Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Van Helsing, Season 3, Episode 13: Birth Ritual

Ok, things have just got… mystical. Super mystical. And I know you’re all saying “it’s a show about vampire apocalypse, how is it not mystical?” because it isn’t… I mean, apocalypse/dystopian shows tend not to be. While there’s been suggestions of woo-woo round the sides, we’ve played more into genetics than magic which is why the holy man felt so out of place last episode. Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic shows rarely involve actual woo-woo, even when they have things like zombies and vampires: they need that Realness to be impactful

But before we get to woo-woo, let’s catch up with Denver

So, Denver hasn’t entirely fallen, just one sector of it, so far. And this sector still has the time and resources to send out people to murder escaped prisoners? I call shenanigans.

Anyway Sarah is being investigated by Scary man from Black Tech (and you knew the evil company of evilness was definitely operating in Denver). He had CCTV hidden in the room and knows Sarah engineered Caitlin’s death and is almost impressed by her cold blooded remorselessness. The mayor of Denver is not amused to be covering up a murderer because he believes in the rule of law and all that. He’s adorable. Sinister science person makes it clear, oh-so-politely, who is really in charge and it’d be a shame of Black Tech lost faith in the mayor

Honestly he just has to say “I’m afraid of accidents” in a sinister tone to complete the whole thing

Black Tech wants Sarah around because she’s crafty. She also claims to have turned the repellent they use into a super vampire poison which is really useful…

… if it’s true. I don’t know. Sarah could be planning anything. Her main goal is to continue her DNA study of the ancient vampire blood Scarlett gave her - and whatever the results are she’s super shocked

Julius is trying to help the defenders to try and save Denver, in particular forcing them to change their tactics. They want to wait until reinforcements arrive (from Black Tech) because the vampires are contained… which they would be if they were feral, mindless and vulnerable to sunlight. But intelligent and immune it’s only a matter of time before they bypass the defences and everyone is screwed. Julius convinces them to go on the offensive and volunteers in a near suicidal mission: something Sarah objects to (and this is why i doubt her claims about the vampire poison).

They find Frankie dead so Julius can have more angst and guilt. And the Sisterhood using several captured humans as bait, including Kelly. Remember her? I swear Kelly is the dark one, she’s survived everything!

Angst angst time for a confrontation with with Scab and a cliffhanger.

Right now to the heady woo-woo of Vanessa’s story

Vanessa has returned to the asylum place where they killed the first elder to confront the big bad, Mohammed sort of following and being kidnapped by Sam who is also honing in guided by the shadowy figure known as the Oracle in the credits so we’ll run with that

The Oracle lures them both inside where it’s all ominous - and Vanessa confronts Sam, her eyes glowing red and there’s a brief, savage fight which Vanessa seems to have the edge… until the Oracle arrives and uses shiny woo-woo to freeze them both so she can talk at them

There’s a lot of talk and denial and anger but basically there is no fourth elder. This is the audition for the fourth elder (or something more since we seem to end up with a vampire who is way way way more powerful than the previous elders) and the choice is between Sam and Vanessa. Sam’s all in for this while Vanessa is in natural denial - though the Oracle, Sam et all keep poking her over what she’s done to turn herself into what she is.

The Oracle leads them into a secret labyrinth which is huge, impressive, ominous and has a great big thunderstorm. Which is perhaps a little over the top but hey we’ll run with that, we need a little melodrama. The Oracle continues to talk about what a disappointment Vanessa’s denial of her true destiny is - it feels like she really wants Vanessa to be the elder but she’s super unco-operative. The Oracle demands their tokens, because all elders have to have a token of their pain and suffering (for reasons): Sam has his tooth jewellery and Vanessa has Dylan’s ribbon…

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Van Helsing: Season 3, Episode 12: Christ Pose

As Van Helsing heads towards its season finale, someone on the writing staff has decided “let’s really annoy Paul with big shallow hot takes on things that need way more analysis”

And lo it’s time for the next episode for this. Now we have Scarlett stranded on an island for some indeterminate amount of time… long enough for her to do a full Tom Hanks - Wilson skit. She also shows herself to be not the smartest person around with her spending a long  time making a raft but not checking the island with a lighthouse for boats

One would expect boats in such a location

Anbyway she arrives on shore and manages to catch up with Axel and… ye gods how much time has passed? What has Vanessa been doing? I mean Axel has travelled from San Francisco to Denver then to wherever he is now and now Scarlet went from San Francisco to this island and now wherever Axel is

In the apocalypse. With apparent hordes of vampires around. In fact, where are these hordes of vampires? How come travelling is this easy? Even Game of Thrones wasn’t as fast and loose with distance.

So there’s much kissing and Axel briefly tries to convince her to move in with him somewhere and have lots of little ninjas but she insists on going to help Vanessa. Though Axel adds a little angst to that by asking if Scarlett will be ready to murder her sister should Vanessa have fallen to the Dark Side of the Force

Road trip time and along the way they find a pack of day walker vampires which use their new found intelligence to pull them into a trap. Which would have worked if they weren’t immortal vampire killers who slaughter them all with ease

Except Axel fires a shotgun and it misfires and badly burns his face and eyes. Wait, wasn’t Axel sort of immortal like everyone else? After coming back from being a vampire? Just like Julius and Phillip? He can be mauled by vampires but this brings him down?

Badly injured, Scarlett drags him to a random guy who happens to be in the area for help

Said random guy does help despite all her snarling because he’s Super Holy Guy. He is a man of deep and abiding faith who firmly believes in god and everything is god’s will and all you need is prayer - and that includes Axel’s fate when he gets an infection (wait, again immortal guy has an infection? Really?). Holy guy insists on prayer, everything happens for a reason etc. He also walks around the apocalypse with no weapons, he’s a dedicated pacifist who relies on faith to keep him safe.

What a lucky lucky man. That’s Scarlett’s point of view. But Holy Man invokes faith, telling his story of miraculously surviving a hurricane. Scarlett is still not a big fan of this idea because they’re living in apocalypse world and all - which Holy Man refers to as “god’s discipline”.

Yeaaaahhhhh so special holy man gets to survive and walk around untouched by vampires, but 90% of the population of Earth is slaughtered for “discipline”? Yeah, that’s really really twisted. And part of the utter problem of divine intervention saving you means there are millions upon millions of other people suffering horrendously who are somehow unworthy of such intervention. Throw in the idea of god’s “discipline” causing genocide and I dearly hope a vampire eats the man.

Instead they go looking for antibiotics (which have a use by date, y’know, so this many years after the apocalypse may be a bit...ineffective). Along the way Scarlet saves Holy man’s life (yes he thinks this is divine intervention, of course he does) and they go to help Axel… except a horde of Walkers appear

Monday, January 7, 2019

Van Helsing: Season 3, Episode 11: Been Away

Mini storyline first - Sam is still hunting down the one he loves, Mohammed. He pauses along the way to kill Mike (I’m fairly certain he’s killed Mike before but hey, sacrificial gay men was apparently delayed. These characters exist entirely to die for Sam’s evilness) to tell him that love is the source of all suffering. That people hurt and suffer the most because people they love are taken from them which is such pain

Obviously Mike disagrees, but his refusal to defending himself, repeatedly, because Sam threatens the people he loves. He ends up dying horribly and Chad watching him die which Sam takes as further proof that love is the source of all pain

He insists he’s trying to remove love from himself but the woman vision following him says he hasn’t yet - and directs him to where Mohammed and Vanessa are.

Right, now to main plot…

Actually that’s a lie. I don’t think there was any real main plot here because I’m not sure anything that happened this episode was actually relevant to the main plot which is something I’ve been saying about Van Helsing all season. Did we really need an entire episode to give Axel a tragic past? Really?

So Axel continues his road trip and eventually ends up in his home town waiting for Scarlett. He even turns on the lights to draw attention from passing vampires though apparently it’s for Scarlett. I guess. He has a memory board and one of them is a newspaper clipping of his sister Polly who apparently went missing when he was a

While hanging around he meets a group of survivors who are using sirens to distract vampires while they loot stuff. It doesn’t go entirely well and someone gets eaten. Axel charges in to the rescue and they all run off together. We have Lorne, a man with obvious dementia and memory problems, Axel remembers from his childhood. And Axel is remembered as well - but briefly due to his dementia.

We also have Carter who is aggressive and harsh and scathing - especially to Lorne. Nelson who is, well, there. And Kelly.

Carter doesn’t welcome Axel because GRRRR ARGGGH I’M THE ANGRY ONE. Kelly does welcome him because she thinks he’s cute and I’d be kind of really happy with this except Carter is pretty scornful about it and Axel openly is a “Good Man” by saying she doesn’t need to trade herself for protection. Which is super condescending and don’t tell me Axel has body image issues and doesn’t realise how hot he is because he definitely knows he’s hot. Hey, a woman can want to have sex with a hot guy because she wants to have sex with a hot guy. This is a legitimate desire and can we not have everyone making an issue of it?

Anyway she dies later.

Axel decides to help them on a raiding run because their plan of using the siren distraction then stealing lots of stuff won’t keep working on the more intelligent, organised day walkers. So Axel makes a plan (Carter is both scathing of the old plan and scathing about Axel’s ability to make a new plan because she has a characterisation as the Angry One damn it) and they go in with lots and lots of power tools

This may actually have been the point of the episode - someone wanted to kill vampires with a chainsaw. Which is a legitimate wish I perfectly understand

During the attack Kelly is bitten and Axel shoots her to stop her turning so tragedy. Well if anyone cared. No-one really does. It’s also sort of Lorne’s fault because he charges on the scene firing his gun randomly before running to the cellar. Carter kind of freezes and needs to be snapped out of a fugue state to get her to move and they all retreat to the basement.