Potential Spoilers For Castlevania Season 4 Follow… You Can Thank Me Later.

Mixed Blood

It’s fitting that a half-human/half-vampire is one of the main characters for this show as this season fits the paradox of feeling too long yet too condensed at the same time.

The new season of Netflix’s Castlevania rips off the writing style of the lighthouse keeper from Rick and Morty by starting us out six weeks earlier at the end of season three.

From there, Sypha and Trevor Belmont have a weekly run-in with some cult or madman trying to resurrect Count Dracula. Eventually, they track it down to Targoviste, the site of Lisa’s, Dracula’s wife, murder at the hands of the church.

Meanwhile, Alucard seems to have added a few more bodies to his impalement forest, but that bit of character building is thrown out as soon as a horse with a dead guy strapped to it shows up at his door.

From there, the mystery of Alucard’s heel turn is dismissed as he joins humans fighting against the night beasts.

Hector, the forge master, is working on making a new hammer to build an army for his lady-vampire captors. Remember how formidable they seemed at the end of the third season?

Don’t worry, they’re dismissed with about halfway through this season, but at least the lesbian couple can go off to presumably scissor away the centuries.

Too Much Or Not Enough?

As I opened this by saying, this season feels way too long and way too short. It doesn’t help that most of the dialogue feels repeated in some way or another, which feels like it doubles the runtime. The discussion of Carmilla’s maps sticks out as one of the worst offenders.

I’m not sure if the allegations against the series creator, Warren Ellis, made Netflix want to put a pin in this ahead of schedule, but it feels like two seasons worth of story is smashed into one.

Ideally, it feels like season four would have been the war against the vampire queens (yass!), concluding Hector and Issac’s story. Then, a potential season five would be the finale to the overall Dracula tale. As it stands, this season feels like a rough draft that never quite got the polish it deserved.

Even with all of the old plotlines still dangling, we get new characters added to the mix. Primary among these is Dracula’s cockney henchman, Varney (knowwhutImean). Malcolm McDowell serves as the voice talent for this horribly named character who is bent on resurrecting his lord.

Saint Germain returns from season three, and we get a bit more insight into his story and the Infinite Corridor. It turns out, his only goal is to get laid, making him the most relatable character in the series.

The story of his life is nicely told in a Citizen Kane-breakfast style scene of him appearing at court in increasingly rundown kingdoms.

Here Comes The Sun

While this season is definitely flawed, it isn’t a total loss. The art is probably the best this series has produced, mixing 2D and 3D animation nicely in several spots.

There are a ton of battles throughout this season, and they balance being beautiful and horrific, such as the staircase of blood Issac ascends to confront Carmilla. The penultimate episode is again the highlight and includes a brief nod to Alucard’s Symphony of the Night portrait.

Fan service to fans of the game is still present, but it doesn’t feel as memorable as previous seasons. We finally get to see the flea men, and one of the bosses from Dawn of Sorrow is used in the assault on Alucard/Dracula’s castle.

The boomerang/cross debuts as one of Trevor’s weapons with a clumsy explanation of why vampires from non-Christian cultures are affected by the cross. Also, I’m not sure if the town name Danistae (or however it’s spelled) is a nod to Grant DaNasty, the thief who was the other member of Team Trevor from Castlevania 3 who, sadly, still doesn’t show up.

Carmilla also faces her downfall this season, but fans are denied her mask form. After making her debut in Castlevania II and showing up in Super Smash Bros Ultimate in that guise, it was a big letdown to not see the mask. Seeing as how hastily her story was concluded, though, I’m not completely shocked. We get a bloody tear, so that’s a win, I guess.

For those who watched the trailer for this season, it should come as no surprise that Death is the main baddie of this season. It sounded like this isn’t literally Death, but an elemental who eats souls or something. His motivation is no longer having to be hungry once Dracula is resurrected, making him the second-most relatable character in this show.

The battle between Trevor and Death is reminiscent of the final fight from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence and is spectacular from a visual standpoint. Perhaps even the best the series has to offer.

Dry Those Bloody Tears

The first season of Castlevania still stands out as the best in my mind, and, not surprisingly, it was the shortest. More isn’t always better, it can just be more, and if the storytellers were constricted to a limited scope, it might allow them to keep a firmer grasp on the story.

I wish series on streaming services didn’t feel a need to fit into a predefined number of episodes and could just be as long as the story required.

Having the luxury of being able to look at this series as one long story now, I can’t say it entirely succeeds. The show did a decent job of spinning a story from an NES game and a PS2-era follow-up, but it just makes why they left certain characters out that much more confounding.

Also, the addition of so many characters who have no place in Castlevania lore just makes it more confusing. In the battle in the clock tower, I gave no fucks for any of the baddies our heroes were fighting.

Again, it’s hard to say whether outside allegations put a stake in this series sooner than expected. With all the stories left at the end of season three, they could have easily filled a season on their own, let alone adding in more characters and plot to the mix.

I suppose it’s a good conclusion to the story, but after the kickass beginning of this show, I can’t help but feel like it has decayed more and more each season. Overall, it was an OK show, but it ended up dropping the ball for me in too many areas of the story that no amount of visual flair can make up for.

Hopefully, the series can continue with the Simon story someday, but it might be best to let ol’ Drac rest in peace for a bit before bringing him back for another round.

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