Carmilla and Mr. Hollis' bonding session and Bauman's perfectly delivered: "Baby photos--oh God, this is what an aneurysm feels like".
Bauman and Negovanlis' sky-high chemistry clambered up several high-rise buildings somehow—they were just oozing sexual tension.
Mattie vs. Laura...via Scrabbles. And Laura bosses it.. Of course.
Annie Briggs as the Dean: wow. W.O.W. Conversely: Annie Briggs as Perry. Wow!
Big high-five for Nicole Stamp, who shone as Mel in her few scenes!
Whilst the production value has obviously upped, the oft-used background music was unconvincing. For me, an undeniable charm was that it was Laura's vlog, uncut, raw and real (which, for the most part, it did feel like).
Lafontaine's character didn't convince me very much. Her persistence against killing Perry just lacked emotive punch. Remember when Carmilla sacrificed herself to stop the Dean? When Laura kinda...died? When they Perry and Laura both come back, Laf almost seems undeterred or overwhelmed by her sudden obsession with Perry (how's JP?).
‘Carmilla’: Season Three bows out with how it charmed us all in the first place. Witty, intimate, cultural jokes and callbacks everywhere.
The Dean: “We’re all finished pretending that this is a story about a little girl believing in people and trying to change the world.”
In a plot that’s pretty much ‘different drug, same metabolite’ to season one, the gang discover that there’s really only one way to end the Dean after all.
Annie Briggs shines as the ancient vampire determined to open the gates of hell. They are to be opened by talismans, and they’re the ones Laura (Elise Bauman) & co hunt in order to stop the Dean from royally fudging the world up.
Laura and Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis) start with an awkward friends-with-benefits scenario before tossing that away and reconciling their love. It’s a testimony to how Laura has matured when she apologises for her actions, both to Mattie (Sophia Walker) and Carmilla. Meanwhile, Mr. Hollis pays a visit with some handy bear spray in the form of the brilliant Enricono Colantoni.
As they discover ways to destroy the Dean, Lafontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander) stands in their way in their refusal to kill Perry. With every single possibility, Laf stubbornly refuses. And ultimately, it’s up to a sacrifice—as per the theme tune—to save the day. Except this time, it seems it’s Laura’s sacrifice…and Laura’s been dead for some time.
It’s a heavy juxtaposition—between Carmilla losing Laura, and Laf gaining Perry back. But Laura finds her way back—as our determined, intrepid investigator always would—and we’re getting set for Carmilla: the movie…
The cast have very obvious stars—headed up by Elise Bauman, the chirpy, inquisitive, permanently sugar-hyped Laura. You’re killin’ me, Hollis.
At the centre of this mishmash of talent, Elise Bauman is the show’s heart. With intimate direction from Spencer Maybee, Bauman’s amiability engulfs you immediately. Bauman tethers us to Laura, and without her—the foundation of this show—’Carmilla’ would collapse. There’s no other Laura Hollis than Elise Bauman.
Sometimes, Bauman is a little too over-the-top with her already over-the-top character—but she keeps on the charming line of the annoyance border. And importantly, even when in season two she was so idiotically naive it was mind-boggling, we rooted for Laura. Season three’s perhaps the biggest mic-drop she’s given. Showcasing her broad acting range and still enthusiastically at the forefront of the show, Bauman owns it.
Carmilla found her irresistible. So did we. Bauman’s naturally affable, and she portrays the rapidly speaking, overly-keen nerd with a charm that can easily wander into irritating territory—and rarely does. It’s a nervy tightrope to walk. Laura Hollis may not be loveable one hundred percent of the time, but Bauman’s depiction of the morally immovable and ambitious journalism major has been awaiting a standing ovation.
So thank you, Ms. Bauman, for shouldering this show—not just for season three but for all seasons. She likely made you laugh; cry; facepalm; eyeroll; smile. It means she’s done her job. Did she warm your heart? It means she was magnificent. Could you bear to think of another Laura?
Laura and Carmilla had to be perfect this season—and Elise Bauman and Natasha Negovanlis gave their best, most compelling performances.
From cautious friends to just jumping each other, Laura and Carmilla’s relationship was a culmination of all their hardships.
You’d almost expect some kind of romantic mashed potato of a scene but it wasn’t. They instantly scrambled for each other because all season the tension between them heightened; grown so heavy. They had to reconcile it at some point, and it’s acknowledged in episode nineteen when they don’t just forget about it and move on. Laura has clearly been thinking about it. In her growth this season you can see Carmilla falling for her all over again, even in the tiny restraint Carmilla holds when Laura apologises to her and Mattie. But it’s episode 22 that slays:
Carmilla: I—I used to use hopelessness as an excuse for all the awful things that I did. Until…this prissy, little over-achiever that I was totally planning on handing over to my mother. Because she thought we all deserved better. Even me. And yeah, you are flawed. And struggling, and uncertain but—you’re so—beautiful. The way you try.
Yet for all the steamy scenes we got this season (perhaps to make up for the lack of anything last season) the most intimate by far was the waltz. It was a lovely call-back to the first season, upon many, and gorgeously done. Even during the scene you can feel the chemistry between Bauman and Negovanlis, and how it’s skyrocketed since the first season.
The Dean is a God, and so is Annie Briggs. No less than the legendary Inanna the Sumerian (ring a bell?!) goddess of love(…) and warfare!
Laf, Carmilla and Laura figure out that the Dean is Inanna—who, yes, is a goddess of love in Sumerian mythology but also warfare. As Carmilla states, that includes loving unquestionable worship, tricking people, and summoning the dead. A bit of déjà-vu hits (or an overwhelming sense of “I’m so screwed”) as Laura slumps:
Laura: [Sighs] We’re up against a God. Does anyone else miss the days when all we had to deal with was vanishing girls in a university that was overrun by vampires?
[Everyone raises their hand.]
Okay—okay. So not only is Perry—sorry, the Dean—a goddess…she’s the legendary Innana. Are we going for Dumuzi as her lover? But if Bauman charmed the first season, Negovanlis the second, Briggs surely took the third in glory. Her snooty, Goddess-worthy performance and that regal flick of the wrist matched her glaring lipstick and poise.
The Dean: Why is it that every time a woman goes after what she wants, there’s always someone there calling her crazy?
Call the Dean crazy but look at her respective Shara and Lulal (we’re reaching here) Carmilla and Mattie who’d likely burn the world for loves lost. As nice as it was for Perry to return, we’ll miss Briggs’ toffee-nosed Dean.
‘Carmilla’s’ social media game is emphatically better than any other show’s.
It has to go mentioned that ‘Carmilla’ on social media has been excellent—and it has to be a huge factor into propelling the turbine of success. Just before season three starts, the characters’ respective Twitters seem to reactivate as they tweet on (almost in a ‘previously, on…’ format) about life as they know it—and then it’s onto the first episode.
Notably, the Twitters remain excellently in-character. Carmilla, for example, follows only Laura. In their little awkward tiff, Laura mentions in the first episode that Carmilla’s still not following her back. Of course, she does later on. Firstly it reaches out to the passionate fanbase in a heavily interactive way. Secondly, it nicely interlinks the episodes to some story partially told on Twitter.
A change this season was the binge-format ‘Carmilla’ adopted. Noting the success of episode dumps (hey, Netflix) ‘Carmilla’ pounced on that and it worked. Especially considering the episodes are so short. It’s not only swallowed that addictive quality of the Binge Era, but also allows for enough time for its fanbase (‘Creampuffs’) to rewatch their favourite episodes several times before the next batch drops.
There’s an overwhelming nostalgia with the callbacks—and then you remember there’s a movie!
Hats off to Jordan Hall for a little callback with the humour, which seemed to be lacking a little in the darker season two. Each season has its grey undertones, but its black humour was what was so ardently charming about the first. We had the return of Laura’s puppets (…Laura Hollis…), the bickering of very different characters in their ideas of ridding the Dean and the hideous exorcism attempt. Most grin-inducing was Laura and Mattie (or the goddess of Death) playing Scrabble to play for her life. The best part is that Laura wins, because she knows such obnoxiously complicated words. Because she is Laura Hollis.
The stars. The waltzing. The sacrifice. It all felt like a final farewell to the characters we all knew and loved, and even though there will be a movie, it won’t quite be the same as those dorm days.
There have been solid additions to this year’s cast too. Enrico Colantoni, most notably, was boomingly perfect as the over-protective father to Laura. From the moment he barged in with his bear spray(!) to his emotional talk with Laura, it’s been a pleasure to watch Colantoni work as always. Nicole Stamp and Shannon Kook should also get honourable mentions for their entertaining turns as the snarky Mel and snide Theo respectively. Stamp, in particular, often stole the episode with her increasingly batty video calls.
Final verdict: ‘Carmilla’ is the not-so-little webseries that cracked it. And it’s not even the end of the road. There’s a movie down-the-line, revealed at New York Comic Con.
‘Carmilla’ isn’t a revolutionary piece of entertainment, but to say it isn’t revolutionary in itself would be wrong. Whether you are a fan or not, it is impossible to turn a blind eye to the clear impact it’s made upon thousands and thousands of fans. They made it to New York Comic Con, for goodness’ sake!
It’d also be wrong to say that whilst season three was markedly better than season two, that it’s faultless. Some acting spots are still a little weak and dramatic moments let-down a little by that. The fight choreography, whilst ambitious, was poor (Danny, your kicks?!) though it was perhaps worth it to see Laura smacking Danny and the Dean in the face.
Improvements included the graphics, and particularly the setting. The library, whilst intimate, was conversely chaotic too. In a fun way. It contrasted to the homely dorm of season one and the far-too-big house of season two.
It’ll be interesting to see where the movie takes the ‘Creampuff’ fandom (and how much profit UbyKotex are raking in)—but we’re sure the fanbase will be thrilled to see their cast on-screen once more. A crooked but fun bow-out with promise for more; a webseries that exceeded all expectations and spawned a devoted fanbase. Enjoyable or not, that in itself is undeniably admirable.
Questions and Comments:
Anyone taking odds for Elsie being the Big Bad of the movie? No?
- Mel’s entrance was hilarious—her entire segment was. “Hi! So glad you found time to care. We thought we were down here for—oh! [Checks watch] Two and a half months!”
- Is it Lafontaine’s duty across all seasons to just storm in and blab a chunk of the plot?
- Carmilla to Danny about her ‘nobility’: “All it took was a little dying to flip your script?” – whilst in Danny’s hold. Mind you—Danny is still 100% much more awesome as a baddie vampire than the goodie two-shoes.
- I guess other brands of period pads are going through a tough time right now…
- Season three, episode 19: “Coping Strategies”—I liked the nice little ‘keen fashion sense’ callback!
- The prospect of The Dean watching and enjoying YouTube videos of honey badgers…
- I think we can agree that the most consistent, persistent character is Laura’s video-camera.
- And the episode titles—I think my favourite is “Back to the Lack of Future”.
Massive congratulations to the cast and crew for their film announcement. They’d better start selling creampuffs at the cinema!
Season Three Verdict: ‘Carmilla’ [YouTube]