Chasing down Dracula’s minions is getting to Belmont and Sypha in “Murder Wakes It Up”, while a lonely Alucard looks himself in the mirror.
This recap of Castlevania season 4, episode 1, “Murder Wakes It Up”, contains spoilers.
The Castlevania Season 4 premiere opens with SIX WEEKS AGO emblazoned across the screen in block capitals, revisiting Belmont and Sypha’s final moments of the third season, being carted away from some very legitimate carnage. FIVE WEEKS AGO, the two of them whooped some skeletal warriors out of trees and stabbed a glowing necromancer in the back. (The animation is, pleasingly, as good as ever, if not better.) FOUR WEEKS AGO, Sypha sliced up some beasties praying to a washed-up portrait of Dracula. THREE WEEKS AGO, Belmont staked a vampire in a church, who left behind a spell — “Murder wakes it up,” says Sypha, and the audience gets that nice little moment of figuring out what the episode’s title means. He was trying to bring Dracula back from the dead. What else would he be doing?
TWO WEEKS AGO, a fight against some goblins in long grass devolved into an argument. Sypha is worried that thanks to Belmont, she’s basically becoming him, or at least becoming someone who curses. They admittedly haven’t had much luck since they met. ONE WEEK AGO, deranged cultists tried to club and behead children on an altar devoted to the Grim Reaper, who Belmont is quite comically dismissive about, as is his way.
Castlevania season 4, episode 1 finally catches up to TONIGHT, almost half the episode having been devoted to this prologue. We’re in Targoviste, a city of ruins introduced with screams and blood and fiery demons lurching from the sky. Corpses line the stairs of a subterranean armory where Belmont and Sypha butcher a couple more goons looking for tools that reek of magic. Two of their associates watch them leave, one of them a self-important limey named Varney, supposedly the Night Mayor of London, Terror of the British Isles, king vampire cocksman of all Europe. If he says so. He was also supposedly one of Dracula’s first and most loyal followers and intended to give Targoviste — the start of Drac’s anti-human campaign — to him. And he is, to put things mildly, not exactly thrilled at the prospect of having to deal with a Belmont and a Speaker magician.
Elsewhere, “Murder Wakes It Up” catches up with a drunken Alucard, emptying his bladder on the decaying bodies of the twins staked outside (they have some company now). A corpse strapped to a horse brings him a message from the people of Danesti begging for his aid from night creatures and terrible demons. The place is 20 miles away, so he throws the chomped-on corpse from the back of the horse and has a testy back-and-forth with the horse itself, before burying the rider under a hot evening sun. He goes back inside and examines his dirty face in the mirror, lamenting the fact that he, too, seems to be turning into Belmont. Maybe it’s contagious.