Previously on Van Helsing, “In Redemption”
If Van Helsing was good in season one (it was), then season two is striving for — and achieving — greatness. They’ve managed to take a subject matter that’s been done to death and inject it with new blood. (Neither of those puns were intended.) The result is a show that is not only enjoyable and terrifying, but unpredictable.
This week’s cold open reveals Julius’ journey to becoming a vampire. In the 1930s, Julius is a boxer struggling to pay for his elderly mother’s medical care. He eventually agrees to throw a fight for the money, but is double-crossed by the mobster who asked and then left for dead in an alley. Enter Dmitri, who sees Julius’ strength and determination as assets he wants on his side. Newly turned, Julius wastes no time in turning his mother. In just a few beautifully shot scenes, we learn so much about Julius and it informs his desire to help Vanessa in the present day. Help that she only reluctantly accepts.
Flesh and Lucky find help for Mohamad at the resistance camp recently occupied by Doc. His prognosis is dire: his infected wound will eventually kill him since they don’t have the necessary antibiotics to treat it. They’re also running low on blood so donations are mandatory for those who expect to stay. Mohamad reads Flesh’s worried expression correctly and warns him to keep his mouth shut about the whole I-used-to-be-a-vampire thing. Instead, he tells him to donate the blood, make sure they don’t give him any, and head for the fabled sanctuary in Denver. He’s well into taking the advice when Lucky confronts him about not donating. He comes clean and is promptly locked up for his troubles. Lucky went to Jolene for advice and we’re well aware of her history with keeping secrets that could get her banished. Fortunately, Lucky breaks Flesh out, and they go on the run with Mohamad.
A group of young survivors in a youth detention center have come up with their own world order. When a Black kid named Felix hesitates to kill a feral and almost gets another member killed because of it, he’s punished with lashes across his arms. The masked figure who saved Mohamad watches from nearby. His identity is revealed to be none other than Sam as he slaughters his way through the group until he finds Felix. Felix doesn’t want to die, and he doesn’t want to feed his tormentors to Sam, but he ends up doing the latter to avoid the former. Poor kid doesn’t realize he’s just signed up to be Mohamad 2.0.
Doc believes Axel hasn’t fully turned because he hasn’t yet fed on a human. However, she tells him he’ll have to feed on her eventually so he can be strong enough to hunt food for her. Axel has no interest in participating in that circle of life; all he wants from Doc is her help in finding Vanessa. But the thirst is getting too real to resist and Axel warns Doc to take precautions.
Despite Vanessa continuously telling Julius to kick rocks, he keeps following her and offers to let Dylan feed on him or else she’ll die. Vanessa is shocked to learn that they tried to turn Doc again and couldn’t. This means anyone who Vanessa has healed doesn’t have to worry about becoming a vampire again. Since trying to change Dylan may kill her, Julius may be her only option.
Understandably, Vanessa doesn’t trust Julius and first tries forcing a stranger into feeding Dylan with promises that she won’t let him die. He shoots Dylan and Vanessa reflexively slices his throat. Vanessa accidentally solved her Dylan dilemma, but only temporarily. She can hear the man’s children calling for him from nearby and the true cost of keeping Dylan alive becomes clear.
Vanessa has no choice but to try to turn Dylan without killing her; even as Dylan begs her not to do it. It seems to work, and Dylan is find through the next day. In a scene so incongruous from the rest of the series that I thought it was a dream, Vanessa, Dylan, and Julius have a snowball fight, laugh, and wonder what the future holds.
But as the sun emerges from behind the clouds, Dylan begins to burn. She dies in Vanessa arms and turns to dust. Vanessa lets out a scream that is felt by everyone she has turned; a scream that awakens something ancient.
Van Helsing S2E3 Review Score
Van Helsing – S2E3 | Starring: Kelly Overton, Jonathan Scarfe, Trezzo Mahoro, Vincent Gale, Rukiya Bernard, Aleks Paunovic, Paul Johansson