Previously on Van Helsing: Last Time
The fact that Mohamad betrays Vanessa to Dmitri at the end of “He’s Coming” should surprise no one. The problem lies with why Vanessa didn’t catch on much earlier. He spends most of the episode leading her to The Citadel where, he suggests to Vanessa, she could help him rescue his sister Sheema and perhaps find her daughter Dylan. By the end of the season finale, “It Begins”, both girls are located – but are not in the need of rescuing. Neither Mohamad nor Vanessa get what they want. Oh, and Axel is back, albeit changed.
On the run from Sam, now turned feral, Vanessa and Mohamad hide out in a cabin in Washington State Park. When Vanessa questions Sam’s behaviour toward Mohamad (“Tell her the truth!), Mohamad shrugs it off as desperation. Together they plan to break Sheema (and hopefully Dylan) out of the camp Mohamad says is holding them. The boy uses a bit of emotional blackmail to keep Vanessa onside. Sam eventually catches up with them, but Vanessa fires a flare gun directly into his face, blinding him. He makes his escape once more.
Julius lays waste to Eden, but all of its occupants have since left. Flesh separates from the group and runs into Brendan, still alive despite his exile from the hospital a while back. He’s taken to a camp of Resistance members, whose leader Taka has a plan to take over The Citadel, with the help of a mysterious benefactor. Taka is very interested in where Vanessa is, though.
Internal politics reigns supreme (doesn’t it always?) among the vampires. Dmitri calls Julius for a dressing down, expressing his disappointment in allowing Vanessa to escape capture. Dmitri demands Julius restores his faith in him, or else he will be introduced to The Elders (whoever they are). Meanwhile, Sam is brought to see Julius’ momma. After feeding him some human blood, she begins to interrogate him about Vanessa. (Everybody wants Vanessa!). It doesn’t go well, however, because when Julius returns, Momma is both dead and missing a finger. Not a good day for Momma’s Boy.
Vanessa and Mohamad ambush a couple of Red Brigade guys – humans allied to the vampires – and steal their uniforms. Once they get to the camp, they go their separate ways: Mohamad to find his sister, Vanessa to seek out the rest of the children supposedly held there. But she finds a human blood bank and after a tortuous fight with a massive vampire who’s handy with a meat cleaver, she is told by an old lady that there are no children kept at the camp. Smelling a rat, she gets back to the truck and finds Mohamad with Dmitri. She charges at the vampire leader, but he grabs her by the throat easily enough and tells her she reminds him of “her mother”.
Vanessa finds herself at the mercy of Dmitri and Doctor Sholomenko. Dmitri taunts Vanessa with the truth about her lineage. She is the great-great-great grandfather of legendary vampire hunter, Abraham Van Helsing, and Dmitri wants to use Vanessa’s genetic heritage to extend his life, because apparently vampires can die of old age. They attempt to break her spirit by organizing a fake escape route, c/o the good doctor, only to beat her once she’s apprehended.
Things aren’t going Mohamad’s way either. Sheema is quite happy to play along with Rebecca and enjoys the somewhat comfortable surroundings. Mohamad now realizes that he betrayed Vanessa for diddly-squat. He visits Vanessa who understandably isn’t too happy to see him. She refuses food (read: blood) offered to her, and her situation is getting more dire by the minute. Mohamad gives her a small switchblade knife, in the hope that Vanessa can somehow free herself later. Instead, she stabs herself, preferring suicide to anything else Dmitri has in store for her. But she can’t die – not that way. Later she decides to drink some blood, and it revives her in ways Dmitri didn’t foresee. She gets stronger.
Back at the Resistance camp, Taka rouses his troops and orders them to kill anyone or anything on sight, including Vanessa. Flesh can only hope he gets to her before the Resistance does. It turns out Rebecca is aiding them in secret. She orders Taka to attack the next day, hoping to take over from Dmitri once he’s done away with. She promises Taka his own vampire-free island, Fox Island, in return for his success.
Mohamad and Sheema’s relationship goes from bad to worse. When he tries in vain to pack for their escape, Sheema tells him she will help defend the Citadel with the vampires. Then she knocks him out. That’s family for you.
Final preparations are being made for Vanessa to receive Dmitri’s seed, with Rebecca knowing all too well that it’s a bad idea. And she’s right. Vanessa, now restored to her best, attacks Dmitri and very nearly pulls what remains of his heart from his stomach. He escapes further damage, leaving Vanessa and Rebecca to square off against each other.
This is the moment Taka’s Resistance chooses to attack. A bomb goes off and panic ensues. Rebecca flees, with Vanessa in hot pursuit. Taka finds a wounded Dmitri and is about to finish him off when Julius opens up about Rebecca’s nonsense island. Dmitri offers him a better deal, and it’s enough to pique Taka’s interest; so much so, he shoots Brendan when he appears in the doorway.
The season ends with not one, but two crafty about-turns.
When Vanessa catches up with Rebecca, the vampire reveals that she’s had Dylan all along. Not only is she alive – kind of – but she’s been turned. Dylan’s “Hello, Mother,” is delightfully chilling.
At the very end, back at The Farm, Axel crawls from the ground. He’s been turned too. But whose side is he on?
I have to rate Van Helsing as one of this season’s pleasant surprises. I like apocalyptic drama as much as the next person, but it’s so easy to get it wrong. Likewise with vampire-based shows. Merging the two genres could have proved costly and disastrous for Syfy, but damn if they didn’t do a great job. The last few episodes in particular, once the cast got free of the hospital, have been riveting and so well played by all. Practically every character is at a crossroads. We haven’t seen Doc since she found out she couldn’t be turned back into a vampire; and Sam is still out there somewhere, collecting fingers. Axel, too, is on a mission, but what kind? Already season two is looking like the must-watch show of next year. I have my seat booked – have you?
Van Helsing S1E12/E13 = 8.1/10