Saturday, May 28, 2011

Honourable Mention: Sanctuary season 2

When I looked at Season 1 of Sanctuary I looked at specific episodes. I reviewed one episode and gave an honourable mention to two more. The Sanctuary of the title refers to a series of facilities where abnormals – anything vaguely non-human-norm or crypto-zoological – can voluntarily (or otherwise for the really dangerous ones) live in peace, hidden from humanity.

As I finally got around to writing up my thoughts with regards the 2009 season 2, I decided to cover the entire season as an honourable mention. The reasoning goes thus, there are actually three vampire related episodes – a two part season opener, which whilst vampires appear in it the episode didn’t feel that vampire orientated, and a full on vampire episode – as well as an episode that was genre interesting at the very least.

However, beyond this, there is a vampire background to the entire show. Main character Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) was one of five Victorian scientists who injected themselves with a pure sample of vampire blood – vampires once ruled the world and are, in modern times, virtually extinct. All five gained gifts – Helen was blessed with longevity – and one of them, (the) Nikola Tesla (Jonathon Young), became a vampire.

recoding Ashley's genes
The season opener (End of Nights, part 1 & 2), as I mentioned, featured vampires. Ashley (Emilie Ullerup) was captured by the shadowy Cabal (at the end of season 1) and programmed as their agent. Being the daughter of two of the five – Helen and John Druitt (Christopher Heyerdahl), whose power is teleportation – they unlock powers, get more vampire source blood and manipulate her genes to turn her into a vampire.

vampire mode
Then they impose her gene sequence on a group of people who are genetic blank slates (don’t ask how anyone could be a genetic blank slate, the show suggests that imperfections were eradicated through gene therapy but they would still all have genetic differences). Thus they get a group of vampires and use them to attack the Sanctuary system around the world. Ashley eventually gains enough control of herself to die in an act of self-sacrifice.

from Pavor Nocturnis
The next episode to look at was Pavor Nocturnus. In this Helen wakes up, with no memory of the intervening years, in a post-apocalyptic city with the Sanctuary in ruins. A plague has spread through the world, the victims becoming animalistic creatures who feed on humans and pass the plague on to survivors. The plague causes them to mutate and the reason I found it of genre interest was the fact that they develop a long proboscis like stinger (for want of a better word) that was reminiscent of ideas that del Toro put in both Blade 2 and the Strain.

young vampires
The final episode to look at is one entitled Sleepers. After being killed in a car accident a rich young man is reborn as a vampire. He goes to his friends, all of whom went for rehab in a certain Mexican rehab centre and systematically kills them – each one coming back as a vampire. When the Sanctuary team look into it they discover that the Doctor running the clinic is none other than Tesla. As well as curing their addictions he has programmed their genes to rebirth the vampire nation but the programme was meant to kick in thirty years later. The fact that they died started the process early.

All does not go as well as Tesla planned but he included a backup to his plan and created a device to remove the vampirism powered by the electricity his body can create (not a vampire trait) but during his attack on his ungrateful progeny he accidentally also loses his vampirism – essentially vampirism is dead in the world…

…or so we would think, but don’t underestimate Tesla’s desire to get his vampirism back, as well as other vampires who may well reappear in Season 3…

The imdb page is here.

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