REVIEW – ‘Castlevania’ Season 3 Episode 1 (Spoiler Free)

If you have been watching Castlevania on Netflix from the beginning, you know that it has been nothing short of amazing.  Season 2 was an intense and visually stunning thrill ride that ended with the (SPOILER ALERT) death of Dracula himself.  Going in to Season 3, it's easy to wonder where things go from there.  I got a chance to see Season 3 a bit early, so allow me to at least set the early stages for you, at least for the first episode.

We saw the team of go there separate ways at the end of last season, with Alucard staying in the castle and Trevor traveling with Sypha.  That is how the journey of this season seems to be going, on different paths.  We get to see how the isolation is treating Alucard.  Humor isn't a huge part of this show, but there is something that you'll either find very funny or very sad about Alucard's unique decorating touch in one particular room.  He also comes to realize something that he might not have wanted to admit before.

As for Trevor and Sypha, their journey seems to be much more exciting.  When I said that they were traveling, there is much more to it than that.  Something more dangerous, and quite bloody to be frank.  If you were a fan of this pair, you will not be disappointed early on.  The dynamic between Trevor and Sypha has always been one of my favorite things about this show.  It brings light moments to an otherwise intense, and at times gorey show.  Their travels take them to a settlement that has quite a few interesting things going on and some very interesting occupants.  It won't take long for them to feel a bit uneasy in this new setting.

Then there's Carmilla, who failed in her attempted coup of Dracula, and is trying to find a way to capitalize on his death.  This is when we meet Carmilla's sisters, each with their own unique personalities and ambitions.  Carmilla has a grand idea, and is trying to convince her sisters to go along with it.  This is a big plan, but could yield major results.  You also remember that she has Hector with her, and she definitely has plans for the Forgemaster as well.  It's clear to see why Carmilla is the leader of this group, seemingly the most ruthless and the most willing to think big.  It's clear from this episode, that her failures are only going to fuel her efforts.

Before I go on, there is a very important theme to this overall season that you need to be aware of:  patience.  Sure, there is plenty of action, but there is also a lot of discussion and introspection going on in this season.  The opening sequence involving Alucard should clue you in on that right away.  It's up to you to decide whether or not this adds depth to the overall story or makes things drag a bit too much.  I will say that I went back and forth on this, depending on which story was being followed.

There are four distinct stories at play during this season, and it appears to stay that way as the season goes on.  You'll eventually see Isaac again and discover what his plan is.  There are new characters to meet as well, like the eccentric Saint Germain in the town of Lindenfeld, where Trevor and Sypha find themselves.  Speaking of Isaac, we also see him find an unlikely companion on his journey.  The most interesting new character might be Carmilla's sister Lenore.  Her game is deep, and her interactions with Hector might lead to more than they appear on the surface.  In my opinion, she might be the most dangerous of all of the sisters for a lot of reasons.  You'll see what I mean with each passing episode.

Castlevania spends a lot of time setting the tone, and I will tell you, this goes far beyond just the first episode.  Whether or not that pays off for you, is your decision to make.  The series definitely shows that it can be compelling and intense even without a major character like Dracula.  You could say that, setting up characters like Carmilla, Isaac and company in Season 2 were the reason for that.  There is still plenty of action, the gore is also dialed up, but be prepared for quite a bit more dialogue.  There seems to be a bit more humor worked in as well, but not all of it landed for me.  If I were to give a criticism, it would be that the humor tended to be a bit distracting at times.

I will be giving more thoughts on the overall series in Episode 306 of our podcast, including more spoilers than I am giving here.  After the first episode, you'll see that our characters are on different paths, but not much else.  Your constants are the core characters you've been with from the beginning, and the stunning animation that was apparent from the first TRAILER, nevermind the first season.  Trust in those that have given us the best video game adaptation, maybe ever.  Peel the onion, get ready for the long game, and know that things are just starting to get interesting, weird and bloody intense.

Photo Credit: Netflix