Sleepy Hollow “The Vessel”
Story by Mark Goffman and David McMillan
Teleplay by Melissa Blake
Directed by Romeo Tirone
Sleepy Hollow returns (finally!) for the first episode of 2014, and the last lone hour episode before the two-hour season finale next week! We continue the story straight out of Fallen, with a demon jumping between bodies and threatening Captain Irving and his daughter, Macey (Amandla Stenberg). Then things get horror movie crazy, but not before some cute character moments and Jenny Mills, kicking butt.
The Vessel asks what would you do to protect the people you love, especially if there was a crazy demon chasing after them? It becomes a recurring theme through the episode, as Captain Irving goes to extraordinary lengths to protect his daughter Macey, who is specifically threatened by the body-jumping demon, Ancitif(an actual demon) There is new revelations about Jenny Mills, who was also a possession target for the demon (as hinted in her first appearance), as we discover that she often would commit crimes in order to be incarcerated so she wouldn’t hurt Abbie while possessed. It’s an extreme form of sisterly love, one Abbie wasn’t even aware of (as Jennifer correctly deduced that Abbie wouldn’t have believed her, anyway.) But once Ichabod tells her, the healing process between the sisters is swiffened.
One thing Sleepy Hollow has been doing a lot of is using familiar cinema scenes in order to set the tone for certain characters and events. This episode has a glaringly obvious example as parts copy Fallen and parts copy The Exorcist (and related knockoffs!) An argument could be made that producers Orci and Kurtzman have a history of stealing iconic scenes in films to use for their own, most glaringly when used in Star Trek Into Darkness. The difference between the STID use and things happening in Sleepy Hollow, is STID was a transparent attempt to use nostalgia to make up for lack of actual characterization/plot/everything that is essential in telling a story. In Sleepy Hollow, things like Jenny’s introduction being a copy of Sarah Conner in Terminator 2 is a shortcut to let the audience know she’s a complete badass. Jenny’s arc then goes in its own direction, with her character’s tone already established. In Vessel, when things switch over to The Exorcist, an effort is made to make the result play out differently, even subverting an iconic effect.
I actually like when the show references films, because it’s not relying on them to provide the entertainment. The entertainment comes from Ichabod struggling to fit in with modern society. It comes from Abbie coming to grips with her destiny and making amends with her sister. It comes from Captain Irving dealing with his family issues while also holding back the apocalypse in what he thought would be a stress-free assignment. It comes from crazy demon scares and monsters that have their own agendas despite being part of a greater war. It comes from Ichabod’s struggle to save his wife while dealing with everything he knew about her being a lie (and discovering he had a son he never knew!) Sleepy Hollow provides all this, and more. It’s consistently diverse, not filled with token minorities, but characters who are rich and developed. The makeup of the cast of Sleepy Hollow reflects modern America, and it does so without pomp and circumstance, it just IS. And it’s great. I’m still amazed Sleepy Hollow became my favorite new show of the season, and amazed at how it just blows Agents of Shield away.
Captain Irving’s paranoia from last week results in one of the possessed threateners being questioned at a lie detector, where he professes to have no idea what is going on. Another witness shows up, who is the current host of Ancitif. Thus, the demon is now jumping around the police station, and calls Irving on his phone to demand the George Washington Bible, or Macey’s gonna get it!