For Its Latest Episode

Senior Contributor
01.14.14 32 Comments

Sleepy Hollow Vessel

Sleepy Hollow came back last night with a bang, and an episode that’s probably going to rack up a lot of hate mail. Why? Well, let’s dig in, shall we?

First of all, this episode, Vessel, finally addresses the question of Ichabod’s refusal to get new clothes. It turns out he doesn’t like jeans, but it’s the opening interplay that really makes this section; Ichabod’s grousing about trousers is fall-down funny stuff. And then Abby tells him to get his stuff dry-cleaned.

Vessel is essentially the episode all TV shows with demons must eventually do; the demonic possession episode. It’s a mashup of Fallen and The Exorcist, as Captain Irving has to fight to save his family from the Roofie Demon who can possess people with a touch.

Yes, I said the Roofie Demon. I suppose I could bother to look up this demon’s name, but when it leaves you after possessing you, you don’t remember anything you’ve done while possessed, and the dialogue this thing delivers has a surprising amount of rape metaphors, although they also get some good mileage out of mental illness metaphors as well. Still, one suspects the academic overanalysis on Tumblr is already brewing.

The second aspect is the highly convenient tribe of survivalists, who happen to be stockpiling magical items as well as lots of guns, and who apparently can live in almost complete isolation about fifteen miles from the Tappan Zee. Sure, right, they’re not on any watchlists. We’re sure all the people who make Facebook such a calm place for political debate took that very well. We bet Ichabod Crane saying the Founding Fathers had reservations about the Second Amendment came off smoothly too.

In truth Vessel is something of a weak episode for Sleepy Hollow; the plot to get the MacGuffin essentially derails a good chunk of the episode, for example, and the timeline is shot to hell. On the characterization front, an attempt to make Irving’s wife a little more sympathetic falls flat because basically Irving has no way to tell her what’s going on, so she just looks like a doofus insisting that her law degree can help fight demons.

The show also remembers that Abby’s Douchebag Ex is a character, but he’s mostly a redshirt in this episode and you wonder why they bothered. That said, there is some character growth here, not least thanks to Orlando Jones and Jill Marie Jones actually playing off each other pretty well. Jenny and Abby also get closer as sisters, making this episode’s demon fight oddly heartwarming.

In short, this episode reminds us why we missed Sleepy Hollow so much… just in time for the two-hour season finale next week. Hey, at least we get another season.

Some more thoughts:

  • That final “glowing inks” effects shot was shockingly terrible for a show that’s generally pretty good about this stuff. Combined with the terrible lighting during that exposition bit in Abby’s cruiser, I’m going to assume the budget was a little tight.
  • Ichabod not knowing what a “boondoggle” meant was a nice touch; the word only entered popular vernacular in 1935.
  • One touch that was greatly appreciated: Irving tells them what the demon wants, and they don’t just leave it where he can find it when things go south. Genre savvy, our heroes!

Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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