Axel Miller is one of my very favorite characters on Van Helsing and I have truly loved his development on the show up until now. When he revealed to Scarlett last season that he’d had a sister once, but she had disappeared without a trace, I just knew we were going to revisit this storyline at some point.
Earlier this season, when Axel became a glorified Uber driver for the San Francisco crew and they met Kit on the road, I had a feeling we were going to see his sister again. And soon. For a moment, I even believed that Kit could be his sister, especially when she used the “end of discussion” line, and Axel kind of did a double take. But then, upon further reflection, I realized that she wouldn’t be the right age. Axel is what, maybe 35-36? Kit was way too young to possibly fit his sister’s description, so I let it go.
But when I realized he was returning to his hometown in “Been Away”, I knew his sister was bound to make an appearance. And how sweet is it that the place he’d talked about with Scarlett was the shop he’d worked at as a teen in his hometown? I loved that little detail and how the theme permeating this episode was that he was confronting his past while looking forward to his future — probably something he hadn’t had the chance to even think about at all since the Rising happened.
This is something that really struck a chord with me, cause these two characters have only made each other better by sticking together. We’ll talk more about that next week, but I just wanted to touch on this real quick, because even though Missy Peregrym wasn’t in the episode at all, her presence was felt the entire time — especially given how Axel based his decisions thinking about her.
So when he helped that group fight off those ferrels, I knew something big was about to happen. We’d already gotten a glimpse of his sister with that flyer on the wall at the shop, and then through a flashback to young Axel leaving his sister at the park, and then coming back only to find her gone. It was pretty clear from the very start of the episode where this storyline was going and, when we met Sara Canning’s character, Carter, and she was so against Axel staying with them, I had an inkling suspicion that she would turn out to be Axel’s little sister Polly.
His happiness at finding his old boss Lorne was super short-lived, when it was clear that the man suffered from Alzheimer’s. The only one from the group who really gave him the time of the day at first was a girl named Kelly, but she was really more interested in Axel’s body than anything else (and was pretty forward about it too). He shot her down gently, mentioning that he already had someone — much to my shipper’s heart delight.
But soon enough, he offered to help Carter to get supplies and food, and they struck a partnership. The plan seemed to work at first, but then it all went to hell and Carter ended up getting shot. She tried to play it down, saying she had only gotten nicked, but Axel knew something was wrong. And when she eventually yelled at him that she was fine and “end of discussion”, I was already yelling I knew it at my TV.
And this time, Axel knew it too.
So he followed her up to the roof where she was drinking and just trying to stay awake and strong, even though she was bleeding out from a bullet hole in her stomach. But then the truth comes spilling out of her and Jesus Christ, my heart was in pieces for her, for him, for their entire family.
It turns out that old Lorne — Axel’s old boss — was the one who kidnapped Polly all those years ago and kept her in a basement. She had been there the entire time, while Axel worked for him, suffering God knows what, and the rage that filled Axel was so palpable afterwards that you couldn’t help but empathize.
But the caveat was that he didn’t remember anything he’d done, and Polly tells him that she’d had to find a way to forgive him eventually, because she couldn’t live with that hate. That entire sequence was so incredibly beautiful and powerful, but it also torn me to a million little pieces.
Jonathan Scarfe and Sara Canning played the hell out of that scene and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. They were dealt an awful twist of fate, only to meet again when she was dying and it’s just not fair. They deserved more time. Why throw this at him, have him find his sister, find out what happened to her all those years ago, only to take her away from him a few short minutes later?
My heart is absolutely broken for him. So when he finds Lorne outside and kills him with no mercy, no one can blame him. He’d found his sister, lost her again and it was all because of that bastard.
That last scene, with Axel standing over his sister’s fresh grave, is just so incredibly sad. He finally put her to rest in a beautiful place, but he’s damn near completely broken now.
“Been Away” was the first Van Helsing” episode that has truly made me cry. And I have a feeling it will not be the last.
Van Helsing airs on Fridays at 10/9C on SYFY.