Saturday, December 7, 2013

In Which I Review Dracula (1x6)

This weeks episode of Dracula, "Of Monsters and Men," had a theme. No, I'm being perfectly serious. It had an actual discernible theme that played out on screen in several characters. It was amazing--the fact that it had a theme, not the episode itself. The episode was more or less an exercise in senseless subplots and the various sexcapades of individuals. But I consider the appearance of a theme to be a step in the right direction. The theme replete in this weeks episode was illusions: being unable to see something, even if it's right in front of your face. I suppose this might have always been a theme on this TV show as no one outside of Renfield and Van Helsing can see that Dracula is a vampire. Or at least is a very strange man of whom everyone should be deeply suspicious. But this week several characters--Ninja, Harker, and Mina--were confronted with the illusions that have previously escaped their notice and they responsed to those illusions. And of course there was sexy fun time for everyone! Except Renfield. Poor Renfield, he just walks through life taking care of Dracula. 

 The episode opens with Dracula having a dream of walking in the sun. It's a peaceful dream, sunlight streaming through the treetops, bird singing, and even a happily bubbling fountain. Which of course Dracula feels the need to splash in and wash over his face. It's a metaphor, guys. Baptism and rebirth. To walk in the sunlight like any other man is Dracula's ambition, cause this is what we envision when we think of the King of Vampires. Anyway, the reality of Dracula's world is much darker and cloistered. He's taking Ninja (henceforth, her name is Ninja and never Jane) and her boobs to dinner. Seriously. Does this woman posses a dress that is actually Victorian? In everything she wears, she's is practically spilling out. I'm amazed that more old ladies haven't passed out or clutched their pearls whenever she walks by. Ninja is having a hard time coping with her reality because the illusion that Alexander Grayson is just an ordinary man is crumbling around her. Her bosses in the Order of the Dragon are convinced that Grayson is a vampire because he has never been seen out in daylight. To be fair, I don't go out in daylight either, but I'm not a blood sucker. Before they can even sit down at dinner, Dracula becomes distracted by the appearance of Mina across the room. Remember, the last time they saw each other it was for dance/sex. This time it's for a different type of foreplay: cards. Ah yes. How many great romances start: card tricks. Mina is enchanted by card parlor tricks, mostly because Mina is a bit of simpering idiot. She likes illusions. She likes the illusion that she and Harker are happy and are a normal couple; she likes the illusion that she isn't attracted to Grayson at all; she likes the illusion that Lucy is just a friend and the constant gripping and touching doesn't have anything to do with sex. Mina will spend most of this episode trying to reinforce her own illusions. So despite Grayson's interference and Lucy's sulking at dinner, Mina can push those cracks in her illusion to the back of her mind (with the help of some alcohol). But even alcohol can only go so far. The best trick to keep her perfectly ordered illusion? Sex.

Yup. Because ladies in Victorian England who were engaged go out in public and aren't chaperoned at all. And her servants in the house would totally not be home for when Mina finally stumbled through the doors, drunk and wet. And those same servants would totally be ok with her fiance being alone with her in a dark house. So when Mina and Harker do manage to find their way home, drunk and soaking wet, and since the servants apparently have the night off, Mina decides to strip down to her Victorian underwear and have sex with Harker. Impure! Impure! Stone her!

Oh Mina. Don't fight your attraction to Dracula. He has you in his thrall. And I'm betting your one night with Harker was nothing compared to the dance/sex at your engagement party. But hey. Anything to keep up that illusion that you're totally happy with Jonathan Harker, dullest man alive. Notice that Mina doesn't even want to do the whole post-coital cuddling thing; and in fact she balks at the idea of running way and eloping with Harker. Instead of staying in bed, she flees to her lab. Experiments must be done. Sure, Mina. I'm sure you're not just running from the horrible mistake you just made. Mina's experiments lead her to discover Van Helsing's sunlight elixir. This elixir brings things back to life, cells and rats. Mina confronts Van Helsing about this, her precious illusion that her teacher is an honorable man shattered. How could he have something so suspicious! Van Helsing gives Mina some idiotic tale about parasites all the while planning to bash her brains in with a mallet (uh, not too sure how Dracula would react to that, Van Helsing). But (thankfully?) Van Helsing stops short of actually killing Mina because her mother had cancer. Mina gives some sob story about wanting to cure death and how she wants to be a part of Van Helsing's work and with that cleared up, Van Helsing lets her go. Van Helsing seems to be a mallet-wielding psycho. How many more times do I need to see flashbacks of his family dying at the hands of the Order? I get it. He's sad and wants revenge. Move on, please.

Speaking of moving on: VixenBoobs. At the aforementioned dinner, Lucy and Ninja had quite the little moment. Lucy, fed up with Dracula's interference and Mina's obvious attraction, stalks over to Ninja, the latter of whom as been left bereft by Grayson. These two understand one another. Ninja wants Grayson all to herself but he jumps at the first chance he has to go over to Mina; Lucy wants Mina to herself but Mina is so wrapped up in preserving her illusions that Lucy never gets the chance to tell Mina how she feels. Ninja sees an opportunity to get what she wants by destroying Lucy and Mina. Cause somehow that relates back to Dracula. Ninja invites Lucy over to tea (is that what the young kids are calling it now?) in order to get to know each other (euphemism alert!). The tea is, needless to say, really bizarre. And I do mean bizarre. Ninja straight up hits on Lucy, touching hands, her face, her boobs. Ninja tells Lucy that her urges toward Mina are natural and she should totally explore those. Poor Lucy. She takes this stranger's advice and decides to hit on Mina while they lay in bed. She begins by stroking Mina's face and then kisses her! And Mina goes crazy. She can't believe Lucy would do this, that Lucy has these feelings toward her. She orders Lucy out. The Mucy ship took quite a hit last night. I wonder if a certain enigmatic blood sucker will step in. He better. What is Lucy's purpose if it's not as Dracula's meal? I know they aren't keeping with the original story at all, but toss your viewers a bone! Give us Dracula draining Lucy, cause I really want to see what the Vixen would be like once she's a full fledged creature of the night. I suspect Vampire Lucy would be like a dog in heat.

And then there is Jonathan Harker, maybe one of the most obtuse idiots ever. Dude. What kind of researcher are you? A newspaper man who doesn't check out his sources? Come on! So a few episodes back, Harker met with some woman in gray who gave him files and evidence against the general Dracula is trying to take down. It was a cornucopia of wonder! Evidence that perfectly laid out how this general was taking money from his enterprise. And Harker fell for it, hook, line and sinker. And of course it turns out that it's not true. The woman was an actress who led him astray. And now Harker is in trouble with Dracula and the Order (for reasons passing understanding). His illusion that he has finally found his nitch in the world as Dracula's go to he man for information is crumbling. If he can't perform his duties as information man, then what use does Grayson have for him? And if Harker looses his position then he also looses the money and the influence that goes with that position. And then he's less of a man. His illusion that he is finally worthy of Mina and is finally a respectable man who can marry Mina is slipping. Hopefully it slips all the way and Harker just up and leaves. Is there anyone who doesn't think Dracula and Mina will eventually be together?

And so we are left with one final illusion: Dracula and sunlight The Order, most of whom serve on the Coolant company, are convinced that Dracula cannot go out in sunlight. These clever men decided to trick Grayson and call a meeting of the shareholders at noon in a solarium. Dracula has no choice; he must appear at this meeting or loose his company. Time for Dr. Van Helsing's miracle cure! The last time we saw this process it didn't exactly go according to plan: the test subject burst into flames. But Dracula and his loincloth are determined. This procedure was like something out of Frankenstein--electric shock and needles full of serum. Renfield was there the whole time in case something went wrong, of course. Loyal that man is. And then Dracula finally stepped foot into the sun. But he was on a limited time table, and even though the Order tried to hold him, he managed to get away before they noticed his skin bursting into flames. Luckily there was an actress who's services were no longer needed and once he fed, Dracula was perfectly fine. And Ninja's illusion that Alexander Grayson is an ordinary man was reinforced.

Miscellaneous Notes on Of Monsters and Men

--I don't get the title for this episode. Pretentious.

--I think there was some sort of subplot about a Dresden Tryptic but I'm not sure. It was mentioned but never came up again.

--"We could be so much more" Poor Lucy

--3 week break and then I think this season only has 4 or 5 episodes left. Will it be renewed? Hard to say. Numbers aren't steady enough to call.

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