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Van Helsing - Love Bites - Review

'Love Bites' was more of the same as the last episode with only some minor developments and one major development at the end.

The separate storylines has been a positive in terms of honing in on and fleshing out the main characters, while also developing new characters like Lucky, but it is getting tiresome fast. I am starting to appreciate The Walking Dead model of dedicating one episode to a character or group of characters - it allows the chance to tell a more cohesive story without feeling monotonous over the course of a few weeks.

Nevertheless, there were still some major developments to be had in this episode. Chief among them was the death of little Dylan, which needed to happen as she was holding Vanessa back - now the destined slayer can focus on killing vamps instead of being a vulnerable mommy running around haphazardly. The fact all the vamps and former vamps can hear her scream was interesting. It speaks to how powerful Van Helsing is and now that she has no one in her life to love, watch out. Hopefully, an angry and grieving Van Helsing means a more powerful Van Helsing as so far in this series she has been getting her ass whooped more than anything.

The MVP of the episode has to go to Julius, who spends the episode seeking Vanessa's forgiveness. The former vamp even gets a little backstory and we see that as a human he wasn't that bad of a guy after all. I found it weird how Vanessa suddenly trusted him, throwing snow balls at him and all near the end of the episode, despite him not really doing anything to help her. It would have been a nice character moment if he had protected her or Dylan against a group of feral vamps to prove his worth, but ultimately all we got was him lumbering around unconvincingly trying to talk her into trusting him.

Speaking of trust, Flesh and Lucky both learn they can't trust anyone they meet, except maybe themselves. Their storyline feels way too stretched out over these past three weeks, but at least last episode there was some growth in their bond. Another storyline that felt stagnant was Doc's and Axle, who continue to wander aimlessly as Axle suffers from dehydration, ignoring Doc's pleas to help.

The best part of the episode though has to go to Sam. Christopher Heyerdahl has always been an awesome character actor, especially when it comes to portraying antagonists, and his role as the creepy and menacing Sam is probably his best work since Alistair in Supernatural. The scene when he paints the smiley face on the black kid's shirt - reminiscent of Mohammed's shirt - was just disturbing. The episode made it clear that he truly does care for his former best friend, and it is bound be a very emotional, yet explosive scene when the two come to head.

Overall, 'Love Bites' dragged in certain parts. Most of the storylines felt like they were being stretched out to help full in time in the given episode count. However, the characters are starting to slowly come into their own, with some solid additions to the cast in Lucky and the just turned human, Julius. Also, the episode in particular was a turning point for our titular character - her daughter dying in her arms was a moment that is likely to change the course of the series. It's finally time to take things to a whole other level, I just wish they got to this point a bit more cohesively.


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