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Dracula, Ep. 1.08, “Come to Die”: Folly and Threat

Dracula, Ep. 1.08, “Come to Die”: Folly and Threat

Dracula - Season 1

Dracula, Season 1, Episode 8, “Come to Die”
Written by Harley Peyton
Directed by Brian Kelly
Airs Fridays at 10pm (ET) on NBC

Last week’s episode of Dracula, “Servant to Two Masters”, was one of the freshman series’ best. It successfully mixed the old and new, focused on its strongest characters, and weaved its weaker storylines into existing, better ones.

Over eight episodes it’s become clear that Dracula’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. In re-imagining the classic Bram Stoker story, the show has found a fresh way to present a well-worn story. Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann) is now Dracula’s (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) personal doctor and Dracula is now posing as an American business man hell-bent on destroying the mysterious organization that killed his wife. While these things are interesting, Dracula has struggled almost from day one with execution.

“Come to Die” gives us an early flashback of Grayson’s backstory and gives Lady Jayne (Victoria Smurfit) a giant clue to who she is chasing.  Dracula continues to play with the classic story and this time around it actually works. Learning that Grayson, once known as Vlad, sat on the Order council and was perhaps falsely convicted was a huge move forward in the show’s plot. The really brilliant twist, though, came with the admission that Dracula was not “sired, but created” by the Order of the Dragon as punishment for his perceived crimes.

Lady Jayne’s hunt for the elder vampire (Grayson) is much like the show itself. At one moment it is intriguing and in the next it’s just… meh. For being a genius and brutal hunter, she has trouble seeing what’s right in front of her, namely the fact that her now ex-lover is the very monster she’s chasing. That right there is the problem with this show. Outside of Rhys Meyers, who continues to shine as Grayson, none of the characters are deeply defined. As this reviewer pointed out last week, characters are simply pushed and pulled around to move the story forward. They are never given a chance to develop, therefore we can’t ever really invest in them. This is unbelievably frustrating because Dracula has promise, a lot of it, but it never quite meets those expectations.

Dracula - Season 1

While “Come to Die” points to some of the show’s weaker moments, there are good aspects to the episode as well. Lucy’s (Katie McGrath) seduction of Harker (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) was frankly nonsensical when it was first introduced but this week, it all seems to fit, especially as Grayson and Mina (Jessica De Gouw) move closer to a relationship. Grayson’s assault on Mina’s attackers is also a standout from this episode.

Nonso Anozie as Grayson’s faithful right hand, Renfield, is once again perfectly tuned. His chemistry with Rhys Meyers is a constant source of dry, much needed humor. Some of the best lines of the night go to Renfield, particularly his warning to Grayson about Mina. “There is folly and threat in this obsession with the girl”, he says. The episode’s best exchange comes after Grayson asks who he has to kill to get his beloved painting back. “May I suggest sir, no one, just this once” Renfield returns dryly.

Dracula has gotten better over the last few weeks, but it still suffers from the same issues that have bogged it down since the beginning. With only two episodes left there are some interesting places for it to go and eventually end, but ultimately it may be a case of too little too late.

Tressa Eckermann