Series Review – Castlevania (Final Season)

The final season of Castlevania premiered on Netflix this month and not only is it one of the most satisfying conclusions of any show I’ve seen, but it is easily the best season of the entire show. It is incredibly difficult for me to discuss my love for this season without discussing the growth of each character and how perfect the ending was, so be wary of spoilers ahead.

At the end of season 3, nearly every character ended in a worse predicament than where they began. Alucard had lost faith in humanity, Hector became a puppet for Carmilla and her sisters, and Trevor and Sypha attempted to help people only to discover a darkness greater than anything Dracula could have thrown at them. Isaac was the only one to seemingly succeed in his goals, growing an army to inevitably invade Styria to fight against Carmilla and her army, while also discovering who he was without Dracula. Isaac found his own purpose, something to further distinguish him from Hector, who had been nothing more than a servant since he was found by Dracula.

Trevor Belmont battling skeletons in season 4 episode 1, “Murder Wakes It Up”

This season begins by showing how the world has progressively gotten worse despite Dracula’s death because his remaining followers are attempting to rescue him from Hell, much like what Sala and the priory attempted to do in season 3. The main threat this season, at least for Trevor, Sypha and Alucard, comes from those devoted followers who wish to complete Dracula’s wishes and destroy all of humanity. Hector similarly desires this, seeing Dracula’s resurrection as a way for him to redeem himself for his treachery back in season 2. Despite his bonds to Carmilla and Lenore, Hector figures out a way to escape, and with Isaac’s army on the horizon, it seems he couldn’t have found a better chance.

At the beginning of season 3, Isaac likely would have felt the same way, with him attempting to finish what Dracula started. However, through his travels, he realized that humanity still had its purpose, and instead wishes to improve it rather than destroy it. Because of this, Isaac is more than content letting Dracula and his wife rest. Thus, when he decides to spare Hector, rather than kill him, it feels natural as he now sees the strength within him. He no longer sees the traitor that Hector was, but the internal strength he possesses. Adetokumboh M’Cormack’s performance as Isaac was spectacular and I am definitely going to miss it.

Hector and Lenore discussing Carmilla’s plan and their place within it in season 4 episode 2, “Having the World”

I think it was a smart decision to have Hector and Isaac’s story wrap up before the rest of the plot, that way it doesn’t take away from Trevor, Sypha and Alucard’s screen time while still feeling satisfying on its own. While, it would have been nice to get more time with Alucard’s distrust of humanity, I have no issue with them only visually demonstrating it with the amount of corpses in front of Castlevania. It’s a simple visual cue that tells the audience all they need to know about what Alucard has had to deal with since the end of season 3. However, it is obvious that he still cares about the people around him and can’t let them die. Seeing him learning to care again was heart-warming, especially considering everything he has gone through over the course of the show.

The main plot of the season, while entertaining, is initially the least intriguing. However, that all changes with the reintroduction of Saint Germain and the exploration of the Infinite Corridor. I was quite surprised to get Germain’s backstory this season, but it makes sense considering where he ends up at the end. The writing does an excellent job allowing the audience to sympathize with him despite his attempts to bring Dracula back from the dead. His quest to find the one he loves is understandable, even if he takes it a little too far. I am usually not the biggest fan of redemption through death in stories, but Saint Germain’s was incredibly well done, giving hope to Trevor and Sypha, and giving them a slight edge over the real enemy.

Trevor standing in front of Death in season 4 episode 9, “The Endings”

Seeing Death on screen in the show was something I always wanted to happen, but I never in my life thought it would be as cool as it was. In the games, he is notably Dracula’s right-hand man. However, here they made him a hand guiding fate, with him desiring to bring Dracula back from the dead to kill for him. It’s only natural for Death to desire more death after all. His voice actor did an absolutely fantastic job portraying the sheer menace Death carries, matching his character design for the series perfectly.

Speaking of Death, the final fight between him and Trevor was jaw-dropping. Powerhouse’s animation was gorgeous this season, which is fitting considering this was likely their last time animating these characters. However, I believe the stand out for me was the fight between Carmilla and Isaac. The quickness of the “camera” framing combined with the fluidity of the animation made every single moment of this surprisingly short fight stand out. I could have sworn the fight lasted the whole episode with the way it commanded my attention. The writing of the ending, with Carmilla committing suicide as to not let her fate be determined by a man, was perfectly in character for her. Sam Deats and the rest of the animation knocked it out of the park this season.

Isaac and Abel fighting Carmilla in season 4 episode 6, “You Don’t Deserve My Blood”

The art direction this season was also incredible, with many of the new characters appearing incredibly unique to the world of Castlevania. However the design that stood out to me (and to the all you weird people on Twitter apparently) was Abel. Abel is of course Isaac’s most loyal night creature, and the design team did a marvelous job bringing him to life, with his design quickly capturing my attention during every scene he was in.

However, the thing that truly made this season perfect for me was the ending. The final episode acts as a sort of epilogue, similar to the final episode of the second season. We receive resolutions for the characters who still needed one. However, after Trevor’s seeming death at the hands of, well, Death, it seemed Sypha’s ending would be a rather depressing one, with her raising the next Belmont alone. However, Castlevania makes a decision I never once thought it would, to let Trevor live. Having Saint Germain save Trevor as his last act while alive was brilliant, adding to his redemption, while also giving a truly happy ending. Getting to see the main trio together and happy was something I never once expected to get, and I was overjoyed when it happened. Richard Armitage, Alejandra Reynoso and James Callis were excellent as Trevor, Sypha and Alucard, and each gave such an emotional performance in these last two episodes.

I was equally surprised to see Dracula and Lisa alive and out of Hell, but it seems only fitting that they receive a second chance considering what the world had done to them. There is a part of me that wishes that we got a scene with Dracula reconnecting with Isaac, Hector and Alucard, but I am contempt with where his story ends. It was nice seeing most of the characters so happy at the end despite how dark the path was to get there.

This final season was an emotional ride with some of the best animation to come out of the West. I am excited to see where Netflix, Powerhouse and Frederator take the Castlevania franchise next, but I am grateful that this show had such a satisfying and happy conclusion.

Rating: 10/10

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