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Dracula, Ep. 1.05, “The Devil’s Waltz”: A man of secrets

Dracula, Ep. 1.05, “The Devil’s Waltz”: A man of secrets

Dracula - Season 1

Dracula, Season 1, Episode 5, “The Devil’s Waltz”
Written by Nicole Taylor
Directed by Nick Murphy
Airs Fridays at 10 pm (ET) on NBC

NBC’s Dracula has a lot of plates spinning. Grayson (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) still has a thirst for revenge, an obsession with Mina (Jessica De Gouw) which she reciprocates (but really, who wouldn’t?), he’s looking for a cure to his biggest problem- that pesky not being able to walk in the sun thing, a vampire hunter, Lady Jayne Wetherby (Victoria Smurfit) is hot on his tail, and his trusty sidekick Renfield (Nonso Anozie) has been kidnapped. Needless to say, it’s been a busy five episodes.

After the pilot, Dracula hit a slump. The revenge plot line has some potential but it wasn’t a good sign that it got stale after only three episodes. “The Devil’s Waltz”, though, shows how much fun Dracula can be when we’re not saddled with the Order of the Dragon. Not only is the episode structured around Mina and Harker’s (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) engagement party, we get to see Grayson’s bloody attack on Renfield’s kidnappers, which is just the kick of classic Dracula that the show needs.

“The Devil’s Waltz” works best when showcasing how lonely life can be for a “man of mystery with no biography”. We see this at Mina and Harker’s engagement party and in the flashback showing Grayson’s first encounter with Renfield. The few scenes we get with Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann) prove how much the show needs him. There is a lot of potential in his character and his relationship with Grayson and there is just as much potential in the show, it’s just unfortunate that the audience has to dig through so much to find it. Dracula needs more scenes like the one tonight featuring his medical experiment on a feral vampire. It’s over the top in the right way and pushes the show’s best storyline forward.

Dracula - Season 1

Dracula would benefit greatly from focusing on the relationships, Grayson’s loneliness, and his search for a cure. What this show has going for it, in addition to a great lead in Rhys Meyers, is one of literature’s finest characters. Where’s the pain in watching his soul mate love another man? We only see a flash of this as Grayson watches from the shadows. Anyone who followed The Tudors knows that Rhys Meyers has the ability to pull off this kind of brooding pain. Grayson’s intimate dance with Mina and its emotional ramifications show how powerful exploring their relationship further could be.

Dracula has issues and it’s by no means a perfect show, but “The Devil’s Waltz” is one of its better episodes so far. It has some particularly great scenes, and per usual some of the best looking set pieces and most beautiful costumes on network television. This week we get the chance to see flashes of what could make the show better. For now that’s enough for a return viewing. but Dracula needs to zero in fast on what’s good about the show and move away from what’s weighing it down.

Tressa Eckermann

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