Sunday, December 10, 2017

Van Helsing, Season 2, Episode 9: Wakey, Wakey

This episode has a few flashbacks to Scarlett Harkness’s childhood and how terribad it was because her dad trained her to hunt vampires and people were scared of her. Especially the guy who tried to push her to have sex and she held a knife to his throat and made him wet himself.

She is known as Scary Scarlett and does not like this at all as she tells her dad in no uncertain terms, especially since she doesn’t believe vampires exist. Which is when the vampire attacks to help prove it to her and her dad forces her to kill it so she is prepared. In the aftermath they fake their own death with some stolen bodies and go on the turn to hide from the vampires

Ok, I get it, insight into Scarlett’s past - but didn’t she kind of tell us all this already?

In the present the gang have been captured by the cannibal BBQ cops who have now all been slaughtered by the Sisterhood of Scary Vampires whose female unity is now under the control of a man because Of Course They Are. That guy (Scab?) and Dmitri are now hunting for the Van Helsing

So our gang decides to do that least sensible of all things - split up. And the precious key they’re guarding they give to Julius and Doc - the ones least able to protect themselves. Hey they get a disposable cop to go with them but he ends up quickly bitten and Doc has to kill him. She looks a little traumatised but this - even as Julius tells her she had to. After all - she and Julius were in that same state not so long ago.

Scarlett cuts herself to try to lure the vampires away which kind of works - Dmitri smells her Van Helsing blood - but the sisters have ALL the super powers, apparently being immune to bullets. Thankfully they’re superstitious so they don’t follow Scarlett and Axel to a cemetery where they engage in some taunting

And then decide to leave said cemetery and hide in an armoured car full of money. Now I get the potent point that all that money is worthless and how the world has changed so yeah for imagery. But if you’re going to rest up for the night of childhood talks and sexual tension then maybe do it in the cemetery where you’ve already established the Sisters won’t go rather than crawling into a metal box

But metal box it is where Scarlett explains her own history and how the apocalypse wasn’t so bad for her because everything made sense. I can see that - she’s spent her whole life being an ostracised outsider preparing for the vampire apocalypse so when it happened, yes it was terrible, but she finally fit. She finally had a purpose. Her life finally made sense. Kind of like a survivalist in a bunker would make sense if we actually had a nuclear war but without that they’re someone who is wasting an awful lot of disposable income on some really elaborate cosplay.

They discuss childhoods and Axel reveals he isn’t an army brat. Scarlett wonders why he stayed with Vanessa’s unmoving body for three years if he hasn’t had generations of mindless obedience drilled into him. He tells her about his fridged whose disappearance he blamed on himself

This is… disappointingly predictable and somewhat different from the first season. There it was clear Axel was following orders long after it was clear they were irrelevant because he had NOTHING ELSE TO DO; following those orders gave him purpose, made him still part of a greater whole, preserved the impression that the greater whole. That worked - far more than saying “I spent 3 years watching over a comatose body because my sister disappeared”.

This is when Scarlett and Axel kiss and have sex - but not before Scarlett checks if Axel had sex with Vanessa. Axel says “not even close”. Hmmm… I’m sure they got close a time or two.

After they finish they find that their van, with only one way in or out, and surrounded by Sisterhood vampires. Because this wasn’t predictable. So they have to escape, and before they do this Axel puts on a vest of money and duct tape. Because armour. I guess. Look with everything else that happens in this show I’m not quibbling over money armour.

I am quibbling over the fact Axel can go one-on-one with a member of the Sisterhood, an ancient powerful vampire and apparently win. Can we be consistent here? Vampires are supposed to be nearly impossible to kill, super strong and super fast, how does a human wrestle with one without being squished? As Axel appears to not have super powers, I question how he wasn’t torn into lots of little Axel pieces.

Scarlett has woo-woo and training on her hands so can face off against 2 Sisters - and lose. But luckily for her she’s bitten and the Sister who bites her turns human (and is promptly killed by the other Sister who is disgusted by her human-ness). Scarlett heals her bite wound and lo she has inherited Vanessa’s-ness. She theorises it’s due to Vanessa biting her

This also causes her some level of angst - because, as she mentioned, she kind of had life all figured out and now? Now everything is Complicated

While I’m concerned because we’ve now gone a couple of episodes without Vanessa and now we have a replacement Van Helsing who also seems to be inheriting Vanessa’s love interest… and I also realised that I’m not actually THAT bothered because I didn’t find Vanessa the endless rage monster’s character that interesting. But she was bisexual, even if it was blink-and-you-miss-it-portrayal and one of our very few LGBTQ protagonists...

Time to check with Doc and Julius who are running around relatively unprotected and not really good at defending themselves with the super precious key. But we do have a really cute moment of Julius discovering modern food (since he was turned in the 50s when food was a terrible horror show of tinned soup and gelatin in everything and caused untold horrific damage) and absolutely loving it even though everything he’s eating must be so very very stale

Stale crisps look much more appealing...

He discovers that Doc has a complex history with Axel and that she’s still very bleak and moody.

Which is when Scab and Dmitri find them - there’s mockery and taunting and Dmitri knocks Julius out. Or kills him. Which is sad. I guess? Again not especially connecting to this character or seeing the point of him.

They don’t kill Doc though despite her being inedible because they want her to tell team good guy to come get them because plot. They do take the key though so Dmitri can helpfully exposition his plan to free the Elder, reap the benefits of his gratitude and win this war….

….win? I mean, didn’t they win already? Human civilisation has fallen. There are scattered pockets of survivors. Even the Resistance looks pretty much dead? Or is this just the Pacific Northwest? Is the rest of the world fine? Is this constant missing sun just part of being in the North-west (insert weather snark here).