Castlevania Season 2 Review

Rating:

Castlevania Season 2 Raises The Stakes

Main Cast: Richard Armitage, James Callis, Graham McTavish, Alejandra Reynoso

Alucard:I grieve with you, but I won’t let you commit genocide.
Dracula: “You couldn’t stop me before.
Alucard: [Trevor and Sypha enter] “I was alone before.

“For Love” (Season 2, Episode 7)

Castlevania season two was a gamble for Netflix. Could they turn the famous video game series into a successful TV show? Castlevania’s first season was a rousing success with an interesting trio of heroes, a sympathetic Dracula, and wonderfully dark visuals. But could Castlevania season two surpass the first season or is it game over? Let’s find out.

The Good

Vampire Court

Godbrand: “Why would [Dracula] want to talk to you rather than me? Perhaps he wants to meet with his own kind.
Hector: “Godbrand, you’ve never met anything you didn’t immediately kill, fuck, or make a boat out of.”
Isaac: “I don’t understand why our lord doesn’t tie you up outside with the rest of the animals.
Godbrand: [as they leave] “Bigot! I like boats! I’m a fucking Viking! We’re supposed to make boats out of things!

“War Council” (Season 2, Episode 1)

While Castlevania’s first season did well enough with random demons and a corrupt church, Castlevania season 2 assembles a real army of the night for Dracula’s genocide. And who better to lead the army than Dracula’s own generals?

The first general is Hector, a young necromancer whom Dracula recruited while traveling the world. He joined Dracula’s cause after being convinced that humanity needed to be culled. His primary job is reanimating the victims of Dracula’s army.

Isaac is a former slave who Dracula had freed. That act of kindness earned Dracula Isaac’s undying loyalty. Hector transforms the reanimated corpses into hosts for demons. Isaac is also Dracula’s confidant and enforcer.

Dracula’s vanguard is Godbrand, a brash and powerful Viking vampire. Unfortunately, Godbrand is also a vainglorious idiot who is only skilled at slaughter, complaining, and turning people into boats. He slowly loses faith in Dracula’s plan, leading a small cabal of Dracula’s lieutenants on unsanctioned raids against human settlements for fun and blood.

Carmilla is another of Dracula’s generals and the only woman. She pays lip service to Dracula’s regime while openly conspiring against him. Despite her duplicity, Carmilla is a powerful vampire and fifth columnist who brought an army of followers to support Dracula’s genocide.

Monster Slayers

Trevor: “I can’t read or understand magic. But my family stored everything they found, including books of magic and whatever weird stuff they came across. I just can’t do anything with it. But you two can.”
Alucard: “Fortunate indeed then, that I chose not to kill you and eat you, Belmont.”
Trevor: “And that I decided against gutting you, flaying you, and turning you into shoes, Alucard.
Sypha: [scoffs] “Such a merry band we are.”

“Old Homes” (Season 2, Episode 2)

With Dracula’s army coming together, our heroes needed to gain a few new tricks of their own to slay the vampire.

Trevor leads the trio to the Belmont family’s secret library, which contains several artifacts that will help them fight Dracula’s forces. He offers them tools, trophies, and shelf after shelf of demonology lore. Trevor finds new weapons, including his ancestor Leon Belmont’s sword and a holy whip called the Morning Star that makes vampires explode.

Sypha was injured fighting a cyclops during season one and unable to harness much of her magic. Now healed and backed up by spells the Belmonts had collected, she becomes the trio’s most dangerous member. Sypha’s elemental attacks save the group several times, and she racks up the team’s biggest kill count.

Alucard mostly stuck to standard vampire abilities and swordsmanship during Castlevania’s first season. Now he breaks out his more esoteric powers, including telekinesis, teleportation, shapeshifting, and summoning familiars.

Immortal Combat

Trevor: [discussing a battle plan] “I terrify them. Sypha disorients them. Alucard goes over the top and we support him.
Sypha: “Yes.”
Alucard: [draws his sword, which begins floating in mid-air] “Begin.

“For Love” (Castlevania Season 2, Episode 7)

One of the few problems with Castlevania‘s first season was a lack of conflict. There were plenty of arguments, intrigue, and massacres, but actual combat was rare until the season finale. Luckily, season two was willing to step up to the plate and show what happens when both sides can fight back.

Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard encounter several groups of demons on their way to Dracula’s castle. This gives them plenty of chances to show their skills and impress on viewers that they can take on Dracula’s army by themselves. The combat scenes also allows monsters and bosses to appear and fight the heroes with skills taken straight from the games.

The crown jewel of these fights is the trio vs Dracula’s army prior to the climax. It’s a beautiful battle that shows the full scope of Trevor’s fighting skills, Sypha’s magic, and Alucard’s vampire powers. The cherry on top is an orchestral remix of the song “Bloody Tears,” straight out of Castlevania 2.

Vampire King

Dracula: “I will not be questioned by you. I have told you how it will be. The humans will die. You will be taken care of, little Godbrand. Little vampire. Little parasite. Little boat weevil who delights in making noise and pretending he is important and dangerous. Are you going to continue questioning me? Are you going to fight me, little Godbrand?!
Godbrand: “…No.”
Dracula: “Then why are you still here making your little noises? Get out before I slit you up the middle and bite out your heart.

“Shadow Battles” (Castlevania Season 2, Episode 3)

The generals and heroes are interesting characters, but Count Dracula is the scene stealer.

Following his unholy wrath at the beginning of the series, Dracula is shown as much more subdued. While he still makes speeches and ensures the generals remember who is in charge, he mostly remains alone and contemplative.

Several members of his court realize that Dracula has become weakened although they don’t know why. Talks with Isaac show just how empty he is following Lisa’s death. There are times where the fearsome Count Dracula seems the most pitiable member of the cast. 

Alucard soon realizes Dracula’s true goal: he wants to die. His genocide will kill the humans and leave the vampires to starve. Dracula’s going down and planning to take the whole world with him. The scene where Dracula realizes this as he’s fighting his son is haunting.

The Bad

Guileless General

[Carmilla’s army has disappeared]
Carmilla: “…What the fuck just happened?”

“The River” (Season 2, Episode 6)

While most of the characters are portrayed as clever and competent, the same cannot be said for Carmilla.

From the very beginning, she never hesitates to question Dracula in front of his most loyal soldiers. Her attempts at subtlety and manipulation are less subtle than Godbrand’s boisterousness. And yet the story portrays Carmilla as the greatest saboteur in the history of sabotage.

She manages to manipulate several of Dracula’s forces, leading to a vampire civil war. She is a worse general than saboteur. Her plans are ineffective and make it easier for our heroes to fight Dracula’s army and her own troops. Carmilla even implies she doesn’t have a plan for fighting Dracula, who is weakened but still one of the most powerful beings in the world.

Perhaps there were too many factions to balance and Carmilla simply drew the short straw in terms of competence. She is set to return in season three, and hopefully will be more capable this time around.

The Castlevania Season 2 Verdict

This season is head, shoulders, and fangs in the jugular above season one. The heroes have more chances to show their mettle, a cabal of interesting villains take center stage, and fiction’s most famous vampire gets a worthy portrayal. Castlevania season two is worth your time.

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