Sunday, November 4, 2018

Van Helsing, Season 3, Episode 4: Rusty Cage

This episode we’re focusing again on Sam and Mohammed and, perhaps, finally drawing them back into the actual plot line rather than have them on one side

We get lots of flashbacks this episode to Sam’s appalling childhood - we’ve seen before how his father tortured him over and over and how Sam lashed out and stabbed the man in the eye. After this his evil dad has him taken to prison mocking and taunting him as he is taken away, telling the police to never let him out - and Sam bites off his hectoring finger. A habit he’s continued in his serial killer days.

In prison, as a small boy who is also deaf he is targeted by bullies who savagely beat him repeatedly. On kind guard tries to protect him and advocate for him, but the system doesn’t care. He tries to teach young Sam metal welding as a trade to help him for the future.

And Sam uses a metal bare to brutally beat in the heads of his attacks and then his new welding skills to turn their teeth into an ornament. Nice guard is somewhat troubled by this, so Sam slits his throat

I’m not sure what they’re going with here - Sam was always inherently evil or that the abuse has turned him evil? Or maybe they’re not even going that far and are just running with EVVVVVILLLL

A shadowy, veiled female figure that kind of reminds me of the B’ah… she encourages him to look after the toothy decoration.

In the present that same spooky spooky shadowy lady encourages Sam to be ready - and to have the one with him be worthy. For Sam this means teaching Mohammed self-control. Mohammed isn’t feral - but he is hungry and desperate and wants blood and doesn’t understand Sam’s demand he doesn’t feed. I suppose in some ways it can be seen as Sam demanding Mohammed be more human and less driven by his hunger and urges. Except what Sam wants from him is probably worse than some evil snacking

We also have a return of bit characters Mike and Chad and the gang of kids they’re looking after. Don’t get excited, this does not end well. Mike decides to teach Felix - who once was captured by Sam to turn him into a replacement Mohammed - how to hunt. Felix is obviously quite traumatised by his experiences and Mike wants to give him purpose a connection to nature and chance to provide for the group and feel better and we have a whole scene of him hunting a deer

Juxtaposed with Sam teaching Mohammed to hunt. The difference is that Mike is teaching Felix respect and killing for food circle of life etc etc while Sam is almost pulling Mohammed back from this natural predator, kill-to-eat mindset as he encourages Mohammed to ignore his hunger.

The shadowy figure keeps telling Sam that his companion needs to be worthy and Sam becomes more despairing of Mohammed becoming that

Inevitably he and Mohammed attack Mike and Chad’s group and people flee for the hills except Felix trapped in an underground bunker. Mohammed hunts him - but holds back, not attacking per Sam’s instructions. Until Felix manages to get out of the bunker and shut the door - and Sam leaves him there. And Sam turns Felix

So is Sam going to set Felix and Mohammed against each other? Has he given up on Mohammed as being “unworthy”? At least he finally acknowledges Felix’s name rather than calling him Mohammed. But it still feels like he’s treating black sidekicks as indistinguishable.

And then they hunt and eat Mike - bringing back your bit part gay characters to kill them oh yay. Look don’t bother bringing back your bit gay characters if it’s just so your corpse has a name attached. Don’t pretend they’re actual characters rather than walking bodies. The flower duet does not make this better

Sam also discards his treasured severed fingers in favour of the tooth ornament he made as a child… I can’t help but think of the Totems all the elders carry, especially since the shadowy maybe-B’ah is fixed on it too.

I may be reading too much into the whole B’ah connection but I’m trying to see how Sam and Mohammed actually fit with the larger plot

Speaking of - we have Ivory and Scab cowering during the day (with humans treating them like… a pesky racoon? This is an odd way to act about vampires around your agricultural machinery). Those humans are killed by some of the day walking vampires who Ivory then attacks and slaughters them in the seconds she can stay out in the sun slowly smoldering

Or would if you could actually slaughter them - but their super healing means even when their heads are impaled and spikes are shoved in their eyes they still heal.

Ivory is pinned, slowly burning and the head day walker bites her telling her he’s the future

This passes on his day walkingness which she passes on to Scab and they hatch a new plan to take over the Sisterhood and lead. I also note that Scab’s whole demeanour changes completely. Now he’s a different kind of vampire he’s far less animalistic.

He also wants to scrap all the Sisterhood traditions and rule - but she won’t have that. She is one of the sisters, she values them, she owes them and intends to keep their traditions. Scab backs down but he still tries to pull the “kneel before your lord” on the surviving sisters. Because the sisterhood has been all but destroyed… while Scab is reaching for a crown no-one’s giving him, Ivory talks to her sisters, turns them and vows to help them back on top and ruling

Which is nice and all but is this relevant to anything in the main plot? And if not, did I miss the moment these two extremely side characters became important enough for their own storyline?