In this episode, Colin Robinson gets super powerful and gets to show his true potential to the shock of his roommates and we realize that the remaining three remain to have some issues to work out from their past.
Miriam-Webster defines the term “Sleeper” among other things as a few things. Did you know it’s a piece of wood, stone, or steel on or near the ground to keep railroad rails in place? A little known fact is that the term can also be used to describe a stud earring worn to keep a pierced earlobe from closing. Or it can simply mean one who slumbers. I, however, am more fascinated by it defining someone or something that goes relatively unnoticed until it attains a level of prominence or value right under everyone else’s noses. It is in that capacity that we find ourselves at the fifth episode of What We Do In The Shadows: “Colin’s Promotion.”
We open in on Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) in his natural habitat- the sterile environs of a workplace. These fertile feeding grounds are where he spends a decent chunk of his waking life, managing to maintain a milquetoast and unobtrusive existence among the boringly congenital worker bees. That is until he is summoned to his superior Laura’s office from some truly horrifying news: Colin’s being promoted. Whereas most would delight in climbing up the professional ladder, Colin couldn’t be any less aghast at this news, as this will surely cut a swath into his ‘bonding time’ with his roommates.
Back at the house, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry), and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) decide to switch things up about the house, literally. They are rotating works of art on the walls. These pieces include a simulacrum of an original Picasso (Nadja just cut out her piece of the painting for exhibition), a painting of Laszlo’s first ship (a possible cutty sark which he considers to this day a piece of shit), an artful representation of Nadja’s vulva that would make Georgia O’Keeffe blush and a painting of her beloved creating the first “portrait bomb” in which he had to sit for 7 hours in order to have his likeness put bunny ears behind his fallen enemy. Notice how Nandor has yet to claim a painting… but that’s of no concern at the moment, as Colin comes home from work.
The poor guy is met with the same level of ambivalence as always. Even when trying to relay some potentially good news to them about the promotion, all three gloss over him like a Conde Naste publication. In fact, Colin’s given his “self-portrait” back to him, which actually was a portrait he made of the four of them, and then they want to give him one last present… the boot.
One can’t help but feel for Colin. Being an energy vampire has its drawbacks, chiefly that nobody can trust if you’re being earnest in conversation or simply nibbling away at their life force. It’s his cross (hisssss) to bear, making it distinct that he doesn’t “live to drain,” but rather “drains to live.”
Now in a newly appointed position of superiority with an assistant, Joanna, Colin finally learns the machinations of his company and possibly what they actually do. Spoiler alert: it’s either playground design and marketing or landmine design and manufacturing. He also learns an even more invaluable fact… he might actually be likeable around the office for one reason and one reason only- he’s the fucking boss! His underlings have no choice but to give off, however disingenuous, a seal of approval to his really crappy jokes.
This forced energy, which many of us have experienced expending in a boring office gig is a whole new type. We give it, whether we like it or not and the rest of our energy is spent possibly hating ourselves for indulging a superior of whom may be barely funny. Colin feeds on this first taste of this and like many new drug experiences, it comes with interesting side effects. I can’t see our resident plebeian doing cocaine, but if this is the closest he can come to feel like a goddamned god, I approve. He’s got the power of “a thousand cowboys” coursing through his non-pumping veins, crushing trash receptacles like empty beer cans and he’s just getting warmed up.
He lets this surge of power wash over him daily and has his staff know this. He uses them now like mid-day snacks, like energy cheese-sticks. This transfers into the sadistic when he makes a staffer write a 2,000-word essay on an off the cuff question, just for his whim. It’s good to be the king.
Meanwhile, as Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) helps with the rearranging of painting, Colin comes in, painting a different picture of how they know him. He, on-call, basically ignores them and gives a bit of the ole lippy-lip to Nadja. This is a new Colin they weren’t expecting, but just as their house aesthetic is changing, so is one of the inhabitants. They are especially impressed as Colin could procure two flying shits about what they are doing with their boring mission. He now can levitate things, like paintings, so it’s of no worry to him whether they are receptive of him. He’s getting to Super Saiyan level and, well, those guys are left in his dust.
Speaking of the past, the painting Colin raises to put on the wall is something that Nadja has slight memories of and Nandor wants to completely forget. It’s a grim, but beautiful piece of a village being turned into cinders. Nadja knows exactly what this is and confronts Nandor about it.
Though documented 200 years before her actual birth, this particular artistic documentation in majestic oils (which is a very diplomatic way of saying the capturing of a town slaughter through old school photography), has Nadja riled up. Ostensibly Nandor the Relentless was responsible for generations of her village growing up physically and mentally stunted since his army only left the dumbest and weakest alive.
Nandor tries to claim innocence and feign ignorance to no avail. In fact, this draws the ire of Nadja more and has her go apeshit on him, with nothing but her beloved, Laszlo holding her back from killing a friend. This has Colin orgasmically reaping the residual reward, as negative energy is a different kind- possibly more potent than positive energy and most assuredly more volatile.
Including a put-on call with the Hoboken branch of whatever he still does in front of a boardroom, sorry, a bored room, Colin is close to his neXt level uP. He can now grow hair. He can drain the power of one human with a simple trite phrase. He can kill plans with a gesture. This is a wolf in the henhouse situation, but I wouldn’t dare call him a wolf, as he’s a vampire. Totally different entities.
At the house, Guillermo attempts a mediation. With Nadja super peeved about Nandor fucking up her town for generations to come, Guillermo tries to give Nandor a path to forgiveness through admittance. His master refuses. He was just doing what was in his nature and it should be water under the bridge. That is not an excuse though and Nadja makes it known. This energy can now grant Colin the gift of flight.
Though they realize how Colin has grown in power at an exponential rate, they realize that the only way they can stop the madness is to kill his office.
It doesn’t work and they all end up worse for the wear. Colin now has them at his mercy and though they keep trying to combat him, he’s basically drained them to the point of dying old age, and all.
The great joke goes on “Pride goeth before destruction, and a spirit before the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18).
Colin truly drank his own Kool-Aid and after splitting apart with two others of himself, he’d played Jim Jones.
The only way to do himself in is talking to himself and through 63 minutes of three Colin’s talking to themselves, they killed each other. Literally bored themselves to death.
In the house garden, whilst burying the remains of, let’s be honest, like Mr. Fantastic, the group finds a few kind words, however boring they were to him. Dude left them in slight financial ruination.
This episode has a slight deviation. In rumination, we are left with a few moments of an afterthought and I’m good with leaving this episode on Laszlo painting Nandor into a burning house.
He paints out Nandor, replacing Nandor, his “Persian Frank Zappa” in his stead on that steed, approaching Nadja to engage in carnal congress.
Oh, Nandor has a place in that piece of art… in the form of a denizen of a smoldering house. I guess when you’re on fire, you’re on fire.