When I saw the promo for this past Friday’s episode, I knew it would be heavy on the mythology front, and I admit I wasn’t overly excited about it. I love Vanessa, but I usually miss everyone else when they do these episodes that feature only her, because at the end of the day, Van Helsing is an ensemble show.
But you know what, I stand corrected.
Not only was “I Alive” mythology heavy, but it was also 42 minutes of amazing action, female empowerment and just all around badassery.
Lilian Van Helsing
When Vanessa wakes up, she’s not really aware that she is now in Lilian’s body. She is confused about her whereabouts, especially when she looks out the window and sees a bustling harbor. It is only when she sees a young woman playing around with a sword (and after she attacks her), that she realizes she is trapped in Lilian Van Helsing’s body in 1896. In Hong Kong.
The young woman she attacked was Lilian’s maid Siobhan, and this girl turns out to be one of the best allies Vanessa could have asked for while trapped in late 19th century Asia. “I Alive” was a sort of history lesson on the Van Helsings and other vampire hunter families at the turn of the century.
Lily is actually Abraham Van Helsing’s granddaughter and she is trying her best to carry on with her duty as a third generation vampire slayer. The problem is, she is a woman in 1896, which means she does not get to come and go as she pleases, and her husband is definitely not happy about her “delusions” about vampires. He genuinely thinks she’s prone to hysteria and that this talk about killing vampires is nothing but a product of her overactive imagination.
Training with Master Tsui
So that’s the scenario Vanessa walks into. The Elder sent her there so she could learn how to defeat the B’ah, but she finds herself with her hands tied because Lily’s husband forbids her to go after vampires, and instructs Siobhan to not feed into his wife’s delusions. But what he doesn’t know is that the governor’s wife set up a tea date so she could tell Lily about the vampires that were attacking people in Hong Kong.
It turns out that Agnes, the governor’s wife, was a Seward, which just opened a multitude of questions for me. She quickly explains that her father was Abraham Van Helsing’s faithful servant, so she knows all about vampires.
As you all recall, before she embraced her destiny as a vampire hunter, Vanessa’s last name was Seward, so that begs the question — did Abby leave her in the care of the Sewards? Were they still close to the Van Helsing family, so much so that Abby would entrust one of her twins with them? The last time we saw little Vanessa, she had just been in a car crash, so how did she end up with that last name?
The purpose of the meeting was so Agnes could pass along a message to Lily from a Master Tsui, that he wanted to discuss vampires with her. Vanessa manages to escape the house later on to go meet this guy and it turns out that Master Tsui also comes from a vampire hunter family. He has a lot to say about Vanessa’s fighting style and their training that night is as much badass as it is hilarious, because Vanessa is just so not having any of his Karate Kid crap.
She barely makes it back home in time, before her husband is knocking on her door, saying he has bad news. Apparently, the guy he’d met with the night before, the head of a company called East Asia Trading Company, was murdered. Vanessa questions him, but he is adamant that the subject is not for her to be concerned about as a woman. Vanessa (and myself) is obviously pissed off, but she keeps her temper in check and instead, drugs her husband so she can get out of the house and investigate.
When she gets there, she is attacked by a group of vampires and quickly realizes that she’s not as invincible in Lily’s body as she is back in her own time. And this is actually a great way to make us realize that Master Tsui was right — she does rely too much on her anger and on the fact that she can’t be killed and that she heals super fast. So when she gets injured and stays injured, it’s one hell of a wake up call for her.
Of course, her husband finds out what she’s been up to and essentially locks her up inside the house. Vanessa, being the badass that she is, knocks the guard out — with Siobhan’s help, which was hilariously amazing — and finds the message Master Tsui had sent her about where to find the B’ah. Her husband had already gone ahead and was in the process of being seduced by the Elder — because, get this, the B’ah is a woman and an incredibly powerful Elder at that — when Vanessa finally makes it there.
Fighting ensues and Vanessa gets hit with a poisoned dagger and the only antidote, according to Master Tsui, is drinking blood of the B’ah. In the end, she manages to injure the Elder, but it still escapes. The important part here is that she does drink her blood, so I wonder if that affected Lily at all, or the future generations of Van Helsing for that matter. Because Vanessa was definitely affected somehow after the Elder bit her in the premiere.
Before poor Master Tsui dies, they finally find out why the owner of East Asia Trading company was killed by vampires — the Elder and her little gang were leaving China, bound for San Francisco. So how much do you want to bet that this is where Vanessa is going next?
When Vanessa finally returns to her own body and time, the Elder is surprised to see her alive. We get all even more surprised when Vanessa announces that she is giving him his totem, as well as releasing him from his pledge to serve the Van Helsings. But that was just a ploy to get him to come closer, so she could stab him in the heart with her sword.
I’ll be honest here and admit that I yelled a “NOOOOOO!” when she ran him through. I liked the Elder, okay? I loved Hilary Jardine’s portrayal and I got such a kick out of his interaction with Scarlett. I know he was evil, but I’m really going to miss him. He was funny and sarcastic and completely manipulative, but I still enjoyed watching him struggle with his pledge to serve.
I truly hope we get to see Jardine again in some capacity. As for now, one Elder down, two more to go.
Van Helsing airs on Fridays at 10/9C on SYFY.