Netflix’s ‘Castlevania’ Season Three Review
Dracula himself may have his own live-action show on Netflix, but there is still nothing quite like the emotional brutality and genuine moral discomfort that the streaming service reaps out of the original hit adaptation of Konami’s Castlevania series from comic book legend Warren Ellis. It has been well noted by critics and audiences alike that Netflix has undebatably had a hand in creating what is currently the most well-received video game adaptation of all time, however, the true masterminds behind this adult animated horror series are just getting started as they collapse censorship and expectational barriers during their junior year. Just when you thought that the climactic finality between Alucard and his torn father was the highest point the show could possibly reach last season, Castlevania continues to floor audiences in all sorts of unforeseen narrative, visual, and even orchestral ways. If you still are not watching this vampire killing bloodbath then you will only find yourself another reason to with the latest handful of episodes.
Castlevania season three picks up shortly after where our distraught adventurous heroes and distressed villains last left off. With the lack of Dracula, a solidified ongoing vampire battle against the humans of Wallachia, and a divisive war council, the cast of characters this time around is automatically left more compact and well separated in comparison to the two-sided atmosphere of the show’s prior season. An evenly separated cast allows Castlevania to delve into a variety of themes and atmospheres at a less jumpy pacing that still is not entirely perfect but far more leisurely and enjoyable than before. Season three draws a direct focus on developing stronger old and new relationships in a post-Dracula world as the characters reach for higher aspirations that ultimately will all lead to their downfall. Never has Castlevania ever been so consistent on reassuring that every character is deemed worthy of a center spotlight for a well laid out portion of time. The end result is something that is comparable to The Empire Strikes Back; a phenomenal climax filled with content that feels like only the beginning for every characters’ new ill-fated journey ahead.
Trevor and Sypha’s relationship that will inevitably lead to the next legacy of Belmonts unfolds to a new extent during their latest travels across the country. As the characters hop from town to town slaying what remains of the night creatures, having a violently fun time, and partaking in other “activities,” the two come across a small village containing a monastery shadowed by a devilish cult who stands for Dracula’s demented vision. During their investigation into the cult, the two intertwine with a fellow traveling speaker magician and scholar, Saint Germain- a time-traveling character who initially appeared in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness. While Trevor and Sypha’s story does take up the majority of screen time in season three it is exactly what you would want out of the two characters. Germain plays an interesting role as to where the future of the show might head towards. His peculiar hunt for one of Castlevania’s most promising possible McGuffins is a side story that draws many questions but opens the door for the show to embrace a variety of possibilities- including crossovers but that is a topic for another time.
Carmilla and her new war council, on the other hand, take more of a backseat role compared to the previous rogues’ gallery of vampires lead by Dracula, but they still hold a greater purpose. While they stand to fill motivational roles and plot points, they constructively build better development for those around them- specifically the two humans that live in shambles, Hector and Issac. The representative duology of Dracula’s mindset is given new major roles this season as the duo of Devil Forgemasters are no longer bound to the count’s will. Issac embraces a globe-trotting adventure searching for his former colleague while Hector retains a more grounded role locked away in Carmilla’s grasp as a result of his unwise decisions during the previous month’s aftermath. Issac’s odyssey from the desert to Carmilla’s stronghold dives deep into philosophy and interpretable moral ground, meanwhile Hector reflects on the values of life. Both run through a similar story about finding purpose and standards in near-polar opposite situations.
If there is any mindboggling narrative decision that season three of Castlevania upholds it is the noticeable sidelining of one of the prior seasons’ leads- arguably the most important veteran featured in the vast majority of the franchise and the one to establish the latter half of the ‘Metroidvania’ genre term. With multiple enthralling stories following the vast cast of characters, viewers will likely be left wondering where the yet to be explained Alucard stands amongst all the rising chaos. Alucard never jumps into action or receives those badass moments you would expect him to usually have though. In fact, he rarely shows up at all during the latest ten episodes. When he does, however, Alucard always entices viewers with a mellowed yet melancholy break from all the intense heroics and misdoings he has chosen not to partake in as he remains busy coping with loneliness and living an empty day to day life at the Belmont family manor and Castlevania- that is until two vampire hunters, Taka and Sumi, arrive at the scene in hopes of learning from the legend through his vast collection of knowledge.
Castlevania is Undeniably My Personal Favorite Show on Netflix
All of these stories culminate into a larger deceptive picture- a beautiful one that constantly changes depending on the angle in which you are viewing it from. Castlevania continually reaps the reward of having a story focused on emotional destruction and moral deception. The amount of discomforting scenes and character decisions skyrocketed within these tragic Shakspearean like stories this season- especially when accounting for the disturbing visuals it was paired with to enhance its emersion. It never holds itself back from going a step beyond when it comes to every aspect that defies what we look forward to in a television series. The psyche destroying build-ups lead to a finale that hits as hard as you would expect it to once you internally build complicated relationships with each of these characters. It only requires one psychologically screwed-up scene for you to take a one-eighty on some of your favorite characters during the final moments of its story.
As goes the usual with Warren Ellis’s various projects, the closure to season three is Castlevania at its finest. It is a spectacular treat worthy of being compared to the bow on top of an already fantastic gift- the scenes you should anticipate the most for. In an identical regard to its previous final epic large proportion action scenes, mysterious cliffhangers, and the rest, the penultimate and closing episodes are an epic adrenaline rush lead by a jaw-dropping course of action that will have you questioning how this television production team managed to once again slip through a line of censorship that will have you emotionally torn apart. Seriously, the pre-season finale deserves an entire separate focus on its own due to its daring narrative and visuals that obliterates a line of questionable morality of television. It is something incomparable to just about any other type of series that has aired online and certainly something viewers would never expect out of Castlevania.
With the pairing of a marvelous award-winning comic book mind like Warren Ellis and the violently beautiful animation overseen by Powerhouse, Castlevania is undeniably still my personal favorite show on Netflix. It is another year for fans of Konami’s neglected gaming poster boy to rise up and celebrate the finest breed of a video game adaptation that has ever taken the public eye with a near-perfect landing. Whether you are a die-hard fan of the source material or just an avid viewer of the show, it is impossible to disagree that its deep philosophy and morals built upon thrilling action and character development never disappoints in the slightest bit. The farther Trevor, Sypha, Alucard, and the rest of the cast’s story grows, the more interesting it becomes season after season, year after year. By the time you binge through the entirety of this short journey, you will be joining the fan campaign to immediately get another season greenlit by Netflix- and let me tell you it is more than likely going to happen. Although it may stray in several aspects from the story of the games, Castlevania still remains faithful, bloody, and beautiful.
Castlevania Season 3 is exclusively now streaming on Netflix.