Van Helsing: Little Thing – Big Rock Candy Mountain (Recap/Review)

Van Helsing - Season 1

Van Helsing in “Little Thing” opens with Rebecca explaining to Sheema what her future will be if she does not do her bidding.  Women are being used as surrogate mothers so Rebecca can procreate. If the babies are not born alive, the moms are then used as “feed bags.”

Axel and his little band of survivors have left the hospital and head to the base. They stop to refuel the fortified ambulance and the group hear church bells off in the distance.

Doc goes to urinate behind a car and catches John sneaking up on her.  There is a discussion about the bells and who might be ringing them. Axel distrusts the situation and reminds them that the base is their destination.

John continues to be a thorn in Axel’s side and Sam asks Vanessa what she thinks. She suggests a vote and Doc reveals that her sister worked at the base. Doc make’s the decision for the group, they are heading to the base.

Mohamad, who was left behind in the city, is following Axel and Vanessa on a bicycle. The main group reach the base and find the entrance blocked with vehicles. They enter and a vampire rushes the perimeter fence. Van Helsing shoots at the thing and it steps on a landmine.

The creature is vaporized.

John continues to argue with everything Axel says. The bike that Mohamad is riding breaks down. He makes it to the same gas station that Axel’s group were at. He sees the sign from Sam with his name on it and the  arrow pointing to the direction they headed.

On the base, the group split up and look for people. The place appears deserted and they settle down for a rest. Van Helsing removes the bandage from her knee and the wound has healed completely.

As the group lay down, Axel takes the first watch. The silence of the base is disturbed by the sound of more vampires stepping on land mines. Axel checks out more areas of the base and when he returns the rest of the group agree to search the area.

Doc and Vanessa find Doc’s sister’s office. She is not there and there are no obvious answers. While the group discuss why the base is deserted, Axle searches the perimeter. Van Helsing suggests they all split up in pairs and go through the buildings.

Van Helsing learns that it was Doc’s sister who sent the Marines in to guard her while she was comatose.  Vanessa then finds her medical file and it is empty.

More vampires set off the landmines and the searchers begin to get jumpy.  Susan and John discover a man hiding  in one of the rooms. He claims to be a member of the resistance. Sam suggests digging in and Axel says no.

John wants to join the resistance and, again, Axel says no. He suggests taking a couple of days to rest.  Doc, who appears to be putting some distance between her and Axel,  disagrees.

Mohamad finds two vampires standing under a dead parachutist and he kills them with a machete. Later, he sleeps in the parachute canopy caught in the tree’s branches.

Axel takes his group to a bunker called “The Farm.” The new guy blows the door open with a mixture of dynamite and a grenade. They all go in and before getting down the stairs, the entrance collapses, trapping them inside.

As they explore the bunker, they find food and a lot of empty rooms.  On top of medical supplies, Sam and Flesh find lots of real food and beer. Axel finds a door leading to a quarantined area.

The survivors sit around drinking beer and wine. Sam sits next to Vanessa and begins to breathily sing “Big Rock Candy Mountain.” The group giggle and then some of them sing along.

Doc tells Axel to leave her alone and he reacts angrily. Susan and John break off from the group and do some exploring. They talk about music and argue about which bands are American.

The two kiss, Susan rather tentatively, and John gets over excited. He puts his hands around her throat and she asks him to stop. She slaps him and he strikes her back. Susan begins to scream.

Axel and the rest of the group go to see what is going on. Vanessa gets there first and John calls her a bitch. Van Helsing knocks him out with one punch.

John is restrained and Doc sees the marks on Susan’s throat. She points out that they match the ones found on the two victims in the hospital. Axel goes through John’s bag and finds a knife and one of the fingers.

John who has been working at the tape around his wrists, gets free. He grabs Susan, smashes a wine bottle and holds it to her neck. Axel pulls his gun and Van Helsing throws her knife at John.

The blade goes into his throat and John bleeds out. Vanessa retrieves her knife and says she hope they are right about John being the killer. As she walks off, Susan cries and Burl Ives begins singing “Big Rock Candy Mountain” as the final credits begin scrolling on the screen.

Van Helsing continues to be dark and disturbing. There were less vampires in this episode. Rebecca was the only one to appear.  The focus was on the group and their journey to the base and later their searching of  the facility.

It has to be noted that out of all the shows on television that recently showed a character having a throat injury lethal enough to die from, only Van Helsing had John, whose blood was spurting out, not fall over dying instantly.

This touch of realism made the death all the more disturbing.  Death, the show tells us, is not instantaneous or easy.  John died while choking on his own blood and it was a shocking but truthful moment.

Doc has become very prickly toward Axel since leaving the hospital. After she chases the Marine off, she tries to explain that it is not him. But does the doctor really mean it?

For now the group, with their newest addition, are trapped in the bunker. Mohamad is not far away though and he may be able to help. Vanessa’s comment about John, after she kills him, bring up a good point.

As Doc pointed out moments earlier, John was not popular with the group. He accused everyone else of being the murderer and sided with Brendan to have them all killed.

Was he the murderer or did someone else, the real killer, set him up?

Van Helsing airs Fridays on SyFy and Space. Tune in to see how Vanessa fares on her quest to find her daughter.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

2 thoughts on “Van Helsing: Little Thing – Big Rock Candy Mountain (Recap/Review)”

  1. michael:

    thanks for sticking with us–very glad that you’re enjoying the darker nature of the show. i love spending time with the characters and not just the vampires, and, yes, we’re trying to make our deaths as real and disturbing as they are in real life. i hope you like the next five episodes–many fun scenes to come!


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