The law of entropy basically states that without outside intervention, the disorder will either increase or stay the same. Murphy’s Law states “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” The fifth episode of What We Do In the Shadows (FX) titled “Local News” will seek to answer the question “Do two great tastes always taste great together?” In this case, that’s an emphatic “Yes!”
It’s the Channel 8 News Live at 7 with Lisa Lipton (Danielle Nottingham) and Ted Spinelli (Logan Crawford). There’s a water main break on the block of the Vampire Residence and Joanna Roscoe (Jamie Linn Waston) is on the scene.
Nandor ‘deLaurentis’ (Kayvan Novak) is more than ready and willing to regale Joanna and the hundreds of thousands watching with the spirited recounting of his first water main break. He does reference the flood of 1892 and course-corrects by a century, but Nandor was fucked the moment he saw lights and cameras. To be fair, we’ll soon learn that no vampire in the house is impervious to the draw of those sweet, savory, bloody fifteen minutes of fame. What did Nicole Kidman say in that one movie? “You’re nobody unless you’re on tv.”
At the house, he implores Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) to turn on the news and confesses that he’s told the reporter that they’ve lived there for centuries. Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) is horrified. Laszlo (Matt Berry) wants to kill Joanna. Colin is livid and awaits a last stand. Was there ever a first?
Regardless, The Guide (Kristen Schaal) is on whosever side she’s literally nearest to. Speaking of lasts, the only true voice of sanity, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) has ironically flown the coop to visit his mother Silvia (Myrna Cabello). He desires a final meal before his reveal. Cousin Miguel (Frankie Quinones) bags on him as usual, but is still shocked to find Cous’ is giftless at his own mother’s birthday. Fucking really Guillermo? I love you, and I’m sure this must be difficult, but the only thing that could trump a reveal this poorly timed would be your whole crew doing basically anything. And right on cue…
Aghast, Guillermo can only watch in abject horror as his Master stares into the abyss of the camera lens, a feed pumping to tri-state area tv sets, but his attempted hypnotism is cut short by an oncoming storm. It’s foreshadowing in its most alluring nude. Tia Valeria is hounding Guillermo to join the rest at the dinner table as the reporters throw to Heather Dupont for the weather.
Guillermo calls the house but they’re too busy prepping. Colin does his best Kevin McCallister by way of John Kramer. Nadja and her Doll prefer blonde. Laszlo is the Sweeney Todd of kidnapping, and The Guide is just along for the ride. Nadja’s prepared emergency kits for such an occasion while Laszlo’s still whacking away at his multi-part plan, never getting any further than the kidnapping part. I mean, a satchel of homeland soil, slightly curdled blood, and an alias with bonus backstory seem to me like the clear winner… but look at who we’re dealing with. Her hubby truly believes in his multi-tiered plan and won’t relent, unlike Nandor who arrives, tail under Tuchus. Speaking of the impending storm…
Guillermo’s eyes are pinioned to the television set. He’s called out by Miguel for his lack of spine concerning his ‘promotion’ or rather lack thereof until “Memo” reveals that he’s taken a stand and quit to grab the golden ring of ‘promotion’. The only problem is that he’s not yet arrived at his destination. None of that matters though, as he now catches The Guide now on the screen, proposing a truce to the people of Staten Island before blood could be shed. Guillermo rings up a displeased Sean (Anthony Atamanuik) to get the group to stay in the house until he arrives. No dice and just like in The Vampire Residence, The Guide is ostensibly glossed over when Lisa transitions to a puff piece. Ouch. Having failed, she opts to flee with Nadja, and with the villagers stampeding towards the most dangerous night shift this side of the Hudson, beggars can’t be choosers.
Guillermo must depart, but not before having that talk with Mama. He’s gotten hold of Laszlo, so this conversation must be tabled yet again. He just wants the crew to stay put until he’s there. He overhears Laszlo’s plan but Colin’s cutting the phone cord… it’s all on the line. Though the desire to tell his mother the naked truth permeates, Guillermo only disguises it in an opaque farewell. The only thing more naked than his state of emotion is himself on his born day.
He isn’t wearing a crucifix, so she outfits him with his grandmother’s. It’s killing him, but as we know from Viago with his silver locket, love can hurt. On the bright side, we do see in the mirror that Mr. de la Cruz can literally turn opaque. Upon his exit, we learn that it’s his tertiary attempt to have the heart-to-heart. Heartbroken, in the elevator, we also learn (along with him) that he has superhuman strength.
Nandor delivers a rousing pre-battle speech before Guillermo arrives. The house isn’t happy with him. He was in absentia in their time of need. Nandor seems to think the house cracked on just fine without him, delivered in no uncertain terms. Guillermo digs in his heels and has his Tiananmen Square moment, letting the bats fly… without their already far too stretched-out safety net of Guillermo. He’s grown a spine, which is now his most formidable asset to date. He retreats to the living room and turns on the tube, watching in real-time as the entertainment unfolds. Attempted kidnapping on the street and arson on Seanie’s lawn? Fuck yeah, bring it on. Even with the feed cut due to some of Colin’s fiery shenanigans on Seanie’s lawn, flight this time was the thing that ironically didn’t save them. The camera can crack on as well, guys.
After hypnotizing Lisa and Ted, Nandor and Nadja take over anchor duties after mass hypnotizing the audience. To bounce they fear would be suspicious, so the two wax happily on the local weekend puppy parade before throwing it to Colin for weather reportage with Heather Dupont no more than a green screen crime scene. Finally, Laszlo’s at-bat, driving us home with an update on the Big Blue vs America’s Team before volleying it back to his beloved for an effortless Outcue.
(It’s as if they were born screen ready.)
From moonlight to sunlight, the house has treated the threat of exposure in all its forms like an afterthought. It honestly makes perfect sense. What more sublime way to raise the stakes even further than by putting the most powerful creatures on the Isle of Staten in a shambolic state through mere lack of supervision? They are extemporaneous fucking nincompoops who cancel each other out when not grounded and we’re all the better for it, so thank you Sarah Naftalis.
La familia de la Cruz is back! Like all characters (including Evie), I never turn down a familiar face in this world. I won’t harp any further on the previous episode, but I do think that screen time for Guillermo’s family was utilized judiciously, so I’ve no notes. However, I noticed none of the family noticed anything different, including his Tia Valeria (Socorro Santiago). Could this be lightning striking twice in the same place? Do they already know he’s a vampire? Am I reading too much into this?
There was a beautiful barbarism in both Colin and his audacious traps and only Mark’s innate charisma drip could turn great lines written for a distinct situation to a wholly other facet of a character that’s not been explored. Nadja’s other go bags I am really curious about. Is it a seedling planted? The stinger is that this is the coolest one in recent memory. The gauntlet Guillermo has to go through due to Colin is just a feat in set design, choreography, acting, and special effects in twenty resplendent seconds.
Harvey’s acting is just the best, hands down. My prediction is that with every significant emotional moment in this series, a new power will emerge. He may be a whole new breed of vampire or something because his heightened emotions always bring forth a surprise for us, the audience. He’s shown monastic patience and strength to shoulder the entire house if the time presented itself and I pray that it’s waiting in the finale. Kudos for making the weakest starting character possibly the strongest on the block, be they living, dead, (or still figuring it out.)