Saturday, October 7, 2017

Van Helsing Season 2, Episode 1: Began Again

Van Helsing has returned and my overwhelming thought is - how did I forget how bad the acting is? Especially the villains. They’re all so desperately competing to be the most over-the-top, shlocky, hilarious villain stereotype ever. And I’m just not sure Van Helsing is embracing this camp ludicrousness and running with it or actually expects to take them seriously

Our opening cameo is clearly for later plot points - there’s a safe space in the mountains, way above the clouds so it gets sunny. The humans there are sending up helium balloons to encourage any other free humans to head for the hills

Away from the hills we have a very annoyed Vanessa trying to get her child Dylan who has developed a distressing taste in dramatic eye make up - a sure sign she’s a vampire. She’s also totally loyal to Rebecca now. Vanessa responds to this by smacking Rebecca around and holding her out to the sunshine to get a really bad sun tan. She’s stopped by Dylan, her beloved daughter, who knocks her out and scarpers.

When she wakes up, Vanessa begins the endless running through this maze of a building (the vampires’ polluting citadel) to try and find Dylan

On the way she runs into Mohammed. Mohammed has found Sheema, his sister, pinned under masonry and she begs for his help - to find some vampires (who have waaaaay more things to worry about right now) to turn her. He, naturally refuses and they have a big moment of his dramatic, emotional denial and her repeating how much she wants to be a vampire, how much it means to her, how much she’s been dreaming about it. To stop her talking Mohammed holds a hand over her mouth - and suffocates her. This is what i mean about this show being tonally weird - the enemies are caricatures of hilarity while we then have these really painful, moving scenes that would be interesting development for Mohammed, if I didn’t partially think it’s actually here to remove an inconvenient character who could have had a nuanced reflection on survival and stockholm syndrome but, alas wasn’t really - and to make sure Mohammed has no real distractions now outside of Vanessa. I really would like to see him develop another storyline, especially since the other Black characters are dead/evil/both.

Vanessa is not sympathetic because of the whole betrayal thing but he follows her anyway probably because she murders vampires really well. To find her daughter she also bites him so she can activate her special Van Helsing Powers with blood so she can smell her. He continues to rip out vampire hearts. She also tries to punch down a steel door with her fists which is worrisome. Slightly more worrisome in that she seems to be actually able to do this. Mohammed my might want to try to be a sidekick to someone less rage obsessed

Meanwhile it’s time to join Dmitri. The most comically awful villain there has ever been on an actual non-comedy show.

He is negotiating with Taka, head of the human resistance who is secretly working with Rebecca (and already killed Brendan to allow him to do this negotiating). He shoots Dmitri in non-lethal fashion when a rather singed Rebecca arrives and then Anastasia arrives (female Dmitri, just as silly and dramatic) and there’s lots of death. Taka is dead, Rebecca is dead, Dmitri is alive, injured and sucking in Taka’s corpse and Anatasia rants away about how carnage is awesome and one day they will return to wreak their revenge and rule again. As any proper villain does. She’s also going to personally hunt down Vanessa because of course. Honestly listening to her is difficult because it’s more than a little funny

Next group is Flesh, the ex-vampire, now going by Phil who meets up with fun and more than a little eccentric gun wielding resistance fighter, Lucky. Phil wants to find Vanessa, his saviour. Lucky wants to find the boilers/generators and blow them up. Time to team up and kill vampires. They do find those generators and blow them up so Lucky’s good. Phil decides to do a blatant CIS examination of Taka and Brendan’s death completely failing to read his audience who are clearly broadcasting “don’t talk shit about our awesome leader!” despite it being clear Brendan was shot. He then follows Dmitri’s blood trail, with Lucky guilting the extras to come along which ends up with them being killed in a really squishy trap by Anastasia.

Time for another comic villain - Dr. Sholomenko

This is the human doctor who experiments on things. In particularly he has been experimenting a lot on Dylan - and he quickly goes to grab her (after a brief encounter with Lucky and Phil) and lure her for more experiments. Vanessa does find him (with Mohammed) and there’s a big dramatic moment with Dr. Sholomenko announcing because of his many experiments, it’s impossible for Vanessa to turn her kid back with a nibble. Since Vanessa is the only person with the healy bite and she hasn’t exactly been around to test there is absolutely no way this WWF understudy extra could possibly know this. But hey, let’s run with this. Dylan objects to this and bites him which makes Dr. Sholomenko super happy because he’s changing into a vampire. Or was until Vanessa shot him a gazillion times in the chest

Also vampire bad guy Julius wants to hunt down Dmitri and kill him for reasons laid out in  a ridiculously overdramatic speech. I don’t have a good mocking picture for him yet, please feel free to suggest one.