What We Do In The Shadows Recap: The Chamber of Judgement

Sometimes, a natural-born leader can emerge from the least likely of places. These cooler minds aren’t afraid to call into question tradition, even when the opinion might not be the most popular in the room. In this fifth installment of What We Do In The Shadows (FX) titled, “The Chamber of Judgement”, we see that arbitration doesn’t always have to be fire and brimstone if you have just one person step up and view things from a different angle.

We open in on the Vampiric Council Headquarters. The air is electrified with the prospect of justice being served. Both Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) can stretch their muscles being judge, jury, and executioners… but lo, The Guide (Kristen Schaal) is watching. I mean, that’s her job. She along with Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) heads into what is most likely to be a long night.

Shaun’s (Anthony Atamunuik) invited Laszlo (Matt Berry) to a boys-only night, and despite his hope of hopes, this isn’t a circle jerk. Unsure of what the night has in store, he’s invited Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) as a plus one, and the evening starts out with as boring a time as ever with community college hockey on the telly.

When being invited into a domicile, it is customary for one to bring favors in good faith. Laszlo, ever the paragon of class, has decided to gift the group some fine Cubans. Colin, on the other hand, came loaded for bear a board game to bide the night: Mrs. Honeychurch & the Hanging at Vicarage Valley. What was to be Laszlo’s inaugural human male bonding experience just came a price and he’s none too pleased.

Over at Vampire HQ, Nadja and Nandor, clad in their finest vestments are chomping at the bit to begin handing down swift justice.  Before the judgment can commence, however, they must first endure the ever-dreaded conduct/harassment film. Hey, if you don’t eat your meat, ya can’t have any pudding!

What ensues is a singular statement: do as thou wilt. That’s it! It’s a formality, I get it, but for the time it took to lug out the projector, the message could have been simply been recited by The Guide herself… but she does have to protect her carnal needs as well, which is typically reserved for Thursday nights.

Though both vampires are newly consecrated as co-leaders, only one can secure the actual throne. Seeing as though both crave it, the only logical conclusion Guillermo arrives at is to pit both against each other, that he may take the rightful seat.

Things aren’t fairing any better back at Shaun’s. Frankie (Gavin Fox) and Mikey (Andy Hull) are struggling to make sense of the game, Colin’s only half paying attention, Laszlo’s in his own headspace with the game analogous to hockey he used to play in Eton that had employed a hardened cock as the puck and Shaunie’s got his own agenda in mind, trying to sell the group on the Guy Pillow. It’s gotten “sucker” stamped all over it, but for $49.99, who could resist earning the title of “mark”?

At the commencement of the Ceremony of Judgement, Nadja’s just not feeling it, despite all of the pomp and circumstance. She desires to feel physically above her co-leader, which isn’t exactly being a team player. Guillermo has the foresight to take away the throne, which would seem like a judicious move if it were not for the blood-curdling scraping noise. Additionally,  the Guide isn’t jibing with a barren throne.

Meanwhile, things only escalate at the hangout with Shaun really giving his friends the hard sell. What started out as a plea to purchasing one pillow has increased to buying his whole lot or at the very least 25 pillows per person. Both vampires ain’t biting and neither his friends. Exploding on all four of them, Shaun storms out, with well-intentioned Laszlo in tow.

It turns out that Shaun really screwed the pooch on this one. Before he leans into his story, Laszlo leans in for a kiss. Crossed signals, much, but after a quick mind swipe, sean reveals his truth: he bought the fucking farm. I mean an entire garage full. It might as well be called a storage unit for the unsold product, and he’s in deep. So much so, the guy who sold him the whole kit and kaboodle is looking to wipe the floor with him in small claims court.

Back at the ceremony that has yet to get off the ground, both Nadja and Nandor are at an impasse. The Guide asserts that the throne is symbolic and shouldn’t be neglected, prompting Guillermo to suggest he act as the ‘seat filler’ so that the ceremony may at long last proceed. This seems amenable to parties present and with the donning of the ceremonial cloak, night court’s in session!

Iorek the Knavish stands charged with selling vampires bunk herbs that would allegedly protect them from the fall out of sunshine. In order to justly sentence him, the crime needed to be watched, courtesy of the Crow-cam. Because this would be considered multiple-vampicide, Nadja has no hesitations or protestations against just killing the dude, but Nandor feels it would be kicking off their reign with a bit more clemency so away he goes to rot in a cell for 500 years. Or 150. Or 2.

Next on the docket is someone whom Guillermo knows all too well. Derek (Chris Sandiford) is charged with breaking nearly every rule known to vampires in keeping their identity hidden. You see, Derek is a member of the Mosquito Club that Guillermo ‘accidentally’ became a member of. When shit went down that fateful night, Guillermo left brougham high and dry. He didn’t die though. He simply became a nightwalker… and what, pray-tell is he being tried for? Turning into a bat in public just to scare teens, stealing IV bags from blood donor centers, feeding on park bench sleepers out in the open, owning an unlicensed Hellhound, and the most egregious of all bat-related transgressions: being woefully dressed.

Guillermo trying to find the guy some way out, but the dude is coming up short and doing himself zero favors. Nadja’s cool with sending him straight to Hell since they let the other off with a mere slap on the wrist, and so it is written. He is sentenced to the Well of Daylight, where he will meet his demise by the morning’s rays. Pobrecito. He didn’t think manning the throne would have to come down to this.

As daybreak approaches, Guillermo pays Derek a visit, desperately wanting to make amends. It turns out, the only way he can repay a debt is to keep his guy out of the sunlight, which seems like a daunting task for Derek. At this point, I can’t even say poor guy because he simply doesn’t know to stay away. Do you even vampire bro? So the second-best thing is to shield him from it, lending him his coat.

At the vampire residence, Guillermo once again plants the seed of doubt into Nandor’s head suggesting that Nadja steamrolled over him in sentencing Derek to death. He also scoots over to Nadja as well, intimating that she was as good as a rug, the way Nandor walked all over her.

At Small Claims Night Court, Shaun Rinaldi has come to play against Garry Degan. The guy clearly isn’t taking any prisoners, gaining representation in the form of Barrister Cravensworth. Complete with powdered wig, the judge thinks the gesture is in the vein of a kangaroo court, but Colin does defend Laszlo’s right to don whatever he so chooses in a court of law, compliments of NY State Statute 82.

Even though Colin Robinson is acting as Laszlo’s defacto paralegal, not even he can save the old chap from shooting himself in the foot. I mean, it has been 300 years since last he stepped foot into a court. From sitting on the Queen’s Bench to royally eating it in small claims, the case was never Laszlo’s to lose… which he did for his bestie to the tune of $12,700. Well, what’s left for a grossly out of practice lawyer to do but get rip-roaring drunk off of blood liquor at a nearby watering hole?

With the ceremony of judgment coming to a close, the last bit of business is dealt with the vampires granting Jennifer the Dreadfully Loathsome (Chelsea Preston) an official change of name to Gabby the Dreadfully Loathsome. Their first official night as arbiters is in the books, but the duo forgot to cross one T (hisss). Derek isn’t a hillock of ash, much to the chagrin of both leaders. Through some codifying of council statutes, Guillermo has granted Derek a defense attorney in the form of a very compromised Laszlo. Nadja’s loving it and with Colin in tow, the real sentencing can be handed down…

Through some quick 11th Hour thinking, Guillermo’s volunteered a barely present Laszlo to take Derek under his wing, that Derek may have a chance to burn off his crimes. Nadja thinks it’s a superb idea, especially since her beloved is in desperate need of a victory. Nandor accepts the terms and with that, Laz has ‘earned’ his first win.

Now there’s only one thing left for Guillermo to attend to the hellhound. What the vampires fear as their last moments on earth is ultimately a big furry ball of love in the guise of a golden retriever. It looks like the crew just gained a new housepet and with Derek working off his crimes by selling Guy Pillows door to door, the rightful order has been restored.

Overall, the episode was as per usual, solid. The show has yet to present me with a bum steer. With a new mascot for the homestead in addition to seeing Laszlo socializing more with Colin by his side, this season just keeps reinventing itself to exemplary results each and every week.

Robert Kijowski
Robert J. Kijowski is a screenwriter who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He enjoys the company of strangers in a theatre but adores the camaraderie of friends watching Netflix. He also loves to talk- a lot. This can be read through his recaps and reviews on the Workprint or heard through his weekly movie podcast, After the Credits. His presence can be felt through Facebook, Spotify or Ouija. Don’t use the latter though- he almost always ghosts people.

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