A Tale of Hell, Magic, Lust and Betrayal | Castlevania Season 3 REVIEW

After two smash-hit seasons, Netflix’s Castlevania returns for its much anticipated third season. Taking place a month after the events of last season, Alucard is finding life pretty lonely guarding his father’s castle. Trevor and Sypha go place to place killing night creatures but have decided to stop and take a break in the mysterious town of Lindinfield. Meanwhile, Isaac is on his own revengeful path and Carmilla has met up with her vampire sisters promising a season to sink your teeth into. Castlevania is based off the Konami franchise with the same name, the show is created by Warren Ellis. It stars Richard Armitage, James Callis, Alejandra Reynoso, Adetokumboh M’Cormack and Jaime Murray.

*this review will not contain major spoilers*

It’s safe to say that Netflix’s Castlevania series is easily one of, if not the best video-game adaptation of all time. The rich mythology and great characters from the first two seasons inspired me to buy the games which I am currently playing. Damn that Grim Reaper boss level! Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait a year and a half for this season, cause I only started in February. Now that lengthy hiatus is over, the show has returned with a new season which shows no signs of slowing down.

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Castlevania: Season Three continues to expand its rich world and mythology with fantastic new characters and new hellish concepts for our antagonists to use. This season continues to be as exciting and thrilling as it’s past two seasons. That being said while it contains the key ingredients to being a great Castlevania season, it is undeniably the weakest season in terms of storytelling and character development. Characters like Trevor and Sypha who I absolutely loved in the first two seasons get pushed to the side with a storyline that doesn’t really justify their involvement until the very end. When it comes to storytelling, Season Three is mostly concerned about building up certain concepts rather than using them all up in one season, so the show exposes us to these ideas but keeps them in its pocket for later use, just like a video-game character would do. It’s certainly not a bad idea because it gets the fans excited for more.

One of the key elements of the show is its many characters and because of that, the show never feels boring, something is constantly happening. Even though Trevor and Sypha’s storyline might not be the most interesting, they don’t spend too much time on it in one episode. We have plenty of characters to go back to, including Isaac who undeniably owns this season. I really liked his character in Season 2 but he truly shines in this season. Seeing such a direct person with an established mentality have his perspective of hell and humanity change was fascinating. He also feels like the only character who actually gets an arc fulfilled this season, unlike the others. Our favourite Vampire Jesus, Alucard is back and his storyline is very weird, more on that in just a second. Carmilla leads us to her Council of Sisters, Lenore, Striga and Morana. While Carmilla herself doesn’t do much this season, her sisters give off very strong first-impressions, most noticeably Lenore who I feel will have an even stronger part next season. Hector is just too naive at this point which is sad because I enjoyed his character last season.

With Season 3, I can’t really say it’s a bad or mediocre season. It kept me entertained and at times even at the edge of my seat. However, with the way it approaches the storytelling this time around, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s better than the other two seasons. There is a lot of setup in this season and little to none of it gets paid off. In fact, the season acts as a sort of revival phase for the show. The first two seasons are very much connected and feel like one cohesive story, however with the culmination of Dracula’s story, Season Three feels like it’s getting the show on a new path so it’s building up characters and locations like the first season did. The fact that the writers went in this direction shows that they care about this show and they want to tell an epic story which fans can get invested in. Even though Season Three has a lot of setup, it’s entertaining nonetheless. My main issue with this season revolves around the characters.

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Alucard’s storyline seems understandable and natural written on paper or explained out loud but what we got in the actual final product was a weird mess of an “arc”. Basically, a lonely Alucard lets his guard down and lets in two wannabe Japanese vampire killers. The way this story ends is so bizarre and so unnecessary that it downgraded the season for me because of it’s rather drastic repercussions. It wasn’t set up at all and it honestly felt like it came out of nowhere. You will definitely know what I’m talking about when you see it. As I mentioned earlier, Trevor and Sypha just walk around the town and investigate throughout the season. Considering those three characters are a major reason why I watch this show, I felt a bit disappointed.

On that note, I want to also praise the many positives this season has. Like last season, Season Three continues to carry the video-game feel and structure with how it tells the story and how it sets up the antagonists. The animation while at times it can look a bit stiff, gets incredibly fluid and smooth in the big action sequences. When the show makes you wait for an action sequence, you can rest knowing they will deliver one hell of a fight. The animation is just jaw-dropping, honestly, it is. However, what makes them even more special is how they utilize the characters. Sypha kicks so much demon ass this season and I absolutely love how the show uses her powers. She is easily one of the most badass female characters on television, period. Trevor also gets to do something with his iconic whip which was insanely awesome but I won’t spoil it. Again, you’ll know it when you see it.

While Castlevania’s third season doesn’t meet the very high standards the previous two seasons have set, it still has the essential ingredients to make it a season of Castlevania we can enjoy. Since the season is mostly setup, I can’t help but rank it lower than the other two because while the first season had a similar structure, it was way shorter. Season Three is actually the longest season so far. That being said, with the animation, great characters and new concepts they conjured up, it is still a great season to sink your teeth into.

RATING: B+

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