Saturday, January 18, 2014

In Which I Review Dracula (1x9)

Every week, my friend Jo and I sit down together to watch Dracula and each week we have the same conversation:
"This is it!"
"This is the week!"
"Tonight, he'll turn Lucy!!"
"It has to happen tonight!" 

In the original novel, the slow draining and eventual turning of Lucy is a way to demonstrate to the reader that Dracula is for real; that the count is really a vampire draining a sweet lovely woman of her life force and turning her into a wanton strumpet. For 8 episodes, I have been waiting for this to begin, each week becoming more and more convinced it wasn't going to happen. This show has changed so much about Dracula already, why not remove something as iconic as little Lucy being changed. But then this week, in "Four Roses," it finally happened. Lucy fell prey to Dracula's teeth and her eyes were opened to the darkness. 

This episode, the penultimate of the season (most likely series), was a declaration of war. Tired of being countered at every turn, Dracula wants to declare open war against the Order of the Dragon. Refusing to listen to reason Renfield, Dracula is convinced that the Order is responsible for what happened to Mina-- attempted burning off the lovely skin of a young woman is totally keeping in line with the Order's past machinations. Never mind the fact that it wasn't actually the Order who went after Mina but Lord L's father, hell bent on revenge for his son's death. Dracula has decided that "blood will flow." How trite and cliche. Of course blood will flow. You're a vampire. I'd be more concerned if blood didn't flow.
In the meantime, Dracula has been visiting Mina in the hospital where dreams and memories of the night she was almost scalded by acid continue to haunt her. She seems to realize that it was Dracula who saved her, but she still can't grasp why. Because Mina is an idiot. I'm serious. The show billed her as a modern Victorian woman who was Dracula's equal--she was courageous and a bit of spitfire; she refused to stay within the mores of Victorian society by going to medical school, but yet she can't figure out that Dracula is obsessively in love with her. With every visit, Dracula bring Mina a rose, placing it in her palm as she sleeps (and he sits and stares at her, waiting for dawn). And the nurses and doctors aren't bothered by this? Were visiting hours not a thing? Did the employees not wonder why Mina's fiancee's boss was there all the time? Did they not speak to him, tell him to go home and stop being such a creep? The illogical actions of the background characters in this conceptual world are really worrisome. Anyway, that's why this episode is called "Four Roses." Because Dracula brings her three roses. Yeah, I'm not kidding. There were only three roses by her beside by my count (I should note that I am more than capable of counting to four.) So where is the mysterious fourth rose? Is the fourth rose a metaphor? Am I supposed to try and work out where the other rose is?

The episode is more or less smaller moments in between Dracula's visits to Mina. The first finds Dracula's house under search and seizure by the coppers who are looking for Monty's Browning's children, kidnapped last week. Browning is convinced that Grayson is behind the assault to his family. Because business rivals often kidnapped the children of their competitors? Honestly, the plot of Dracula taking down the Order through business practices has been so wholly diluted that it's hard for me to understand why exactly Browning sees Dracula as a threat. He hasn't actually done anything to them, apart from snacking on a few of their members. Any plots that have come up in his quest to destroy the Order have been overshadowed by the sexy fun times of the characters hooking up with one another so I'm not sure when exactly Browning decided Grayson was a legitimate threat, and certainly not enough as to suspect that Grayson kidnapped his children. Of course, Dracula doesn't have the kids (to no one's surprise, Van Helsing does). The second moment comes when Dracula decides to move forward with his "blood will flow" plan.

Dracula pays a nice little social call to a gentleman's club frequented by members of the Order and locks them in a room with hungry baby vampires who have quite the happy picnic. The resulting masacre, which is being called a yachting accident (wut??) by the Order, also results in the Order calling in an expert hunter (guy with face tattoo) and some sort of ancient Latin relic. I have no idea what this relic does or how it will be helpful to them. I also have no idea why they called in another hunter when they have Ninja running around London in her leather miniskirt and thigh high boots, slaying vampires left and right. Why the 11th hour appearance of another slayer? And one with a name I don't know.

Before Dracula's final visit to Mina, a few things happen that we have to talk about first. The first is that Harker joins the Order of the Dragon. Again, I'm not 100% sure why. I get that he's pissed with Dracula for playing him and that he is beginning to recognize that Mina is in love with Dracula, but it seems like quite a jump to join a secret order that makes you swear a blood oath to join their ranks. What happens when you take down Grayson? You're still a member but your usefulness to them is over. They'll probably just kill you. Which I'm ok with. Harker is a dull man with little to recommenced him. And of course there is Lucy and Harker, the former horrified by what she did and the latter guilt ridden but also uncaring. He leaves Lucy the morning after and just goes about his business. He doesn't even go to see Mina in the hospital! Something she questions when she decides to break out of the hospital and confront him. Why the Harker/Mina confrontation? Because Lucy spills the beans about the sex-ing. Lucy continues to be the worlds greatest best friend by visiting Mina in the hospital and subtly hinting (by way of tears and furtive looks) that she and Harker have slept together. When Mina demands an explanation from Harker, his only response is "because you love Grayson." So you slept with her best friend in retaliation? Douche move, bro.

Which leads to the final night in the hospital between Mina and Dracula. After eight episodes, countless pointless plots, finally Mina and Dracula talk about the elephant in the room: they love each other. Mina wants to know why Dracula keeps coming back and Dracula says he can't explain it, but Mina reminds him of a woman he loved very deeply once. Side note but this is what woman LOVE to hear. "You remind me of my ex. Let's hook up."

When Mina presses Dracula about this old flame, he tells her about Eiona to which--wait for it--Mina exclaims in surprise that she knows all about Eiona because she's been dreaming about her since she was a little girl and "she looks just like me!" Oh. My. God. WELL OF COURSE YOU HAVE MINA. Because this isn't the most convenient and nonsensical plot device in a show full of convenient and nonsensical plot devices. Lazy lazy LAZY writing, that is. Talk about robbing any real character development by just having Mina randomly already know all this information. The only connection she hasn't made is that she is Eiona, reborn. Because, again, Mina is an idiot. So why can't Dracula and Mina ride off into the sunset? Mina wants to know the same thing: "Do you love me?" But Dracula can't answer because first he owes Eiona a great debt and he must pay before he can move forward (ie: kill the Order of the Dragon.) But Dracula also expresses surprise that Mina wants him because--you know--Harker, her fiancee up until 5 second ago? Ah but that's over, explains Mina, cause he banged my best friend.

Ut oh. Dracula doesn't like Mina being hurt. So while Lucy relaxes in a bath, Dracula breaks into a locked room with no windows (wut??) and tells Lucy that if she wants to be a monster, he'll help her out. And then he bites her, drains her, and make her drink his blood. And thus a new Lucy will rise. (I don't know how this one will be any different seeing as she's already a vixen.)
One more episode and it's over. What happens next? Will anything make sense??!

Miscellaneous Notes on Four Roses

--Seriously. Where is the fourth rose? This bothers me more than it should.

--Van Helsing almost killed children but settled for a ransom note.

--Lucy came out to her mother. In possibly the worst but most hilarious way ever. Come on, Lucy. Did you really think Momma would be ok with this? How many lesbians in Victorian England have you met? 

--"Aren't you American?" So glad that line was thrown in. For a second I was worried that JRM had just given up and dropped his attempt an American accent. 

--"I've summoned the Sicilian." That's nice Ninja but I don't know who that is. Or why he is being brought on in the last few moments.

--"I hate hospitals" Someone please kill Mina.

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