NOTE – This review features some NSFW images in regards to episode 3.
Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond continues as we explore a phantom hospital ward that phases in and out of existence, then follow Leo on a challenging journey to retrieve his sister’s stolen allowance.
After Zapp is hit by an armored truck, for whatever reason, Leo rides with him via helicopter in search of medical assistance.
En route, a mysterious hospital emerges out of the aether. Klaus and Steven recognize the building as a hospital that they fought to protect during the mayhem that occurred some 3 years prior, which created Hellsalem’s Lot.
At that time, they had discovered hundreds of patients and an extremely thin staff within the hospital, where they went to drop off a baby they discovered alongside its dead mother. Klaus and Steven then resolved to protect the building when a Blood Breed (AKA extremely powerful Vampire) set upon it with its pet demon-dog. Due to the overwhelming power of the Blood Breed, the Libra members were too preoccupied with resisting his attacks, which allowed his pet to assault the hospital.
While Klaus was preparing to create an opening for Steven, the worlds separated once again, ripping Klaus and Steven from that mist-filled world and leaving the patients and doctors within to an unknown fate.
After identifying the re-emerged hospital as the one they failed to protect, Klaus and Steven sought out the doctor they had to leave behind. After the Blood Breed’s pet brutally murdered all of the patients in the hospital and ate its fill, she requested other-worldly power to be able to split into multiple forms and perform treatments at high speed. A fitting superpower for a doctor, and one that she’s employed aptly within the hospital.
In what Dr. Horrible would describe as a “Crazy random happenstance”, both the demon dog and Blood Breed that originally attacked the hospital make a re-appearance. The doctor gets her revenge on the demon dog with her newfound abilities, while Klaus is able to seal away the Blood Breed with the help of Leo’s eyes in identifying its true name.
This episode was a real thrill. I continue to be impressed by Blood Blockade Battlefront’s ability to layer comedy and drama so well. Steven and Klaus – two of the strongest characters in the Blood Blockade Battlefront universe, were obviously concerned by the chaos that re-arranged New York 3 years past. Seeing Steven’s concern along with Klaus’ determined outlook to rescue as many people as possible and face whatever threat emerged added another level of depth to their relationship.
Of course, Zapp continues to bring the comedic relief as he battles away death and talks tough near the end of the episode, only to get thoroughly obliterated. Leo plays 2nd fiddle for a lot of the episode, which I don’t mind, as the opportunity for Steven and Klaus to take center stage for almost a full episode was well worth it.
The episode opens with Leonardo having a nightmare involving his sister, Michella. Recalling the events that created Hellsalem’s Lot, Leo startles himself out of his nightmare just in time for a gargantuan Count Gigagigafutmassif to come stomping through town.
In the midst of his attempts to get away from the madness, he accidentally stumbles into a large thug and his lackey, who proceed to drag him into an alley, beat him up, and steal his wallet. Leo typically takes his licks pretty well, but a key piece of information makes the mugging all the more bitter for him.
While Leo ponders how to retrieve Michella’s allowance, Zapp is enjoying himself with a mysterious blonde when yet another mysterious woman named Tracy barges in, demanding Zapp help her find her cat Mizaria. When the blonde scoffs and suggests that the cat is long dead, Tracy casts a spell on her…assets…which then explode painfully as Zapp watches in a haze.
Tracy then re-focuses her attention on something that might help him sober up – targeting his “Freedom Magnum” and giving him a…*ahem* hard deadline.
Meanwhile, in a classier part of town, Steven Starphase is preparing for a dinner party. With the assistance of his housemaid/chef Mrs. Verded, he’s planning for quite a few respectable guests to come by, enjoy some barbecued meats, fine wine and cheeses, and generally have a good time.
Leo decides to take the fight to the thugs, commenting that he doesn’t want to use his “All-Seeing Eyes of God” for petty scuffles, since his sister gave up her sight in order for him to have that gift. Therefore, he seeks out a weapon to defend himself and goes after the thug yet again. Picking up a stun baton, he puts up a good front, but when the goon makes Leo question himself, he seizes the opportunity to pummel him even more thoroughly. Returning to the bar, he stumbles across a beautiful woman, who happens to be none other than Miss Chain of Libra.
Seeing an opportunity to avenge Leo and have some fun herself, she challenges the outsider to a drinking contest, with an alluring prize.
As you can imagine, he immediately agrees, and the game is on.
Back in the other part of town, Steven’s dinner party seems to be going swimmingly, for the most part. When he goes to get some replacement beer, however, things immediately seem off, and before he realizes it, the entire room has literally turned against him.
Surrounded by enemies, they demand that he turn himself in or be destroyed completely. Steven, however, is not amused or impressed.
Steven, able to manipulate his blood and create ice-cold temperatures, reveals that he had prepared for their attack earlier in the evening when he feigned a fall – the blood droplets then formed tiny needles and infiltrated all of their bloodstreams. With an activation of this power, and the murmuring of a few words, he immediately subjugates the entire room in a badass display of fearsome power.
As he lays out how he recognized their phony nature, he also reveals that he has a shadowy sect of warriors that strictly obey his orders. When “Ellen”, one of the failed assassins, asks if it’s Libra, Steven offers a chilling response: It’s not, because their leader would never allow what was going to happen next.
Back at the bar, Chain finally drinks the thug under the table, retrieving Leo’s money and her targets before disappearing.
Penniless, and having racked up a bill of 1,950 zeros (however much that is…) the gangster is morbidly informed that the money would be retrieved one way or another.
As the episode wraps up, Zapp and Leo continue to search for Mizaria, even though Mrs. Vederd’s kids appear to have found the cat in question. Hopefully things get sorted out so that Zapp’s Freedom Magnum can remain intact – I suppose we’ll find out how that went eventually.
Too often it’s easy for shows to fall into one of two camps when it comes to storytelling. The first leans too heavily in either advancing a singular plot-line. Without some flavor, it becomes too one-note, and interest can quickly be lost. On the other side of things, being too scattered means that the show is unable to properly address multiple story threads at the same time. An inability to connect to the characters or plot means growing disinterest and eventually abandoning the show altogether.
Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond deftly tells multiple stories, and weaves between them exceedingly well. There are elements of melancholy and disappointment in Steven’s plotline. Comedy and absurdity is abound in Zapp’s dilemma, and Leo presents a persistent narrative of struggle and selflessness (well, except when he’s spending allowance money on a new X-station).
My respect and appreciation for Steven continues to grow, following the hospital episode I’m beginning to enjoy his character more and more, though now I imagine the series will shift its focus to another Libra member. No doubt having the information that he runs his own sub-section of soldiers will come back to haunt him and his peers, and that plants an intriguing seed for the viewer.
Overall, this series continues to impress week after week. Until next time – stay safe out there in Hellsalem’s Lot!
Episodes 2 & 3
- Character relationships are still amazing
- Action sequences are fantastic
- Well balanced comedy
- Steven is a badass
- The swing from absurd to action-packed may cause whiplash
- Zapp might be the comedic relief a bit too often...