Don’t you get the feeling that, the closer we get to the Van Helsing series finale, the more loose ends seem to be getting tied up, things are coming full circle, and unfinished business is getting finished? Because we sure do.
Especially when it comes to Julius, who in Van Helsing Season 5, Episode 6, "Carpe Noctis," gets a blast from his pre-good guy past in the form of an old vampire frenemy. As if it weren’t hard enough staying on the straight and narrow amid this apocalypse, now Julius has to resist backsliding into a life of bloodsucking depravity and mass murder.
Will he look to Axel as his friend and rock? Or will he betray him for his old flame?
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for Van Helsing Season 5, Episode 6, "Carpe Noctis."**
While en route to find Violet (Keeya King), Julius (Aleks Paunovic) and Axel (Jonathan Scarfe) see what appears to be a couple of daywalkers ganging up on a woman — her hands tied, her head bagged, and her feet still kicking.
After a moment’s hesitation, Axel and Julius decide to risk their own skins (remember: they can’t heal on their own any longer and need Doc’s special concoction to do so) to dispatch the two predators and save their prey. Only, when they do, they discover she’s no ordinary woman. Rather, she's a vicious vampire with an irrepressible hunger.
Not only that, but she’s also someone Julius recognizes as Nina (Ali Liebert), an old friend he used to roll with back in his OG blood-sucking days. Back in the '80s, Julius was what was known as a “bottom feeder” — vampires who scavenge for their weak and sickly meals in dark alleys. It was Nina, a former actress-turned-celebrity-vampire, who took a shine to Julius, and even let him regain his strength by feeding off her blood.
Because of what Nina did for him all those years ago, Julius feels obligated to return the favor and let Nina ride with them. Understandably, Axel is more than a little reluctant to cozy up with the unknown quantity; but Julius insists that under his supervision, and especially if they can get her to a Van Helsing, Nina can change, and they can be together once again. Ever the bleeding heart, Axel relents, and we’ve got ourselves a three’s company scenario.
The trio isn’t on the road long before a cloud of that poisonous orange dust that's fatal to vampires and humans alike forces them to stop, and Nina suggests they take shelter at an abandoned housing community nearby. The three eventually split up, and when Julius finally finds Nina, she’s feeding off the last few warm bodies she can find inside the projects. Turns out the “let’s go find shelter” line was just an excuse to go hunting. Apparently old habits die (and kill) hard.
After Axel joins Julius and Nina, the three find themselves in the crosshairs of a fusillade of gunfire. A squad of paramilitary vampire hunters sent by Dracula has surrounded the shelter, and they’ve got orders to apprehend, of all people, Nina. What for is anyone’s guess at this point.
While Axel and Julius are busy repulsing the bounty hunters, Nina makes off like greased lightning to their truck, intent on escaping before she has second thoughts and returns. Axel is especially ticked off with her now after leaving them for dead, but again Julius urges him to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Axel doesn’t go that far, but he does consent to using Nina as bait to lure the rest of the paramilitaries out into the open for an ambush. As Julius and Axel take cover, Nina puts on the improv performance of her life for the bounty hunters. She tells them she possesses some valuable information about The Dark One, and that she’s been holding out this entire time for the right moment.
That’s when Axel open fires, picking the hunters off one by one, but not before the Oracle gets a chance to possess the last man standing and identify Axel’s location. This is the last straw, and Axel gives Julius the old ultimatum: it’s either Nina or him. For Julius, his patience with Nina is running out, but he’s not ready yet to give her the boot. Instead, he gives her one more chance to redeem herself by revealing the valuable information she possesses about The Dark One.
Nina fesses up: Dracula has been consolidating all the leaders of the various vampire broods into one massive force for “something big.” When Nina refused to throw in with Dracula’s crowd, The Dark One had her entire brood executed as Nina turned tail and ran. Sort of like the rat that flees a sinking ship.
Julius tries one last time to persuade Nina to abandon her renegade lifestyle and commit to being turned human. Nina counters this offer by trying to turn Julius vampire, and bites him — but he recoils, and his new blood makes her sick.
It’s become abundantly clear to Julius that not only is Nina incorrigible, she’s also dangerously desperate, and any efforts to rehabilitate her would be in vain. As a kind of kiss-off, she even tries to steal the magic crucifix compass from the guys’ truck in order to bargain with Dracula. As she has no intention of returning it, Axel must take it by force.
Closing that particular door on his past was not easy, but Axel finds solace in the knowledge that better things await him, and his real friends, further down the road.