Carmilla – Act I – Episodes 15-17
By: Kathryn Trammell
After finishing episode 14, it’s safe to say that the knowledge that Laura (Elise Bauman) has officially picked a fight with a goddess. She, her vampire ex-girlfriend and her best friend crept into the Anglerfish Pit to retrieve a magical sword that could help bring about the Dean’s (Annie Briggs) demise does not bode well with her father (Enrico Colantoni).
Papa Hollis appropriately demands an explanation as to why his daughter would go back on her word to include him on making plans for dangerous missions. Laura half apologizes saying the words most of us have echoed to our parents and guardians at some point in ours lives, which is that she wishes her dad wouldn’t worry about her as much as he does. Although this is easier said than done, Mr. Hollis finally relents when Laura bears all her strength and says, “Sometimes there is no ‘safe’ unless you fight back.”
Agreeing to actually bring her father into their plans this time, LaFontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander), Laura and Mr. Hollis try to determine what the third talisman might be given that the “code” for the first two were more symbolic than they were literal in their representations: “the word” was the Book of Lives and the “the blood” was the Blade of Hastur. LaF believes that each talisman might hold some clue that could lead them to the next. This is exactly what happened when the Book led them to the Blade so they set about trying to reveal some mystical clue within the sword that could possibly lead them to the third talisman, “the chalice.”
When all attempts fail, Laura decides her next best bet is to make a plea for help to her audience, particularly Betty. Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis), sitting in a chair and overhearing Laura’s plea, interjects and asks Laura why she couldn’t try to talk to her about finding the next talisman. Laura comes up with some excuses, the most important being that she wouldn’t want to betray their “friendship” again by kissing Carmilla in the middle of a research session (something she calls a selfish move). For a moment, Carmilla’s broody seriousness dissolves into Natasha’s unique sense of humor when she says with a chuckle, “Well, I didn’t mind really.” (Be still my heart).
But the moment is interrupted when Mr. Hollis walks back into the room with the Blade of Hastur in his hand. It turns out that while setting the Blade on fire, using it in combat, and meditating over it don’t reveal any clues a good scrubbing does. When Mr. Hollis shows Carmilla and Laura how a little elbow grease and polish removed a few layers of Anglerfish goo from an inscription on the Blade’s edge, they immediately try to translate it. The only two bits of Sumerian that Carm is able to decipher are the words “necklace” and “secret.” She immediately realizes this to mean that the third talisman is Mattie’s (Sophia Walker) locket, which is still unfortunately missing.
Laura worries that the locket might not do them any good anyways seeing as how it seemed to lose all its power once it was crushed, but Carmilla ensures her that the “power” to which Laura is referring was solely due to the piece of Mattie’s heart that was kept inside it. The locket itself could be its own source of power aside from what it contains noting Carmilla, “But I’m not sure that matters if we don’t know where it is.”
She speculates that either Danny (Sharon Belle) or the library could’ve taken it, and when the library hears this it growls its disapproval. Laura sits down beside Carmilla and places a hand on Carmilla’s arm. While touching Carmilla and asking her sweetly to not taunt the centuries-old sentient building doesn’t placate her, apologizing for the loss of Mattie’s locket does because the apology is also heavy with the regret that Laura had an indirect hand in killing her.
Carmilla tries to reason that Mattie’s death was necessary because she would’ve kept killing anyone who got in her way, but it still doesn’t keep Carmilla from missing her sister. “Love is like that,” she says, the full meaning of which is evident to everyone who sees the way Carmilla looks at Laura’s lips, except of course for Laura. Instead, a eureka moment blinds Laura from Carmilla’s exceptionally strong seduction eyes when she announces, “Maybe we’re coming at this from the wrong way.”
And because perhaps Carmilla wants Laura’s statement to imply that there’s a better way to approach their relationship, she asks Laura, “What do you mean?” But Laura doesn’t mean their relationship. What she means is that there’s a better way to approach defeating the Dean and even as Carmilla leans in (her eyes still on Laura’s lips) Laura stands up and approaches the evidence board oblivious to Carmilla’s misinterpretation.
So, Carmilla sighs and listens as Laura thinks out loud about a possible new approach to killing her mother that involves invoking the help of the gods who originally created the talismans to entrap the Dean. She’s interrupted when feedback from J-P (Aaron Chartrand) blasts its way through the library causing her to clutch her head in pain. When the feedback ends, J-P has little time to apologize before he projects a conversation that the Dean is having with both Danny and Theo (Shannon Kook) over the computer’s speakers.
In the conversation we learn that Theo is being blamed for losing the sword, that the Fifth Seal has already been uncovered and we discover the extent to which the Dean has brainwashed Danny into believing that no one in world cared about her or her death. JP tells them that in order to open the seals the Dean must perform some ritual and he believes the ritual to include some sort of sacrifice. Once the Fifth Seal is open, the Dean will be free to attack everyone in the library. So, Laura goes back to studying the Book in order to figure out which god or goddess they should summon for help before deciding that the owner of Mattie’s locket – the Queen of the Underworld and possible sister of the Dean – Ereshkigal is their best bet.
Carmilla applauds Laura’s intelligent new approach to fighting her mom by calling her “Chessmaster” and Laura applauds them both on being able to work together “shoulder-to-shoulder, with no desperate kissing or lusty sexual undertones” to get in their way. That is before tackling Carmilla and pinning her to the desk with the most desperate kiss her audience has ever seen, until of course “technical difficulties” give them some much needed privacy.
Once the “difficulties” are resolved and our regularly scheduled program resumes, a flustered Laura (with her hair appropriately mussed and her blouse bunched around uneven buttons) simply looks into her camera and says the word “Oops” with absolutely zero regret whatsoever.
Laura tries to logically explain her actions to her audience, especially Betty, and promises that what just occurred between she and Carm was a one-time thing. “Grownups control their hormones,” she rationalizes. “They do not control us,” but the resolve in her declaration wavers the moment Carmilla walks into to library wearing nothing but a bathrobe and a smile on her face that says she’s still very pleased with the state of Laura’s frazzlement.
After Carmilla excuses herself, a call from Betty (Grace Glowicki) redirects Laura’s focus to where it should be, which is figuring out a way to save them from the Dean. With LaF and Carmilla by her side, Laura determines that it’s high time they invoke some otherworldly help. After passing the plan to summon Ereshkigal by Laura’s father, they whip up the appropriate god-summoning recipe and sprinkle it over the Library floor.
Laura says some magical words and ends her invocation with a very Hollis “pretty please,” but nothing happens. It isn’t until later that evening, after Laura has fallen asleep in a chair and Carmilla leans against the desk ready to do the same, that Mattie materializes into the seat beside her. With the curiosity of a child Mattie asks, “Ooo, who are we waiting for?”
I’m hoping this means that in some way Mattie has become, or is, the goddess whose help they so desperately need. Either way, seeing her is enough to set Carmilla on edge and with all the reflexes of the cat that she is Carmilla jumps back in her seat as if she’s just seen a ghost.