Welcome back Dracula fans!
I hope you had a nice two week hiatus from one of our favorite shows?
The preview for this week’s episode looks like a huge turning point for a number of characters. I hope that Renfield can survive his current predicament and that Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) does not lose his head. It will no doubt prove and test loyalties abound.
The title of this episode was “From Darkness to Light” and that was truer than ever. The metaphor spoke volumes about the struggle that not only Grayson (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has with his limits, but what is revealed by Lucy (Katie McGrath) and what motives each one has that will soon come to light.
Now…on with the review. I loved the opening of this episode. It was shot beautifully, the way the light in the train car was dimmed, but also the way it flickered when Lady Jayne (Victoria Smurfit) wielded her sword toward the prowling vampires.
She is a clever one, that Lady Jayne, she gives them a point to attack, but then to the vampire’s surprise, she becomes the hunter and they the hunted. I know I would definitely want her on my side should a war of vampires erupt suddenly.
I also like the way the vampire’s approached her, it had a classic horror film feel to it, which I am sure the cinematographer (Chris Seager) was going for. Even though one of them escapes, she is still the victor in the battle.
I felt this episode has more than a few elements of a mafia type of feel to it. If you look at how Browning (Ben Miles) orders Jayne to dispose of the vampires, how he is basically the head of a family, she is the muscle (or hitman) if you will and his goal is to rid London of the opposing forces.
Sounds very much like a crime family, get rid of the one thing that is stopping you from moving forward. I will show examples of this later. I may be reading too much into it, being the mafia is my second subject of expertise, but I do feel that it does have some parallels to it.
The subject of women, their role in society and how men are still very much opposed to the power they yield comes up again this episode. It is of no surprise to me that the women in this series are very smart and cunning. They know when to assert their power and when to sit back and observe. They are by no means stupid, they are just biding their time and when the time is just right, the men will have to contend with their feminine guiles and their intellect.
When an old friend and sire of Grayson’s returns, Josef Cervenka (Alec Newman), Grayson knows that he has a fellow comrade in arms to help him in his fight for dominance of the Order of the Dragon. He is a bit reckless and could pose a problem for Grayson and Renfield (Nonso Anozie). We will see this happen a bit later as well.
Grayson asks him to join him in his fight against the Order and Josef says he will help, especially since they sent a woman to do a man’s job. His disgust is clear, he comes from a time where women were mere objects for men and had very little if anything to do with battle or war.
It was not their place, either because they were weak or inferior to men, when in fact the opposite was true. Grayson (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) knows his old friend will not let him down, he can use all the help he can get and he gets it…if only temporary.
When Grayson mentions that they must attack the source of the power of the Order, again this makes me think mafia. If you get rid of what makes them rich, it will cripple them in more ways then one. By killing their “soldiers” it only weakens them temporarily, but more will take their place. If you destroy the one thing that is their Achilles Heel, then you have won.
The subject of Davenport’s son’s homosexuality arose again. The excuse he made about how Daniel died is sad, but in his eyes and society necessary. If for any reason the Order or the rest of the known “world” knew the real reason he died, Davenport (Robert Bathurst) would be a social outcast and that was a fate worse than death. Alas, times have still not changed that much where a family can and will disown a child for being homosexual.
I am glad that this series is again, touching on the subject and making the taboo of it controversial, as it should be. Of course, again, it is shown that some people knew what Daniel was and definitely make sure that Lord Davenport is very much aware of that fact.
The subject of the Ottoman Empire comes up in this episode. It is no secret the brutality the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) had their hold of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa very steadfastly. I have heard my father talk about their influence in his home country of Serbia and the culture that imposed itself there. It was no surprise to me to hear the mention of war and the subject of the Ottoman Empire come up. I am sure that Grayson in his previous incarnation as Vlad Tepes encountered them on occasion.
The one thing that Grayson always asks of Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is he finds out the weaknesses of his opponents, what do they hold most dear? This makes me again think of a mob boss, the head of the family trying to find out how to best destroy the one main thing in his way. It is also what a predator does with its prey, it observes its habits and knows its weaknesses, so that it knows just where, when and how to make the fatal blow.
Josef becomes a liability when he sees Mina (Jessica De Gouw) and knows the real reason Grayson is so interested in her. His face says it all, like he saw a ghost of a long dead friend come back to life. His loyalty is put to the test at that very moment, does he question his master or does he just willing do as he is asked no question. He is and always will be a soldier and they are only meant to follow orders, not disobey them.
When the resonator machine goes haywire, Grayson saves Mina from disaster, but holds her a little too long for her liking. You can tell that he is thinking of his dead wife and no doubt longing for Mina to be his. Mina does however become uncomfortable with the too long hug and voices her opposition to Grayson funding and throwing her and Harker’s engagement party.
To walk in the sun is something every vampire longs to do, be able to walk among the living, to have the advantage of still having their powers, but able to blend in and be seen. No more hiding in the shadows, going from darkness to light.
As much as Grayson wants this it does come with a few setbacks, as we discover when he tries to hold his hand in the direct sunlight. Josef’s first reaction toward Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann) is one of retaliation, but Grayson stops him before he inflicts damage. Van Helsing explains why the formula worked if only temporarily, if they can get his heart pumping, then success will be at hand. Easier said than done…
The scene between Lucy (Katie McGrath) and Mina (Jessica DeGouw) when they are at her school is a great one. The pain that Lucy is in and the obliviousness of Mina is sad. Relationships between women in that era were very prominent, just not spoken of and maybe a bit more accepted than their male counterparts, since women were inferior.
Lucy’s comment about how Mina is so smart but so stupid at the same time reminds me of what the Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) says in Dangerous Liaisons about Danceny’s (Keanu Reeves) character “like most intellectuals, he’s intensely stupid”. There is a book called “Tipping the Velvet” by Sarah Waters is a historical novel about such relationships.
The “dance” between Jayne and Alexander is always fun to watch, especially in this episode where the dance became more of an Olympic event between the sheets. I laughed out loud when I saw where Grayson took Jayne. It was quite a surprise to me to know that women’s mud wrestling had such origins so long ago.
It does not surprise me though, that Jayne is turned on beyond belief by this sight, and I am surprised she didn’t get in there herself! It is often those kind of weird fetishes that arouse people. It reminded me of another movie where violence begat sexual activity.
The movie Crash, with Holly Hunter showed the way gruesome car crashes made people lose all control and voila a fetish is born. The sex scene is definitely one to be reckoned with, it had an edge of forcefulness to it, it did border on violent.
The scene that most reminds me of the mafia and its meetings is when Jayne is discussing the nosferatu she has slain over the last few months and that Grayson is not a threat. Browning however warns her that he may still be because of his money and the power he wields with it.
The part that most reminded me of what happens when you cross the mob is when Ogilvy (Timothy Bentinck) is explaining to Browning why they don’t have control over the Persian oil fields. It is a brutal scene and reminiscent of the scene in The Godfather when Luca Brasi (Lenny Montana) met his fate.
Ben Miles is brilliant how he is just so not fazed by what happens in front of him, how he is distracted by something else, just like a ruthless Don, all he cares about is himself and his “familia”. Just like business as usual, as if nothing happened, he approaches General Shaw (Peter Woodward), who is still clearly rattled by what happened, about the Ottoman situation.
The Davenport scene is great, too, because the woman he hires knows the real reason he wants her to follow Grayson. Again, this brings up my point of how women were thought of as inferior yet their intelligence equaled if not surpassed that of most men. It is not unheard of (another mafia reference) to have women as molls, they were the ones that were less conspicuous and could easily obtain information without anyone being the wiser. It is brilliant really, especially when women were not even acknowledged at all.
It again reminds me of the Marquise de Merteuil and something she said about observation “I already knew that the role I was condemned to, namely to keep quiet and do what I was told, gave me the perfect opportunity to listen and observe. Not to what people told me, which naturally was of no interest, but to whatever it was they were trying to hide.”
When Josef questions Grayson about his visit with Jayne and scolds him for consorting with such a vile beast, Grayson points out that sometimes there are things that have to be done in order to get to their goal.
As undesirable as Josef finds it, she is a necessity, whether he likes it or not. He is a soldier as Grayson had pointed out, he should be used to doing things that he may not agree with all the time.
But what Josef does is what ends up being his undoing, to no surprise of Grayson’s. He even tries to stop him when Josef goes to Jayne to kill her. As fate would have it, Jayne does what she does best and kills Josef, since he is as old as Grayson, he turns to dust unlike the other vampires who were not as old.
Even though Jayne thinks Grayson saved her life, quite the opposite is true. His game was set and he had no intention of giving up now, he had her right where he wanted her. She was a pawn in his chess game and he couldn’t wait to have check mate in his corner.
As he tells Renfield “The Order Dracul has lost its most dangerous weapon and they don’t even know it”. Renfield commends him on his master stroke and of eliminating Josef from the game, the sadness in Grayson is evident, he was a friend and Grayson’s sire (equivalent to child), but “sometimes you have to sacrifice a knight to capture a queen” Check mate indeed!
As the plan fell of track for a bit, it seems that Grayson wants to get things back on track. Unfortunately there is a slight setback as Renfield is captured by Davenport and used as a pawn to lure Grayson out.
I feel bad for Renfield since he is only doing his duty, but it could cost him everything, in more ways than one. What Davenport seems to forget is that once you cross Grayson…well, your fate is sealed.
Well, Dracula fans, I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as I did. Thanks for allowing me to spin my wild theories and I hope you stay tuned for the next delicious episode of Dracula! See you Friday!
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 and next June for Defiance!
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Until next time,