The darkness. It's been counterposed with the light since the beginning of time. It's the thing threatening to consume all goodness in the world — and in Van Helsing Season 5, it's the very thing our heroes aim to triumph over once and for all. But what actually is it?
In a literal sense, it's that brimstoney stuff that billowed from Dracula's neck when Jack (Nicole Muñoz) bit into it. However, to wax metaphysical, there's also an inner, spiritual darkness symbolized by that sulfurous discharge.
It's this darkness that Violet (Keeya King), Ivory (Jennifer Cheon Garcia), and the Sisterhood have to contend with in the fifth episode of Van Helsing's fifth season, and it's this darkness that they first must overcome within themselves before they can hope to defeat Dracula (Tricia Helfer).
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Van Helsing Season 5, Episode 5, "Sisterhunt."
Last week, if you'll remember, Dracula had conjured up a sphere of red, glowing energy, which she sent out in search of the amulet, currently in Violet's possession.
While that was happening, Violet and Ivory, newly escaped from Fort Collins, have reunited with the other former-Sisterhood-sisters-turned-vampire-hunters. While making their way to the White House, the troupe is beset by all kinds of dangers, and Claire (Christina Meredith Lewall) volunteers to take first watch.
That night, that red, levitating orb Dracula released homes in on the Sisterhood and sets its sights on Claire. The next morning, the others find Claire down in a ravine, dead: She's carved out her own heart. The darkness has descended.
The remaining sisters hop in their truck to quit the gruesome scene and make their way to an abandoned house where they can set up a temporary shelter. While scouring the place for intruders, some desert vampires catch the sisters by surprise, and Ivory and Violet have to come to the aid of Zuma (Kat Ruston) and Mira (Briana Skye) to fend off the assailants.
Amid this gore and violence, something's happening to Ivory. She's become impatient with her sisters, castigating them for letting down their guards. But this is to be expected: After so many centuries as vampires, Zuma and Mira aren't used to experiencing human emotions like fear and weakness, and it's messing with their heads.
As night falls, the sisters reminisce about the old days, before they were vampires. They had all been ruthlessly persecuted by the men in their village; and when Michaela showed up and invited them to join the Sisterhood, it was the lesser of two evils. Suddenly, Zuma feels compelled to wander off to the basement.
The others find her there, possessed and completely subservient to Dracula's will. Zuma snatches the amulet from Violet's neck, and is ready to release the darkness when Ivory comes from behind and cuts off her head.
The next night, it's Violet who's lured outside by Dracula's magic, which this time comes in the form of Jack's voice imploring her sister for help. Ivory recognizes this trick from her past, in which Michaela managed to summon a "Vanator," a golem-like creature that did the bidding of its summoner. Violet falls prey to Vanator 2.0's seducing power, and is about to uncap the amulet herself when Ivory throws a knife and (sorta) kills Violet.
Back inside the safehouse, Ivory manages to revive Violet, but the drama is too much for Mira. She's overwrought with human emotions, recalling how she suffered at the hands of Ivory, who feasted on Mira's entire family, and then turned Mira. We get the sense that Mira is filled with a darkness all her own, a darkness born of trauma and pain.
So it's no wonder that the Vanator comes for her next, beckoning her with the voices of her baby sisters who Ivory slew all those years ago. Once possessed, Mira tries to fight the darkness the only way she thinks she knows how: by decapitating herself.
In the wake of this grisly scene, it becomes abundantly clear that, as Ivory says, "It's never just about the darkness." In other words, there's the darkness outside, but there's also the inner darkness. For Ivory, that darkness is like PTSD, dredging up the memory of all the innocent victims of her insatiable hunger. Violet, Ivory says, is innocent of this kind of darkness — and it's that innocence that makes her more vulnerable to it.
But Violet is undeterred. She remembers something Ivory mentioned to her about Michaela's Vanator: That it can be stopped by whoever summoned it. So, Violet wants to use the darkness bottled in the amulet to beat the Vanator. Not just use it, but ingest it, too. Ivory is circumspect, but Violet knows she must experience the darkness in order to defeat it.
So Violet carries through with her plan. She opens the amulet, breathes in the darkness, summons the Vanator, and commands it to self-destruct. Next, Violet manages to repel the power of the darkness, regurgitate it, and, with Ivory's help, cough it back up into the amulet.
Having experienced the darkness firsthand, Violet now has an intimate knowledge of its power, and its weakness. She's going to need both in order to take it on in its entirety.
New episodes of Van Helsing premiere at 10 p.m. Eastern on Fridays on SYFY.