Last night, Sanctuary treated us to a bizarre blend of two speculative fiction favorites: vampires and Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla. We find out what bloodsuckers can do with an encyclopedic understanding of electricity, but the episode’s biggest reveals are about the major characters. We learn how Helen Magnus became immortal, Ashley learns the truth about her father, and Will learns why Henry lives in the Sanctuary.

After last week’s Nubbin invasion, this episode proved a welcome break from the CGI-overload. We open with Helen Magnus in Rome, delivering a lecture on abnormals. Once she is finished, she’s ambushed by Nikola Tesla, who looks as young as Helen does and greets her with a kiss. Warning her that the Cabal (the rival abnormal trackers from the second episode) is on her tail, he drags her into the building’s (computer generated) catacombs, where she spends most of the episode running from the Cabal’s gunmen and enduring Tesla’s incessant chatter.


Meanwhile, John Druitt reappears to do what he does best: kidnapping Ashley. Despite handcuffing the blond monster hunter to a chair, Druitt appears rehabilitated, telling Ashley that her mother is in trouble and that he needs to know where Helen is so he can rescue her. Ashley, who was already fooled by Druitt once this season, isn’t having any of it, so Druitt tries to win her over, with surprisingly little urgency, by telling her about his past with Helen.

Between Tesla and Druitt, we learn that Helen, Druitt, and Tesla were all part of a scientific research group known as “The Five.” In a particularly mad scientist moment, Helen manages to distill a serum from the blood of vampires, a long-extinct race of abnormals, and the Five inject themselves with it. As a result, Helen became immortal, Druitt became a time-traveling, teleporting maniac, and Tesla became a bona fide vampire. And, as an added bonus, Tesla wants to revive that noble race and rule over all humanity.

The show’s B-plot focuses on Will, Bigfoot, and Henry, who have been left behind to hold down the fort. Naturally, some abnormal is loose in the Sanctuary and has started messing with the wiring and attacking the residents. Since every single clue points a big neon arrow at Henry, who has come down with some mysterious fever, Will suspects that the Sanctuary’s technician is the culprit. When the actual monster (some random lizard that inexplicably knew to avoid the cameras and disable the motion sensors) appears and attacks Will, Henry saves the day and reveals himself as some sort of werewolfish abnormal, although I think the biggest surprise about Henry is that the dude has a lot of body piercings.

There were little tidbits in this episode that I’d like to see more of throughout Sanctuary. Helen notes that the likes of Caesar and Alexander the Great were really vampires who held humanity beneath their thumbs, suggesting a whole alternate history of the world based around abnormals. We saw some of this earlier with the “Fata Morgana” episode, and I hope the writers are able to weave these strands into a rich and cohesive universe. Tesla’s ability to make vampires from dead bodies using his own blood and an electrical charge was also a nice and unexpected blending of science and myth, and helped reduce the randomness of making Tesla a vampire in the first place.

I had mixed feelings about Druitt’s return to sanity. Although it was weirdly plausible that Tesla’s electroshock torture would reboot Druitt’s brain, psychotic Druitt made for an interesting villain. Still, since he isn’t laying off the insanity-causing teleportation, I suspect we’ll see deadly Druitt again, and Helena and Ashley will likely face the dilemma of whether to destroy him or attempt to cure him again.


Tesla, with his amoral tendencies and his obnoxious attempts at charm, could also make a comeback as either ally or antagonist. Although I don’t believe the writers did enough with him this episode (I found myself wanting the episode to end with him in an awesome lab conducting horrible experiments on his vampire creations), he possessed a stronger personality than many of the show’s main characters (read: Will) and actually managed to elicit an emotional response from the normally cool Helen.

But Sanctuary continues to suffer from a lack of extras, and almost every scene has too much space and too few people to fill it. I got momentarily excited when Will suggested interviewing some of the abnormals, hoping for a stream of brief, funny, and weird interactions between Will and the Sanctuary’s residents, but those hopes were quickly dashed. Maybe now that the Sci Fi Channel has picked up Sanctuary for another season, they can hire a few actors and makeup artists to populate it.