Friday, April 12, 2024

Carmilla Takes Center Stage in Castlevania’s Mid Season

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When a show is centered around the plight against one character, in a traditional sense, there are two things on opposite ends that can either go wrong or right. That villain can be either amazing or dull, and the story will either prosper or fail based on that. What I’ve loved about this season of Castlevania is that the concept of a single overarching villain is practically unheard of. Well, I mean sure if you had to place a name on the villain based on the series namesake it would have to be Dracula himself. However, the way he is portrayed in this series is broken, apathetic, and just seemingly tired of every one and everything.

I’ll forever love the writers for using this to showcase a more powerful, fleshed out, and just generally more bad ass secondary villain in the form of Carmilla. This isn’t to say Dracula is a horrible villain, far from it; with Carmilla though, we get a brand new look at conspiracies unraveling and an upset in the balance of power that was dominating the playing field in the war against humans. Even though Dracula’s forces lost the battle of Gresit in the first season, he was hardly defeated. It was merely a minor setback until Carmilla arrived to be honest.

While she is my favorite among Dracula’s cast of generals, she isn’t the only player moving or being moved. In the mid season we see the manipulation of Hector, the loyalty of Issac, and hilariously how quickly everyone forgot about Godbrand. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the mid season and it’s follow up breathe more life into our cast of heroes as we see real tension rise between Trevor and Alucard upon the discovery of the information in the Belmont library. We also get even more adorable moments between Trevor and Sypha, to which I say keep them coming because I need that cuteness in my life. Coming into the final two episodes of the series, I have to say at this point I have never seen a series so close to perfect that I’m truly sad to see it end.

The Last Spell

This episode opens with Issac meditating outside the castle and seemingly releasing Godbrand’s ashes into the wind while Carmilla speaks with an unknown person, telling them to have their forces ready at Braila. It seems her plans are finally coming into motion. After we hear literally the only time someone questions Godbrand’s disappearance.

In the Belmont library, Sypha continues to fangirl over books as she explains her realization of how poorly her people passed down information via an oral culture, until she finds a spell book about…penises. Oh, Alucard, if only Trevor judged you as hard as you do him. Oh wait, he does. Poor Sypha in that case. She’s completely defensive about his broken persona yet so supportive, and oh please stop making them so adorable. Ok I’m done, I promise.

We move to Hector, who seems to be truly enjoying nature while Issac gives his best impression of Anakin Skywalker’s “I hate sand” monologue. The dissent among the generals has caused Hector even more concern as the two speak in secret about Dracula’s apathy towards his own methods of culling the human race. He tells Issac that he wants a united decision between him, Issac, and Carmilla to move on Braila, to unite the army. Issac agrees, believing it will appease Carmilla into obedience. He doesn’t know how wrong he was. Hector returns to Carmilla and she showers him with nothing but praise and admiration. He also doesn’t know how wrong he was.

Issac returns to Dracula, admiring a transitional mirror in his study that is similar to the one in the Belmont library (hint hint cough cough) as he tells Dracula about Hector. Dracula finally agrees to the attack on Braila as he reminisces on his past, and we get a flashback to the slaughter of the merchants from a city called Kronstadt who had disrespected him. We are treated to a bloody spectacle as young Dracula in his prime slaughters with very little effort. That power and passion of course, was never to be seen again. It’s here we get to see a glimpse of the historical figure on whom he is based, Vlad the impaler.

Hector and Carmilla appear as he returns to the present and they bring up the attack on Braila. Dracula truly shows his madness and weakness in this moment. He has no idea that he might have just sealed his fate. It seems Carmilla is in complete control at this point. She moves the castle to Braila, where her forces already wait for an obvious coup; her demon army, made by Hector, moves on the Belmont estate and she stands as the only voice of reason among dissenting generals. Poor Hector finally realizes that he was used and now even he is under her control.

The episode ends with Sypha finding a locking spell to trap the castle in a single location. It isn’t finished but she can complete it, that is until Carmilla’s demon forces finally arrive at the Library.

The River

The following episode begins with the attack on the library by even more famous Castlevania monsters. The fan service is real. Trevor shows his own weakness until Alucard puts his mind into place. Alucard will get the transitional mirror working while Sypha finishes the locking spell all while Trevor defends them by being the awesome Belmont that he is. Alucard and Trevor have another bromance moment as Alucard suggests using the mirror to find Dracula’s castle and end things here and now. Poor fools don’t know what is actually coming.

We finally get to see Vampire Killer in action and Trevor’s beautiful ingenuity. Alucard finally gets the mirror working and the castle into sight as Dracula moves it into Braila. Turns out he didn’t care whether the vampires starved after destroying all the humans. Alucard’s job is made harder now that he has to find the castle again. The attack on the river town finally begins as Trevor unleashes his fury on a giant demon using some damn impressive acrobatics and Dark Souls dodging.

Carmilla begins her secret coup as she had Hector bring back the dead Bishop from the first season. As the Castle’s army marches into the city, she has him bless the river, making the water holy as his body burns away from its power. As the vampire army moves into the city they are greeted by another vampire army clad in plate armor and ballistae. In a stroke of brilliance, the bridge is destroyed and nearly all of Dracula’s army is dropped into the now holy river.

Trevor continues to defend his comrades in a spectacular fight, yet he is continuously pushed back. Toward the end, he is basically fighting with candlesticks, yet with some very real success. Back in Braila, Carmilla’s army use the ballistae to begin their invasion of the castle, and she explains to Hector that he betrayed Dracula while also toppling the patriarchy. The fight continues in the library as Sypha finally finishes the spell and Alucard has the castle focused in the mirror. Sypha begins the spell as the army enters the castle, slaughtering all vampires who oppose them.

Issac runs to Dracula to warn him of the betrayal. Not knowing of the spell currently being placed on the castle, Dracula tries to move the castle but both he and Sypha meet resistance with in another. Carmilla and Hector watch as the castle materializes and dematerializes causing a flood to take out Braila.

When the castle finally transports, it’s located front of the Belmont estate. Upon her success, Sypha gives off the most adorable little clap.

It seems the final battle is upon us. I can’t wait to see what the final two episode have in store for us, so see you all next week!

Images Courtesy of Netflix

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