VAN HELSING gives us a few more rules for 2019 Seattle with “Stay Inside.” The problem with doing a vampire show is everything thinks they know the rules; no daylight, stake through the heart, soil from home, etc. Any show that plays with those rules must burn story time explaining them in the most entertaining way possible. Van Helsing accomplishes this when she goes out to meet the enemy or questions her allies in this episode. Other than that, the ball doesn’t move much. Someone needs to call Michael Rooker (Merle), STAT.
This week we get a glimpse into the 2016 backstory of two supporting characters. Julius isn’t just a big hungry vampire, he was one of the first to go out and spread the gift. He couldn’t wait to get out of the shadows and enjoy quality time under the ashy skies of the post eruption Seattle. One of the first civilians her turned was Phil, who became the feeder known as Flesh. Flesh ran home and killed his children right in front of his wife, but let her live. Then, in 2019, he took a bite out of Van and got his humanity back.
Flesh gives us a little insight into the mind of a feeder. First, there is a back log of nightmares and guilt waiting to plague Flesh. This is a pretty interesting concept. While feeding, people are not effected by guilt. It’s as if the super-ego is put on pause. Flesh feels terrible about himself. He can’t sleep and his screams scare the other other survivors.
A crew of feeders led by Gustov bring John’s wife, Wendy, to the hospital and torture her in plain view hoping they will send Van Helsing out. John wants to give her up but Axel won’t. He problem solves by shooting Wendy in the head. John attacks Axel and they knock over the turbine that’s been charging the hospital’s batteries and the protective UV lights. The backup generator doesn’t work, Axel needs to go out and get parts, but it isn’t safe to leave Van and the doc behind. The batteries only have three hours. Van agrees to go with Axel and not try and run off to find Dylan.
They encounter a group of ferals along the way. Axel explains the food order when they arrive at the boat. The vampire feeds off people, rats feed off of the left-overs, and ferals feed off the rats. The only real way Axel knows to kill a vampire or feral is to disconnect the head or brain. Otherwise, they heal quickly, like Van. Axel gets the engine parts he needs to repair the generator at the hospital, but things have gotten worse by the time they return.
The batteries die, the UV lights turn off, and Gustov’s group attacks the doors. Flesh grabs a scalpel and faces the group outside. He cuts his arm in front of them to prove he can bleed and explains that Van can turn them all. Give them back their humanity, guilt about their actions. Yeah, no thanks. This does make me wonder; if Van’s blood was a cure for the vampire virus, could also cure something else, like cancer?
Gustov’s group, including this creepy little dude who runs around with someone else’s face, isn’t ready to make that kind of decision. They report back to Julius and interrupt his creepy blood happy hour. Julius sends Gustov on to Dmitri. Thank God. We’re three episodes in and need to see what the tier one vamps are up to. Structurally, the villains plan will set this show apart from The Walking Dead; we need to know what they really want out of this whole deal. If there’s something they feel they do better than humans, we don’t see it yet. It has to be more than just freedom.
When Gustov’s group heads out, Axel and Van go in, but she stops to untie John’s wife and bring her body back to the hospital. Maybe John will get closure, cool down a bit? Axel fixes the generator and gets the UV lights back up. Finally, he pops the question we’ve been waiting for, will Van return Doc to her regular form? Van agrees, but it doesn’t go down as planned. At first, Doc is afraid of Van and won’t attack or bite her, she puts up a fight. Van loses her temper and bites Doc. There’s a moment where we think it didn’t work, Doc passes out. Then, she coughs up her vampire blood/spit and she’s human again.
Episode four should move the narrative more. Doc’s alive and can go about testing or at least tell them they need more supplies from someplace else. Dmitri should have some devious plan for Van based on his goals and we need to know what those are at this point. Also, Dylan has to be out there in some form. We didn’t see her this week, but I don’t buy Van has given up hope for finding her daughter. Maybe she can’t be killed, like Van, her blood should be special. Wait a minute, this is something Doc can reveal now that she’s awake!
Finally, there’s the chemistry. Axel and Van have this whole “Kyle Reese” and “Sarah Connor” thing going on. Now that’s she’s awake and shattering any uninformed fantasies he may have had about her while she was in a coma, they got to be headed for lip lock. This show could use a little love, laughter, and Rooker to shake things up.
Season 1, Episode 3 (S01E03)
Van Helsing airs Sundays at 10PM on Syfy
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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Eric Rodriguez | Contributor