Well, looks like we can officially put aside that quest for world domination. Much as it did last week with the return, and subsequent arrest, of Nadja’s eternal lover Gregor-Jeff, this week’s episode of What We Do In The Shadows brought back a character from the show’s pilot episode—Doug Jones’ desiccated, dickless vampire The Baron, who’s been slumbering in the attic since his initial appearance at the end of the pilot—only to send them away again. Unlike Gregor-Jeff or neophyte vampire Jenna, however, there’s no chance of The Baron making a third appearance thanks to early riser Guillermo, who presumably wanted to get to the florist before all the good roses were taken by regretful lovers trying to make up for the sins of the previous evening. He crumbled into dust in the early-morning light, in other words, a fate he shares with his cinematic equivalent, similarly ancient and terrifying fourth roommate Petyr from the original film.
Narratively, this felt like a bit of a cop-out to me; why even introduce the idea of a season-long story arc, only to let it literally go up in flames a little more than midway through? If a more episodic style was what the show’s writers had in mind, that’s fine, but this seemed like trying to have it both ways. I realize I’m contradicting myself here, but even though I’ve written in previous recaps about my desire to see the vampires out on the town and to wrap up some of those dangling plot points, this week’s episode, which did just that, wasn’t quite as funny to me as “Manhattan Night Club,” which also put the vampires on the nightlife scene. It felt more functional than the product of real comedic inspiration, a suspicion enhanced by the fact that this episode was shorter—two minutes shorter than last week’s, and a full four minutes shorter than the third episode—and less dense in terms of joke-a-minute dialogue than usual.
To be fair, though, although this episode didn’t have such deliciously absurd details as the cursed hat in episode four or the vaginal topiary in episode three, it did have some funny moments worth noting: As he often does, Matt Berry takes the honors for best line reading of the week with his triumphant proclamation of, “we are on drugs!,” and the karaoke-room scene effectively captured that the contrast between medieval folklore and modern life that’s at the core of this show’s sense of humor. Colin Robinson and Guillermo were firmly on the margins this week, although both of them contributed to the plot in their own ways—Guillermo by accidentally killing the Baron when he returned from the florist early in the morning after the vampires were out drinking drugged blood all night, and Colin by giving him that New Jersey Devils hat. So, you know, varying degrees.
But this episode was mostly for the bloodsuckers—who, might I add, took more risks than usual during their night of partying, starting with the Baron sucking a drunk dry on the sidewalk (that sounds obscene, and I refuse to change it), continuing with doing “shots” from a bar patron hanging from the bathroom ceiling, and culminating with the vampires drinking the blood of unsuspecting clubgoers at a rave, prompting Nandor’s best line this week, “we drank the blood of some people, and the people were on drugs, and now I am a wizard!” Even the Baron projectile vomiting around the parking lot next to the pizza parlor—a gag we’ve seen before, but on a smaller scale—was not exactly low-profile. With the Baron gone and the quest for world domination presumably scrapped, consequences for these indiscretions may be the key for how What We Do In The Shadows can move forward with an overarching plot. We’ll find out next week—or maybe the week after.
- Does Nandor really not know what a rose is? They’re not exactly a new invention.
- “Two ruffs don’t make a right.” This was a good episode for silly Nandor quips.
- On that note, I did enjoy the Baron’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula look.
- I tried to find out if the New Jersey Devils really do suck, but hockey stats are confusing. Sorry.
- “You know what I’ve always wanted to try?” “Coprophilia?” Looks like Laszlo picked up some tips from the dogs at the shelter last episode.
- Everybody together now: “There was a girl in the village, she had one very small foot / Did she lose her foot in the well? No one knows, no one knows...”
- This week’s fun fact comes courtesy of the song featured in the episode credits, “Let’s Go Sunning.” The song was part of a major censorship case in 1957 after the film it was originally composed for, Garden Of Eden, was banned in New York state for including “documentary footage” of a nudist colony; the New York State Court of Appeals ultimately ruled that the film was not obscene because of the “wholesome, happy” nature of the nudists’ onscreen activities, opening the floodgates to nudity in American cinema. So next time you see a bare butt in a movie, sing to yourself: “Let’s go sunning / It’s so good for you / Let’s go sunning / Beneath the sky of blue...”