“Dracula” (NBC television series)
Episode 4: “From Darkness To Light” (air-date 15/11/2013)
Director: Andy Goddard
Writer: Tom Grieves
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Kretschmann, Kathie McGrath, Victoria Smurfit, Alec Newman, Nonso Anozie and Oliver Jackson-Cohen
So, after the cluster-hump of “Goblin Merchant Men”, I was truly at a loss to wonder about how the series would progress and thankfully my questions were answered in “From Darkness To Light”- NOW we’re getting somewhere!
Upon reconcilement, Mina accepts Harker’s marriage proposal which causes Mina’s BFF Lucy to suffer a broken heart that she conceals by appointing herself as the wedding planner. Meanwhile, Grayson decides that it is time to take action against Lady Jayne whom he has taken as his beard (oh what?) when he decides it’s time to strike the Order directly. Van Helsing makes a massive breakthrough that is sure to benefit Grayson until a blast from Grayson’s past comes to town bringing with it several major complications.
Although it would be ridiculous of me to suggest given we are only four episodes in, “From Darkness To Light” is perhaps the best episode so far because so much actually happens for the principal characters, with some new light being shone on Lucy. As you probably remember from episode three, Lucy harboured a secret desire for her bestie, one that is obliviously unrequited. After making a whirlwind Girl’s Night Out of Bohemian London, Lucy was so sure that Mina would take notice of her feelings, were it not for Jonathan’s terrible sense of timing when he came grovelling back to Mina. Kathie McGrath has taken on some aspects of Sadie Frost’s highly sexual performance as the same character in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, but McGrath brings the heartbreak so wonderfully here. Her cheery demeanour, her selfless support, it all conceals the fact that this girl is devastated that Mina will no longer be hers. I knew something was going to happen with her and I’m more than joyous to see that my assumption was correct.
The way she hop-shoddedly throws herself into planning Mina’s big day delighted me, but I also had the feeling that she has ulterior motives by doing so. These suspicions I had were magnified when she hits up Grayson to help her out. An engagement party planned by unrequited and ancient love? Oh boy. By the way, I can’t believe I forgot to mention this, but the women’s costumes in this show are glorious. Lucy, Mina and Jayne all possess their own individual styles that echo who their character is as well as the masks they wear. Lucy mainly gravitates toward bright, festive and feminine colours, Jayne tends to favour classical vamp (no pun intended) and contemporary lines and Mina has a down-to-earth, rural wardrobe that is mixed with high society. What can I say? I love costumes because they add another layer to a character, plus in period-style pieces such as this show, it’s the perfect opportunity for costume designers to let their minds roam free. What beautiful work.
Exhibit A and B
Another factor that blew me away was that finally Meyers is displaying far more passion and drive in his role as Grayson because in this episode, he and Mina finally embrace, literally. Renfield had secured a sizeable amount of electrical resources for Grayson to conduct experiments pertaining to his day job (yeah, that was too easy) and Mina comes to visit him only to be struck by awe at what Grayson has achieved. She exclaims at one point something akin to “The medical career I am pursuing is nothing compared to your achievements here.” Suddenly, the machinery around them begin to crack and spark, causing Mina to flee into Grayson’s arms for protection and the look of utter peace on Meyers’s face is stunning. Despite the fact that Grayson WILLED for the equipment to fail just to get this opportunity is rather dubious, look at his face in the picture below and tell me that he feels nothing but love for this woman.
Finally his lost love is in his arms, if only briefly. It was this point that I believed in this relationship, it took four episodes, but now it is here. In addition to his good fortune with Mina, relentless pursuit on the Order (bye, bye Seers!) and merciless banging of Jayne (staging a mugging only to play the hero does wonders for the bitches I tells ya), Van Helsing has discovered a vaccine that can enable Grayson to venture around in full day light, naturally this breakthrough astounds Grayson and he simply can’t wait to try it out.
The great performances don’t stop there either, while once again Tommy K slays it as Van Helsing, the introduction to Grayson/Dracula’s former right hand and overall loose cannon, Josef, brought to twitchy life by Alec Newman. Josef is faultlessly loyal to Grayson and when reunites with his Master, it’s an odd affair- Grayson is naturally glad to see him after so long, but the time of which he presents himself is inopportune and quite frankly fatal. Grayson is a monster on a mission and despite being strategic in his assault against the Order; Josef’s presence makes things difficult. Josef says “Just kill them all and be done with it” and a part of Grayson wishes if only it were that simple. In comparison to Van Helsing and Renfield, both of them subtle tacticians, Josef is the Viking berserker. Naturally, what with Josef’s arrival, Jayne is instantly alarmed that there could be more vampires to come, which throws her and the Order in a spin. Where did Josef come from? Is he alone? It’s quite fascinating drama, really. Seeing the interplay between Meyers, Kretschmann and Newman was surely a treat to witness because you saw three different sides at work- Van Helsing’s caution and prudence, Grayson being torn between tact and brute force and Josef’s die-hard fundamental nature. Who will Grayson truly listen to? You need to see for yourself.
Yet another intriguing event that occurs in this episode is the deadly repercussions of the death of Davenport’s son. Davenport’s father is vehement in his desire to destroy Grayson after what had happened to his son, but obviously, he has no conception of the entire story. A parent’s rage in passion for their child is a powerful thing, and methinks that Daddy Davenport is going to attend the Harker-Murray affair too. While it may not be on the scale of the Red Wedding so to speak, I have a feeling the titular bash in question will be sure to erupt into something beyond “Worst Party Ever”.
“From Darkness To Light” is a solid episode full of respectable performances as well as some long-awaited story progression. It’s not at any orgiastic plateau at present, but should this show endure well, there is sure to be a revelation or several to occur. Writer Tom Grieves should be given ample kudos for the fact he is helping to rock the boat with these developments. It may all come to a blithering disappointment come episode ten, but half of the fun of the journey is anticipation, and one this is for sure, this instalment has truly set this quest in motion. Will Jayne find herself in jeopardy? Will Lucy finally tell Mina her feelings? When will Van Helsing terminate his contract with Grayson? Will Harker reveal himself a bastard or continue to play the goody husband-to-be? Will Grayson ever stop speaking with that silly Yank accent? Tune in next week for my review of the fifth episode “The Devil’s Waltz”!
Review written by Bea Harper
See Bea’s Review for Episode 3 HERE