Spoilers might emerge from the dark or pull you right in.
I dread to sound like a broken record, but you’ll find my reviews assume you’ve watched the episode. This is not a recap, although sometimes it might feel like one. When we last leave our brooding anti-heroes, they were scattered to the four winds. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like we’re going to see much of a reunion anytime soon. A few storylines seem bound to converge though.
Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) has pulled herself away from the world and into seclusion. It’s a strange, almost sickening sight but the demons she’s facing are more of the mind. I was relieved to see Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) return to the series to help her come out of the shadows. This means we get to meet noted alienist Dr. Seward, played by Patti LuPone – the first actress to play two different characters in the series. Previously you saw her as the cut-wife Joan Clayton. As matter of fact, Dr. Seward acknowledges Clayton was a last name in her family several generations ago.
That makes me think, how old is Vanessa? Is this a Melisandre situation? Is Dr. Seward actually closer to Joan Clayton that she says she is? They have a nice back and forth as Vanessa slowly seems to come out of her shell. How do we all love to see Miss Ives in an intelligent conversation. It’s what the series does best – when there’s someone worthy with whom to have to a chat. I don’t know about the zoologist, Dr. Sweet (Christian Camargo).
Speaking about new characters, we’re getting loads. I don’t know about the guys that break out Ethan Chandler from his train ride to the hangman’s noose. They might stick around or not, but that lady sure looked like Sarah Greene (Hecate from the Nightcomers). And unless she has been recast as a new character, that means that Inspector Rusk might have some competition getting to Mr. Talbot (aka Ethan Chandler). If you remember correctly, Hecate took the tools of the trade from her mother, so she might be even more powerful now than before. Friend or foe, is yet to determined. My guess is she will be ambiguous and act as both.
I know that out there in the internet, Dr. Victor Frankenstein attracted a lot of attention as last season’s character to hate. His previous love for Lily has turned to hate. Victor has called for an old colleague, Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif), who apparently had a monster of his own to tame. From what it appears, Henry Jekyll (if that’s his full name) had to control a monster he kept inside, one born out from the racist slurs and discrimination from his days studying in the same University where Victor started. I love the idea that Jekyll is a colleague of Victor’s own league rather than say, an Igor character. Jekyll does managed to extract a different promise from Victor – rather than destroy Lily, see if she can be returned to her previous self. This might not work well for Victor either, because that might revert Lily to Brona Croft. Also, he has to get himself cleaned up. Victor’s rampant use of narcotics seems to be reaching a critical point.
But while the dynamics of Dr. Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll seem one of equals, the same tale does not repeat over in Zanzibar. Sir Malcolm Murray is drowning his sorrows in alcohol, although we do hear narrative of what seems to be a letter back to Vanessa. Malcolm is almost killed during a mugging but saved by Kaetenay, a rather mysterious character played by veteran actor Wes Studi. Kaetenay is an apache who apparently knows Ethan Chandler closely. Stating that both Malcolm and himself are fathers to Ethan, he demands they both should travel to New Mexico and that a new purpose awaits Sir Malcolm there. Here’s the part that I don’t want repeating from the past two seasons: I don’t want the relationship of these two to suddenly turn into the same as Sir Malcolm had with the late Sembene. I don’t want Kaetenay to become Alfred to Sir Malcolm’s Bruce Wayne.
And finally, let’s tackle the new vampires. We did see a glimpse as one boy explains his anemic self to Vanessa, but we don’t see them out in full force. That is, until Dr. Seward’s assistance, literally named Renfield, hires the services of a lady of the night and gets sucked into darkness. He soon finds himself surrounded by a hundred vampires including both the boy and the tall-haired man that followed Vanessa outside the museum. The scene where the disembodied voice ask him his name and later introduces himself is a bit… corny. We could have just left it at Renfield as we would’ve known by association who his interloper was.
And yes, it’s Dracula.
- Definitely thumbs up for Dr. Seward (Patti LuPone) and Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif) as new characters. I don’t feel that Dr. Jekyll needed to be a white male and some depth was added to the fact that it wasn’t. Dr. Seward is also apparently based on a male character from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, so the gender shift is appreciated. A lot of diversity without feeling it was forced and they seem like intriguing characters. Jury’s still out on Dr. Sweet (Christian Camargo) but he does have potential.
- Okey so I reviewed the credits and that was definitely Sarah Greene, which means that has to be Hecate on the train. This ups the ante specially since we’ll get not only her and relentless Inspector Rusk, but Sir Malcolm Murray and Kaetenay added to the chase.
- Okey, could be tone down on the cheap introductions of both Renfield and Dracula? What was the point of Dracula announcing himself? I felt like that intro could have been better written. Perhaps just announce Renfield. Or just have Renfield ask over and over for his interloper’s identity without ever getting an answer. Just not the name spoken into the dark for no reason than for the viewer. It just felt a bit forced and cheap to end the episode that way.
- Vanessa Ives was still amazing. Yes, Victor Frankenstein is still a favorite of mine even though his junkie persona has multiplied tenfold. Also, the doctor population has grown in the cast now. Sir Malcolm hopefully gets his confidence back. Caliban had a small scene, but apparently he’s headed back home (which almost felt like someone just highlighted his trip to the North Pole and hit undo).
- I want to say, it’s a great episode. And it is compared to almost everything out there, because I’m all about dialog and writing, but with that cheapened ending of having the disembodied voice of Dracula say his name to the audience, it does take it down a few pegs. It could’ve been done better. That being said, I’m looking forward to Vanessa’s sessions with Dr. Seward and Victor’s conversation with Dr. Jekyll.
Coming up on the Calendar:
- Thursday, May 19: Legends of Tomorrow (season finale)
- Tuesday, May 24: The Flash (season finale)
- Wednesday, May 25: Arrow (season finale)
That will do for now.