The following review contains spoilers for Castlevania season 3, episode 2, “The Reparation of My Heart.”
You can say a lot about Castlevania’s style, atmosphere, and visceral action, but intrigue isn’t something one would normally associate with the show. Throughout “The Reparation of My Heart,” several plot threads and mysteries are established that will probably define the quality of the season moving forward, with four key plots emerging in four vastly different locations.
The first plot focuses on Isaac (Adetokumboh M’Cormack) and his quest to fulfill Dracula’s wish to destroy all human life on the planet. Instead of seeking an immediate path of retribution and slaughtering everyone he comes across, instead we see a restrained Isaac having a conversation with a merchant in an African city regarding a mirror that would allow him to find Hector and kill him for vengeance against what Hector did to their former master. While Isaac has been a character who is normally quiet and reserved, his hatred of humans is palpable and when angered he’ll be quick to slaughter them, as he does most of the inhabitants of the city he visits. Yet he strikes up a camaraderie with both the merchant and a sea captain (Lance Reddick from John Wick) that is unexpected, but not unwarranted.
It’s not often that Castlevania becomes tense without any action present, but the entire scene in “The Reparation of My Heart” where Isaac and the sea captain strike a deal was far more engaging than it had any right to be. Here was Isaac and his legion of monsters, all loyal to him and fresh from decimating the city, yet the sea captain has a calm and cool discussion with a man who is openly hostile to any human he meets. They eventually work out a deal where Isaac and his monsters will sail on their ship, but I do hope that the captain stays around for a bit given how interesting his conversation with Isaac turned out to be and how he’s able to escape with both his and his crew’s lives.
Another element of mystery relates to Carmilla and her sisters deciding to turn an 800-mile stretch of land between her kingdom in Styria and the former ruins of Wallachia into a feeding pen for vampires. It’s a bold plan and looks like it’ll be the conflict for the rest of this season, if not future seasons. But her sisters see a problem: They barely have an army. Carmilla claims that they can just use Hector to make an army for them since he’s a Forgemaster, but one of her sisters, Morana (Yasmine Al Massri from Quantico), points out Carmilla’s biggest flaw — her short-sightedness.
Carmilla believes that Hector can be easily manipulated into doing whatever she wants, as evidenced by her convincing Hector to betray Dracula last season, but she can’t pull that trick twice. I’m getting the distinct impression that of the four sisters, Carmilla may be the most ambitious but the least intelligent of the four, coming up with glorious ideas that everyone else makes work somehow. Another sister, Lenore (Jessica Brown Findlay from Downton Abbey), claims that she can get Hector to work for the sisters, but whether or not she can get the job done remains to be seen.
Adding further intrigue is one of the more unique characters to be introduced into the series, Saint Germain (Bill Nighy from Detective Pikachu). Saint Germain originates from Castlevania: Curse of Darkness alongside Hector and Isaac, though his presence is almost akin to that of Q from Star Trek. With knowledge of future events as well as claiming to be a time traveler in game, this animated rendition of Saint Germain feels very similar. He’s aloof and is quick to crack a joke, but he clearly knows far more than he’s letting on.
Saint Germain has an interest in the events in Lindenfeld, going so far as to directly ask Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage) why he’s there as well as leaking important information to a group of shadowy monks, led by a monk named Prior Sala (Navid Negahban from Legion). The monks are clearly up to no good, with their openly talking about their interests in Dracula and believing his cause to be noble. As soon as Germain lets on that he could give them information regarding Dracula and Hell, Prior Sala lets Germain into their priory, though both his and Germain’s motivations remain unclear as of right now.
Finally, all that’s left to do is to check up on Alucard and his life back at his new castle. His self-imposed exile is interrupted by two aspiring vampire hunters, Sumi (Rila Fukushima from The Wolverine) and Taka (Toru Uchikado from Heroes Reborn). They came to Alucard after escaping from a vampire who was controlling them and died in the climax of last season, wishing to learn from him how to defeat vampires so that they can free other captives in their home country of Japan.
Seeing Alucard become a mentor to these vampire hunters works, especially after all of the carnage and chaos he’s endured over his very long life. Why not have the son of the greatest vampire who ever lived who has access to both Dracula’s and the Belmonts’ secrets take up apprentices to protect the world from other vampires? Alucard views it as a noble role to take on, and hopefully we can see Alucard turn the castle, which was once a symbol of bloodshed and terror, into a beacon of hope for all future vampire slayers to come to.
There was a lot to unpack with “The Reparation of My Heart,” despite its lasting only half an hour. I will admit that maybe the show tried to cram a bit too much plot into the episode, but as long as future episodes explore a select few of these plots per episode instead of all at once, it could balance out well. Nearly every new character that was introduced this season had a moment or two to shine and should hopefully become a strong addition to the cast as the Castlevania season progresses.