The following review contains spoilers for Castlevania season 3, episode 9, “The Harvest.”
“The Harvest” barely features any dialogue and instead focuses on two things: murder and sex. All of the plot points reach their climaxes simultaneously as war finally breaks out in Lindenfeld, Isaac (Adetokumboh M’Cormack) and his army attack the sorcerer and his brainwashed army, Lenore (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Hector (Theo James) do the nasty, and Alucard (James Callis) gets in on a threesome with Sumi (Rila Fukushima) and Taka (Toru Uchikado).
There have been action scenes in Castlevania before, but they’re typically brief. In “The Harvest,” nearly all of the episode’s runtime is dedicated to watching Trevor (Richard Armitage), Sypha (Alejandra Reynosa), and Saint Germain (Bill Nighy) tag along with the Judge (Jason Isaacs) on his attack of the priory. The monks unleash their spell to claim the souls of all of Lindenfeld to power up the monster in an attempt to open the Infinite Corridor, much to the Judge’s horror. He was committed to protecting Lindenfeld, but now all of his work has literally gone up in flames.
After being deprived of some solid fight scenes for nearly the entire season, it feels immensely satisfying just watching our heroes cut loose and fight some night creatures. The action is frenetic and well-shot, though the animation in Castlevania still undercuts the excitement at times when the 2D animation and CG clash.
What was universally well-handled was Isaac attacking the sorcerer’s fortress town and the sorcerer using his magic to shape all of the thousands of bodies into a giant ball to attack Isaac. That’s right, Legion appears! It’s a minor cameo at best, but Legion has always been one of my favorite bosses in every Castlevania game, so watching Isaac duck and weave through the clumps of flesh, turning parts of Legion into his own personal night creature army, put a big dopey grin on my face. After focusing on some deeply personal moral quandaries related to the nature of his quest, it must have been nice for Isaac to just murder humans. But that begs the question: Did Isaac kill the humans out of mercy to free them from the sorcerer’s control, or because of his disdain towards life itself?
What’s even more difficult to discuss are the sex scenes between Alucard and his pupils and Lenore and Hector. Sex between Lenore and Hector was less of a possibility and more of an inevitability, with the end result being just as expected. Lenore binding Hector to her of his own free was surely her endgame all along. All of those times she called him “good boy” before now make it obvious that her goal wasn’t to bargain with Hector but to domesticate him.
And then you have Sumi and Taka seducing Alucard. I wasn’t expecting when they were talking about rewarding/taking care of him last episode for it to mean sex. I wish I could say it came out of left field, but since I hardly got to know the two of them, I just went with it without much fuss. I was surprised at seeing them bind Alucard and threaten to kill him, and with their motivations for doing so still unclear, I may actually care about them in the finale. Were they actually sent as spies from another vampire to learn Dracula’s secrets? Are they already experienced vampire hunters trying to make their name off of killing the son of Dracula? I don’t expect the payoff to fully justify their poor performances so far, but it can help.
I may have a bad memory here, but “The Harvest” also stood out as being the first time Castlevania featured sex. Sure, Trevor and Sypha slept with each other, but “The Harvest” doesn’t shy away from showing the characters getting down and dirty. And that’s fine. My problem just lies with Castlevania’s sex scenes not landing the way that they should due to the animation.
I think it’s with how the characters feel much glossier and shinier than normal. In particular, Sumi and Taka seem to be too shiny, almost like they’re made of plastic rather than flesh and blood. The sex was handled better in Hector and Lenore’s scenes because the lighting never made them look unnatural. They had definition to their bodies that made me think that they were the same characters as before, not just Barbie and Ken dolls with their clothes taken off.
But “The Harvest” was the cathartic breath of fresh air that we needed. While Isaac, Alucard, and Hector all reached the apex of their plotlines, the events of Lindenfeld are still underway. The Infinite Corridor is open, and our heroes haven’t even made it to the big night creature waiting at the bottom of the priory. To make matters worse, the Infinite Corridor opened right on Dracula (Graham McTavish) staring through at the viewer. Will Dracula come back to the land of the living with his wife? Will Sala (Navid Negahban) bring him back and leave Dracula’s wife in Hell? Or will neither of them leave and Sala’s plans are foiled? We’ll just have to see next time as the Castlevania season comes to a close and we finally end the story of Lindenfeld.