Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Van Helsing, Season 2, Episode 10: Base Pair

So after last week I mused whether Vanessa was being written out, this week she reappears

But first we have a random guy with a map and balloon being eaten by a vampire. Bye balloon guy.

Moving on; Vanessa wakes in what is either a really nice prison cell or a moderate-to-decent hotel room (I need to see the room service menu and check the wifi for more). She is greeted by an older woman who is so happy to see her.

To which Vanessa knocks her aside and goes on a rampage. The place is a standard sinister shadowy lab with lots of technicians and vampires in those glass cages shadowy labs always have. They must get them from a whole sale supplier. Vanessa charges through beating up scientists, beating up guards, y’know Vanessa’s standard way of saying hello. She finds the boss man, Dr. Harrison, who insists they’re totally good people even though they gassed her, kidnapped her and abandoned her friends unconscious in a field to die. Dr Harrison gets a thoroughly deserved smaching. He does consider calling the guards, she points out how utterly useless the guards have been against her so far

See, this is the problem with capturing super-humans who are surly on a good day.

She ends up in a room with a nice view so decides to hang around and the older woman turns up because she looks more friendly and everyone would feel far less happy seeing Vanessa lay a hellish beat down on someone who looks like an elderly aunt. She explains they’ve been looking for Vanessa since forever and she wants Vanessa to confirm she can turn vampires human and her name is Abigail. Also they totally are the good guys despite Dr. Harrison’s kidnapping thing. She describes him as “on the spectrum”. Because autism and kidnapping are linked now? Really? Let’s not do this - he can be just an arsehole. That’s an accurate description - unlike “autistic”.

She isn’t confirming anything until she knows her friends aren’t dead.

Abigail manages to convince Vanessa to speak to Dr. Harrison with cunning use of sandwiches and Vanessa recognises him from the farm - apparently his dad. They’re trying to cure vampirisim. Which means… mission accomplished since she can bite everyone in a really kinky saving the world.

They want Vanessa to display her prowess by nibbling on lab tech Martin who is all vampiry after he volunteered to be a test subject for a serum that didn’t quite work. They use lots of words like “gift” and “duty” which impresses Vanessa not at all - but when she goes to storm off Abigail calls her “Essa” the same thing her mother called her: Abigail claims she knew her mother

When Vanessa returns to her room she also hears a mysterious voice being all kinds of cryptic. He claims to be locked up, asks her not to trust anyone and how there’s waaaay more going on than she knows

Personally I think disembodied voices are not necessarily very trustworthy. As she returns to her room he urges her to follow her visions and find the elder

Wandering around the facility she finds some files - including files on Dmitri - and an old ominous book about vampires which is conveniently initialled. Abigail catches her with the book and Vanessa asks her about her mother: she explains Vanessa’s origin. It seems human testing is so very common round these parts that they tested something on her mother - it didn’t work and she didn’t realise she was pregnant and lo! Vampire-hybrid Vanessa. She also claims their mother loved Vanessa but had to flee so the military didn’t perform experiments on them since, again, human testing seems to be the in thing.

She keeps dodging round the issue until Vanessa puts together the initials in the book with Abigail’s name and realises she’s speaking to Abigail Van Helsing - her mother.

I remain… sceptical. Not least of which because I’d expect some level of super powers from mummy as well

Mother also didn’t realise that Scarlett was still alive and the whole fire in which she supposedly died was faked by her adopted family; and is now extra unhappy that Scarlett was left behind. Oops.

Still, the revelations encourage Vanessa to help (and the shadowy voice urges Vanessa to tell Abigail everything about the visions, the elder et al) and she does her biting thing on Martin. Which works - Martin is human again (and explains his guilt complex and why he was willing to sacrifice himself). And everyone is…

...surprisingly unexcited? I mean surprised a little but for a facility that apparently exists entirely to find the cure they’re surprisingly blase about the cure being Vanessa’s gnashers. Though it’s possible they’re all a little freaked by Vanessa’s habit of biting people

We later see Harrison trying to convince Abigail that Vanessa doesn’t have the special DNA they need and how they really really really need her to find the elder for them. Which seems dubious because the cure is right there in Her Surliness. Vanessa’s still all mother-besotted so happily tells Abigail all about her visions, Scarlet and the key which even Abigail advises she not share with Harrison

Vanessa does do more snooping though and discovers that Harrison looks a looooot like his dad. And yes people look like their dad but that must be one narrow gene pool. She decides to go with the much more reasonable explanation that Harrison isn’t aging

She handles this revelation in classic Vanessa fashion with lots and lots and lots of violence. After giving Harrison a bit more smacking around her confesses to isolating elements of vampire DNA, specifically longevity. Which he has been injecting himself with

Again with the human testing. Can we call the ethics division on this? Or keep them away from sharp things? These guys will inject themselves with anything!

And he wants the elder not for the cure but to “perfect” his vampiric Oil of Olay. Vanessa, always kind of suspicious, realises that Harrison set her to find the book and discover Abigail to make Vanessa trust her. Time for another rampage!

She finds her mother performing an autopsy on… Martin. Hey remember when Axel died but wasn’t really dead? Maybe Vanessa should have told everyone that? Maybe? Abigail insists he totally didn’t kill the man and vivisect his corpse but he died suddenly. Vanessa doesn’t believe that - Harrison must have killed him and lied to poor innocent, trusting Abigail.

My cynicism grows.

Vanessa decides they’re going to leave right now and take mysterious man in the room next to her with them. Except in the room next to them is a speaker - the voice was also faked by Harrison! Vanessa responds with violence

She’s predictable like that

Dragging her mother behind she frees vampires (including a distinctive scarred vampire we know will appear later because everyone knows facial scars = compelling sinister villain), slaughters guards and generally runs amok. Abigail chides her for being “childish.”

Lady, she just buried an axe in someone’s chest what children are you han-... actually given my experiences with children, I agree. An accurate description.

Abigail continues to insist she works with Harrison and leads “us” to the crypt to find the cure she already has. Vanessa finally twigs that something’s up with Abigail - especially since the speaker-voice urged her to trust Abigail and only Abigail. She demands Abigail explain WHERE the key was hidden back at the farm. And Abigail can’t

Abigail isn’t Vanessa’s mother - and she shoots Vanessa repeatedly; planning on picking up Scarlett instead

Or, since Vanessa is pretty hard to kill, she’ll become snack food next episode

Still, well played Van Helsing. I mean, even if the audience is likely to twig that Abigail is more than a little suspicious it’s perfectly reasonable that Vanessa would believe and would want to believe she’d found her mother