“Castlevania” – Season 3 Review (Spoiler Free)

After fans sunk their teeth into the first two seasons of Netflix’s Castlevania, season 3 faced a seemingly impossible task.

How could the series go on in the absence of such as iconic villain as Dracula. In response the series, shifted its tone and focus a bit, into something far more serialized, which seemed to work very well…for the most part.

(Spoiler Free)

Splintered Everywhere
Following the climactic battle that resulted in Dracula’s death, everyone is dealing with the fallout in a different way.

Alucard is holed up in his father’s castle, lonely and depressed. That is until he’s visited by two travelers from Japan, Sumi and Taka, who wish to learn from him.

Belmont and Sypha are living a seemingly quiet life in a new town, as a mysterious threat arises involving a priory of monks.

Carmilla and her quartet of female vampire rulers (Lenore, Morana, Striga, Carmilla) make preparations to enact the very same plan she had discussed in season 2.

This new ruling group seems far more dangerous than Dracula ever was. He was angry and upset, motivated by revenge. But these four are quite brutal in a completely rational manner.

Rather than eliminate all humans, their desire is merely to conquer them, but keep them as a sustainable food source for all vampires.

Despite helping her with her coup, Dracula’s former human servant Hector is kept prisoner by Carmilla, as she doesn’t know if she can trust him.

Morana tries to get information out of him and the two form a bond that has ends up revealing a great deal about both of them. Even if it does lead to a very strange, but not unexpected place.

Meanwhile, Isaac (after being sent across the world via portal by Dracula) spends most of the season regrouping and assembling a small army of night creatures to finish what his master had begun. His devout loyalty still remains, and he ends up becoming a pretty major player.

His recruiting of a demon army delves deeply into the depths of how many of them became how they were, and it’s really quite fascinating.  It’s not an army of mindless creatures, but rather thinking beings who have been tortured by the world itself.

More Serialized Than Ever
Castlevania has certainly come a long way in form of storytelling. The first season, brief as it was, jumped around to major important scenes (much like cut scenes from a video game) and admittedly it all seemed a bit jarring.

Season 2 then took a more long form approach, culminating a compelling and exciting finale, which saw three sides battling each other.

And in continuing with that trend, season 3 of Castlevania almost feels like Game of Thrones, in that we follow several characters over several locations, none of whom ever interact or even meet up by the season finale.

The series has evoled a great deal since begining as just Dracula on a revenge mission.

It would have been amazing to see Isaac and his army fight against Carmilla and/or Belmont as the portal to hell was opened. But alas, we’ll just have to wait for season 4 (hopefully we’ll get one).

The other major downside to this approach is that some storylines are far more interesting than others. The Belmont/Sypha plot is a lot of fun, especially with the new characters (which we’ll get to), but the series wasn’t really sure what to do with Alucard.

He’s understandably mopey and down at the beginning, but the two new characters they bring to him aren’t nearly interesting enough to bring him out of it. Isaac also deserves a mention as his quest could very easily be its own spinoff.

Honestly, we could have lost most of Alucard’s storyline, and the season as a whole wouldn’t be affected very much.

New (and Old) Blood
Part of what always made this show so interesting was its myriad of three dimensional characters. Not a single one of them seems to be completely good or completely evil, and fortunately that tradition is kept up here, especially among the newer characters.

British acting veterans Jason Isaacs and Bill Nighy join the cast, and give us some of the most compelling characters we’ve seen thus far.

They have a lot of great back and forth with Belmont, and their dry British wit comes through on more than one occasion. That said, they’re also both hiding something (as if everyone on this show).

It does have its less interesting moments, but overall season 3 is an improvement over the last two, at least in terms of story.

The multiple threads may not overlap directly, but episode 9 “The Harvest” gives us a climax that involves two battles and two bizarre sex scenes, that is every bit as intense as it is absurd (in a good way).

Words can’t quite describe how awesomely bizarre this episode is!

Between this, the on point voice acting, and beautifully aesthetic visuals, Castlevania season 3 delivers. As previously mentioned, it could have very easily have fallen apart with Dracula, but the series (and creators) have proven they know what they’re doing!

What did you think of the third season? What do you hope to see if we get a fourth? Let us know in the comments below! And for more reviews, rankings, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on Facebook and Twitter!


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