By Dave B.
Trevor Belmont, Alucard Tepes, and Sypha Belnades join forces to defeat Alucard’s father, Dracula, in the second season of Castlevania (Netflix). An expanded cast of vampire and human villains await them as they plot and execute and audacious plan to finally kill the vampire lord and his minions before humanity is wiped out. However, some of Dracula’s “loyal” servants have ambitions of their own that may leave even the best plans, on either side, in ruins.
I have mixed feelings about this season of Castlevania. Part of the reason for that is that the pacing in season two is a mess. The first five episodes of the eight episode season are somewhat dull. Not completely uninteresting, but full of philosophizing and plotting and talking. In and of itself, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the strength of Castlevania is definitely it’s fight scenes and viewers who are watching the show for those may be disappointed…until episode 6. Episodes 6 and 7 are full of non-stop, adrenaline fueled battles of epic proportion and are definitely worth the previous five episodes of setup. Unfortunately, my preference is for a show to be more well-balanced in its execution of action vs. down-time and Castlevania is anything but, in that regard.
My second source of mixed feelings about the show is that, on a certain fundamental level, I sympathize more with the “villains” than the “heroes” in Castlevania. Dracula wants to exterminate humanity because humans murdered his human wife, ignored the improvements that he tried to make to their lives through his knowledge of advanced science, and generally just behave like the animals that most vampires see them as. In point of fact, many humans often ARE awful, so for me, watching the show entails hoping that relatively uninteresting protagonists defeat an antagonist whose aims are terrible, but whose motivation is completely understandable. Creating and maintaining that sort of philosophical tension is a plus in my book, but I definitely felt some emotional dissonance throughout the entire season.
Overall, the second of season of Castlevania is strong, but not spectacular. It’s short, with each episode running between 25-30 minutes, so even the slower first half of the season isn’t slow enough for most viewers to lose interest in it. And the philosophical questions that the show raises about how our treatment of people can unleash monsters upon the world, deserves more thought than it’s likely to get. But future season of this show need to ramp up the action to balance out the musings and scheming. I recommend this season of Castlevania, especially for the more thoughtful fans of horror and action, but viewers should be prepared to wait awhile for the show to really hit its stride.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.