Previously on Van Helsing, “Stay Inside”
Don’t you just love it when a show with so many secondary characters decides to spend an episode centred mainly about them? It’s an opportunity to get to know their motivations (besides staying alive) and their complexities. This is not to say that Vanessa herself is sidelined – far from it – but I was really pleased that the writers were able to focus on some key supporting characters, as well as introducing new and important ones.
For me, Doc and Phil – AKA Flesh – are the vanguard of supporting roles in Van Helsing. Each of them has been vampires before Vanessa’s blood rid them of their infection, but both remain traumatized for different reasons. Flesh still has horrific memories of murdering his child and leaving his wife to deal with her suffering, while Doc thinks she may have been better off dead. Sam – another character coming into his own – suspects that Flesh might miss being a vampire because his eyesight is no longer 20/20 and an old shoulder injury is plaguing him once more.
For the first time we’re given a decent insight into what’s happening in Seattle, outside of the hospital confines. We discover that humans are being harvested for their blood, turned effectively into slaves. We see Rebecca, the enigmatic vampire, having sex with one of her slaves, then mercilessly slitting his throat and drinking his blood (your classic case of coming and going). She’s aware that she’s being watched, but doesn’t care. Her voyeur is Sheema (Naika Toussant), a member of a resistance group led by Campbell (Ben Cotton). Together they plan a strike against the vampire’s stash of weapons. We see more of Sheema than we do of her Campbell, leading me to think that she’s going to be quite an important character for the remainder of the season.
Back at the hospital, Flesh finds Cynthia dead, hung in an apparent suicide. But Doc’s investigations suggest murder, noting that her finger was cut or bitten off post-mortem. Suspicion points to Mohamad, who escapes into the city with Vanessa after a well-timed diversion. (Though what he’d need a finger for is anyone’s guess). Vanessa desperately wants to find her daughter Dylan, while Mohamad is looking for his sister. Axel isn’t happy with this development at all. He thought he had Vanessa onside.
The duo reach Vanessa’s apartment, but find nothing except the bloodstain where she “died”, some tinned peaches, and a photograph of Dylan that reduces our heroine to tears. But she does find a clue – footprints – that suggests her daughter made it out alive. After a tasty repast consisting of said peaches, Vanessa and Mohamad go back out into the city.
They run into a group of humans, led by Brendan (Terry Chen), being attacked by wild vampires. After seeing them off their assailants, Vanessa suggests bringing the group, which includes Callie, a little girl, back to the hospital for safety. Mohamad isn’t happy when Vanessa says she’s going to handle the vampires herself, a plan which entails her inevitable capture. Julius, commander-in-chief Seattle Area, wants her alive. His Mama believes he can use Vanessa in a power struggle with Dmitri, who it seems is Lord Over All.
Pointers for the rest of the season:
Someone in the group killed Cynthia. Who is it, and why? And what do they want with her finger? These are burning questions.
The Portland Resistance Unit, led by Campbell and Sheema: Are they allies or foes? They may share a common enemy, but their motivations may differ.
Vanessa and Julius: Now that she’s been captured, how will Vanessa escape? Or is that even part of her plan?
Flesh and Sam: They have an obvious bond – they’re both outsiders in a manner of speaking.
Doc and Axel: What is the extent of their relationship? She needs to know why she was kept alive for the months she was vampiric.
Mama, Rebecca, et al: There is an obvious vampire hierarchy, with mixtures of MacBeth and Oedipus Rex thrown in for good measure. How is this going to play out for the rest of the season and beyond.
Colour me intrigued, for this is a show worth following.
Van Helsing S1E4 = 7.8/10