Castlevania Season 3

The Show Expands Beyond the Game

Main Cast: Richard Armitage, James Callis, Alejandra Reynoso, Bill Nighy

Trevor:We’ve spent the last few months living your life. Adventures and victories. And now we’re living my life.”

“Abandon All Hope” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Castlevania’s first two seasons were a sweeping success. They featured witty and well-written characters, a dark, foreboding atmosphere interspersed with stylish action scenes, and enough gore to make any vampire hungry.

Castlevania season three portrays an original story as the cast parts ways following Dracula’s defeat. Can the third season pull through without the safety net of the game’s plot or is this game over? Let’s find out.

The Good

Distant Defenders

Alucard:You understand the anatomy of a vampire?
Taka:You put a stabby thing into their heart and they go boom.
Alucard:It’s a little more complicated than that. It’s a good start though.

“Worse Things Than Betrayal” (Castlevania Season 3, Episode 7)

Castlevania‘s main trio may have parted ways, but they haven’t lost a step.

Trevor Belmont and Sypha Belnades have been traveling through Transylvania, hunting down demons that escaped from the battle at Dracula’s Castle. They arrive at a village and learn that a demon has been seen in the area. An investigation reveals that it disappeared after crashing into a church, whose parishioners began acting strangely after the incident.

Trevor and Sypha soon find allies in the village. The first is the town’s leader, The Judge, who wants to attack the church because its parishioners are disrupting order in his village. There is also traveling alchemist Count Saint Germain. The snarky saint has his own plans in the works and joins with Trevor and Sypha to enter the church.

Meanwhile, Alucard has become the guardian of Dracula’s Castle. He is going mad from the isolation until he meets a pair of vampire hunters named Taka and Sumi. They heard how he had killed both Dracula and the vampire who had enslaved them. They begged Alucard to teach them how to kill monsters. Alucard accepts, if only so he won’t be alone.

No Rest For The Wicked

Isaac: Why do I keep doing the same thing, and expecting a different result? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Am I mad? [beat] You know… one day, the last of you will ask me: “Why did you work with Dracula himself, to murder all the people?” And you know what I’ll say? It’s because you’re all so f*cking rude.

“I Have A Scheme” (Castlevania Season 3, Episode 4)

The heroes may be the main focus, but Castlevania‘s villains also get plenty of time in the limelight.

Isaac has lost his way since Dracula died. With no idea of what to do, he raises an army of demons and begins hunting down the traitors, Carmilla and Hector. When town guards harass him during his travels, he’s not above massacring the townspeople and converting them to undead recruits in his army.

Not all is doom and gloom. Isaac also encounters people with ties to the occult who help him sort out his desires and goals. These meetings cause Isaac to question whether he should continue with Dracula’s genocidal plans or forge his own path.

Half a world away, Carmilla returns to her homeland of Styria with an enslaved Hector in tow. She reunites with her sisters, Lenore the diplomat, Striga the general, and Morana the torturer. Viewers also learn that Carmilla’s role is the visionary, which explains her incompetence in the previous season. Side note: why send an ideas person to a war council instead of the general or the diplomat?

The Styrian Quartet plots to conquer the land that Dracula once controlled because it is suffering from a power vacuum following his death. Realizing that their own forces aren’t enough, they scheme to force Hector to make them an army of demons. Lenore points out that Carmilla’s cruelty towards Hector means that he will never help them. She begins gaslighting and seducing Hector to sway him to their side.

Mystical Multiverse

Saint Germain:Tell me, have you heard of the Infinite Corridor?
Trevor and Sypha: [simultaneously] “Yes.”
Saint Germain: “Well, I suppose this was the wrong company to unveil occult secrets in and expect to be impressive.”

“What the Night Brings” (Castlevania Season 3, Episode 8)

While working with Trevor and Sypha, Saint Germain reveals his true goal. The church contains an entrance point to a portal called The Infinite Corridor that can transport a magician anywhere in space and time. While not referred to by the anachronistic term, the Infinite Corridor is implied to be an entryway into the multiverse.

Prior to the beginning of the series, Saint Germain lost someone he loved in the Infinite Corridor. He is desperate to find them, searching the world for any portal that could grant him access. His desperation moves Trevor and Sypha, and they agree to help him.

The Infinite Corridor is more important than you might think. Castlevania‘s success motivated Netflix to hire producer Adi Shankar to create a “Bootleg Multiverse”, consisting of several anime-style video game adaptations. The other series announced for the Bootleg Multiverse include Capcom’s Devil May Cry, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, and Playism’s Hyper Light Drifter.

The Infinite Corridor will be used to bind these disparate universes, perhaps even allowing for crossovers that would never happen in the games.

The Bad

The Waiting Game

Sumi: How long have you been here alone?
Alucard: “Oh, years…..or possibly a couple of months.”

“I Have A Scheme” (Castlevania Season 3, Episode 4)

The problem with having four concurrent plotlines is trying to balance the screen time for each. Castlevania season 3 mostly succeeds, but not without pacing problems.

Trevor and Sypha’s section gets the most screen time. Unfortunately, their section is further divided by their investigation, meetings with The Judge, and Saint Germain’s attempts to infiltrate the church.

Isaac has the most time to himself, but this can leave him with filler scenes as other characters lag behind even though he seems to accomplish the most with that time.

The Styrian Quartet gets a bit of time in the limelight, but most of it goes to Lenore and Hector’s budding relationship and her manipulations.

Alucard’s section of the story drew the short stick in terms of screen time. We see him meet Taka and Sumi and begin their training although it feels as though the entire second act of his story is missing. This causes a plot twist and his part of the climax to seemingly come right out of left field.

This conflict will likely be easily rectified during season four as Isaac and the Styrian Quartet are set to meet.

Dour Darkness

Alucard:Well… I suppose I could have put up big signs all over the place. “Do not enter”, “Danger of death”, “Abandon all hope”, that kind of thing.

“Abandon All Hope” (Season 3, Episode 10)

Castlevania has always been a dark series, but season three really ramps up the bleakness in its final episodes.

It seems that everything that could go wrong for the heroes does. Armies of demons start attacking villages, numerous characters betray the heroes, and worse.

The flaming goat excrement hits the fan in the final episode. No spoilers, but a major character is discovered to be a serial killer, several important characters are killed, and only the villains make headway in their plans.

While I have no issues with dark series, several of the misfortunes that befall the cast are crammed into the last two episodes with little set-up. It is easy to imagine the writers pulling problems out of a hat and adding them to the plot with no consideration except “how can we one-up this?

The Verdict

Castlevania season three feels like a transitional season. It’s less concerned with telling its own story than with setting up season four’s plot, much like how Avengers: Age of Ultron focused too much on setting up Phase 3 of the MCU.

Despite the problems with pacing and tone, Castlevania season three does an excellent job developing the existing characters, introducing new characters and plot elements, and building springboards for season four and the Bootleg Multiverse.

Castlevania season three is worth your time, warts and all.

More Castlevania

Season One

Season Two

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