Van Helsing Season 3 Episode 9 Review: Loud Love
Axel delivers Kit's baby, but it's The Sisterhood's attack on Denver that causes the most chaos on Van Helsing.
This Van Helsing review contains spoilers.
Van Helsing Season 3 Episode 9
“Love’s a beacon of light that guides us where we need to be.”
Okay, so Phil was only mostly dead, and even though we suspected his resurrection would occur sooner or later, it’s still nice to know he’ll get the chance to seek the forgiveness he desperately craves. That said, “Loud Love” takes the opportunity to send the story in another direction without losing sight of the big picture, Vanessa and Scarlett’s journey to halt the vampire apocalypse. And despite the ever present terror, danger, and loss experienced by the survivors, the power of love resurfaces after lying dormant for what seems like forever. Tonight, Van Helsing joins the love train and reminds us that at the end of the day, it might not be science, after all, that defeats the vampires and returns the world to the human race. Maybe the Beatles were right; maybe all you need is love.
Though we later learn that Julius has developed some feelings for his boss Frankie, it’s his devotion to Phil that first alerts us that we may be viewing things through a different set of lenses. Waiting patiently in the Denver morgue for his friend to return from the dead, it’s the gentle giant’s sarcastic approach that not only highlights the scene but forces Phil to reevaluate his insistence to kill himself. Julius tells Phil that he’s certain he’ll discover death’s secret if he just keeps trying, but reminds him that there’s always the possibility someone like Dr. Harrison might get ahold of him to conduct horrific experiments. While it may be this more pragmatic approach that touches the last remaining shreds of Phil’s humanity, it’s Julius’ final admission that ultimately prompts his friend to step into the light and declare that he’s going to find his wife. “It sure is a terrible thing having people caring about you.”
It’s comforting to know that governmental bureaucracy can survive the vampire apocalypse, and when Phil calmly explains that he’s unwilling to wait days for information regarding his wife’s whereabouts, he reveals a side of his personality even he didn’t know existed. “If I have four to six days to plot your death, no one will ever find you,” he informs the man behind the counter, who in all fairness, has no idea he’s being confronted by a man who has already risen from the dead on three separate occasions. However, Phil now has a purpose beyond simple survival, and though he immediately faces a seemingly insurmountable impediment, this is a reborn man seeking forgiveness from the woman he loves. God help the person that tries to stand in his way.
Nevertheless, no one said Phil’s journey would be easy, and the revelation that his wife has been sent to Loveland Prison not only acknowledges that organized society is on the way back, but that draconian measures have been put in place as well. “No one goes there, and no one comes back,” Frankie tells Phil about the prison colony to which his wife has been sent. But it’s Phil’s reaction to learning that only one option exists if he’s to reunite with his wife that tells the true story here. Going to prison to protect a loved one is certainly not a new concept, but Phil’s situation is unique on several levels, not the least of which will be to plot an escape once he finds his wife. And, oh yeah, there’s the part about him not being able to die.
Phil will not be going to Loveland alone, however. While Doc’s relationship with Jolene continues to grow, it also provides Blak Tek supervisor Caitlin Bruce the opportunity to blackmail Doc into working for her. Caitlin, though, makes the same mistake many before her have made; she underestimates the lengths to which Doc will go to get what she needs. As ruthless as Caitlin’s actions have been, her decision to frame Jolene and send her to prison pushes Doc into uncharted territory. Like the others, Doc has killed to stay alive, but here, with Caitlin, the decision to exact revenge for the woman she loves could come back to emotionally haunt her.
Writers Jeremy Smith and Matt Venables wisely accelerate Axel’s timeline, and at Dre’s urging, the marine finally decides to address his own needs now that the opportunity presents itself. Unfortunately, Axel’s decision to go after Scarlett coincides with his successful delivery of Kit’s baby daughter during a heart wrenching scene in which the mother ironically succumbs to a loss of blood during the procedure. But it’s baby Kit who represents the purity of spirit that’s been lost during this cataclysmic event, and the spirit that must once again be found if the human race is to regain control. It’s not clear yet who will actually raise the child, but who better than Barry to instill a sense of wonder, loyalty, and bravery.
Now that he’s fulfilled his commitment to deliver Marybeth’s group to the safety of Denver, Axel puts into motion his plan to find Scarlett and perhaps even tell her how he feels about where their relationship could be headed. Director David Winning treats us to a wonderful shot of a wistful Axel climbing into the truck, momentarily hesitating as if he’s a bit reluctant to take on this risk. But lurking nearby are Ivory, Scab, and the Sisterhood, ready to pounce on this too-good-to-be-true opportunity to feed and add to their vampire army. In all fairness, he has no idea what’s about to transpire, but in retrospect there’s really no reason for him to stay. The authorities seemingly have things under control, but in the world of Van Helsing, that’s often the kiss of death.
We’ve encountered numerous threats to Vanessa and her companions through three seasons, but there’s just something so undeniably compelling about Ivory and the Sisterhood that makes them the perfect villain at this point in the narrative. Considering their pasts, Scab provides the perfect foil for Ivory, whose patience and decision to employ intellect rather than force when attempting to breach the Denver compound fits neatly with his uncontrollable urge to feed and kill now that he’s part of a group that acknowledges his value. His inability to keep his mouth shut around Ivory clearly annoys her, but she’s well aware of the sacrifice he’s made to join the sisters. Still, it’s a lot of fun listening to these two squabble.
Whether it’s the persecution Ivory and Scab both experienced in their pasts or something else, there’s a side of me that roots for their success as they change into normal attire, replete with hoodies pulled down over their faces to obscure the fact that they’re members of an organized vampire legion with a religious undercurrent. As Ivory, Scab, and two sisters approach the gate, they’re met by four armed guards, and we realize immediately that this is a serious mismatch. Fittingly, Ivory makes the first move. They casually reveal themselves, and she throws a well placed dagger that imbeds itself into the forehead of one of the soldiers. Game on.
Once the alarms sound and gunfire begins, it takes only a moment to remember that baby Kit’s inside the compound along with Marybeth’s quarantined group. Not to worry, The Buryer has the situation under control, and when Dre emerges after hiding under a mattress, it appears only these three survive the Sisterhood massacre. It seems likely they’ll eventually cross paths with Julius or Doc, but for now, we can relax a bit knowing they’ve weathered serious storms before.
While there are certainly times that it’s difficult to find something to smile about amidst the savagery of vampire attacks and the violence required to put these assaults down, without question, director Winning’s attention to signage detail is one of the highlights of the episode. Having breached the outer wall, Ivory kicks in the fence giving the Sisterhood full access to the inhabitants. Hanging conspicuously nearby is a sign that reads “Denver Safezone – Secure Gates.” Um, yeah. Not so much. Still, an awesome touch.
But now that Denver is falling, it’s difficult to not look back and consider the arrogance of those in charge that led us to this point. The authorities refusal to address reports of the Daywalkers stands as a perfect example of man’s ego standing in the way of reason. And whether this was her intention or not, Ivory has assembled a formidable army that will not be easy to stop.
As we reach the end of “Loud Love,” it appears that, despite the Sisterhood’s infiltration of the Denver compound, our heroes will escape the immediate danger and live to fight another day. And though appearances can often be deceiving, with Jolene and Phil enroute to Loveland Prison, Barry and Dre watching over baby Kit, and Axel on the road to find Scarlett, Scab’s decision to confront Julius may turn out to be one that the newly anointed sister would like to have back. We don’t know if the big guy has fallen in love with Frankie, but Scab has, for all intents and purposes, affixed a target to his own back by turning Frankie right in front of him. Bad move, dude. Bad move.
Dave Vitagliano has been writing and podcasting about science fiction television since 2012. You can read more of his work here. He presently hosts Sci Fi Fidelity Podcast and The Den of Geek Podcast. ￼