Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: Let There Be Light

Dracula[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE SEASON FINALE OF DRACULA]

Dracula came to an end (at least for now) last Friday, and to be completely honest, I’m still not sure how I felt about it. I think most of what I said last week about it not being good enough to love or bad enough to just enjoy snarking at it, though the finale was nicely dramatic and brought a lot of things together in a way I wasn’t sure it would manage. I love finales that burn everything down, metaphorically, and this one did it literally as well. Some things I particularly liked:

  • I’m honestly not sure how the blood of Christ somehow got involved in this (I might have missed something), but that was a delightfully crazy addition.
  • Van Helsing dancing/conducting/smashing things in his lab to “In the Hall of the Mountain King” was an amazing scene.
  • I am choosing to believe that Renfield is fine until we have definite evidence to the contrary. Shh, leave me alone in my denial.
  • The vampire kids!
  • I loved that the electricity stuff stayed so important as a plot and that in the end Grayson’s machine itself was turned against him as a weapon.
  • Aww, Grayson killing Jayne instead of turning her. That’s quite a gift, from him, at that point, though I guess he doesn’t want her as a vampire enemy, either.
  • And Lucy killing her mother!!
  • I’m glad the show went through with the payoff of Mina and Grayson finally getting together, even if I have issues with the historicity of basically all the romantic subplots in this show. (I know, I know, a vampire show and this is what I complain about being unrealistic?)
  • And I love the idea of Harker and Van Helsing teaming up to bring down Grayson. That right there makes me want a second season.

Who else stuck with the show to the end? What did you think of the season as a whole? If it comes back, will you be watching?

Dracula Unearthed: Let There Be Light

DraculaDracula is over for the season (and possibly forever? No official word on that yet) but the cast and crew have one last episode of Dracula Unearthed for you, in which they discuss the finale. The video features Cole Haddon, Daniel Knauf, Victoria Smurfit, Tony Krantz, and Thomas Kretschmann.

Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: Of Monsters and Men

Dracula[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF DRACULA]

Grayson, out in the sunlight! That’s really the main thing that stuck with me from “Of Monsters and Men.” His motivations here are fascinating – on the surface of it, he obviously wants to be able to walk in the sun for convenience and to make it easier to keep the secret of his vampirism, but he also clearly enjoys walking in the sun for its own sake. For someone who is so into the power he gets from his vampirism, it’s clear that a lot of him really just wishes he were human. Of course, it’s not yet clear for how long he can be outside, which led to “I’ve never been quite so motivated to be concise in all my life,” obviously the line of the episode.

Elsewhere, Mina and Harker continue to get a bit more complex; I love how skeptical they are of Grayson’s interest in them. They anticipate their vows a bit – because Harker feels threatened? – and then Harker suggests eloping and also leaks a story to the papers; while he claims that the latter is because it’s in the national interest to have the information out there, and I’m sure that’s part of his motivation, I’m curious as to whether he’s deliberately sabotaging Grayson as well. We also learn a bit more about Mina’s motivations for her scientific studies – her mother died of cancer, and now she wants to “cure death,” which is a rather portentous thing to say on a vampire show. And just to make Mina’s life even more complicated, Jayne encourages Lucy to act on her feelings toward Mina, undoubtedly for her own nefarious reasons – trying to isolate Mina, maybe?

Dracula Unearthed: The Devil’s Waltz

DraculaIn this episode of Dracula Unearthed, writer/producers Cole Haddon, Daniel Knauf, and Tony Krantz and stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Nonso Anozie, Thomas Kretschmann, Victoria Smurfit, and Katie McGrath talk about all of the transformations the characters go through in “The Devil’s Waltz.”

Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: From Darkness to Light

Dracula[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF DRACULA]

As usual, there was a lot going on in this episode of Dracula; I watched most of it twice because I got distracted by a work emergency the first time, and I’m still pretty sure I missed stuff. The jury is still out for me on this show in general: all of these various threads could conceivably tie together into something awesome, but I’m not yet confident that they will.

Grayson’s old friend/right-hand man Josef comes to town, and he is, understandably, suspicious/doubtful of what’s going on with both Jayne/the Order and with Mina, whom he recognizes as Ilona. (I do appreciate the way that people in Grayson’s life keep trying to point out that sleeping with a vampire hunter may not be the best thing for his health and safety, and he remains seemingly baffled by this concept.) Grayson cleverly kills two birds with one stone by sending Josef after Jayne and then “saving” Jayne by killing Josef, thus convincing her that the vampire she’s hunting is dead (and earning her gratitude). “Sometimes you have to sacrifice a knight to capture a queen.” Grayson then continues various complex relationship maneuvers with Jayne, though he insists, “Someday, madam, you’ll realize I was never playing.”

Elsewhere, and in a plotline that was really a lot more fun, Mina and Harker’s engagement party is coming up, and Grayson’s hosting it, because of course he is. Mina’s really pretty indifferent to the party stuff – she’d rather learn more about Grayson’s experiments (and of course there’s an explosion that means he has to hold her. For safety.) – and lets Lucy plan the party, but she does at least question why Grayson is so interested and involved in her relationship. Good girl. Harker explains that Grayson is the reason they’re back together, and she’s less than thrilled to discover that her fiance’s sudden enlightenment about her own needs and desires did not come from him after all.

That seems like a lot of plot already, but oh hey, did I mention we’ve got a sudden military subplot? The Order wants England to invade the Ottoman Empire to get oil. The general in charge, Ogilvy, is resistant, so they murder him and quickly get his underling, Shaw, who was more sympathetic from the start, to agree to invade on trumped up justifications. This means that Grayson’s alternative energy innovations are no longer just about his personal triumph or financial gain – they could affect the fate of nations.

Other stuff going on:

  • Davenport is covering up his son’s death, of course, but he suspects Grayson’s involvement and sends a mysterious woman named Nora to figure out what matters most to Grayson so he can take it away. By the end of the episode, they’ve kidnapped Renfield. Uh-oh.
  • Lucy is clearly unhappy about Mina’s engagement. And it’s been made clear in the past that she has feelings for Mina. But how aware is she of that? Can she articulate it, even to herself?
  • Mina starts working as Van Helsing’s assistant and finds weird, “alive” blood samples. Presumably relatedly, Van Helsing and Grayson are continuing their attempts to let Grayson walk in the light.
  • When Grayson sends Harker to find out General Shaw’s secrets, he’s led to a woman named Vera Markham, and . . . that’s all we know about her so far.

Dracula Unearthed: Goblin Merchant Men

DraculaIn this episode of Dracula Unearthed for last Friday’s “Goblin Merchant Men,” creator Cole Haddon, writer/EP Daniel Knauf, EP Tony Krantz, and cast members Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Victoria Smurfit, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Jessica De Gouw have some interesting things to say about Dracula’s curse, the Grayson/Mina/Harker triangle, and more.

Dracula Thoughts & Open Thread: Goblin Merchant Men

Dracula[SPOILERS BELOW FOR THE MOST RECENT EPISODE OF DRACULA]

In “Goblin Merchant Men,” a flashback shows us the circumstances under which Dracula was turned by the Order, but unless I missed something, we don’t see exactly how they did it, or whether they were trying to create a new type of creature or just punish this one man. Grayson’s main goal at the moment is to find a way to walk in the sun, and Van Helsing is helping him, because he wants the Order brought down for his own reasons. But his day-walking cure only lasts for three minutes and change – “You leave me just enough time to have a cup of tea before I burst into flames.” Aww. Van Helsing also kills the seers to they can’t point the vampire hunters to Grayson, but I’m curious to see how long this alliance lasts.

Sexuality is definitely realistically fluid on this show – Lucy, for example, clearly has some sort of crush on Mina – but I appreciate that they don’t make what would be seen as deep transgressions in that society consequence-free. (Poor Laurent and Daniel.) In general, the show is handling social issues fairly well – at least some of the people around Mina react the way you’d expect to her goals, and the general reactions to Renfield are interesting. Grayson’s business associates are clearly not used to dealing with a black man in any sort of position of power, and while this obviously makes Renfield’s job harder at times, he also knows how to use their uneasiness to his advantage. (I also deeply enjoy his dynamic with Grayson. “The oddest thing happened to me today.” “Really, sir. Just one.”)

Other thoughts:

  • Of course Grayson plays the piano – I actually wrote “standard vamp emo piano playing” in my notes.
  • I’m not clear on exactly what Harker is doing for Grayson, or really, I suppose, what any of the people around him think he’s qualified to do, exactly.
  • Mina’s absinthe dream was fascinating and a beautifully put-together sequence, and since it was a dream, I won’t even protest the anachronisms.
  • “You know, Bohemian nightlife is a poor substitute for happiness.” Sometimes it’s hard to tell when Grayson’s being genuine and when he’s playing people. And that’s a good thing, really.
  • Grayson taking the time and effort to fix Mina’s relationship for her is simultaneously adorable, pathetic, and frightening. Presumably he won’t be satisfied by playing Cyrano forever.