Recap: Little Things Make This Episode of VAN HELSING Great

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Van Helsing - Season 1
Episode 108 “Little Things”
Written by Neil LaBute
Directed by Jason Priestley

[all photos: Syfy]

The episode begins with Sheema (Naika Toussaint) waking up into a nice, clean, and furnished bedroom. She gets out of bed to marvel at a caged bird in the room. Ancient Rebecca (Laura Mennell) greets Sheema, telling her that this is all hers if she decides to be a spy for Rebecca. Rebecca then leads her to another room, set up to resemble a maternity ward. She explains to Sheema that she is trying to find a way for vampires to reproduce. One human gives birth to a dead vampire baby and is then carried away. Rebecca expresses her frustration to Dr. Sholomenko (Duncan Ollerenshaw), who begs for more chances. She allows him, warning both the doctor and Sheema that if they fail at their jobs they will end up as slaves.

Meanwhile, the group is driving on an empty highway and stops at an abandoned restaurant to rest and refuel. They hear church bells in the distance, wondering who and where the sound is coming from.

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Axel (Jonathan Scarfe) argues that they need to stick to the mission, which, now that the hospital is gone, is getting Vanessa (Kelly Overton) to his military base. The others argue that the base may not be there, and that those ringing the church bells may be people who can help or may be in need of help. Doc (Rukiya Bernard) tells them there may be information about Vanessa at the base as Doc’s sister used to work there. They agree to go to the base first, get the information they need, and then go check out the church bells. Before they leave, Sam (Christopher Heyerdahl) spray paints something on a wall of the building.

Mohamad (Trezzo Mahoro) is riding a bike along the highway in the same direction, no doubt following the group. He’s forced to stop because the chain on his bike breaks. He also hears the church bells and starts to walk towards them. The sign Sam paints is revealed, saying “Mohamad –>”. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see the sign as the church bells are ringing from the opposite direction.

Rebecca (Laura Mennell) promises a better life for Sheema (Naika Toussaint)...at a price.
Rebecca (Laura Mennell) promises a better life for Sheema (Naika Toussaint)…at a price.

The group finds the base and discovers it abandoned. They also find Vanessa’s medical file empty. Although disappointed, they decide to rest there for the night. The next morning they begin scouting out the rest of the base and find a holed up Resistance fighter, Gorman (Chris Ippolito). He explains that his group was part of the Resistance, he got separated, and decided to hide in the base. They let him join the group. Axel then brings up that the vampires are still pursuing them, and the base is too big for their small group to defend. Vanessa asks him what he plans to do, and he tells them he knows of an underground bomb shelter turned research facility they can hide out in and fight vampires there.

When they enter, the rusted abandoned entrance collapses, leaving them trapped inside. While they look for tools to dig their way out, they find a plethora of supplies, including beer. The group concedes they can rest for awhile and find a way out in the morning to celebrate the find. Meanwhile, Axel finds a mysterious quarantine room.

Mohamad (Trezzo Mahoro) tries to track where the church bells are coming from.
Mohamad (Trezzo Mahoro) tries to track where the church bells are coming from.

Later that night, a wasted Susan (Hilary Jardine) and John (David Cubitt) wander from the group, talking and kissing. John tries to take it further, and Susan refuses. He then tries to force himself on her, which leads Axel to knock him out and tie him up. Doc goes through his bag and pulls out a rag with Cynthia’s finger wrapped in it, proving he’s the killer. John protests and escapes his bonds. He captures Susan and grabs a broken bottle edge, threatening to kill her. Vanessa throws her knife into his throat, killing him.

This episode slows down a lot of the action in exchange for plot and character revaluations, and mostly benefits from the switch up. The lull allows us to catch our breath and expand on errant plot lines previous episodes have ignored. The killer is finally revealed (although it was fairly obvious from the start) and finally gets his comeupppance. Also, even though the mystery as to how the military knows about Vanessa isn’t solved, it is addressed for the first time in many episodes. The missing file makes one wonder just how far someone would go to keep Vanessa’s origins secret. The Resistance being confirmed as real in this episode is nice as it brings some hope for a real fight against the vampires. Although, with how rough and untrained Gormon appears next to the military man Axel, the Resistance may not be as organized and powerful as everyone had hoped. Though that remains to be seen.

David Cubitt as John, Christopher Heyerdahl as Sam, Kelly Overton as Vanessa Van Helsing, Johnathan Scarfe as Axel Miller, Hilary Jardine as Susan leave the ambulance to refuel.
David Cubitt as John, Christopher Heyerdahl as Sam, Kelly Overton as Vanessa Van Helsing, Johnathan Scarfe as Axel Miller, Hilary Jardine as Susan leave the ambulance to refuel.

The research bunker is a new and mysterious set, promising many revelations and plots. While being on the road would be fun, the research facility and its confines and mysterious ‘quarantine room’ look and feel eerie, capturing the horror feel the series wants and often gets. Also, Gormon promises to be a fun character with his demolision expertise and happy demeanor.

The characters have fun in their down time and we get to see some of their fun side, especially from Sam and Susan. It’s nice to see the characters having fun in the midst of all of the tragedy and adds some levity to the show.

The only real complaint for this episode is that the lower vampires are beginning to resemble zombies, which hurts the series. Previously, even lower vampires have shown to have some intelligence such as being able to work in groups and speak. In this episode, the few vampires that appear just groan and chase after the humans. If the series wants to continue to distinguish itself from other zombie shows, they need to avoid making their vampires zombie-like in future episodes.

Gormon (Chris Ippolito) is introduced.
Gormon (Chris Ippolito) is introduced.

Also, a feature I’ve found odd is the cheery music outro. Every episode has cheery, often much older music playing at the end of the episode. It’s off putting and often takes me out of the show. It’s extremely apparent here, as the music plays while the group walks away from a murder. It’s a really jarring constant of the show that shouldn’t be there.

The episode itself was pretty good, relaxing the viewer before what will hopefully be a huge storm of mysteries and firefights.

 

Van Helsing airs Friday nights at 10/9c on Syfy.

 

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