Betty, the ex-roommate ex-machina, has just popped up on the phone and informed Laura and Carmilla that the creepy blood symbols on the mystery board mean that the second talisman is the sword. The blade of Hastur.
The one that nearly got Carmilla killed.
Laura is not having this. Betty delivers some sass and backs up her claims by saying that she became an expert in extinct languages after the fish-god hijacked her brain. Apparently learning proto-Akkadian isn’t all that hard.
So the next step for our library trio is to come up with a plan. LaF proposes two. First they want to rappel down into the pit but when Laura squashes that idea, they suggest building ninja suits so that they can hang-glide in. Carmilla’s got a much simpler idea.
She goes in, gets the sword, and eviscerates anyone who gets in her way.
Charming. Not to mention problematic if the Dean or Danny show up.
Should the Dean appear LaF’s been doing some research and explains how they’ve narrowed her possible demon-species down to five options. Despite this work, Laura’s not willing to play exorcism-roulette and hope they pick the right one. As all great scientists do when their ideas are shot down, LaF gets a little huffy and peace’s out to go work with Papa Hollis on some secret project.
We cut to a few hours later. Carmilla’s reading a book while Laura slowly walks down the stairs, tension palpable. It’s the first time they’ve been alone since their little heated bickering kiss and the air just reeks of another Hollstein conversation.
Laura provides. It’s apparently her turn to hand out the psycho-babble. She acknowledges that Carmilla would rather “just lone-wolf it into the pit and grab the sword” because that’s her usual MO. She calls Carmilla out on rarely wanting to talk something through first and says that this instinct only gets worse when the Dean and revenge are involved. Carmilla never wants to admit that her feelings are in the way.
Mostly because Carmilla doesn’t want to admit to feeling feelings.
Carmilla attempts to deflect by playfully telling Laura that she should leave the analysis to “people who actually attended freshman psychology.”
Laura is unperturbed. She keeps going, saying that Carmilla doesn’t want to admit how angry she is, how scared she is about her mother, how she doesn’t know if she’ll ever forgive Laura and how she’s confused about what the kiss means.
Apparently Carmilla isn’t actually confused about this last one. She claims that Laura isn’t the first girl who has kissed Carmilla to make herself feel better.
Laura tries to object but Carmilla refuses to hear it. She finally closes her book that she was ‘reading’ and turns the analysis right back on Laura. Carmilla says that Laura is scared, lonely and uncertain. So, to forget that, Laura kissed Carmilla.
One has to wonder if Carmilla’s trying to convince herself as much as Laura.
Carmilla assures Laura that it’s fine that she kissed her but that it doesn’t mean that Carmilla is going to start blindly following Laura’s lead. She gives Laura until sundown to come up with a plan to get the sword, otherwise Carmilla’s going in alone.
Laura says nothing after her first objection and as Carmilla walks away, she’s left staring blankly.
Poor Laura. Trying so hard.
We cut back to Laura talking to the camera and calling herself ‘romantic Kryptonite’. Then, based on using Hermione Granger as a model, Laura resolves to forget the romantic drama and focus on the ‘hell on earth’ situation. To this end, she’s found herself a new source of intel.
Mel. Our missing summer society sister and with a click of a button, Laura brings Mel and her angry glare up on screen.
Covered in dirt, Mel’s apparently been down in the pit for the entire 2.5 months since the end of season two and she’s not particularly happy that Laura forgot about her. The Dean has been using the Silas students as slave labor to dig out the gates and Mel has been sneakily podcasting the entire experience.
After Mel gets her sarcasm on, Laura promises to come rescue them and let’s Mel know that she’s an integral part in their plan as their ‘pit person. Pit insider. Embedded pit correspondent.’
Probably not the time to be worrying about job titles, Hollis.
Before Mel can dish out more sarcasm and Laura can get started on the details of their plan, LaF comes down the stairs with the book of lives in their arms. They look shaken and inform Laura that they’ve figured out what kind of demon the Dean is.
Laura lights up, immediately theorizing demon types, and excited that this will finally let them exorcise the Dean.
Not quite that easy Laura.
As it turns out, the Dean is a god.
Episode 14 - Order of Magnitude
Laura grapples with this idea by repeatedly saying “a god?” and this attracts the attention of Carmilla who pops up from the stacks like a confused gopher. Walking into the room, Carmilla quickly says that despite her narcissism and immortality there’s no way that the Dean is a god.
All Laura can say is, “Good glorificus, she’s a god.” Looking as though she just got hit in the face with an anvil, Laura asks if they have a plan for a god. They do not.
Carmilla still isn’t on the ‘she’s a god’ train that Laura jumped onto so quickly. She asks LaF to explain and our mad scientist is eager to fill them in. They’ve been reading the book of lives and it keeps mentioning Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, and The Descent.
For those who aren’t experts in mythology, that’s a reference to an ancient Sumerian mythology poem about a goddess going to hell.
As such, Carmilla is quick to remind everyone that it’s just a poem. Not real.
Cue LaF’s wincing face. They say that the book keeps talking about the story of The Descent like it never happened. Instead, in the book of lives version, when Inanna tried to go down to hell the other gods decided to stop her. They used blood magic to bind the Dean through the power of four talismans.
Inanna wanted to open hell. The Dean is opening hell. Inanna was bound with four talismans. Our trio is looking for four talismans.
Good Glorificus. She’s a god, Creampuffs.
Carmilla is still trying so hard to debunk this theory. Can’t blame her. What child wants to find out their evil mother is infinitely more powerful than expected? She starts listing off reasons that her mother can’t be Inanna. Inanna is capricious. She rules love and war. She love unquestioning worship, tricks people, and threatens to summon the dead.
Not the Dean at all. Nope. Definitely not.
Carmilla accidentally convinces herself that her mother is, in fact, a god. Before our trio can get too wrapped up in this horrifying chain of thought, Mel pops back in over the ethernet. She tells everyone to get their act together, listen to her podcasts documenting her time in the pit, and then start a plan.
This isn’t a review of the podcasts but I will say: Melsie is a thing.
After they get through the podcasts, Mel lets them know that human tapeworm Theo, often leaves his guarding duties early to go have a beer. This is the best time for everyone to sneak into the pit. Their mission? Grab the sword.
Granted it’s been walled off behind a layer of stones because no-one will touch it but still, no problem. At least, that’s what Carmilla seems to think. The second Mel explains where the sword is Carmilla walks away, grabs a pike and heads off. Unbelievably, LaF and Laura somehow miss this.
Probably because Carmilla’s a serial lurker. I imagine you just get used to it.
They continue to talk a little further about the plan to get into the pit before finally noticing that Carmilla’s gone. Scrambling, they take off to go after her.
When our trio comes back, Carmilla is leaning heavily on Laura’s shoulders before Laura puts her in a chair. Apparently, Carmilla passed out while in the pit and Laura’s taking this opportunity to be just a little smug that Carmilla needed saving from the humans.
That’s what you get for trying to go it alone again, Carm. Definitely no heroic tendencies there. None at all.
Regardless of Carmilla apparently getting hit on the head by some rock as she was digging out the sword, LaF successfully retrieved the blade of Hastur and brings it home wrapped in the remains of Laura’s old yellow pillow case. Happy with this development, the library sends Laura a cupcake.
Three cheers for the return of the yellow pillow!
Cupcakes. Swords. Successful missions. What could go wrong?
How about an irate Papa Hollis, angry that his daughter is picking fights with a god? Laura Eileen Hollis. You are in so much trouble.
Episode 15 - Risk Assessments
Papa Hollis descends from the staircase exactly like one would imagine a father would when confronted with vampires and giants. Angry and a little freaked out. Laura tries to talk her way out of it but her Dad insists that Laura broke his three rules.
Laura points out that she never actually agreed to them. She then accuses her Dad of over-reacting by protecting her from things like polyester, swimming holes and a class trip to clownville. Papa Hollis rebuttals by saying that this is entirely different considering she just climbed into a pit full of an evil god and vampires.
Your Dad may have a point, Laura. Most people would find vampires fairly high on the threat list.
Having to agree that it was pretty bad, Laura tries to weasel her way out by saying that she didn't go alone. Unfortunately, Papa Hollis is not comforted by her companions being a “revenge driven vampire and a lab junkie with the self preservation instincts of a lemming”.
Neither Carmilla or LaF are insulted by this analogy.
In an emotional father/daughter moment, Papa Hollis gets to give a speech on how hard it is to watch Laura do dangerous things. Laura responds that sometimes there is no safety unless you fight back. He concedes but makes Laura promise to let him help.
He calls Dad rights.
Laura promises to find him Dad-sized adventures.
These two are too cute.
This turns out to be determining what the third talisman is. The chalice is next on their list. As the book led to the sword then the sword must lead to the chalice. Thus starts the montage of middle-earth level experiments to try and figure the swords mysteries out. With appropriate safety measures of course.
They try running a flame over the sword while Papa Hollis makes them wear lab goggles. They try gently using the sword in combat but have to stop for proper headgear and armguards. They even try meditating with the sword on a cushion between them. LaF is clearly frustrated by the safety gear but just goes along with it. Laura is resigned to it.
Carmilla is helping by doing absolutely nothing of value.
While Laura and LaF are mediating, Papa Hollis grabs the sword, starts buffing it, and takes it away. Of course he does.
Nothing seems to be working, which brings us back to Laura and Carmilla talking directly to camera again. Laura tries calling out for a second to her ex-roommate but Betty is nowhere to be found. Apparently, Laura has been talking to Betty since her old roommate first called. When Carmilla asked why Laura hasn’t been talking to her if she needs someone, Laura just says that it's nice to be able to talk to someone without stepping in all their backstory.
She also doesn’t have to worry about kissing Betty and violating the ‘friends’ rule.
Carmilla smiles and says that she, “really didn’t mind”
Then, breaking our hearts, Laura says that Carmilla deserves better. We were all happier when they were just kissing.Like the god of all things Dad, Papa Hollis returns with the sword in hand. He noticed some dirt on it, Anglerfish goo and decided to polish it up. There’s writing on it. Of course there is.
Carmilla’s quick to put together the pieces. Mattie’s locket is the third talisman. Which would be great if they hadn’t lost it.
Episode 16 - Regrets I’ve Had a Few
Between the sword and the locket Laura’s convinced that the talismans should actually be called, “Items loaded with personal baggage likely to get you killed obtaining them”.
Them’s the breaks, Laura.
Carmilla is quick to give us our first insights into how Mattie’s locket actually worked. The spell in season two that kept her immortal was only on the piece of the heart inside the locket while the locket itself was something she got when she joined the board. Of course, none of this matters because Hollstein has no idea where the locket is or where it went. They theorize that Danny might have taken it or that the library shuffled it away.
Cue every viewer screaming at the scream for Laura to watch her own videos.
Maybe the library is messing with her feed?
With no way of finding the locket, Hollstein decides to take another detour into moments of feeling when Laura apologizes that Carmilla lost the locket as it was all she had left of Mattie. Even as Laura tries to shoulder the blame for Mattie’s death, Carmilla shakes her head and takes some of it back. She spread the blame over herself, Mattie, Danny and Laura.
I have feels.
Laura is quick to avoid the feels and leaps up as an idea hits her. Before the board, there were the gods who made the talismans in the first place. Laura’s thinks that they might be interested in helping them out.
However, before they can chat about this feedback bursts through the speakers loud enough to send Laura scurrying to cover her ears. Carmilla even leans in close to help protect them further.
The vampire in love seems more and more apt a description with every episode.
The static cuts out to JP’s apologies as he sends them a new audio file from the Dean. This time it’s Theo getting chewed out by the Dean as the Dean threatens to let Danny peel him like a grape. Surprise! The Dean is not pleased that ‘Team Fangless’ stole the sword. However, this hasn’t stopped the digging as Danny reveals that they’ve uncovered the fifth gate.
Which apparently isn’t going to end well for Team Library as the Dean specifically says that although she can’t get to them now, it’s all going to change after they open the fifth seal.
So that’s something to look forward to, I guess?
Danny, it seems isn’t particularly thrilled with her time on Team Dean, complaining that she’s not allowed to kill Theo or the Dean’s “precious Carmilla”. The Dean isn’t standing for this and we get a terrifying insight into how the Dean turned our hero into her chess piece. She’s convinced Danny that no-one else cares about her.
Okay. I feel sorry for Lawrence now and would like her to have hugs.
Kirsch feels the same way. Our frat bro pops up and tells Danny that Laura cared about her and that, more importantly, he cares about her. It’s super sweet and classic Kirsch.
Then it sounds like Kirsch gets bitten again.
With little time to spare, Hollstein jumps back into their ‘get a god to help them fight the Dean’ plan. Laura’s decided that Ereshkigal, goddess of the dead, is their best bet. The locket is hers and, as the Dean’s sister, they’re supposed to be at odd.
Sure Laura. What could possibly go wrong with summoning a death goddess?
Cue Hollstein banter and some actually sweet moments of support for each other. So naturally, Laura has to remind everyone that it’s time to roll our eyes because she and Carmilla are just “friends.” Comrades. Buddies. With no desperate kissing or lusty sexual undertones.
At which point Laura sweeps everything off the desk as Hollstein lunges at each other for the most desperate kiss we’ve seen before Laura pins Carmilla to the desk.
Yup. Just gals being pals.
The camera cuts to “technical difficulties.”
When we come back, the disheveled hair and wrongly buttoned shirt leave us very clear on what our ‘gal pals’ got up to.
Looking just a tad shellshocked, all Laura has to say is “Oops.”
Oops indeed Hollis.
Episode 17 - Demon Summoning Made Simple
Still with her post-’technical difficulties’ hair, Laura takes a minute to rage about how sexy Carmilla’s face is and how stupid her desperate hormones are. She reigns herself in, calling it just a one time slip. Laura Hollis, as a grown-up, will be able to contain her lusty hormones from on out.
Pardon me while I snort-laugh. Okay Laura. Sure.
Laura’s hormones get their first test when Carmilla walks out of the bathroom in her robe, all seductive despite the toothbrush in her mouth, and asks Laura if she needs any coffee. If this was a test, Laura failed it. Possibly speaking the fastest we’ve ever heard her she spews some words about coffee and aggressively calls Carmilla buddy.
Cue the eye roll with bonus smile of fondness for our tiny gay.
Meanwhile, Team Library has started going over the intricacies of their ‘summon a death goddess’ plan. In an attempt to reduce their chance at the Death Goddess being murder-y, they decide to “use the essence of the death lady to draw a circle and then contain her.”
Papa Hollis needs to breath into a bag when they tell him about this one.
He’s really not having a good time here.
With Papa Hollis trying not to hyperventilate, Team Library begins to prep the spell needed to circle and then summon a Death Goddess. Item 1? Half a cup of desiccated spiders.
Naturally, the episode launches into a montage of potion making 101. LaF is in their element as things bubble and form noxious gas and generally do unpleasant things. Carmilla just seems mildly alarmed. Laura, wisely, isn’t touching anything and just read things out from the book.
I’m sure both Carmilla and Papa Hollis are pleased about that one.
They use the resulting sand-like solution to form a circle in the room. Then Laura pulls out the book, takes a deep breathe, and starts the incantation. It’s literally the least invocationy invocation ever. She uses both an “um” and a “pretty please”. Nothing happens.
A witch, Laura is apparently not.
They resolve to wait, hoping that the Death Goddess will show up eventually. The gang lounges around the library, drinking hot chocolate and reading books. Carmilla even takes a moment to brush a sleeping Laura’s hair off of her face.
See Carm, this is why everyone knows you have feelings for the tiny gay.
Carmilla is the only one awake when we get our long awaited POOF. She startles backwards like a disturbed cat, staring at who just appeared on screen.
Matska Belmonde. Finally here to chat.
Holy fish fingers and custard, cupcakes.
That’s our first act and wow was it a doozy. We got everything from two new Hollstein kisses to a brand new mystery to solve. We’ve seen evil Danny and lurker Mattie and sassy Betty. Papa Hollis came out to provide safety gear and LaF managed to bond with a sentient stack of books.
It’s just too much and not enough all at the same time.
All I can say is, “I can’t wait for Act II.”