'Van Helsing' Season 4 has changed Vanessa from a stone-cold killer into a classic Samurai Cowboy

'Van Helsing' Season 4 has changed Vanessa from a stone-cold killer into a classic Samurai Cowboy

'Van Helsing' Season 4 has brought the lead character Vanessa Van Helsing (Kelly Overton) to something of a spiritual crossroads. After losing so many people, most recently her sister Scarlett Harker (Missy Peregrym), Vanessa is tired of being a monster and wants nothing more than to rediscover the light once again. 

The Samurai Cowboy is a trope that is found in many Westerns and quite noticeably in Akira Kurosawa films like 'Seven Samurai' and 'Yojimbo'. It's a spiritual fusion between the lone gunslinger of the West and the samurai of the East.

A number of works ranging from 'Star Wars' to 'A Fistful of Dollars' have used the trope and now 'Van Helsing' has also joined those ranks with this new change to Vanessa's character. The show's latest episode 'Dark Ties' explores this new development to the character by introducing her to a ragtag group of young survivors led by a woman called Jack (Nicole Munoz).


In a conversation with Jack, Vanessa reveals she's had a spiritual awakening and no longer wishes to go on killing. It's a pretty interesting shift for the character and the episode goes on to further highlight this change by showing Vanessa gift her katana to Jack before leaving to continue her journey. 

Since the time she was revived in the first season, Vanessa has been a killer, massacring vampires wherever she might find them. Considering the dystopian world she lives in, Vanessa really didn't have much choice but to kill in order to survive and she is certainly going to have to kill again to complete her mission but that doesn't mean that's the only way for her to live and she is finally starting to realize that. 

Kelly Overton in Van Helsing (IMDb)


Her new spiritual growth is challenged in the episode when she runs into Chad (Donny Lucas) who has been trapping other survivors and using his own blood to feed a vampire child whom he is caring for. She decides to cure the child, which is something she's done with others before but now Vanessa sees her powers in a whole new light and that makes all the difference.

When Tabby regains her humanity, she asks Vanessa "What are you?", a question the vampire hunter has been asked many times before. In the past, she may have given a variety of answers to that most simple question but now, with her new outlook on life, she replies that she is "the light," making it clear that she is firmly on a new path.

Earlier in the episode we do see Vanessa killing a vampire (with a chainsaw, no less) but even then there is a discernible change in her manner. We don't see any anger or bloodlust in her when she cleanly chops off the vampire's head, only a clear determination to do what's necessary.


From being a classic survivor, Vanessa has now transformed into a figure right out of old-timey Westerns where the lone gunslinger would wander the wastelands, helping the weak, punishing the guilty, and using violence only when absolutely necessary. It's an interesting direction for the character and we can't wait to see where this new path takes her.

'Van Helsing' Season 4's next episode 'Love Less' will arrive on Syfy October 11. 

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