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Showtime (ended 2016)
And so we meet the final episode with the finale, with "Grand Guignol". For those who have complained I prefer a strong storyline in previous episodes and that's expecting too much, don't be surprised that I expected it here, too. I don't mind the occasional non-chronological sidetrack ("Closer Than Sisters"), but this was supposed to be the big wrap-up to season 1. The finale, the bringing down of the curtain, the closer.

And... it was okay. The big story arc was the Mina/vampire piece. And it kind of ended on a mediocre note. First of all, one convenient vision from Vanessa and they found the vampires. Eh. It would have been nice for the vampires to somehow play into Caliban. Like him discovering that they were invading his domain, going after them, and finding himself fighting side-by-side with the League of Extraordinary Gentle Others (or LEGOs, as I like to call them). But really, it just ended up to be random chance that they ended up at the theater with no tie-in to anything else. They could have been hanging out at any random theater or warehouse in London.

So the bald vampire wasn't the Master, right? Despite the fact that Fenton called him Master back during the home invasion of Vanessa's room. And when Baldy died, all the female vampires died which suggests that he's their progenitor. But after Baldy is dead, Mina is still "alive" and says that the Master will still be around to make the LEGOs his vampiric spawn. So she was converted by the real Master, and Baldy was the mini-Master. Figuring that Fenton just didn't know better. That seems overly complicated, but okay. And the Master was originally described as a nobleman, not a near-naked bald cracked-face blood drinker



Top of the world, ma!

That leaves us with the wrap-up of the Malcolm-Vanessa-Mina triangle. Not surprisingly, Malcolm chooses Vanessa over Mina when he realizes that he can't save his daughter. Not that he seemed to make much of an attempt. What happened to Victor trying to find a transfusion cure? Sure, Mina was holding Vanessa by the throat and it was do-or-kill time. Still, it seemed odd that the main reason that they brought Victor in—to find a cure for vampirism—never really played out.



Honey, you got real ugly

Also the fact that these were Egyptian vampires and tied into Amun-Ra never seemed to amount to anything, either. It was basically just a clue to finding them on the Egyptian ship.

Okay, so Mina's dead, the Master is still apparently out there somewhere, and Storyline A is temporarily resolved. What else happened?

Quite a bit, and that's where John Logan comes into his own. For the first time in a while, this episode was an ensemble episode. As I've noted in the past, yes, Eva Green is a great actress but she does get a little tiring in her Tim Burton fashion stylings. So it's nice to see Treadway, Kinnear, and even Hartnett and Dalton get some more screen time and plot development.



Helena Bonham Carter, eat your heart out

So thankfully, we get a lot of Rory Kinnear this episode. Even if the character is somewhat inconsistent, breaking necks one minute, pining for love from the equally inconsistent Maude the next (weren't she and Simon laughing at Caliban a couple of weeks ago?), and then almost-raping her. But Mr. Kinnear's performance manages to make all of that almost believable, up to and including the scene where he throws himself on Victor's mercy.



No Means No, Part Uno

So Victor steps up to fatherhood and grows a pair. By offing Brona and taking her corpse back to his attic for some reanimation work. We also get a payoff on the Chekov's Gun from last week, twice, as Victor puts his training under Ethan to use by first preparing to kill Victor, and then later shooting it out with the Brides of Baldy in the basement.

Ethan doesn't have a whole lot to do except mourn Brona, share a cigarette or marijuana with Vanessa, and act as straight man to the overacting Stephen Lord (Rumplestiltskin's father on Once Upon a Time), as Mr. Roper, a Pinkerton agent with a British accent rather than John Ritter's apartment manager. Everyone's favorite Latin-spouting exorcist/Wild West gunman finally has enough of the two oafs sent to find him and goes back to where he lives. So Mr. Kidd didn't really have to do much to track him. And then Ethan blows his cover by wolfing out and killing them along with presumably everyone else hanging out at the Mariner's Inn where he lives.

Malcolm remains a SOB but gets redemption of a sort by choosing Vanessa over Mina. Not that it was really much of a choice since he wasn't going to get Mina back even if he spared her. Still, he and Vanessa share a nice bonding moment at the end talking about a Christmas tree.

What about Dorian? He... really doesn't do much of anything. No explanation of his back story or his mysterious scratch-healing portrait. No follow-up with his session with Ethan. Vanessa does reject him and he has to deal with that. Sorta. Dorian really seems to be on the show to have sex with half the cast including both the females. Three down and four to go for next year, Dorian.



No Means No, Part Deux

There's also an odd appearance by Madame Kali, who seems to be a member of the British version of the NRA. She flirts with Malcolm over her pocket pistol *ahem*, he flirts back, and he goes on his way. Presumably this is a prelude to next season, as it doesn't do anything more than consume screen time in this episode.

Oh, and Billie Piper is dying, plays dead, and gets another long-distance "could be anybody's face" nude shot. Hopefully she has more to do next year as the Bride of Caliban. Which is an obvious payoff to her story arc. Just as Ethan being a wolfman was the obvious payoff to his story arc. Logan went with the obvious routes here, and presented the reveals in a straightforward manner.



I'm still not quite dead yet
And that leaves the final scenes. The surprisingly jovial priest offers to perform an exorcism for Vanessa but wonders if she wants to be normal instead of enjoying the "backhand of God." And a closing montage of scenes that didn't show Sembene. I was hoping for a scene of him celebrating a normal Christmas with his wife and 12 kids in London. Or strangling a cat and hanging it on a Christmas tree. Or hanging shrunken heads on a Christmas tree.

So what does season 2 hold? Caliban and Brona together for the first time. Ethan dealing with his father. Backstory on Sembene! No more theater shenanigans? Something with Madame Kali if the hints dropped this episode are any indication. Back to the Egyptian apocalypse. And the return of the real Master we've never seen.

But it's a fun eight episodes. Sometimes puzzling but always entertaining, and a bit heavy on Eva Green. Catch you all in 48 weeks or so.
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This is one slow and often times boring ass show. To have so many supernatural creatures on it, I don't see how it couldn't be exciting, bloody, compelling every week. Personally, I think they focused too much of Eva Green's character. Damn near every episode was about her and her being possessed, her feeling guilty, her backstory, her lust, her demon stalker, etc. Whatever, already. I hope next season offers more.
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I haven't agreed with some of your previous reviews, but I think you were spot on here. It felt like a rush to tie up loose ends before hiatus rather than a proper conclusion, though I suppose it's probably meant to be less a conclusion than an intermission before season 2. The whole vampire thing really was a bit tacked on and honestly, it really only served as a way of forcing Vanessa and Malcolm together and as a means for exploring their pasts and giving them both something to feel guilty about/search for redemption for. It didn't need to be the centrepeice of the show.
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Season 1 in the books, I'd say it was O.K, that's about the extent of it. Some good characters, some good storylines but a lot of stuff all over the map or left to wither on the vine. Could have been a lot better.
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Yep, I also expected more from this show and the last few eps have been a little disappointing... I am looking forward to meeting the real MASTER next season as well as background stories for Sembene & Ethan but I am not looking forward to seeing Brona again (she is an awful character played by a terrible actress) and esp. I am dreading the Ethan vs. Victor confrontation because Victor was too lazy to find just any other dead female. Still, I will want to see how Season 2 pans out...
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In fairness, Victor could think he's doing her a favor.
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Baldy #2 - he killed the first one just the same in the opium den. Is that my stake cane you've just walked onto? Oh dear. What a pity. Never mind.
Brona was obviously going to be Frankie's bride de jour. It was, in a way, one thing I was looking forward to for season 2, as it can have all kinds of upset. I assumed that Van Helsing's wasteful and premature departure was the tipping point to Viktor's not advancing on a cure.
Ethan's set up as being loyal and emotional to the point of tears were the only clues for his doggedness - well, and sniffing another's bottom! I'm quite glad but also felt it was wrong for a werewolf to be able to perform a Holy Act. Hey, ho.
The whole Egyptian angle was a bit higgledy-piggledy. I always took Ra as being the King of Hell and so all things dead - or living dead- would be his servants. I was expecting Dracula, or such, to show up but then wondered for a bit if Ra was The Master, only to go back to WTF is our European friend and when the Hell is he going to show? Next series then? Sheesh.
Dorian's story is enjoyable but significant point was for him to actually feel something when he looked at his true self in the portrait. And yet in this version he looks like it's the image that gives him most sexual gratification. Why he hasn't got pictures of the grotesque on his walls and events filled with them feels wrong now. His joy at Brona's blood spurt felt right in this version and yet it still has his hedonism fixed within corruption of beauty alone.
I wonder if the show lost it's edge due to uncertainty over being picked up or, whether the writers never initially intended for it to go longer but then got an extension. Lots of shows have suffered due to such. In any case, I'll definitely be back for season 2.
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Omg! Had no idea this was a season finale. I had this show pegged to be a great replacement for League Of Extra-Ordinary Gentlemen but the show has fallen as flat as that movie. Not much more to say than, I was really disappointed. :/
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Although I bad-mouthed it back at the beginning of the PD season, I had the chance to rewatch the movie. It isn't bad, once you set aside a) any expectations that it's anything like the graphic novel, and b) the damned infernal running. I think Sean Connery pursues the bad guy three frickin' times in extended foot chases.

All the main actors are likeable enough, and there's some humorous dialogue. Some crappy lines, too ("Bomb voyage."), but oh well. And some decent action setpieces, like the shootout in Dorian's library.
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http://www.imdb.com/news/ni58638054?ref_=hm_nw_uk_tp1_sm
I seen this today thought it might interest you. :)
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Yup, I've heard about it.
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Don't get me wrong, I really liked League Of Extra-Ordinary Gentlemen when I first saw it, I suppose my biggest disappointment with the movie was that nothing every came of it!
PD however lost momentum and didn't reach a crescendo that I had hoped would have had more of an impact at the end of the season.
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This show really lost steam in the last 2-3 episodes. As others have said, this is an awesome concept from characters to location to the historic drama elements but man, too many plot points and supernatural characters make me think this is True Blood set 130 years in the past (True Blood after it left its first 3 seasons peak that is). I mean True Blood is a good formula but man, there were so many directions to go with this show. Maybe next season they will bring in Captain Nemo, Allan Quartermain, The Invisible Man, and some Time Machines to make a true reunion of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as well as touch on the last of the Victorian era popular fictional characters they have omitted so far.
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One thing that occurs to me is that the first season could have used a unifying villain. Someone with some personality and the intellect to rival the LEGOs.

Dracula, basically.

Instead we got a bald speechless anorexic with dry skin whose only real plan seemed to be convincing the LEGOs to take Fenton in, hope that they would imprison him in such a way that he could escape, and have him open the window for him. Then Mini-Master spent his nights sleeping at the Egyptian ship. The heck? And then he moved to somewhere else and still slept at night, and got shot.

When vampires don't go out during the day, and they sleep during the night, that's not cunning. That's narcolepsy.
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I can imagine the creative team brainstorming this show "wouldn't it be awesome to put all of these preternatural/Gothic horror characters in a series set in their original era..." I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.
For me, it IS a great idea, not executed particularly well. Great actors, classic themes and quality sets does not a story make. I do like to be told a story and I do like my characters fleshed out, which is why Vanessa is probably the only interesting one of the bunch, with a nod to Sir Malcolm, because we had that excellent (my opinion) back story episode and we saw what now drives those two. That episode came as such a relief, finally, character development!
The writers threw together every character they could think of, all at once, with so many directions to go in and chose... none? Guys, less is more, why not introduce some of these dudes when you've actually got something for them to do, more than wander round in the snow and have sex (talking about Dorian here obviously and a little bit Ethan and Brona).
The Mena story line as a main arc, was so underdeveloped! No insight into what happened, how she was taken, her existence under the Master. OK, we're all meant to know the background from Dracula, but that doesn't mean I'll invest in the circumstances and characters as portrayed here in this show. Speaking of Dracula, I assume he is the Master, and he'll turn up next season, so why create this other 'Master' as a big red herring.
This show is far from awful, it's just a long way from the as good as it could be. It limped to a close and while I'll probably tune in if it gains some depth and direction in Season 2, but if it's more of the same I'm going to be tuning out pretty quickly. Too much great TV these days to invest time with the mediocre.
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I love the League of Extraordinary Gentle Others (or LEGOs) as a name to call the group in the series, and what a great acronym as well? Here's hoping Logan and other fans start referring to them as that from now on.
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Thanks for doing these reviews Gislef, its been great to have a place to talk about the series.

I've found that for majority of the season that I've very much agreed with your thoughts on the series, but enjoyed it nonetheless despite its slow-pace storytelling. However, the blandness of this finale really did make it apparent to me the series' problems, and I realise I definitely didn't enjoy the second half of the season all that much in comparison to the first half.

I share your frustrations about Vanessa's random knowledge that the vampires were at the theatre, and the many questions that the entire storyline still has to explain including the hierarchy of vampires (and how the incredibly easy to kill bald one fit into this structure), and the links to Egyptian mythology.

I'm fairly annoyed about the reveals of Ethan being a werewolf and Brona becoming Caliban's bride. Viewers were predicting these outcomes two episodes in, so it makes it painful watching when the writers think they're being clever by drawing out storylines by trying to raise more questions and mystery when audiences already know the answer. It just so predictable, and that's not what any good series should be.

For me personally, Victor and Caliban are the only two characters whose stories' I'm interested in, and I honestly think the series would be much better if it were just focusing on the two of them. Both Malcolm and Vanessa have potential, but I've found Malcolm to be poorly written thus far, and like you mentioned, Vanessa would be good if it wasn't for her tiring 'Tim Burton fashion stylings'. There's only so much melodramatic scenery-chewing one can take. As for the relationship between the pair, I've found it forced and don't really see any chemistry there, so the resolution of Malcolm killing Mina to save Vanessa only got eye-rolls from me. And Ethan's been nothing but yawns so far, while Dorian and Sembene have had little to do.

I'll be back nest season for sure, the series still has a wonderful look and tone to it, and there are storylines that I am eager to watch progress, but there's certainly a lot of room for improvement.
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It was as expected they gave us an ending plain and simple. Finally we get our Werewolf of London and they kept the original aesthetic of the beast style points in my book. Finally we get our Bride of Frankenstein and what if she runs into Ethan? Well that would be fun for season 2 and in season 2 will Ethan grow a conscious. I mean come on lets just hang around people knowing the change is coming lets just kill innocent people. No attempt to sedate or confine himself during these fits what the hell man? Vanessa wants a full on exorcism because what Ethan did last week was just a beat down and when the deity is healthy he'll come back for more? Well I'll be back next year so they've succeeded in some right. Next year a trip to Europe for Dracula hunting or to America to cure Ethan?
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Thanks for reviewing the show Gislef, you have really be doing an excellent job doing so all season.

As for the finale. I thought it was great. The Master is likely something bigger than merely the vampires we have seen. As Mina said, he wanted a bride in order to give birth to children. Clearly the vampires we have seen are his children, pure vampires that can father other lesser vampires. That makes sense and isn't too far off of some of the mythology surrounding them. I thought it was a good wrap up of the Mina storyline and Sir Malcom finally pulling his head out of his arse.

But clearly his greatest adventure is going to staying at home. Just because Mina is out of the picture, doesn't mean the Master is over his obsession with Vanessa. And clearly other individuals with mysterious pasts namely Evelyn are interested in Vanessa, so Sir Malcom's dance card, as it were, is going to be full coming next season.

Vanessa's story is the most interesting. Clean yourself of the filth of demon possession and be normal or continue with it and be kind of cool. I would vote for cool. Granted she can't get down with Dorian, but that is a small price to pay for having a demon lust after you for the rest of your life, have psychic powers, and overall be a fantastic looking badass that can hang with the boys. The only thing that I don't get about her story and her possession is how in the hell didn't she pick up on Ethan being a werewolf.

Speaking of the wolf. That was a pretty good scene. I think next season is could focus more on Ethan and his parents and them looking for him and sending adversaries after him and them fighting them off. That could be a whole season and that could be kind of cool.

Frank and Caliban was actually very touching. Clearly Caliban doesn't know about the friend zone. And he is a little handsy, which isn't good. i hope that the theatre isn't done with. I would kind of like to see Mord's man come after Caliban and Caliban beating the crap out of him. But him and Brona is going to be interesting, i think it is a huge mistake on the part of Frank. Proteus started to remember his past life, clearly that is more than Caliban, and if Frank continues with making his creations better, what happens if Brona remembers everything and doesn't love Caliban but loves Ethan still. What happens when Ethan finds out and he goes all Teenwolf on Frank and Caliban. This too I am looking forward to.

Overall a great season. Hopefully they will learn from their hovering and make the show a little more inclusive to the whole cast. I think that was the only problem of the season. The finally was a little sped through, but I understand it and they set up a lot of stuff for the next season.

Sadly we will have to wait a year for more Eva Green. Unless you watch Sin City. I wouldn't recommend the follow up to 300. It wasn't that great.
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its been great having you review this show. i enjoy reading reviews for the shows i watch, its nice to have a ''watercooler'' conversation.
cant wait for the photo reccap :)

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it would be cool if ethan was a skinwalker. i think either brona and caliban will leave next season, or ethan will. i dont see him being ok with her new birth.
this story revolves around sir malcome, it begining to seem. i think his connection with africa is really omnious in a way.
i didnt like the extensive foreshadowing by the dying brona, but her death was poetic. for some reason, victor is my favourite character.
the actor who plays dorian does do much for me. from the novel, ive imagined him quite differently, so, for me, the character of tv show dorian is completely separate from the book dorian.
this show reads like a novel. but i hope they expand on that.
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outstanding!
Rolamb asked what I do after watching an episode of my favourite show. Sit an stare at the screen trying to fathom what I had just seen, I answered. That's what happened here.

So this season was about Mina after all. The rest were just teasers for the comming seasons.

I wonder when they knew they were getting renewed.

I thought the vampires, especially the master, were disappointingly easy to kill. They seemed to die just like people.

Was Malcolm hinting that Vanessa really was his daughter?

Caliban wasn't trying to rape Maude. He really though that what how you did it. He stopped as soon as he realized that she was truly scared. Poor guy, he went through all that trouble with the makeup and the orange, and she just laughed at him.

Mr. Kidd. Is that supposed to be a Bond reference?

To be fair, there is no explanation of Dorian's portrait in the novel.
It just does what it does because he asked for it.
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This season was about Mina and Mina's arc went nowhere. Hence the show was about nothing.
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I Imagine Logan had a pretty good idea the show would be renewed before it even started. That seems to be how it goes with high-profile pay-cable shows these days.

Given Caliban's education seems to have come mostly from poetry and romantic novels, it doesn't seem like he would have picked up violence against women when they laugh at you was the way to go. It seemed to be more like that internal malignancy he was saying was within him, that he overcame at the lats minute.

Yup, there no explanation of the portrait in the novel. But a) we didn't even get told that it was a portrait of Dorian here, and b) I don't think they can get away with that in a 21st century TV series. Just like I have no doubt they'll eventually explain why Ethan is a wolfman, they'll explain how Dorian got the portrait and/or what it does.
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You may be right about Caliban.
It just didn't seem, to me, like he was going for violence when he first went for the kiss. He was surprised by her reaction to that, he believed that a kiss would make her swoon. When she rejected it, he got carried away and pinned her against the wall. And that's when he realized that he had blown it, and fled.
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If you didnt know Ethan was a werewolf, you havent been paying attention. He made the very first kill of the season premiere. the story peter'd out in episode four and gained no ground since.

If I'd dropped this show after episode four, I'd be a lot more satisfied. Dalton and Hartnett have done nothing since. The writhing plastic-faced lead-vampire is a joke, The Creature is compelling but predictable, Vanessa's possession is the same old thing, its not credible, it's a cheap distraction to placate us while nothing happens.

The production and story was worthy of five episodes, tops. The budget was blown on the actor's salaries. Sleepy Hollow, AHS Coven, Supernatural, and LXG were all much better.

Renewed for season 2.. Maybe its time to admit we can't afford to employ Green, Hartnett, and Dalton simultaneously. Somebody Gotta Die!

Timothy Dalton has been fantastic, but that comes as no surprise. Eva Green's malingering til the next hollywood movie role comes along, so why make her the narrative centerpiece?
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As you say, I think we all knew that Ethan was a wolfman. But Logan made it so obvious that you kinda hoped a twist was coming and he wasn't. Or he wasn't the only one and another wolfman was making the Jack the Ripper kills (remember those?).
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I was still hoping for a twist. I didn't doubt that Ethan was the wolfman, just that the Ripper murders were not him. I originally thought it might be Calliban collecting pieces for his wife.

The show had a lot of potential, but just didn't deliver for me. Like you Gislef, for the season finale I was expecting SMACK BANG KAPOW but instead it was just like hand washing and drying the dishes after a meal and going to bed instead of smashing all the plates on the floor and doing a little dance.
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I thought it was Caliban collecting pieces too.
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I originally thought it might be Calliban collecting pieces for his wife.


LMAO. You've been watching Hannibal obviously.
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LOL. Can't believe it was that obvious. No more Hannibal for me. :)
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It woulda made thing a lot more interesting. they rewarded viewers by making em feel stupid for watching.
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You forgot there was that scene that provided a little bit on the Dorian-Ethan hookup. When Vanessa was possessed and Ethan was around, she was spouting off something about their recent hookup and how Ethan was the receiver and Dorian was the giver and was asking how much he loved receiving or something like that...and if he felt satisfied or something right after...
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Well, yeah, but that was last week's episode. No mention of it this week.
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I love this show. I find it strange that everyone seems to have a problem with the fact that it is a slow burn and that everyones place and function in the story is not immediately apparent. We've had 8 episodes and a semi resolution to the major plot line. I'd say that's a good start and a good lead into season 2.

That doesn't mean that it hasn't had it's share of missteps though. Ethan's reveal was lacklustre and so heavily foreshadowed that by the time it happened I was like meh. I thought it was pretty obvious that the vampire wasn't the Master. No way Mina leaves her husband for a man who didn't charm her. But how he had accumulated so many "ladies" in black dresses is still a mystery. And as much as I loved Sir Malcolm's proclamation that he already had a daughter. (I still think that she is actually his daughter by blood) it wasn't earned. Last episode was a chance for the tough facade to crack and for him to show he has genuine feelings for Vanessa, but he was still cold, calculating and willing to sacrifice her for Mina, nothing between then and the showdown at the theatre seemed to change that. So his killing of Mina fell flat.

On the flip side everything with Victor really works for me, that he killed Brona for Caliban genuinely surprised me. He is setting himself up for a serious reckoning.

And then my beloved Dorian. I know a bunch of people dislike this character, but he is my absolute favourite. When he came to see Vanessa with such enthusiasm only to be cooly rejected and sent away, I both smiled and ached for him. Yes his part in the large scheme of Vanessa and Malcolm's story is small and undefined, but i find his performance captivating (despite his hair). Every time he is on the screen I want to know more and more about him.

Overall I think this season stands as an entry into this world. It's taken familiar characters and set up some rules about how we are going to see them. There will be no happy ending for Mina and her husband, (killing a vamp doesn't release the infected like it did in the book). Van Helsing will not be our hero, and Frankenstein's reckoning will not come at the hands of his creation. Dorian is less evil and without morales as he is curious and lonely (unless this rejection from Vanessa is what drives him to a much darker place next season - I hope not). Though the rules around Ethan (Wolfman) and Vanessa (my Jekyl & Hyde) are not clear and Ethan has had so much subtext thrown around him that who knows where he'll end up.

Vanessa's conversation with the priest was odd. I'm not sure how I felt about it, and am going to need some time before I decide.

Here's hoping the real Dracula will step forward next season and that everyone moves into Sir Malcolm's house and that Vanessa is not as finished with Dorian and she hopes to be.



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I don't think I ever said the show was a slow burn...

And I don't dislike Dorian, as much as think the character seems to be wasted here. If season 1 is an intro into the characters and the world, then they didn't explain why Dorian should be a part of it.
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Well, I'm speaking more in general, then specifically about you. As much as you've voiced your concerns (some with which I agree) about the show you've always said that overall you enjoy it.
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Dorian shouldnt have appeared until next season, and with a purpose.
He made the show even more shizophrenic. The show has no direction.
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I really enjoyed the first seven episodes,but found the finale sort of lackluster.
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oh well. i expected more, but really, we were never promised more. this is obvi some slow burning stuff. whatever. if they dont pick up the pace next season, im not sure ill be watching.
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Totally agree. Slow burn is one thing and snails pace is quite another.
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