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Van Helsing - Love Less and Broken Promises - Double Review

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The strength of Van Helsing's supporting characters is showcased in 'Love Less' and 'Broken Promises,' the former being an Axel and Flesh focused episode, while the latter delved deeper into Axel's psyche while exploring Violet and Jack more, as well as, Vanessa's turn to the light.

Last time we saw Axel he witnessed the death of Scarlett and retreated in anger against Vanessa. Everything that needs to be said about Axel this season is in his new look - gruff, bearded and grungy - the wear and tear of the apocalypse really showing through with him more than any other survivor. And after the events of last season - finding out about his sister's fate, losing Scarlett, his only beacon of hope - Axel's pain is understood and felt.

Some semblance of consolation can possibly be found in the friends who didn't betray him. In 'Love Less', after encountering Max, the young, sociopathic warden of a prison that has its inhabitants mine a mineral that wards off vampires, supposedly, Axel also comes across Phil. We're left wondering whether Axel will save his friend, who he sees tied up in the middle of the prison yard, and it is hinted in 'Broken Promises' that he will.

Speaking of, the scene between Axel and Vanessa in 'Broken Promises' was such a punch to the gut. It was a gripping turn of events to see Axel, consumed with all his rage, attacking Vanessa as she let him pent out his anger. And when the soldier finally broke down as Vanessa held him, it was hard not to cry with him.

Though Axel doesn't forgive her, as he says, his loyalty to her and to her cause is much stronger than his rage, and with Vanessa giving him the compass to find her whenever he needs to, we know that he will sooner than later. Axel leaves Vanessa deciding upon himself to do something he should've done earlier, and it is safe to say, that he will be rescuing Phil.

As for Phil, finally, he is reunited with his wife in 'Love Less' but it did not go according to plan, to say the least. It seems like she is more afraid of the torture Max will lay upon her, then the fact Phil is no longer a vampire. And by the looks of it, we have another major player on the antagonistic side of things.

Another relatively new addition to the cast is Jolene who continues to be a strong supporting character. Her resourcefulness, seen in her made-up story of her and Phil being sent from Blak Tek, helped give them a little bit more time to be rescued by Axel. The two of them - Phil and Jolene - play well off each other, I wonder how the wife will play into things?

Elsewhere are our two new apparent Van Helsings, Jack and Violet. Watching Jack bite the dust in 'Love Less' was surprising, and considering how fast characters die in this show, Van Helsing did fool me. It was quite the sight then to see Jack rise up out of the fire and even more surprising was the revelation that she is the lost sister of Violet that Hansen talked about. Everything is all starting to make sense now when it comes to the inclusion of these two characters.

And speaking of Hansen, his scene with Violet made me hate him and sympathize with him at the same time. We feel his love for Violet and his commitment to protect her, and Neal McDonough does a great job expressing that ounce of vulnerability. But beneath the surface, there is a sense that Hansen is manipulating her a bit too. I mean, not once did he answer her question of who her parents were, instead he avoided it and turned his answer around to talk about how much he loved her parents, and how much they trusted him to protect her. He may care for her, but he still is a selfish human being and how she became under his guardianship is still an unanswered question (and I doubt it is what he says it is).

As for our main protagonist, Vanessa had little to work with in Love Less and Broken Promises. We did get to see her embrace the light by turning a bunch of vamps into humans, which felt like a long time coming. Though it must be said, isn't it easier to bite them than let them eat your face off? That looked quite agonizing.

Vanessa's turn to the light couldn't come at a better time as the darkness is really ramping up. In 'Broken Promises,' the Third Bride has risen and soon the Dark One will rise too. There are just way too many antagonists on the board to count, and it feels there really needs be a win for team Van Helsing sooner than later. However, with Jack being taken under Vanessa's wing, and Violet most likely joining them soon, it is looking like there is a war brewing, and the last episode, 'Broken Promises,' really started to move the chess pieces on the board.

Love Less - 7/10

Broken Promises 8.5/10

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