Welcome back to Silas University, Creampuffs!
It's been quite a while since we last saw our little gang of heroes, but it's finally time for the beginning of the end. The final chapter of Carmilla has just begun with the drop of 17 episodes in Act One alone. A lot happened in almost two hours of content, so wham, bam, totally time for an epic recap!
It's only been a few months since Dean Perry took over Silas. When we first see Laura in the Silas library, she's adamantly refusing to be involved in saving the day. The library doesn't seem as particularly hostile as we saw in earlier seasons, providing them a food source (from a vending machine), a nice safe area away from the Dean, occasional variety of places the door can take them and passing the time by giving Laura treats while antagonizing Carmilla with books to the head.
The Dean has finally revealed herself in her new Perry form to the campus. The students are being forced to help in her attempts to dig in the old anglerfish crater. Despite how funny it was to see Carmilla curse so much at the Dean's theatrical reveal, it was great to see that someone pointed out to LaFontaine that their best friend was acting shady all semester, but, since they were so caught up in science and shenanigans, they missed the obvious. The newfound determination of LaF wanting to save their best friend and Carmilla being hellbent on defeating her mother properly means they get to work on trying to figure out how they can stop her while Laura embraces her inner-Perry and tries to stress clean the reality of her situation away.
It seems that evil is making good progress on breaking these mysterious gates, which recently resulted in your everyday turning water into ancient blood. Thanks to an intervention from the library plus a gift, compliments of the Owl Lady, the creepy one from the Board of Governors, the gang comes into possession of some magic glasses that reveal ancient writing that helps them get the first of many clues in how they can stop the Dean. Even though this development is pretty huge, no one forces Laura into jumping back into saving the day, instead both LaF and Carmilla just respect the traumatized college student.
Since they're making progress, of course the Dean makes her presence known, with absolute "douchebro" Theo being a happy right-hand person to the evil. She tries to give an empty promise of leaving them alone (empty because we all know she doesn't mean it) if they stop trying to meddle with her business. Carmilla isn't deterred by her mother's threat; instead, she realizes they must be doing something right. Before she can try to figure out what, the library decides to give the gang a violent nudge in the right direction.
The magical doorway reveals a room full of flying knives that has a magical book that is the first real clue they've gotten in their defeat-the-Dean plans. Carmilla acknowledges that Laura is afraid of the vampire getting hurt, but she doesn't want to waste the opportunity and heads right into the room to get the book.
LaF packs and eventually follows the vampire into the room, but not until they point out to Laura that the tiny journalist is valid in dealing with her trauma in her own way, but they're not gonna force her into helping save the day if she doesn't want to. Thankfully, the trip is a success, and the group is now in ownership of the Book of Lives. Although Laura tried to stay out of it, the Dean is unhappy with the fact that the group is trying to stop her.
Laura's favorite teacher, Professor Cochrane is publicly killed dementor soul-sucking style as a show of the Dean's tolerance for disobedience. Carmilla does take the time to check on Laura after the death, but the broody philosophy major does acknowledge that they must be doing something right to force the Dean to react that way.
Even though Laura is so strongly opposed to getting involved, she does help the group figure out that, according to the Book of Lives, they need to get four talismans of some sort to defeat the Dean. After they both get carried away with the idea of living in a world that is free of evil Deans, the camera reveals that Mattie pops herself into the library. Somehow, Laura doesn't notice the ancient vampire's presence and Mattie manages to retrieve her old locket that Carmilla was keeping.
Unfortunately for LaFontaine, not much progress is able to be made in their pursuit of the answers to saving Silas and Perry due to the fact that Laura and Carmilla have obvious feelings for each other and it's getting in the way since the exes won't address it. The unofficial truth speaker gets fed up eventually and yells at their companions to sort out their situation so that the group can get things done. Before anyone can appreciate the fact that Laura and Carmilla do actually reach an agreement to try to be friends, the Dean has to ruin everything. Only this time, her evilness decided to send Theo and the newly resurrected Danny Lawrence into the library.
We quickly learn that the Danny we knew is long gone. The only similarities left are honestly that she's so strong and her name is Danny. She's an evil resurrected vampire with a huge vendetta against Laura and Carmilla. The new vampire and the douchebro are invading the library on "official business" to get the Book of Lives that is apparently "property" of the Corvae Corporation. Before the standoff of Danny threatening Laura to tempt Carmilla into giving up the book could go bad, IN COMES PAPA SHERMAN HOLLIS TO THE RESCUE (with bear spray!)
Thanks to Papa Hollis' intervention, they're able to get rid of Theo and Danny. Laura's overprotective father has apparently been on a 5 month quest to try to save his daughter from her apparently evil and super dangerous campus. He's encountered giants, harpies, mushrooms and a giant along the way but somehow stumbled on the magic door to the library when Laura needed the most saving. He's also watched all of Laura's videos and has a pretty general understanding of everything that's gone on.
He not only wins points for the fact that he is very understanding and chill about comprehending that LaFontaine is nonbinary, but we finally get to hear the word "lesbian" actually said on the show because he references it when she comes out to him. What he told her - after essentially saying "finally" (that she finally said it to him) - was that it was most important that she is with someone who deserves her (but since the couple is broken up, that really isn't too much of an issue currently). At the end of the day, Papa Hollis is pretty done with all the supernatural he's dealt with and just wants to take his little girl home - literally, he's there to take her home.
Laura is absolutely torn. Although for the first half of this act, all she's wanted to do is run away from the reality of their situation, now that the possibility is actual present, she's hesitant. LaF is understanding of her predicament, but straight up says that if the group was to leave, there would be no one else to save the day. While the group is asleep, Mattie poofs in secretly and decidedly helps them out by leaving out ancient looking symbols (left in blood because writing in sharpie or pen is just too mainstream for this vampire).
The group has no idea how the symbols got there (JUST CHECK YOUR VIDEOS LAURA, THAT'S LITERALLY ALL YOU NEED TO DO) but before they can consult their favorite vampire, Papa Hollis is arguing with her because of the whole biting incident from Season 1. He's mostly upset for the fact that he couldn't get the mental image of his little girl being killed at the hands of a vampire out of his head. Carmilla cares so much for Laura, that the broody gay straight up tells the tiny journalist that as her friend, she'd want her to go with her dad to be safe. But before they can talk further, our regularly scheduled attempt at Hollstein friendship is interrupted by JP!
We find out that JP was ambushed during his search for Perry at the end of Season 2. He's currently trapped in chains and wires, compliments of the Dean. But he's managed to break through the firewalls to help give them access to what seems to be live audio of the Dean's conversations. Thanks to JP, the group finds out that the evil woman is trying to bring literal Hell onto Earth and won't accept any more mistakes in her quest to end the world as we know it. On the bright side, we know that Kirsch is alive! (The downside being that he's being used as a human brotein shake for evil Danny...)
It soon gets down to decision time for Laura to figure out if she's really ready to leave Silas behind. She offers Carmilla an out that she can come with, but of course the vampire refuses. Surprising no one, Laura Hollis finally realizes that nothing will stop the Dean's Hell from happening and that she needs to stay and fight with the rest of the group. Laura makes the huge decision to her dad that she's staying and begrudgingly, both for the safety of his daughter and her ability to speak the truth, so is Papa Hollis.
SO FINALLY, we see the new, improved version of hero Laura Hollis stepping up to the plate via new broadcasts searching for help. She makes it clear for her viewers: The Dean is an old evil trying to make the world into a literal living hell. All the students of Silas, and soon the world, are in danger if she isn't stopped soon. There are seven gates to hell and four have already been opened. If anyone has any information, they could use all the help they could get.
There are also new rules, courtesy of Sherman Hollis, for our group: No more secrets, no dangerous missions, plans needs to be safety approved and she has to wear necessary (probably excessive) safety gear. Laura storms off after this, but eventually leaves Sherman with a chance to bond with Carmilla over their immense concern for Laura being safe. There's even shared stories about Laura's childhood, including baby pictures, before he is forcibly asked to leave. Soon Carmilla and Laura have a talk about their situation and something straight out of fangirl and fanfic, the exes have an argument and the tension between them results in an epic kiss that is RUDELY interrupted by a phone ringing.
Interrupting the make-out session is none other than the original missing roommate Betty! Betty's super smart self heard/saw Laura's broadcast from Princeton and her genius self was able to figure out what the symbols mean (because apparently being super smart leaves one with time to study super ancient languages for the hell of it...). Thanks to Betty, they discover that the Blade of Hastur that was used in vain attempts to defeat Lophi in Season 1 is their next talisman. Carmilla downplays the significance of the kiss, but also tells Laura even if the journalist had a plan, she's not gonna be bossed around or follow blindly anymore.
Thankfully, the group gets a slight edge when they discover that Mel has been trying to contact them while the Dean has been working the students in the pit. Apparently Mel has been doing podcasts (which you can listen to) to give another angle of what's been going on in the crater. Before any good vibes can be enjoyed from the fact that the group has an inside source, LaFontaine's brilliant mind has finally figured out what kind of evil the Dean is. Carmilla's vampire mother is no ordinary demon or monster, nope, the group is dealing with a GOD.
Although the idea of the Dean being a God is a tad extreme, this is Silas after all. And even the group realizes that the Dean's MO totally fits the specific god LaFontaine had researched. Mel interrupts their discovery because she wants to get saved already. She reveals that the sword is still located in the pit and while Laura and LaF are distracted, the vampire takes a spear and goes by herself.
The acting Summer Society president calls them out on their obliviousness before the duo comes chasing after Carmilla into the pit. The trip is a successful one with the Blade of Hastur retrieved and a nearly fainted Carmilla brought back to the safety of the library. Before Laura can get to enjoy a celebratory cupcake, thanks to the library, Papa Hollis comes downstairs and does the stereotypical parent move and yells at his daughter by using her full name (we know she snuck out to do dangerous things but ouch).
Naturally, Sherman isn't all that happy at the fact that he found out his daughter and her friends are taking on a God. All he wants is to keep her safe from getting hurt, but Laura points out that no one can really stop life and ever truly avoid getting hurt. He eventually understands and agrees to ease up on the excessive safety measures slightly, but Sherman makes it clear that he just wants to help.
The next step for the group is to try to figure out their next clue, which apparently includes various, Papa Hollis supervised, experiments to try to reveal any writing on the sword that could help (similar to how the blood spill in Season 1 helped reveal more text in the book). Laura's constantly addressing Betty in her videos because it's easier than communicated with those she's currently with, in the way that there's no uncomfortable elephants in the room to constantly be addressed if she talks to Betty.
But before anyone can get really into Laura and Carmilla hopefully addressing their growing tension of emotions, Sherman returns with the Blade of Hastur. Apparently having no concern of dealing with a soul devouring sword to make sure it was clean, he had discovered there's writing on the sword referencing a secret and a locket. Finally the third talisman is revealed - Mattie's locket.
Turns out it was the spell on Mattie's heart piece in the locket that made her practically unkillable. The actual locket was just given to her once she became a member of the board. Laura feels bad that the locket has mysterious gone missing because it was the vampire's connection to her sister, but Carmilla points out that it wasn't just her fault that Mattie died. Laura begins to speculate with the possibility that the gods that originally trapped the Dean might be involved with their quest, but is soon interrupted with breaking news from JP.
The Dean knows the sword is missing and the bad guys are almost ready to break through the 5th gate. The Dean is actively
lying to reminding Danny that no one cared about her after she died. Bless Kirsch's pure heart that he tries to interject that people cared when she died, but apparently Danny doesn't care. If the 5th gate is broken, apparently things will turn in the Dean's favor, so the group is running out of time. Even though the time is getting shorter for the group to save the day, Carmilla and Laura make progress in trying to figure out more about the Dean and being adorable plus hugely unresolved sexual tension results in 'technical difficulties' that you can speculate about. ;)
Laura tries to justify her actions that resulted in the 'technical difficulties' in her usual adorably rambling fashion, but it's just so obvious how strong her feelings still are for Carmilla. Soon Betty calls back to make sure her ex-roommate focuses on the big picture of saving the world. The new game plan is to summon a death god, who is apparently the sibling of the Dean, to try to get their help ('cause summoning Gods at Silas went so well for Perry in 2012...).
Although Sherman Hollis reasonably freaks out about the plan, it's the only one they've got at this point. After an amazing sequence of preparing to summon the God, the initial spell doesn't work. After hours of waiting, Mattie happily poofs back in when everyone's asleep, nonchalantly asking what people are waiting for. And before we can see anything other than the surprised reactions, WE'VE REACHED THE END OF ACT ONE!
In short? So. Much. Happened. This first act honestly made me fall in love with Carmilla all over again. I laughed so much while watching it, there were just so many times I just had to stop so I could finishing laughing. I cried so many happy tears and just really appreciated the pacing of the episodes and how well the act flowed together. A lot of questions I've had over the seasons have really been answered and I can't wait for the next act. But before I go, here's what's floating around in my head:
-The graphics and the effects of this season are INCREDIBLE. The hilarious photoshop is back, but seeing all the effects of the library and the show is just a whole new level. (Also, I'll never get over the bleeping for Carmilla cursing up a storm after the newly revealed Dean's transmission).
-Natasha and Elise were spot on. The library is honestly like Hogwarts. With the changing rooms being like the staircase and the building just being as sentient as Hogwarts probably is. It's got a Sword of Gryffindor mentality to me, that shows up to help those who need it the most. For example, it wasn't always mean to Carmilla. It found her at the end of S2 and it provided her blood and safety since then. I think the building just knows Laura needs the support a little bit more after everything, and also it is kind of funny to see Carmilla get conked with occasional books.
-Laura and Carmilla are finally communicating. It's been long overdue and I'm just so happy to see them trying to work things out. Sure, it's a huge bonus that the most significant conversations ended up in A+ kisses, but they're actually somewhat of friends now. They might not be conventional friends, but you can only have so much normal when you're both exes trying to save the world and one's a vampire.
-PLEASE WATCH THE PODCASTS! There's a separate playlist for them on KindaTV's channel. Not only do you get to hear the return of things and people from past seasons, but we've finally got that other perspective on the story that isn't Laura. Any good story needs multiple perspectives, and seeing it from Mel is definitely a plus. The podcasts are relatively short, but they do provide tidbits of information to help get a better understanding of what's going on.
-Poor JP and Kirsch. These two lovely people are just not doing well in their current predicament. Kirsch, as good as he still is, finds himself trapped being a food source for the now evil girl he had a thing for. JP is the reason why LaF was having such initial difficulties with the Silas ethernet because I think, based off the podcasts, he's quite literally hooked up to the ethernet.
-Annie Briggs is absolutely killing it as the Dean. It's fascinating to look back at her work in the previous seasons as Perry and how much of a difference there is in her portrayal of the Dean. Hell, the entire cast as a whole has put so much work into this season and their passion for it really shows. All of their portrayals of their characters this season is just amazing.
-It's really nice that no one's forcing Laura to do anything at the beginning of the act. Carmilla and LaFontaine both take the time to talk with Laura about how they both understand her emotions, but also try to give gentle nudges to bring her back around because they honestly need the help. It's nice to see the people she cares about actually treating her like their friend, it's super important especially after everything that's happened.
-Are all of the talismans, including the final ritual, some sort of test of character? Like getting the book was no easy feat, Carmilla had to dive to get the Blade of Hastur at first, who knows how Mattie properly got her position as a member of the Board of Governors. I feel like the fact that Mattie left symbols instead of direct guides to the next talismans helps support this. She doesn't ever seem to be the type to beat around the bush; if she really wanted to, or was able to, she would just tell them where to look next. (Or alternatively, Mattie's reasonably still bitter about being killed and everything).
-How did Vordenberg or his ancestor contribute to the ritual? From what we know, all the things are based off the board members and it only makes sense if Vordenberg was somehow connected to the original group that trapped the Dean. Perhaps, since according to the book it involves a heart, maybe the sacrifice of whichever Vordenberg ancestor included the heart of their loved one. This possibility, plus the idea that love will have its sacrifices, does not bode well for this Creampuff.
-Some of the music suggested at the end of the episodes is really good. I've taken note of a lot of the music from the 'Silas glee club' myself.
-With the mention of blood magic and sacrifices, I wonder if the Fairy Queen was actually related to the Dean. Maybe that's the reason why she was trapped in the tree thing, because it was the way the Dean could keep her possible sibling from ruining her own plan to make the world into a living hell.
-And last, but certainly not the least, Sherman Hollis is the best. Self-explanatory, really.
Okay y'all, this was a doozy. The next act will be released on September 29!