VAN HELSING Review: “Coming Back”


VAN HELSING peels a few more layers of Seattle during the Rising in “Coming Back.” I’ve been waiting to see an episode where they spend some time in the world of the tier one vampires. This didn’t exactly cover that, but it did expand the story sandbox with some compelling plots. First, there is a human resistance preparing to fight the vampire overlords. Second, Julius has treacherous vampire motivations. I’m excited about both of these possibilities for thematic and dramatic materials. On the love arc side, Van takes active steps to find Dylan, and Mohamad plans to meet up with his sister. Back at the hospital, there is a crafty murder to add intrigue to Axel’s world.


“Coming Back,” begins with Sheema, Mohamad’s sister sneaking around the vents of a building under vampire control (maybe looking for weapons, maybe searching for the show’s sense of humor.) At first, it seems like she’s just watching tier one vamp, Rebecca, screw and suck the life out of some human live-stock. When Rebecca finishes, she can hear the sounds of Sheema’s retreat echo through the vents. Story-wise, this is a tough scene to pull off. It looks like a standard love scene, Rebecca mounted on top some delightfully willing young man, his wrists tied to the posts. He says he’s never done it with a vamp before and is concerned that it was good for her. If not, he’s willing to try something else. The important thing is, anything to please. Instead, she cuts his throat and drinks his blood. Rebecca may have been special to him, but he’s just another plate of filet-human to her.

Sheema reports back to a group under the leadership of Campbell. They belong to a vampire slave labor force that works at a plant creating pollution to keep the air dirty enough for the vamps to continue daylight privileges while the actual volcanic ash that kicked off the rising dissipates. Axel wants his group to attack at the plant, but other members are afraid and think they should wait. Some are like Rebecca’s happy-meal, they’re okay living to be drained by the vamps. Campbell realizes he needs a better plan and weapons. Sheema has intelligence that could improve their chances.


Back at the hospital, Doc gets used to being human again. Flesh tells her she was lucky to be locked up instead of outside feeding, but she doesn’t feel lucky. Flesh wakes from one of his nightmares and finds Cynthia hanging close by. It’s supposed to look like a suicide, but Doc notices a missing finger and friction burns on Cynthia’s neck; signs of homicide.

Van starts a small fire to distract Axel and the others while she leaves the hospital to look for signs of Dylan. Mohamad goes with her in search of Sheema. Axel breaks the news to the rest of the survivors, there is a murderer among them. It could be any of them, but visually speaking, they make Mohamad the prime suspect. This makes little story sense. It does make sense that Mohamed might leave the safety of the hospital if he knew about the murder, but didn’t think people would believe his story. Also, Mohamad is a protector archetype. He’s been protecting deaf/mute Sam and he protected Doc when Axel wasn’t around. If he did kill Cynthia, it was for someone else’s safety.

Van and Sam find her old apartment not much different than the way she left it. Mohamad grabs the can foods she still has in her kitchen; Vanessa finds evidence Dylan walked out of the apartment. This seems a little obvious. Vanessa wants to try the local police station, maybe there is a report that explains what happened to Dylan after Vanessa was killed.


Vanessa and Mohamad come to the aid of a small group under attack from ferals.  One member of the group is wounded, another is a little girl named Callie. There’s no way Van is going to leave Callie behind while she’s out trying to find Dylan. She orders Mohamad to take them back to the hospital, while she fends off the feral counter-attack. Mohamad doesn’t seem to like the plan, but he agrees and leads them safely to the hospital.

Van is attacked and captured by Gustav’s group in the episode’s most compelling scene. Originally, Julius planned on killing Van for, or possibly handing her over to, Dmitri. However, his vamp Mama advises he use Van to further his own position in the vamp elite. This is an interesting . It’s also possible he knows something helpful about Dylan. This would work better for me if I knew more about Dmitri and Rebecca’s agenda. Julius already seems to be in a good position, he always seems fed and happy, what more does Van help him achieve?


Also, Julius lives in a dungeon with his Mama? Classic. I liked Julius before, but I think the addition of Mama is a great touch. This is someone Van can connect with. Van Helsing has a lot of potential and I’m excited about these new elements, but they need to move the ball more and introduce a little appropriate humor.

Season 1, Episode 4 (S01E04)
Van Helsing airs Fridays at 10PM on Syfy

Read all of our reviews of Van Helsing here.
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Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.
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