As the second season of Castlevania progresses, we begin to grasp just how well the writers are doing taking a simple story and weaving it into something with incredible depth and so many moving parts that it almost becomes as complicated as the clock tower in Dracula’s castle. On a side note, screw that clock tower and its stupid cogs. Back to the show, in the first two episodes you could sense that many in Dracula’s court had their own agendas, especially a certain femme fatale named Carmilla who is fast becoming one of my favorite characters on the show.
The third and fourth episode of this season definitely showcase the interweaving of several plots, schemes, and a decent amount of lore and fan service (internally screams….LEON BELMONT!) with the excellent writing to create something truly special to behold. If my faith was ever rekindled in video game adaptations, it was with this series. While we approach mid season, and the announcement of a third season, video game fans can only predict what the final four episodes will contain both in retrospect to the plot of Castlevania 3 and original ideas that the writers will include. But now, let’s get into these two great episodes.
Hector is the main focus at the start of this episode, and we see the start of his morbid obsession with reanimating the dead. It’s disturbing but at the same time almost innocent in intention. In a flashback, we see him happen upon a dead and slightly decayed dog. Using his two magical coins, he sparks life back into it. Of course, this light-hearted scene turns once he decides to bring the undead dog to his home just judging by his mother’s unseen reaction.
We return to the present as he’s is bringing a demon back to life and Carmilla intrudes. She comes to offer praise and Hector gives a short history lesson on Devil Forgers. Apparently there are not many and most of them are in hiding due to the nature of their craft. Carmilla shows her admiration even more, especially because Dracula seems to trust Hector and Issac in ways that make the rest of his army feel uneasy. It’s clear this show of admiration on Carmilla’s part is a ploy to influence others to her will.
She begins to play more on his emotions and his care for Dracula and shares his worry for Dracula’s mental state. Like in the previous episode, she brings up attacking the Belmont state, to which Hector agrees but he still wants Dracula’s permission. Loyal to a fault it would seem. When she realizes the brute force tactic wouldn’t work, Carmilla switches it up to a more emotional oriented ploy.
A flash back of Dracula and Hectors first meeting gives a lot of insight into the way Hector feels about his current master. A somber Dracula calls upon Hector to raise him an army for killing Lisa. The two bond over their hatred of humanity; Dracula’s wants a culling, but Hector wants them to remain livestock. He does not believe in suffering, only effective population control to keep humans from harming the world. Carmilla uses the seeds of doubt in his mind to convince Hector to create a personal army to attack Braila, another goal she is hell bent on attaining.
Back with our trio of Alucard, Trevor, and Sypha, Trevor is as poetic as ever when he sees a tree he played on when he was a child, obviously signaling that they are close to the Belmont estate. What I love most about these three is the dialogue between them all. The sass of Alucard, the unintentional hilarity of Trevor’s grim disposition, and the pure yet wise and funny attitude of Sypha. As they enter the grounds of the derelict and decaying estate, Trevor goes on about his teenage years and we get more bromance between him and Alucard. Apparently Alucard had the better childhood.
Alucard doesn’t let up with the sass as they find the secret entrance to the underground of the estate. Turns out it was sealed by dark magic thanks to Sypha, to which Alucard is happy to make fun of. Honestly he’s my patronus at this point.
Inside the keep, Trevor continues with the history of the Belmonts. Their origins in France, but they moved on with the dark creatures to the east with Leon Belmont as the patriarch. Deeper in the library is a plethora of books, weapons, scrolls, and countless artifacts or as Alucard would call it, an episode of Hoarders.
We get another piece of lore as Sypha asks what Leon Belmont was doing in Wallachia. For those of you who played Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, you’ll know that he was searching for the man who would one day become Dracula, more or less anyway. Even more exciting is that Trevor finds the most iconic artifact of the game series: the famous Belmont maced whip Vampire Killer, or as they call it in the show, Morning Star, which in game is the highest power upgraded version of the former. Alucard is less impressed at the fact that he’s in a museum dedicated to the art of killing his kind.
The episode ends with Godbrand approaching Dracula about killing all of humanity and what they will eat after they run out of rations. It seems Dracula is in no mood as he puts Godbrand in his place in a truly horrifying way. On his way out, Godbrand runs into Carmilla and lets her know his worries as well as the fact that he thinks their master hasn’t fed in some time. She lets us in on her past as well after Godbrand tries to storm off, and suddenly her motivations become a little clearer. Old, mad men will not control her destiny, it seems, and she will make sure of it.
The next episode offers more in terms of action as Godbrand begins a reign of bloody terror, taking a handful of vampires and inflicting a bloody retribution on the local armies. Body parts litter the snow as blood stains the open woods in a vicious spectacle. Sadly for Godbrand, it is only a memory destroyed by a pig given to him to feed on. Back with the heroes, even more sarcasm and sass flow as Trevor finds a magical mirror that no longer works. Sypha does her best to make Trevor and Alucard two work better without fighting.
Back in Dracula’s castle, Carmilla works on Hector even more than she did in the previous episode, bringing up Dracula not turning Lisa. She questions Dracula’s sanity and Hector’s loyalty, saying if Dracula kills all humans, where will that leave him? If he refused to turn Lisa, whom he loved, why would he allow others to live? It is here that the basis of Hector’s future betrayal begins to take root. Braila again comes up. Her plan is to have Dracula’s forces take Braila and while away, a personal army made by Hector for her will usurp Dracula. Hector does not disagree at this point.
As with Hector, we get a flashback to when Dracula recruited Issac. The dialogue is almost Tarantino-like in style, with the exposition told through tales between the two. It seems Issac’s insanity is more in league with Dracula’s motives than Hector’s. This foreshadows the fact that he will not join Hector in Carmilla’s plan, though this is not the only time we will see it portrayed. Back in the present Godbrand losses all sense and takes a pack of Vampires to a local village to feed as they will, against Dracula’s wishes. This doesn’t help with Dracula’s already growing sense that he feels like he is losing the loyalty of his generals.
As Dracula and Issac ponder Hector’s supposed immaturity, Godbrand and his company inflict the bloody massacre upon a nearby town. Slaughtering with no hesitation and with no mercy. This is the series at its goriest, and we can’t even imagine what this would be like in live action—certainly not for the feint of heart. It seems the only light within this dark episode is a moment of tenderness between Trevor and Sypha as the two share a blanket. She talks about the difference between loneliness and sadness. Where Alucard is a lonely soul, cold and distant, Trevor has a melancholy to him that to her, drowns everything around him. I ship them so hard.
The episode ends with the aftermath of Godbrands rampage. He goes to see Issac to insult his self-flagellation, and we learn Isaac’s motivation and demented thought process about purifying the human race through extermination. Godbrand makes the fatal mistake of mentioning Carmilla’s doubts to one so loyal. He even brings up the fact that Alucard presents a very real threat to their war. The final costly sentence hints at his plan to usurp the castle, which in the end causes Issac to violently and mercilessly kill Godbrand in a most bloody fashion. With Issac now knowing about the coming coup, who knows what’s in store for his war now?