Carmilla – Act II – Episodes 21- 24
By: Kathryn Trammell
Previously on Carmilla, the failsafe plan to overthrow the Dean (Annie Briggs) became more complicated when it was discovered that the fourth talisman – the human heart of a Silas board member – was destroyed the moment Laura (Elise Bauman) broke the charter that killed Vordenburg at the end of Season Two. While LaFontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander), Laura and Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis) fail to find a resolution to this current apocalyptic issue, another smaller issue is addressed when Laura confronts Carmilla about their relationship, which both agree to continue to enjoy as long as they keep things between them “casual” and “light.” But if there’s one thing in this world that has the ability to either weaken or strengthen the integrity of the heart it is war. And when LaF runs into the room with the Dean draped over her shoulder, we know Carmilla and Laura’s “casual” relationship will be tested by a new battle.
It turns out J-P (Aaron Chartrand) was right – the Dean was in fact weakened when she opened the fifth seal and with the help of a Taser, LaF was able to carry her out of the pit unscathed. However optimistic and noble LaF’s intentions may be, bringing the Dean into the library has now severed their last line of defense given the evil they were trying to keep out of the library has just been brought inside. “The only reason we’re not messily dead is because she couldn’t get to us,” Carmilla fumes at LaF knowing it’s only a matter of time before the Dean regains consciousness. She may be contained at the moment by the same circle enchantment that they tried on Mattie, but Carmilla knows it won’t be enough.
Laura suggests they try the exorcism that J-P showed them, but Carmilla says it’s too late for that. The only option they have is to kill the Dean, a brutal truth that makes LaF clench their fists and contemplate starting a fight with the vampire they know could easily kill them. Luckily, Laura is able to come between the two by suggesting that they at least try to save Perry. It’s a sobering moment for Carmilla who leaves the room fully believing her death and the death of the girl she loves most is imminent.
With Carmilla gone from the room, LaF and Laura prepare the exorcism that they will perform at midnight. Until then, Laura leaves LaF alone with the Dean while she’s still unconscious. However, it’s Perry that LaF speaks to when they apologize for having been “so caught up in my stuff, I didn’t see what was happening to you.” It’s Perry that LaF speaks to when she tells her that although the Dean might be doing her best to convince her that she is too “small” to matter, the word “small” could never be used to define someone who is “the biggest thing in my world.”
At midnight, LaF and Laura stand above the Dean while Carmilla watches from the stairs as they begin the exorcism. It’s apparent when the Dean tries but fails to break free from the circle that it worked this time, which is good because for all the dramatic puffs of black smoke and evil howling that emanate from the Dean, the exorcism does not. The have may have succeeded in trapping the Dean temporarily, but she is still very much trapped inside Perry’s body.
While the Dean might not be able to physically hurt anyone or to use her powers as long as she is contained within the circle, she can still hurt them with her words. This prompts Carmilla to warn both LaF and Laura that this is how the Dean will test them – by sowing dissent and by trying to force them to break the circle around her. If they want the Dean to stay contained they will have to try to ignore what she says.
This is easier said than done; however, as a montage shows just how manipulative and insidious the Dean’s words can be. When Carmilla comes into the room to relieve Laura from her Dean shift, Laura is convinced that everything the Dean has said about her is true. She may twist it around until it takes the shape of something far more evil, but it’s still rooted in reality with the worst of these truths being that none of them would be in the situation they are currently in if Laura hadn’t freed the spirit of the Dean and killed Vordenburg.
They might all die because of her, but when her blame begins to spiral to an unhealthy point of no return, Carmilla takes hold of both Laura’s arms, looks into her eyes and says exactly the words she needs to hear – that the most important thing about in lives is “what we make.” For Carmilla, the chance to “make” herself into the person she is today (a vampire who no longer uses “hopelessness as an excuse for all of the awful things that I did”) would never have been possible if Laura hadn’t taught her that she deserved better. “You may be flawed, and struggling, and uncertain,” she says to Laura, whose cheeks are now covered in tears, but “it is so beautiful the way you try.”
It’s enough to make Laura break down any final desire she had to keep her relationship with Carmilla devoid of feelings because the kiss they share in the following moment is so full of love that Carmilla can barely catch her breath before Laura pulls away. When their lips do part, it’s so that Laura can tell Carmilla that she can’t keep denying that what she feels for Carmilla isn’t “the axis that my world turns on” simply because she afraid that the world will end and she might lose Carmilla when it does. “I love you,” she says and if the world does end, it’s their love she wants to be able to hold onto in their final days.
They kiss again, holding onto each other as if the end is now before being interrupted by the slow clapping of the Dean who rises from the floor to mock them. Carmilla all but growls when she expresses how much pleasure she’s going to take from killing her mother, but she is stopped seconds from entering the circle when Mattie (Sophia Walker) materializes beside her telling Carmilla to “run along” while she and the Dean have a little chat.
Mattie’s talk with the Dean delves into a few more specifics regarding the gods’ original punishment for her, but notes the worst part about being caged inside a human body was having to helplessly hear her “daughters crying out in pain and fear” for centuries. Mattie calls her a liar because she was one of these “daughters” the Dean raised and nurtured so that others might follow her to their sacrificial deaths and the misery of that existence was theirs alone. Mattie promises that she will help cage the Dean again. She may be dead and she may not have the fourth talisman, but she does have the Dean’s sister on her side so it is only a matter of time before Ereshkigal strikes the Dean dead and “hangs [her] from a hook.” Luckily, Carmilla interrupts their conversation just in time to prevent the Dean from being able to manipulate Mattie’s emotions any more than she already she already has.
With Mattie gone, the Dean then tries to do the same to Carmilla by telling her that the centuries of torture she endured were done by design to teach Carmilla just how much she belonged to the Dean. The confession silences Carmilla. To hear the person who raised you claim ownership is the result of fear and pain when months ago you told the girl you loved “you’re mine” because your heart belonged to her is the final blow to any last shred of loyalty Carmilla had for her mother.
It also gives her the strength to speak again. But before her mother can rope her into any further details about their original plans to use the talismans, Carmilla realizes that it was the talismans (particularly their location inside the library) that the Dean was after this entire time. Unfortunately, her realization is made too late. Before she has time to react, Danny (Sharon Belle) bursts into the library and attacks Carmilla while Theo (Shannon Kook) opens the circle to set the Dean free.
Theo runs upstairs to retrieve the talismans while Carmilla struggles to free herself from Danny’s grip feigning disappointment in Danny’s radical change in character. Danny tells Carmilla that she can’t wait to toss her body at the sixth seal prompting the Dean to admit that while she did allow herself to be taken into the library to find the talismans, she is also there to get Carmilla to serve as one final sacrifice to the sixth seal upon its opening.
When Theo walks back downstairs with The Book and The Blade in hand, Mattie appears in the room knocking him down and taking both talismans from his hands. But before she has time to poof back to the Underworld, The Dean blows “dust from a grave of hanged woman” in Mattie’s face causing her to disappear from the room. Neither talisman disappears with her.
It’s at this poorly timed moment that Laura decides to walk into the room where she immediately sees Carmilla still struggling inside Danny’s arms. It isn’t until Laura’s life is threatened that Carmilla breaks free from Danny’s hold on her causing a large fight to ensue. The fight comes to end with Laura’s throat inside the Dean telekinetic grip and with the Blade of Hastur on the ground in front of Carmilla, who screamed in pain when she tried to pick it up. Apparently, the sword has the ability to suck the soul from anyone who’s used it in the past to kill a god thus making it impossible for Carmilla to wield, but not impossible for Laura who isn’t done fighting. She picks up both The Book and The Blade and tries to run from the library, but the Dean knocks her down. She charges at Laura, nails out and ready to destroy her, but Laura disappears just as Dean’s hands clench on empty air.
In what can only be identified as the Carmilla version of the Upside Down (“Stranger Things”), Laura reappears inside a library identical to one she’s just left but there is a huge difference – this one is dark and covered in cobwebs and dust. Whether she has traveled to the future, traveled to the past or has gone into some parallel dimension, we don’t know for sure. But what we do know is that the library is protecting her, making Laura far more important to the success of everyone survival than we originally assumed.