“Dracula” (NBC television series)
Episode 7: “Servant To Two Masters” (air-date 3/1/2014)
Director: Brian Kelly
Writer: Rebecca Kirsch
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica De Gouw, Thomas Kretschmann, Kathie McGrath, Victoria Smurfit, Alec Newman, Nonso Anozie and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
After nearly a month of tube hiatus, this episode more or less proves itself as a tease rather than a fully realised and assured promise. Since the successful results of Van Helsing’s sunlight serum, Grayson has all but forgotten that he still requires blood in order to live. Lady Jayne Weatherby proves just how much of a jealous shark she can be in her continual manipulation of poor Lucy and the Order of the Dragon come into contact with something very dear to Grayson, something that Grayson would murder to keep from being exploited. The Order all but makes a formal declaration of war on Grayson by means of sabotaging his professional endeavours. Mina asks her father if she could try something quite daring at the hospital- throwing a dance for the ill souls who are confined within it’s walls which yeilds some provocative results.
First, I feel I must get a couple of criticisms off my chest, at least general ones. Throughout the series, I feel some key areas have been paid due notice but simultaneously there are others that have not been paid enough attention. This is the seventh episode of a ten episode season, which means the needle is going to reach a head and yet I get the sensation of “Poop or get off the pooper.”. For example, I really do dig how cruel Lady Jayne’s jealously is toward the attraction between Grayson and Mina and her use of Lucy as a means to an end. Although I understand the writers of this series are on a creative schedule, I felt that Jayne’s tainted tutelage of Lucy has been rushed. This alliance is an intriguing and dare I say rousing one, but I don’t really feel Lucy has been given the opportunity to fully master the skill-set Jayne has been giving her. Essentially, Jayne manipulates Lucy into seducing Jonathan, which would cause a rift between he and Mina, which, in theory at least, would allow for Lucy to claim Mina while Jayne is free to swoop in like the sexy harpy she is and have Grayson exclusively once more.
Lucy sets about on her mission, going so far as to even measure Harker’s arch support region while he is being fitted for his wedding suit. I feel if this whole plot point had arose earlier in the season, say episode four, it would have become a far bigger deal. The main concept of having an enduring drama is ensuring the audience has had enough time to process and appreciate the unfolding events and their inevitable consequences.
Much of “Dracula“‘s focus has been divided between various narratives and in a way, I feel the writers should either go big or go home (or you know, the show could be an hour and a half longer at least) because I really do want to become wholly invested in each tale since they are all supposed to accumulate as a complete piece. While my issue isn’t the fact that this show moves at a snail’s pace like other viewer’s opinions (and that is just what my notion is as well, an opinion) I believe it rushes too much too soon in order to reach the next crucial plot destination. Another thing is ask is the sudden inclusion of Lady Jayne apparently having a husband. In previous episodes, there has been no sighting of this man and to be best of my memory, nobody ever mentioned her having any type of martial connection. After having a roll in the hay with Grayson (that was of all things incited by Grayson oh-so-romantically disclosing that her butler has been giving the business to one of her live-in maids lol), she asks him casually what would be the best way to attain retribution on her husband’s shameless infidelity to which he says “hurt what he loves most”. This sudden mention made me cock my head because up until this point, I hadn’t known there was a Sir Weatherby in the picture- I always thought she was a well-to-do bachelorette whose bills were being footed by the Order.
With some seriously nice post-hump hair
Additionally, while it has been made blatantly obvious that Mina is indeed the reincarnation of Grayson’s beloved Ilona, why is it we haven’t experienced any flashbacks from Mina’s standpoint about her past life as Tepes’s bride? I mean, we have seen Grayson reminesce about these brieft yet vivid memories, why has she not? You could argue that given she is a rebirth rather than the self-same being her mind would not be Ilona’s, but you’d think given her continued exposure to Grayson something deep without her cortex would be awakened? That dance they shared at the engagement party seemingly aroused the furthermost rececesses of her immortal soul so where are the results? Additionally, what does Grayson actually plan on doing with the valuable piece of art that he has sent Renfield to obtain in an auction in Hungary when he could have, I dunno, bought it clandestinely? It’s perfectly obvious in the end why he wants it so badly, but how come he wasn’t able to get his hands on it in the first place? I feel the monthly absence of the series has a temporary lack of coal to shovel into the engine. I’m fairly certain episode eight will bring the candy canes, but this series has to understand that when you pose a variety of fascinating avenues to travel, you can’t afford to relent until you have the right opportunity.
Yeah, Mina is TOTALLY gonna love this…
In saying this though, I still did like this episode apart from all of my previous gripes. Things are happening despite the pacing issues, and while more of my attention is invested in but a few threads, I understand the series is attempting to reconcile all of them. A noble endevour, however flawed, is preferable to having absolutely no drive and/or ambition. I have favour several sequences in this episode- Alexander becoming painfully aware that he has not out-ran the call of blood by eyeing up his housemaid as she is dusting a chandelier, Jayne’s ‘advice’ to Lucy being highlighted by ever the most brief yet forbidden of kisses, Grayson and Mina’s casual interactions in daylight, Harker’s growing distrust of Alexander Grayson and his seduction by the Order and finally when the Order take a huge dump on Grayson’s porch by sabotaging a public unveiling of the magnificent geo-electrical resonator Grayson and his company have been labouring on by putting a sprinkle of some foul concoction into the local milk cart and passing it off as if it were Grayson’s resonator poisoning the townsfolk. My favourite scene in this episode as you may have guessed is when Mina and Alexander share a second dance together. However, instead of it being in the view of all, it is a moment between the pair of them in an empty hallway. It is a discreet yet warm affair, chaste yet highlighted with a quiet, mutual sensation of comfort between them. Meyers and De Gouw really do have a genuine chemistry between them, and in this episode, there is a sense of familiarality between the pair of them. It’s not a heaving, bodice-ripping one, it’s akin to actual familiar connection between two people who know each other well. More than friends, but not seperated by the oceans of time. It’s a genuinely touching, pure scene of which neither party has been manipulated, it’s a mutual gesture.
It was so good, I had to include this picture twice…
I also must express that some of my speculation regarding the character journey of Harker is actually coming into fruition- when Cohen’s character was originally introduced as being a social climber, a part of me was thinking he was a part of the Order in secret and it seems now that speculation is in a sense becoming true.
Keep an eye on him, Alex.
As per usual, I must commend the central cast for being strong players in what was otherwise a tip-toe type episode- De Gouw is a firm favourite of mine as Mina- while she is the object of affection for several characters, she hasn’t regaled herself to the blushing ingenue or the Mary Sue. She is just as confused about how she feels about Grayson, yet she is reticent of leaving Jonathan, her friendship with Lucy is uncertain yet something is compelling her forward. And the fact she is Australian is but an added bonus for me because us Australian bitches are a unique breed.
“Servant To Two Men” was not the blazing of lightening or the shaking crack of thunder I was expecting for a season return, but I am still more than willing to go on this ride. Stuff is happening, I can feel it- don’t you go backing out now, “Dracula“!
Review written by Bea Harper
See Bea’s Review for Episode 6 HERE