Review: Van Helsing Season 4
Van Helsing Season 4: The only thing less about Van Helsing season 4 is the audio blurring of F-bombs. Other than that the raucously unholy, bloody and wildly entertaining Van Helsing continues on its trek toward the rise of the Dark One.
With a new showrunner in Jonathan Walker, questions of continuity arose. And he left the door wide open for innovation by saying., “I’ve been writing on the show since season one. I’m very well attuned with what Van Helsing is, but I was given this opportunity to spin it off in a new direction. I added a bunch of new cast members and started digging into new areas of storytelling that we haven’t done before.”
Images from Van Helsing Press Room and Panel—San Diego Comic-Con 2020
There are a couple of main plot threads this season: the rise of the Dark One and the discovery of the Van Helsing clones, Violet (Keeya King) and Jackie/Jack (Nicole Munoz). The clones are young but nearly as powerful as Vanessa (Kelly Overton), including her ability to bring vampires back from their enslavement to evil. And then there are various side plots of imaginatively off-kilter human peripheral nut cases with power over small, fragmented communities, that serve to balance the continuity of evil. Evil is just evil, be it funneled through vampires or humans. And in some ways the human evil is more disturbing because humans have a choice.
Nicole describes her character in our 2019 San Diego Comic-Con interface as a girl who has “been on the run since the rising started and she had to quickly learn how to take care of yourself and others on the road. It kind of becomes about survival. She became really strong and she’s basically she learns that she’s a natural-born leader. She meets a pack and they managed to survive this long and she learns to fight and she fights well.” Munoz shared that she jumped into boxing classes soon after getting the part, “I wanted to be prepared physically and mentally.”
The plots circle each other, with the clones part of the key to the Dark One’s rise, and the hellacious humans acting as obstacles for all the main characters to overcome—this is a journey toward light that goes through the darkest of territories.
And that light, rarely seen through most of the season, remains Vanessa Van Helsing, now in complete rejection of the dark path she started down in previous seasons. She is also, 11 episodes in, at once an overarching force, and pretty much invisible, having stopped one phase of a plan to change the world forever.
Some key members of the cast don’t make it through the season, whiles others continue to negotiate, fight and deceive their way forward. And others, like Dracula, played by Tricia Helfer bring new threats as they literally emerge (or reemerge).
On the arrival of Dracula, Jennifer Cheon Garcia (Ivory) said, “Can I swear? With Dracula and the other new characters coming, shit’s about to get real.” What Jennifer didn’t say was her character was going to face a major transformation.
For those who like to bathe in post-apocalyptic alternative world darkness, there is nothing around more wickedly degenerate than Van Helsing. And for those looking for shows where women not only represent major characters but where those characters center the show, this show, and SyFy more generally (with Wynona Earp and The Magicians) serves as the epicenter. The only true power in this Van Helsing mythology springs from women on both sides of the moral and mortal coil.