If you read last week’s recap for “The Chamber of Judgement,” needless to say, I wasn’t too keen on it. It felt like this huge misstep after the endless charm of “The Casino,” and didn’t exactly have much to work with to fill an entire episode worthy of Guillermo playing Nadja and Nandor for the throne. Does this week turn things up a notch? Yes. Yes. it does. Just a forewarning that everything from here on out is loaded with *SPOILERS*, so read at your own risk!
Episode 6: “The Escape” (dir. Yana Gorskaya)
“Previously on this filmed documentary program, or whatever the f*ck this is supposed to be.”
Co-leaders Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), unfortunately, have some bad news to share. A brief recap reminds us of the slumbering Sire, the world’s oldest living vampire of which all other bloodsuckers have descended. So, bad news. The Sire has escaped his living chambers within the Vampiric Council’s underground headquarters. All it took was taking the sharpened bones of its human dinner and “Shawshank”-ing its way out of the wall. Nadja had meant to remind Nandor to regularly feed the Sire, but wound up forgetting. Still, she can’t let the blame completely fall on her, can she? Nandor’s fault, it is!
Panic sets in at the house, as the vampire crew believe they’re all going to die. Nadja seems confident that if the vampire that turned you dies, then you’ll follow suit. Nandor gets ahead of himself, calling a press conference through the ether with the most important vampire press within the industry. Everyone naturally freaks out when Nandor throws out a speculative rumor of this incident being the potential end of vampirism. In short, everything’s gone to sh*t.
Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) and Laszlo (Matt Berry), however, seem skeptical. After all, Baron Afanas (Doug Jones) turned Nadja into a vampire – followed by Laszlo – long ago. The Baron was burnt to a crisp back in Season 1 when Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) accidentally unleashed a wave of sunlight on him. There’s no way he could still be alive, right? They task their bodyguard with digging up the Baron’s grave out in the backyard, you know, just to check and make sure. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Baron is still alive, albeit rotting and from the waist up. A drop of liquor and the blood of other victims in the yard kept him alive ever so slightly all this time. Nevertheless, this revelation fuels the fear that they too may be susceptible to dying. It’s pretty great to see Jones return to one of the funniest side characters of the series.
As the house goes into pandemonium, Guillermo finally takes charge of the situation by screeching as a substitute for nails on the chalkboard. Everyone gets their orders from their very confident bodyguard, and are on their way. Nadja and the Guide (Kristen Schaal) are tasked with meeting the Watchers, a pair of gossipy skyscraper gargoyles, to gather intel on where the Sire has been spotted throughout the city. It turns out the Sire was last seen in the vicinity of Ozone Park in Queens.
A trail of vampire piss and the arm of a security guard leads everyone to the Sire’s location. And yes, Colin Robinson, posting on local online community groups is a surefire way to find the many, many bigots in your area. They don’t even try to hide it. I’m speaking to you, Manchester Information. Anyways, all of the clues lead them to a department store, where Nandor starts to panic and doubt himself. Guillermo, shockingly, slaps his former Master across the face, giving him the necessary confidence to capture the Sire.
Nadja and Laszlo are the first ones to come across the Sire, who looks like an ancient winged gargoyle mixed with a Gremlin. Laszlo tries luring him in with a harmonica. It doesn’t work, at all. It only leads to Laszlo hilariously swallowing the harmonica, which affects how he talks. I hope he never gets it fixed. Meanwhile, Guillermo assembles a makeshift trap, while Nandor adorns the highly useful battle armor of a pink flamingo pool floatie.
Nandor sends Guillermo out as human bait, but decides to step out and take responsibility for the Sire’s escape. Predictably, Nadja does nothing. As the Sire throws small items at Nandor, the Baron, who happens to speak the beast’s language, ensures everyone that all he wants is freedom. The Baron coming to the rescue is not how I saw this panning out, but it makes me happy that Doug Jones has an excuse to pop up every now and then.
The Baron ends up moving in with the Sire, whose real name is Goëjlrm, in a cozy, out of the way cottage in Nutley, New Jersey. Together, they rent the place as an Airbnb, which unwittingly lures human food right to their doorstep. I would watch an odd couple spin-off of these two in a heartbeat.
Among the many things “What We Do in the Shadows” excels at, they have a knack for inventive creature design. I can’t say the Sire looked anything like I anticipated it to, but that’s part of the charm, really. “Shadows” is no stranger to CG monsters (i.e the gossipy gargoyles), but I appreciate when they go with practical effects. In this way, the Sire looks creepy from a distance, but actually kind of innocent up close. And the Baron looks adorable, whether he’s riding a golden retriever or inside a Power Wheels. Another solid episode!
You can catch “What We Do in the Shadows” on Thursday nights at 10/9c on FX. And you’ll find weekly recaps right here on Shuffle Online following each episode.
Featured Image: Kayvan Novak in “What We Do in the Shadows” I FX
Matt graduated from Keene State College in 2017 with a Bachelor’s in Critical Film Studies. A few of his favorite films include “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Army of Darkness,” “Before Sunrise” and “Certain Women.” Having already contributed to Bloody Disgusting, ELF Magazine and The Simple Cinephile, Matt aspires to expand and continue writing with various outlets. If there’s any chance to talk about horror films and/or Twin Peaks, he’ll very much jump at the opportunity.