I had very high expectations about this third season of Castlevania, the Netflix adaptation of the popular dark fantasy game, created and written by Warren Ellis, and directed mostly by Sam Deats. It is only fair that I say it lived up to them. This series has earned a right between my favorites with a charming combination of blood, sex, and demons.
We already know our main trio are great fighters, but it is the first time that we actually get to see them become something different. Trevor and Sypha become detectives, trying to uncover the secrets of the Priory and the disturbed monks that keep everyone in town out of it, while Alucard becomes the mentor of twins who want to become vampire hunters for the sake of their people.
Along with this, Hector becomes a vital part of Carmilla’s plan and a creature of interest for Lenore, the “diplomat” of the vampire quartet. On the other side, Isaac has become a nomad, with a legion of creatures under his command, searching for revenge and answers to philosophical questions.
New characters like Prior Sala, the Judge, Saint Germain, Taka, and Sumi, add another layer of interest to the series. I would have liked to know a bit more about all of them, they could have become an important part of the general story but at least there is some hope for one of those characters in the new season.
With a storyline that pays tribute to classical Gothic novels and a good dose of sensuality, one which is stronger than in previous seasons, Warren Ellis makes sure that the entire cast gets enough time in the highlight, although you can expect obvious favoritism with Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard. After the battle and the end of the second season, this one takes the time to show us the characters develop along with the story.
With symbolism, magic, mystery, demons, religious conspiracies, and even surprises that get uncovered at the very end, this is a season that keeps the most important elements of the franchise, but also giving room for new ones like sexuality, the classical vampire powers under a different lens, and more. You see the predator vampires you’ve wanted to see for a long time.
Some may say that this was a slow-paced one but, in reality, this third season of Castlevania took its time to show as many aspects of the plot as possible, developing the characters meanwhile and letting us watch them under different, perhaps calmer circumstances. All the action was reserved for one hell of an ending, and it was worth it.
Those final episodes were one apocalypse after the other, all of them symbolizing the liberation of each of the involved characters, a sort of expiation of their sins, demons, and fears. I was doubting about the relationship of Dracula with this season, to be honest, since it seemed the plot was deviating from the core villain, but there was also a surprise regarding this point.
I have been very vocal about my dislike for the voices in the series, almost all of them speaking so slowly and calmly that it actually upsets me most of the time. It is obvious at this point of the series that this won’t happen, but at least we got some variety in terms of accents. Maybe we’re about to get a dose of different cultures and backgrounds regarding other characters since there are still many unanswered questions regarding Carmilla’s past, not to mention her sisters.
Castlevania Season 3 took a risk regarding the pace of these 10 episodes, included new topics, and took the characters in new directions, sinking some and rising others. One was reduced to a pet while the other is taking his powers to the next level. One couple was shattered, and a hermit is shattering a bit faster than he should.
What caught my attention was that this season was bolder with sex and nudity than the previous two. There was nothing pornographic, no overly explicit images, but the contrast between an impending war, the fights, and the intimation between some characters, not to mention the use of sexuality as a sign of vampires as otherworldly beings.
It is safe to say those were some of the most powerful scenes in the whole series, not because sex is significant or important, but because of what it represents in the characters involved. It becomes a way of control, a dangerous, powerful binding, and plays a significant role in the development of those characters.
These scenes show the true colors of Castlevania, a series that explores the darkest, murkiest corner of personality putting the characters in uncomfortable situations that could have been taken from their worst nightmares. Although it celebrates it, it also explores the limits of otherness, the differences we find in others. While it is a celebration of otherness, it is also an exploration of
With the fourth and final season coming out on May 10th, I am a bit doubtful about how many answers we will get, maybe even a bit afraid considering it will be 10-episodes long, but giving how well-done this series has been, I want to give it the benefit of doubt. Castlevania has been full of surprises, plot twists, and good development, so I am confident it will get the closure it deserves.
By Alan D.D.