Castlevania (Final Season)
Castlevania (2017-2021) Season 4 review
The fourth and final season of the Netflix animated series Castlevania is here! For those of you who don’t know, Castlevania is an anime-styled series based on the video game series of the same name. The story follows a monster hunter, a magical Speaker, and a half-Vampire attempting to stop Dracula from destroying the world. And if you haven’t been following the series, each season has held considerably high ratings with both critics and audiences, with the second and fourth season holding perfect audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes. And while I am going to hold off on spoilers until later on in the review, there are certain key plot points that occur earlier in the series that I am going to have to talk about. But also just go watch the entire show…
Before I dive into some season spoilers, I really liked this season! It’s not perfect, and honestly come of the flaws stem from what seems to be storylines that weren’t quite ready to wrap up yet. But overall, I ended up feeling very satisfied with both the season and the series as a whole. For my the most important element this season had to offer was being better than the last season, which spent a long time going not very far with some very odd and questionable moments throughout. What I think happened is this: Season 3 tried to be different and it didn’t work, so they decided to just wrap up in Season 4 instead of doing two more seasons. Honestly, it worked.
One of the reasons it seems to work is the consistency the series has to offer. Warren Ellis and Sam Deats write and direct almost every episode, and that shows in the steady pacing and focus. The protagonists and the threats they face never wander too far from the realm we were introduced to in the first few episodes. That being said, one of the critical flaws this series does take its time to recover from is the Season 2 finale. That choice felt way too much of a wrap up for a show with plenty of life left in it. But again, this did turn around by the series finale by managing to increase the ‘stakes.’
So a couple more quick thoughts before I get into some spoilers: I still LOVE the cast! Richard Armitage, Alejandra Reynoso, and James Callis are all still absolutely amazing! They personify these characters perfectly and have endless chemistry that really carried this show when it wasn’t interesting. Which does include some of this season… The rest of the cast does a great job as well though. Bill Nighy, who joined in Season 3 as Saint Germain, voices a particularly interesting character quite well, with he and the character bringing a somewhat more distinguished feel to the action heavy series. Also Malcolm McDowell is in this season as a hilariously fussy vampire named Varney, and he’s amazing.
Another highlight was the action, which was as awesomely violent as ever! This season managed a much better blend of action than the last season, balancing the drama better as well. Except when Isaac was talking. Boy I hate Isaac. Anyway another thing that I really liked was the video game leveling system. As an adaptation, Castlevania kinda knocks it out of the park! I love the inclusion of upgrading weapons and abilities, enemy types and the learning curve they face against newer enemies, and all without ever drawing too much attention to it or having it feel forced as a game adaptation. It’s kinda great!
Now let’s get into a few spoilers. I might refrain from the big stuff just to be safe, but if you haven’t seen the fourth season yet, this is your SPOILER ALERT.
So Carmilla and her sisters don’t matter? And neither do Hector and Isaac really. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine with me. Those subplots were the least interesting thing about the third season, so I didn’t mind the lack of weight to the story. But boy did Isaac put me to sleep when he was on screen this season. And I mean that literally. Twice, Isaac monologues and Rachel and I just went right to sleep! Did we miss important character motivation for why he took his army and attacked Carmilla’s castle? Probably yeah. Did we care? No.
That was easily the biggest drawback to the season; the idea that we still had to spend time on things that no nowhere. But they did the best they could wrapping those up quickly and focusing on what really mattered, which was a series of strung together events that are actually this massive overarching plot drawing the characters towards a downright incredible finale. So saying this show ended on a bang would be an understatement. And yeah, when it came to the plots surrounding the actually important characters, there was nothing I didn’t like!
The most interesting aspect of this season for me was actually Saint Germain. He was already in interesting character last season, as the idea of an alchemist was a new one for the show that mostly focuses on vampires, monsters, and evil religious figures. But his goal and motivations were genuinely interesting throughout both seasons. And heck, they even managed to make Season 3 feel important. At least his arc, not Alucard’s Season 3 arc. That didn’t matter, and I freaking loved him in Season 4. Lessons learned.
I could probably go on about how surprisingly awesome Season 4 was, or how I ended up just LOVING the protagonists, or the connection between Castlevania and the Dracula story- I mean it’s all awesome! But I have other things to do, and so do you. So if you haven’t watched any of Castlevania, watch the first season. It’s very short and if you don’t like it, you won’t care for the rest. If you have watched some but you haven’t seen the final season, well what are you waiting for? I mean it’s no Season 2, but boy does this show end on a high note! 8/10 for the season. To be fair I still have the series at a 7/10, but I’ll write a full series review after a rewatch.
So Season 4 of Castlevania? Are you caught up? What did you think? And what was your favorite season and why? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know on the comments what you want us to talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince