Previously on Van Helsing, “Love Bites”
Last week’s episode saw the welcome return of Christopher Heyerdahl’s Sam. Fresh from being the best thing about Tim Roth’s Tin Star, Heyerdahl uses his singular talent for creating magnificently insane characters as Van Helsing’s resident vampire serial killer-in-chief. His hold over Mohamad proxy Felix, while putting together a necklace made from the fingers of his victims, is deeply disturbing, but yet another facet of a show that has yet to produce a below average episode.
And it’s not as if Sam is the only crazy person on the show: Vanessa, understandably, is on a one-woman mission to brutally murder any vampire or feral that crosses her path. Dylan’s sudden demise, just as things were looking good for mother and daughter, has brought Vanessa to the depths of despair, and while Julius is doing his best to help her keep tabs on her emotions, it’s going to take a lot more than a pat on the shoulder to make everything all right in the world. Especially when they’re both ambushed by the Skinners – meat-eating, flesh-flaying, all round bad guys. So bad, in fact, they wear the faces of their victims over their own. Ewwww.
When they find out they can’t eat Julius (he’s tainted, don’t you know), they soon realise that Vanessa, due to her healing properties, is a constant source of food. Just when things look real bad for the new power couple, a young girl stumbles in, causing a distraction. Vanessa uses this time to break herself free and chase after the Skinners, armed with a tomahawk.
Enter the Johnsons, led by Mike and Chad. They’re a group of survivalists who’ve been hiding out in the forest since The Uprising. Mike and Chad have been guarding and training young orphans to fight vampires. The young girl who came across the Skinners was actually bait to trap the cannibals. Julius is all about settling in with this new band, but Vanessa is more skeptical. She knows firsthand how once a child loses their innocence, it can never come back. Still, she bonds well with one in the group; so there’s hope on the horizon.
All this dovetails very nicely with what’s happening at the Randolph Juvenile Detention Center. One of the kids with the Johnsons is actually from there. He bears the same scars as Felix does, from punishment beatings. The Johnsons trade regularly with the Juvies, and the next meet is imminent. Boy, are they in for a surprise!
Sam deals out “rough justice” to some of Felix’s fellow inmates, but the young man is paralysed by fear throughout. He waits for his chance, though, and he thinks he has Sam locked up in a cage, so he attempts to break out the rest of the Juvies. His ploy lasts approximately seven seconds before he’s captured, given a Mohamad-like haircut, and then has his tongue ripped out. Rule #1: Don’t piss Sam off.
When Vanessa, Julius, and the Johnsons arrive at the Detention Center, they immediately know that something’s off. Vanessa fires on ahead, clearly not playing, and once she sees the carnage inside she knows who’s behind it. Sam is happy to see her. Next week can’t come too soon.
In other news, Doc and Axel’s journey is made all the more difficult when Axel refuses to feed off Doc. He’s in pain with hunger, and resorts to being tied to a tree to prevent him going full vampire.
The ninja returns. Whoever he or she is, they’re stalking Vanessa. Is this a new character, or someone we’ve seen before?
Van Helsing is a show that knows where it’s going. I both applaud and admire the writers for taking risks with each of the characters, and the commitment from everyone involved is plain to see. What could have been pure hokum, and indeed if you read the show’s synopsis, you wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking as much, is anything but. It’s a dark, gritty, and violent production, but underneath all this peril and death lies hope. Each of the characters is looking for something, someone, or somewhere to take away their pain. And that’s pretty much most of us.
Van Helsing S2E4 Review Score
Van Helsing – S2E4 | Starring: Kelly Overton, Jonathan Scarfe, Trezzo Mahoro, Vincent Gale, Rukiya Bernard, Aleks Paunovic, Paul Johansson