Have you ever had the desire to uproot your life and reinvent yourself? Find a new home in new environs, leaving the transgressions of yore are in the dust? It’s a bold idea and an even bolder move when put into practice. Sometimes these situations present themselves out of necessity a la Witsec. Sometimes they are for the furthering of a career. Sometimes they lack any underlying or profound mission statement and exist out of pure boredom coupled with a wild hair up one’s ass. Well, though a rolling stone gathers no moss, it’s in the sixth episode of What We Do In The Shadows (FX) titled “On The Run” that we realize, home is where the heart is… or several, even if they’re not beating.
At the ole’ homestead, Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) is marking off spots on the lawn with the help the others. No, this isn’t to mark off where their nemesis werewolves had shitted. Instead, this is to identify the vampires themselves had lain waste. Due to the accumulation of bodies buried, by each of them, the decomposing flesh was searing through the soil, thus causing sinkholes. Whereas the vampires see this as more of a game (1 point for the grave itself, 3 points per body in the said spot), this is more of amending a safety hazard, as exemplified in a mailman falling into one such puddle of body parts, causing him to freak and Guillermo to dry heave.
This search party is crashed by a mysterious vampire. Though he wants naught to do with Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) nor Nandor (Kayvan Novak), the foreboding figure (Mark Hamill) peels back the curtain reveals for Laszlo (Matt Berry). It just so happens this unwelcomed guest has a debt to be settled, as Laszlo in another lifetime had spent a sojourn in San Diego and rented out a room in dude’s beach house, ultimately dipping out and leaving his would-be collector high and dry on the last month’s rent and the security deposit.
After 167 years, now dead to rights, Laszlo does what any self-respecting creature of the night would- he says “fuck the payment” and opts instead for a duel to the death. Now, this would be a perfect and honorable way to go out, except this is also Laszlo Cravensworth. Four paces in, books and “bats” it the fuck outta there, once again giving his sub-letter the slip. Now, with super speed, this undead debt collector would easily have caught up to his escapee, if it were not for the massive sinkhole that traps him. CRAVENSWOOORTH!
Laszlo stops off at the Fayette Fields Motel and in a very No Country For Old Men move, extracts his “to-go box” from his room’s air shaft. In it are the two most valuable things for any vampire on the lam: a singular toothpick and a pair of finely starched denim slacks (in Laszlo speak, jeans to the layperson.) After penning a farewell missive to his beloved Nadja, before keeping it moving… to the salt of the earth people of Clairton, Pennsylvania.
In this town (also the setting for The Deer Hunter), Laszlo is a bartender at Luck Brew’s Bar and Grill. Oh shit, excuse me for my mistake. It’s not Laszlo. It’s Daytona. Jackie Daytona. Whereas Laszlo Cravensworth would enjoy the epicurean, hedonic, and overall pleasurable, Jackie Daytona loves simple things: being the “life” of the party, the town’s girls volleyball team, and the Bigmouth Billy the Bass adorning the tavern wall.
The town has taken a shine to Jackie, including one of the bartenders, Lucy (Madeleine Martin), who keeps admiring the loveable chap for his big heart. Coach Swanson (Ashley Botting) of the Clairton County Bucks has welcomed Jackie with open arms, as his arrival has lent itself to the girl’s volleyball team winning more games and Jackie’s having a ball. From kicking the shit out of a biker gang passing through (on a charitable run promoting Toys for Tots) to constantly buying rounds for the bar, Jackie’s put a smile to this blue-collar town in a state that almost sounds like Transylvania.
It’s dusk in Lucky Brew’s and celebrations are in order. The Bucks have bump-passed and spiked their way to the State Finals, thanks to a newfound verve in the form of Jackie Daytona. That mirth is short-lived, however, as state budget cuts have rendered it impossible for the girls to actually compete. Jackie’s fucking pissed and he lets the bar know it. I mean, seriously, he’s come too far murdering and scraping by to get to this point and have those efforts simply be in “vein.”
Trying to lend Jackie an ear, Lucy inadvertently lends him and this entire town a voice. In hearing her lowkey singing while cleaning up, Jackie comes up with the idea of putting on a talent show at 5 bucks per head. I’m sure Laszlo killed less for this, but this isn’t Laszlo. It’s Jackie and goddamnit he’s in the business of saving lives.
Back at the Isle of Staten, Nadja is too emotional to even enjoy a boring game of cards. Colin (Mark Proksch) tries to comfort her before offering up his lips, which she quickly denies. Don’t feel bad for Colin. This wasn’t a rejection. This was his midnight snack, as nervous energy is one of the more delectable treats. He attempts the same on Nadja’s doll and is just as quickly rebuffed. Seeing as possibly the doll has no energy to give… because it’s A DOLL, that actually hit him hard. You may now feel bad for Colin.
It’s last call at Lucky Brew’s and Jackie-boy has an unexpected patron in the form of his collector. After pints are shared, oh I mean shed (as vampires cannot indulge in human delights, well, except for humans themselves), and intentions are divulged as to why the crimson-clad cloaked one is passing through, we learn of his identity. Jim the Vampire. Yup! No crazy archaic name. No majestic title. Just Jim. The Vampire. I mean it says it on his business card for Christ-(hisss)-sake!
The interaction is tense, but Laszlo seems to make it out unscathed, as his two-pronged disguise of mouth and pants worked. Now that I think about it a toothpick would make sense. Actually having to use it keeps your mouth closed enough so you can’t always reveal your teeth. The jeans just make anyone normal and as we know, this ain’t The Lost Boys. Vampires in this realm have a clear style… Unless you’re Colin.
The night of the talent show seems an overall success. They’ve met their goal and now Lucy’s up to the mic to bring it on home with a rendition of Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible.” Apparently that song is a draw for vampires since Jim the Vampire has now entered the establishment. Though out of the weeds, Laszlo’s not out of the woods yet. Far from it, as when all you think is going well and Jim’s attended to throw a few shekels into the pot, disaster strikes when an unsuspecting bar-back accidentally knocks over a covering from a mirror behind the bar, alerting Jim to Jackie’s true form.
With the single removal of a toothpick from his lips, a community savior becomes a feared entity and the two tussle in terror of the patrons. With a few broken tables and a billiard ball ‘cross (hiss) the head, they square off in a “ward off.” Positioning the pool sticks at first as swords (a great nod to Star Wars), they proceed to cleft them in twain, using them as crucifixes. What’s that saying, an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind? Well, in this case, it leaves everybody burnt, as they get rid of that, and Laszlo takes to some fire tricks that ultimately leaves the Bucks’ bucks, well, fucked. Or well done. However you like your beef, humility has been served.
Feeling bad for not themselves but for how it escalated and really screwed over the volleyball team, Jim and Laszlo hash things out. Laszlo convinces Jim to forgive his debt in the payment of a Billy The Bass, which he convinces Jim is akin to the Mechanical Turk (look it up, it’s pretty cool.)
Laszlo wakes Lucy up one last time to say goodbye but no goodbye would be him burning one last time, basically smashing his newly bought Ford 4×4 pickup into the wall of his former home. Hey, he couldn’t fly, so he had to buy something, though not knowing how to drive.
Laszlo, proper comes home to an ecstatic Nadja and an ambivalent Nandor. It turns out, his old life bled into his new, as he set fire to the bar to pay for the girls going to State, but then burning down a historical building to pay for the funeral of a waitress inside the first building consumed. He’s also hypnotized the own into believing vampires don’t exist and hooked his enemy-cum-friend up with a nice existence. Assistant coach for the Bucks! Buck it up!
Now the last joke I will just leave for the rest of you to watch. Because like all good things, it finds its way home. CRAVENSWOOOORTH!