As Syfy’s hit series ‘Sanctuary’ draws near to the season premiere, we thought you might like a recap of the series thus far. ‘Sanctuary’ follows the beautiful and mysterious, Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping of ‘Stargate SG-1’) and her quest to house and protect various abnormal humans and animals; people with certain extraordinary powers and abilities – what most people would consider monsters. “The Sanctuary” serves as a safe haven for these “Abnormals”.
She is initially aided in her quest by her reluctant protégé Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne); her intrepid daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup) now passed on; the lycanthrope Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins), a computer geek and security expert; and her Neanderthal-like assistant, played by Christopher Heyerdahl (unnamed, but listed as Bigfoot or “Biggie” in the show’s credits).
The history of Dr. Magnus is revealed gradually. She was trained by her father, a gifted Victorian-era scientist, to study the world and protect the unusual. Helen was a member of a group of experimental scientists known as “The Five”, which included also the enigmatic Nikola Tesla (Jonathon Young), Nigel Griffin, Dr. James Watson (Peter Wingfield), and Magnus’s lover, John Druitt (Heyerdahl again), who wanted to push the boundaries of their understanding of the physical world through unconventional means. Magnus acquired a vial of untainted vampire blood and used it in a serum that “The Five” injected into themselves.
After the injection, they each developed individual Abnormal traits: Magnus experienced drastically slowed aging, and longevity with no clear limit; Nigel Griffin acquired the power to become invisible at will; Dr. James Watson’s intellect was tremendously heightened; Nikola Tesla, one of my personal favorite characters, underwent a transformation into a vampire, with the additional power of electrical manipulation.
John Druitt developed longevity and the ability to teleport through time and space, but, already unstable and soon possessed by a malevolent energy creature (explained Season 2 Episode 11), he was driven to give in to his dark impulses and became Jack the Ripper.
In ‘Revelations’, the first season finale, a small amount of a biological weapon named Lazarus is tested, that causes all typesof Abnormals to become extremely violent, attacking anyone nearby and then dying painfully. This is part of The Cabal’s overall plan to incite humanity against the Abnormals so that they can wipe out the entire Abnormal population and gain greater influence over humanity.
They brainwash Ashley, and in season two, convert her into a vampiric supersoldier, using her as a template for a small army which attacks the Sanctuary network. Against all odds, Magnus and her teams stop them at the Old City Sanctuary, and Ashley, in a moment of clarity, apparently sacrifices herself. Her father, Druitt, hunts down and kills the heads of the Cabal, which seems to disband.
As season two moves on, Magnus grapples with denial, then grief, and finally accepts the loss of Ashley. Meanwhile, the team adjusts to newcomer Kate Freelander (Agam Darshi), a former freelance Cabal operative. For more on Agam, see our exclusive interview here: Interview With Agam Darshi (Kate Freelander) Of ‘Sanctuary’
They also deal with their relationships (Magnus’s in particular) to the remaining members of the Five, and increased international coordination in the wake of the Cabal’s attacks on the Global Sanctuary Network that Magnus had established. It emerges that an enormous marine Abnormal, Big Bertha, had been preserved rather than euthanized by Magnus, and that Bertha is, somehow, a sapient being named Kali existing on a psychic or spirit plane, intricately tied to nature and Abnormals around the world.
At the end of the second season and beginning of the third, a man named Edward Forsythe (Callum Blue) tries to take control of Bertha, and NY Sanctuary House Head Terrence Wexford (Paul McGillion) goes rogue trying to destroy her – he even attempts to depose and kill Helen.
Bertha/Kali is saved and Wexford is ousted, but more questions are raised than answered: Will visits the spirit plane via induced cardiac arrest, and while there he sees two other powerful beings in addition to Kali; he encounters Helen’s father, who gives Will a message for her and then spontaneously returns to life with no brain damage after an unprecedented length of time.
The Sanctuary team speculates that the beings are avatars of Abnormals as powerful as Big Bertha, one of which may have been the source of the earthquake that stopped a destructive tidal wave started by Kali’s wrath. Meanwhile, Gregory Magnus’s message leads them to old birthday gifts he gave Helen, which in conjunction produces a tangible holographic map or miniature representation of an unknown steampunk-style city.
This is eventually revealed to be Praxis, an advanced underground civilization of humans and Abnormals. After an initial period of mistrust (exacerbated by the antics of Adam Worth (Ian Tracey), an old enemy of Helen’s who inspired Jekyll and Hyde), Helen and her team save the world and reach an entente, with Gregory acting as ambassador. However, the peace does not last long.
Worth, who escaped, manipulated unhappy Abnormals in Praxis while experimenting with a dangerously unstable energy source to power a time machine. The end results of his machinations were the destruction of Praxis, several armies of displaced Abnormals marching on the upper world, and his escape to the past to attempt to save his daughter, Magnus hot on his heels.
In season four with thousands of Abnormals running free and causing a great deal of trouble for the world, Magnus comes to the understanding that she and the rest of the team must step outside the normal procedures in order to create order. We expect big things to happen in this season, as it appears the world may not be able to contain the secret of the Abnormals much longer.