“Castlevania” season 4 is a fantastic ending to one of my favorite shows. I’m honestly glad that Netflix chose to end it here as this is a show that could’ve easily dragged on and in turn ruined characters and arcs. Instead nearly every character is given their due, we get the best animation and action the show has done so far and get to know what drives so many of the characters. We also get hints at possible directions this universe should still take with how some of the stories wrap up. There is a spinoff series in the works so I’m curious what storylines here it will tie into, if it ties into any of them. Regardless, this is one of my favorite shows and the best video-game adapted story. This a show I can’t wait to rewatch.
The story picks up where season 3 left off with as different factions of vampire seek to resurrect Dracula, while Carmilla (Jaime Murray) and her forces seek conquest as Isaac (Adetokumoh McCormack) and his Night Creatures seek revenge.
The World – The world and politics of “Castlevania” continues to be amazing. We learn about the power vacuum left by Alucard, Sypha and Trevor killing off Dracula’s generals who ruled of their regions of the world and we learn about Wolf Creatures that the Carmilla and her faction Styria faced. We also learn about the royals who ruled before Dracula destroyed Targoviste as retribution for their murder of his wife. We also learn more about the other beings and see how the Night Creatures hold memories of their life and can learn and grow just as vampires potentially can.
The Animation – The animation is the best it has ever been. The level of detail in the environments, faces and costumes is spectacular and captures the gothic feel the greatest it has ever been. There are a few sequences where you can see they went cheap but it is the exception rather than the rule and in the last 3 episodes I couldn’t find any. This is the animators at their best.
The Action – We get some amazing fight action sequences in this. Some of the standout ones are Striga and her forces fighting a surprise attack from farmers where she comes out in armor that protects her from the light. We also have Isaac against Carmilla fighting in a room full of blood and the final battle of Alucard, Sypha, Trevor and refugees standing off against a large vampire force under the forces of Death. Death’s generals also have some amazing fight sequences too with one who uses strings to trap Alucard in a web, Dragan and his powerful spear and two casters with one throwing balls of skeletons and the other purple explosions. The fight sequence with these generals is honestly better than the final fight against Death and I loved seeing Alucard, Sypha and Trevor work together to win.
Striga and Morana – Striga and Morana have a realization as they are mapping out the region for Carmilla and realize that they don’t want to live in constant war. It is powerful as we see that war is all Striga has known until Morana so she wants to settle down with her. In the end after Isaac defeats Carmilla they choose not to retake the castle but to make their own kingdom. It is a powerful moment and a really good B Plot as they realize they want to live.
Hector and Lenora – Hector and Lenora are fascinating. They are honest with each other and there seems to be a level of caring there even with how Lenora used Hector, which he in turn uses her trust and helps give Isaac the opening to take down Carmilla. In the end Hector learns from Isaac that bringing back Dracula is wrong and the best thing he can do is grow. He chooses this, while Lenora chooses to die in the end as she isn’t able to grow beyond the role of the conquering through diplomacy vampire. It is sad but a powerful scene as she sees the sun and expresses that she did care for Hector as well as someone like her was capable of.
Carmilla – Carmilla is a character who lives off resentment, revenge and hate and it makes her powerful. Stryga was never aided by Dracula or the other courts and she has only ever dealt with selfish and abusive men. You can understand what drives her and it makes her compelling. This drive and ambition makes her a great antagonist and we see just how powerful she is as it takes many of Isaac’s Night Creatures and himself to defeat her and even at the end she chooses to turn herself in a bomb rather than let Isaac or his Night Creatures kill her. She was a BAMF and ended up being one of my favorite character. Jaime Murray did such a good job giving this villain nuance.
Alucard and Greta – This show has a lot of couples and Greta the Danesti village head woman is the one who first calls on Alucard for aid and helps him learn to trust again. She is always at the front of battle protecting her people and it is in their conversations Alucard finds hope again. It is a really great arc and it is nice not to see Alucard moping and taking an active part in the world. In the end he forms a village with the Danesti refugees that Dracula’s Castle and the Belmont Homestead exist within. This new world gives promise and with Alucard and Greta leading it there is hope once again in the world of Castlevania. James Callis continues to play my favorite character of Alucard so amazingly.
Varney / Death and his Generals – Malcolm McDowell plays Varney, at least he appears to at first. This is a character who plays the idiot and was part of Dracula’s court while being a vampire from England before England was formed. This is all an act though as we learn that he is Death a vampiric being who has been feeding off the death Dracula was causing in the world and wants to bring Dracula back to bring about death once more. Both his appearances are fantastic and having a being more powerful than Dracula was a good way to up the stakes. Trevor’s defeat of him was rewarding. Also, as expressed above in the action sequence he has cool generals like Dragan and the web enchanter.
Trevor and Sypha – The other couple we have is Trevor and Sypha and their arc goes from them fighting and trying to stop folks from being back Dracula to going about and healing the world around them. This ends with them surviving the war against Death and Sypha being pregnant so them having a family and being a part of the community Alucard and Greta have made. I was okay with Trevor dying as Death was that powerful but Saint Germain finding a way to save him was worth it. Richard Armitage and Alejandra Reynoso truly inhabited these roles.
Isaac and the New World – We learn that Isaac has grown beyond revenge and when he appears to Hector tells him he should find his way and grow and to let Dracula rest. We see hints of the world he is building too as he rebuilds the city destroyed last season and teaches the Night Creatures that they are more then their instincts. His goal seems to empty and redeem the souls of hell making him all the more compelling. He is easily the best character in the series outside of Alucard. Adetokumoh McCormack is fantastic as the calming presence constantly seeking to grow and improve himself.
A Meditation on Mortality – One of the themes of the show that this season does well is to meditate on meaning and mortality. We see this in Striga and Morana finding a purpose to live and war as no way to live for an eternity. Also we see it in Lenore needing more than a life with Hector. We have people like Isaac, Greta and Alucard who see a big picture scenario in the end and seek to build a better world too.
The Importance of Connection – Connection to others is the other consistent theme in the show but especially this season. I chose characters with their couple counterpart because that was how the narrative framed it. Characters are defined by their relationships and in the end community that we build is what gives hope in a world full of suffering.
Saint Germain – Bill Nighy is a great actor but Saint Germain is largely causing problems as Death manipulates him to bring back Dracula. This guy was willing to manipulate others to be murdered so he could be with his wife again. In the end he does realize how selfish he is and uses his power to give Trevor a chance to kill death and uses the last of his power to save Trevor’s life. It is a good arc though I’d only put the character as okay this season.
Lisa and Vlad’s Return – So the big twist is that Lisa and Vlad are successfully brought back and decide they going to go to England. They decide not to tell Alucard they are alive yet to give him closure. My issue with this as far as it not being a pro as Vlad has caused so much suffering and death in the world and unlike Isaac or Hector has done nothing to atone for it. I’m surprised Lisa hasn’t either. We know nothing about the Hell he was in but in our world he is almost human. This was an interesting twist but I’m not sure what it means in the scheme of all the other really good story arcs that were finished.
“The Underground Court” – There is an arc about “The Underground Court” which is a place of suffering where the last noble Zamfir guards the corpses of the King and Queen. It is a sad place and seems like it only existed as a contrived way to have a mirror to bring Sypha and Trevor to Dracula’s castle for the big final fight. Nothing is done here and the arc that would have been done here never happens since we have to get to the final. This whole area and story felt like a waste.
This was such a great end to an amazing show. If you haven’t seen this show it is one I highly recommend. It has great animation, action, world and characters. I’m glad it ended too. This is a story that didn’t overstay it’s welcome and gave the characters closure. I can’t wait to see what the spinoff is and I would like to return to this world again in whatever time period they choose. Here is to the best video-game adaptation out there and to the amazing story and world of “Castlevania” that this show told. Through 4 seasons, this consistently stayed a favorite show.
Final Score: 9.7 / 10