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BLOG Changes at the Sanctuary review

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Series two of Sanctuary brought a lot of changes, reckons blogger Laura McConnell [WARNING: Sanctuary spoilers]

Strange things are afoot at the Sanctuary.

And not just the usual strange things, either. Monsters, vampires, and werewolves? Bah! That’s business as usual for Helen Magnus and her crew.

But two major character deaths in one season? I’m not so sure about that. That’s a lot to swallow.

The first death occurred just as series two opened, when we lost Ashley Magnus in “End of Nights, Part Two”. Frankly, I was never the biggest Ashley fan. At first, she grated on me a bit. The cliché bad girl of sci-fi thing was a little much. But over time, Ash settled down. She grew on me, and I found myself not exactly loving her but liking her a fair bit. When she joined the bad guys at the end of series one, I was genuinely interested to see where things would go with her. I had no idea they would go where they did, and I was shocked at how quickly the “Ashley goes rogue” plot line was resolved by Ashley’s “death.” I found myself sad despite my earlier ambivalence toward Ashley, but for me the worst was yet to come.

For as this series drew to a close, John Druitt was apparently lost to us. John had a busy year. After going off and avenging young Ashley’s death, he returned to the Sanctuary in “Haunted,” where we learned that John’s violent tendencies (I told you they’d come back!) were the fault of something other than himself. It seems John Druitt was sharing his body with an extremely violent entity for many years, and that entity was responsible for his murdering ways. I have mixed feelings about this reveal. While part of me rejoices in it because I quite frankly adore John and want to let him off the hook for his actions, part of me is disappointed in Sanctuary for just explaining his violence away with a handy “it’s not my fault” excuse. I’m a bit let down that John wasn’t just a man gone wrong, as that would have made him all the more horrifying, but I suppose I can live with this. I find his implied death at the close of the episode far less palatable, however.

I believe my reaction to it went something like this: "They killed John! Holy smokes! John Druitt is dead?! What? No way! A second major character death in one season? What is this? Stargate Atlantis ? Isn’t this taking the ‘like father, like daughter’ thing a bit far? After all, what’s Sanctuary without its best example of moral ambiguity? How are we lovers of the line-crossing good guy going to get our fix?”

Oh, wait! I know! We could get it from Nikola Tesla, everyone’s favorite evil-yet-not vampire! Except that we can’t. As if killing off John and Ashley weren’t enough change for one series, dear Tesla had a life-changing event this year, too. In “Sleepers” Nikola was “devamped” and he is no longer a vampire at all. I feared this would make my second-favorite character as exciting as pudding, but he got a last-minute reprieve from the “may as well be dead” character chopping block when he discovered that while he truly is no longer a vampire, he can now manipulate magnetic fields.

Interesting. So Tesla isn’t quite Tesla, but there is still a great deal of potential for him to continue to bring snark and no end of trouble into the life of Helen Magnus and her team. Excellent! There’s hope yet!

And you might have noticed that I used several quotation marks and a lot of words like “apparently” and “implied” when I talked about the deaths of John and Ashley earlier. We all know why. Death in sci-fi is always potentially temporary, and since John and Ashley both allegedly perished in teleportation events where there are no bodies to prove their demise, they have a better chance of resurrection than most. Now, I’m always impressed when a show sticks to its guns and has characters truly die (even if I don’t like it) but I’ve got to admit that I spent a great deal of season two hoping Ashley would come back somehow. Her replacement, Kate Freelander, annoys me to death. I’d accept any semi-rational Ashley rebirth if it got rid of Kate or at least diminished her presence on the show. And since John Druitt is my very favorite character on Sanctuary , let’s just say I wouldn’t cry if he showed up again.

Sanctuary has already been renewed for a third series, and I’m interested to see how things play out. In addition to possible character rebirths and probable exploration of Tesla’s new abilities over the course of the series, series three will pick up where the series two cliffhanger finalé left off. Big Bertha, the most powerful abnormal on the planet, is set to destroy us, and Paul McGillion’s Wexford character is showing some promise as the next morally questionable fellow. That’s enough to keep me watching for now, even with this new Tesla and a departed John. I’ll see how it goes – while hoping for a resurrection or two, of course.

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