Next week’s episode will prove to be very essence of what Dracula is and how he was made. The origins and why’s of his making will become crystal clear.
As powerful as Dracula is, he is still vulnerable and longs to be a mortal man. This week’s episode for me proved even more why I am loving this how, the secrets and lies that were told and that are exposed…well, I saw it coming, but still loved seeing them unfold.
A Whiff of Sulfur:
Now…onto to my review…just a reminder that not every scene will be reviewed, just the ones I feel are really significant…the beginning in the tomb is great, the low light and the way that Dracula rises and then lashes out at Van Helsing. It did have a slight Matrix feel to it, and I suspect there will be more scenes like that as the series progresses.
The way Van Helsing renders him immobile is bad ass! Using metal fashioned as crosses by St. Eligius is the one thing that not only stopped him, but caused him physical pain.
There is always much speculation (also depending on what lore you believe) of silver doing damage to vampires, which is what I suspect the blades of St. Eligius are made of.
I really love that the writers added more about the “real” Dracula Vlad Tepes, his history in Wallachia and his royal ties. It makes the story, for me, more intriguing, to know that a man really existed who was an abomination and did all those horrible things. It gives the myth a little more reality, so to speak.
Clever Van Helsing! He knows that without the powerful Dracula on his side, he is no match for the Order of the Dragon. The offer that Van Helsing asks of Dracula is one that they both want and are very willing to take part in. The loss for both men has been great and they share the same pain, and as the saying goes, misery loves company.
Van Helsing reminds Dracula that he is “far greater than any mortal man” therefore he has the power to inflict the kind of pain that both men have gone through, only tenfold. Great job by JRM (it’s easier to out his initials then write out his whole name), the pain he is in when his hand is exposed to sunlight.
The character of Jonathan Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is an interesting one. He has a few different sides to him and of course depending on who he is with he shows you only that one. Jackson-Cohen plays them well, he has some confidence, but lacks the real strength to be his own person. It seems that Mina (Jessica De Gouw) has more of that than he does. His character will no doubt change as the series progresses and I am hoping that we get to see the other sides of him.
I do love the subject of closeted homosexuality that they touch on (as will I later) with Lord Laurent (Anthony Howell) and Daniel Davenport (Lewis Rainer) in the episode and of that era. Again I think it’s great that the writers are going that direction to see how much we have (and have not) progressed in the last century or so. It is a subject that in that era was more than taboo to talk about or even be associated with. Times have changed, but not by much…sadly.
One of the things I love about the myth of Dracula, the series and the Coppola movie touched on this as well, is the question that Renfield (Nonso Anozie) about just taking Mina from Harker. The answer is one filled with regret, remorse and love, just like Gary Oldman answered Mina (Winona Ryder) in Coppola’s Dracula “I love you too much to condemn you”, JRM answer is similar. His answer is “to simply take the woman, to turn her into such that I am, would be an abomination”. It proves that he loves her too much to allow her to live like a vampire, to live in the darkness and have death surround her. He would rather make the sacrifice and be human again, and love her as the man he was than the monster he is. When Renfield asks him again, “yet you still seek to draw her in” Dracula’s answer is “to lose her twice would be more than I can bear”…again, it is his love for Mina that is both his salvation and damnation.
Lady Jayne’s (Victoria Smurfit) warning to the two seers (Tom Reed and Yusra Warsama) should be taken strongly. The high council? Wonder who besides Browning (Ben Miles) is part of that? It’s a fun scene, because Victoria once again gets to flex her bad ass muscles again.
I love the scene with Mina and Harker talking about his future and the offer that Grayson made him. The fact that the lady at the next table covered her children’s eyes because of the public display of affection that they showed was funny, but not far off from the oppression that plagued that era.
Especially since they are not married, it made the act doubly so taboo, I am surprised no one else looked upon them with disgust. What goes on behind closed doors is fine, but it is forbidden to be anywhere out in the open…again, we will see that later.
“Although I have been known to dabble in the occult”, really? Would never have guessed! I loved that line, I laughed out loud when Lady Jayne asked him to reveal his secret regarding the light bulb trick. The scene that follows is very sensual, and very telling about where Grayson’s heart truly lies.
Of course he would be thinking about Mina and wishing that she were in bed with him instead of Jayne. The love that he has for Mina is never far from his mind, and if he needs to manifest her when he is with another woman, then he will. It may be the only way for him to survive in his current situation.
When Browning and Jayne talk about what happened to the seers when they located Dracula, they mentioned Lucrezia Borgia, who was certainly a woman of skewed values and had an interesting life…to say the least. I like that the writers again are incorporating real people and their history.
I wonder how Jayne will react when she finds out that the man she has been sleeping with (although I suspect there is not much sleeping involved) is the vampire she seeks.
One of my favorite scenes comes toward the end of the episode when Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is telling Grayson about Lord Laurent (Anthony Howell) and Grayson finds out a very interesting secret about him. This is where it gets very interesting.
Homosexuality in that era was forbidden or underground, hence the reason for the private club and the utmost secrecy. If men like Laurent (who is married) were to be exposed it would be their undoing. Just the mere mention of impropriety or scandal could cause him to be disgraced and out cast in society.
I guess it is a good thing that there was no internet or camera phones during that era, because surely that would be his undoing. The fact that Laurent is also with the son of one of his colleagues, makes matters worse since I am sure that would also be the undoing of young Davenport.
JRM plays the scene beautifully, the way he swaggers into the Swinburne club is perfection. As he watches Laurent and Davenport kiss, Grayson knows that this will be the one thing that he can lord over Laurent. That he has him right where he wants him, that if he crosses him in any way, he can blackmail Laurent or at least ruin his reputation.
The reaction of Laurent upon seeing Grayson is sheer terror, he knows he is caught and the fact that it is also by a man he cannot stand makes it worse (but better for Grayson). When Grayson kissed Daniel (Lewis Rainer) I giggled with glee, he knows what he is doing and the game is on!
When Grayson let’s Laurent know that he could care less who a man loves but “there are legions of less broadminded souls, your wife, his father who would take considerable umbrage if your inclinations would get a public airing”…blackmail at its finest.
The nonplussed way that Grayson delivers this to Laurent is wonderful, just in the cusp of being ever so smug yet warning at the same time. Cross him and Laurent and Daniel’s life as they know it is over. Well played, Grayson, well played, Laurent is at your mercy and I suspect would do anything to save his reputation and keep his secret on the down low.
What happens with the Harker scene when he is with his friends is brilliant. Jackson-Cohen plays it well, his cockiness comes out when he is with his mates. This is what I love about the fact that Harker has so many colors, although it is unfortunate that Mina hears him tell his mates that he wants her to quit her dreams.
His is conflicted, but doesn’t really show it to anyone, he does love Mina, but he also wants to be a man and assert his masculinity. If he allows his wife to work on a man’s profession then he becomes less assertive and loses his manhood, or so society dictates that is what will happen.
It is unfortunate that Mina overheard Harker bragging to his mates that Mina will be a proper wife. As much as he says it, I don’t think he really believes it, he is just being pressured and has yet to assert himself, which I am hoping will happen in the episodes to come.
I am sure that once Grayson starts sniffing around Mina more and more, he will become more assertive and make sure his woman stays his woman. Jackson-Cohen does a great job of balancing Harker’s emotions and his loss (if only temporarily) of Mina is evident. I do believe that Harker loves Mina as much as Grayson and will no doubt fight for her will be strong.
The brutality of the end scene is what vampires are known for and what the lore is famous for. Especially what Jayne does to Grayson’s victim, the cutting off the head is what needs to be done in order for the victim not to turn.
The body has to be whole, or it cannot turn into a vampire. Jayne’s sword wielding is precise and most definitely gets the job done…poor Sinead (Elizabeth Kinnear), just another hapless victim.
Well, vampire fans I hope that you enjoyed my post as much as I did writing it. I am so looking forward to the next episode as we get a glimpse further into the darkness! Stay tuned and remember to sharpen those stakes!
Thank you for visiting WormholeRiders News Agency. And thanks to Kenn for video embedding and additional images for my review. I will be back over the coming weeks with more on our series review sites for Dracula, Almost Human and next June for Defiance!
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Until next time,