Last season, Sanctuary [Syfy, Fridays, 10/9C] made the movie from webisodes to full blown television series – impressing a lot of people along the way. Its first season ended with a cliffhanger that was a real mindblower: the discovery that Helen Magnus’ daughter, Ashley, had been turned into a superweapon under the control [and through the scientific tinkering] of The Cabal. Worse, they’d taken five absolutely normal human beings and turned them into similar weapons.
Season Two begins pretty much where Season One left off – and the gloves are off!
The second season kicks off with a two-parter [yup, that’s right – another cliffhanger!] called End of Nights. Shortly thereafter, the Tokyo Sanctuary is destroyed. Seven hours later, Ashley [Emilie Ullerup] and the other Cabal super-human weapons attack the London Sanctuary, where they are repelled, at great cost, thanks to quick thinking and a prototype weapon created by Nikola Tesla [Jonathan Young]. Unfortunately, because of restrictions imposed by Magnus [Amanda Tapping], the weapon is merely a stopgap and not a solution. Although not an “abnormal,” Will [Robin Dunne] plays a part in holding the London Sanctuary – as do John Druitt [Christopher Heyerdahl] and the acting head of the Sanctuary, Declan.
The second season premiere also introduces a new character, Kate Freelander [Agam Darshi], who is a mercenary hired by The Cabal to gain hunt down the five people who become Ashley’s fellow superweapons. When her integrity is compromised [at least in Cabal eyes] and they try to kill her, she winds up in the Sanctuary.
Although the increasingly lovely use of CG continues to add depths to the show, these depths are lent even more gravitas by the creatures of myth and legend that are known in Sanctuary’s world as abnormals. Vampires, mer-people, Bigfoot – all are here, and many more besides. The Sanctuary’s altruistic mission – to protect those abnormals who require, and to protect the world from those who exist solely to destroy – is matched in its scope by The Cabal’s desire to destroy all abnormals except for those that they can control and use.
In the conflict between the Sanctuaries of the world and The Cabal, is a war that can shape the world without the vast majority of people ever knowing. Because the Sanctuary/Cabal conflict is a war, there will be deaths – and those deaths will have consequences, both immediate and long term. Unexpected sacrifices will be made and life will go on – but End of Nights will change the series and its characters permanently.
Series creator Damien Kindler has written a spectacular script for the second season premiere. He has put his characters into situations that cannot help but change them, maybe even scar them. He has done justice to the mythic concepts on which the series is based. Martin Wood has taken Kindler’s words and translated them into a thoroughly absorbing entertainment that resonates as far into the mind as the lizard brain [which, folks, is kinda scary!].
Now that Sanctuary is returning with such a terrific opening salvo, the real challenge the show’s creative team has is matching the quality of these first two episodes.
Final Grade: A+