What We Do In The Shadows Recap: The Escape

The aphorism of loving something by setting it free is so overused it’s basically threadbare. I mean, we love our pets. There’s a reason we keep them on-lead or in yards, safe from harm. I know, the trite phrase is more geared towards romance, but in the sixth episode of What We Do In The Shadows (FX) titled “The Escape,” the optics for imprisonment don’t exactly have to be for love or loss but rather more for life or death.

At the Vampiric Council HQ, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) reminds us that it’s her duty to be looking after the Sire. Nandor (Kayvan Novak) reminds Nadja that it is a joint effort. As a refresher, the Sire is the sole exsanguinator from which all others have descended aka the OG’s O.V.  Over the years, it’s grown more prickly and ornery, but regardless, his health and well-being are of utmost import for the sake of all vampire-kind. That’s neither here nor there because well, it turns out neither is he.

Earlier that night, surveying the rumpus room the crew had left the main hall of vampiric spoils and antiquities, Nandor isn’t happy. The rest are treating the place like a goddamn playground with the co-leaders as cleaning crew. Nadja’s down there to look for Laszlo’s magical flute, but there’s a bigger mess behind the only closed door: the jailbreak of the Sire out of sheer hunger. Seeing as though BOTH of their names are affixed to this boo-boo, Nadja is ever too quick to pin the blame on Nandor as the sole steward, even though it turns out she forgot to remind him to feed the poor captor. As one can expect, “the Relentless” being out of the game for so long folds like a cheap seat.

With a newly emancipated Sire, a very freaked out Nadja tries to rally the house getting more freaked out, as the unwritten (ahem, novel) rule states, if the vampire that turns you perish, you’re set to follow suit ergo a dead Sire means a dead race.

Laszlo (Matt Berry) finds this a bunch of malarky, along with “ghosts and large penises.” That doesn’t ease Nandor, already beating himself up over it as Nadja cringes at her big dick move.

As Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) tries to gain control over the house’s new hellhound along with Nandor and Nadja, Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) is able to have a moment with Laszlo, shaking their head in disbelief. For, if the Baron turned Nadja and Nadja turned Laszlo in kind, they’d both be dead. If you do remember, Guillermo ‘accidentally’ killed a drug-blooded-up Baron in the first season finale… but the curiosity is too great, calling both and Guillermo to the backyard, the Baron’s final resting place.

We learn the toplofty Nandor was never used to taking culpability for his battlefield missteps. If soldiers had a beef with him, he’d simply lay blame on another nation and lay waste to them. No longer a military general but rather a co-leader (as Nadja reminds him) of much higher esteem, he’s willing to swallow his pride (dry) and aid in the cause. This includes going through the texts in order to find out what proper name to call him by (Goéjlrm) before calling a press conference.

Summoning from the lectern through the aether and with Nadja at his side on the steps, Nandor calls forth the vampire society’s most respected journalists, news anchors, bloggers, vloggers, and high school yearbook editors…and whattaya know, it actually worked! Now that he has them there, the second part ain’t going to be easier, with the divulging only eliciting hostile hisses and hotter questions. Lars Murderbone (Tim Beresford) from the Orlando Sentinel asking if there’s any plan in place to bring the Sire back home. In trying to allay their fears, Nandor only puts the media into a bigger frenzy, revealing that if unsuccessful, it would be the end of vampires as they knew it before casting the panicked lot away. Nadja is quick to alert him he may have dug their own graves.

Speaking of which, Guillermo, Laszlo, and Colin are scouring the backyard soil for their crispy cadaver. Upon calling down to a rock, Laszlo hears a response. They search out the source until finding Baron’s earthen bed and with a hearty pull from Guillermo, the Baron (Doug Jones) is presented, in all his splendor (or at least half of it). As it turns out, the night they buried him, he was a stone’s throw away from death, but after receiving one last sip of blood, he was able to regain strength subsisting on soil, fertile with the blood of the house’s prolific feeding streak. Think of it as like sucking a really thick milkshake through a straw. You’ll get it, it’ll just take a fuck ton of time.

He’d tried finding escape with his mouth and his arm, now fused to his body, but instead of digging up, he was digging sideways. Not even his cries for help, which Colin mistook as humans in danger he wanted no part in saving could get him top-side. It’s water under the bridge to him, though, and because of his drugged-up stupor that fateful day, Guillermo’s in the clear.

As Nandor, Nadja, and the Guide (Kristen Schaal) try to hash out a plan, Guillermo enters with a long-lost friend. As the Guide genuflects in reverence, the rest inform the Baron that though they’ve taken leadership of the local Vampiric Council, he’s picked a shitty night to come back from the grave.

Making his grand entrance Laszlo brings everybody back to the reality of the ‘age-old theory.’ This sends the group into histrionics until Guillermo puts his foot down. Cooley, and calmly he gets everybody to listen and rally behind him in leading the operation. Baron puts this into question, but before Nandor can completely give up the ghost (that Laszlo doesn’t believe in), everybody’s in. His stringent commands stoke the ire of all present, but after his threat of losing a leader, they’ve each gained a task. Kitten’s got balls!

With their operation in motion, Nadja accompanies the Guide to her one go-to source of intel: the Watchers. These two gossipy Gargoyles (Julie Klausner, Cole Escola) are true cut-ups. They can chop it up about Count Blake the Torturous’ selling of his haunted clock tower at twice the depreciated asking price because it only has half a staircase, but they can’t say they’ve seen any ancient vampire on the lam.

This prompts them to touch base with the other Gargoyles through what sounds like truck horns (which is a VERY clever way of explaining their line of communication) and through one of their “’Goyles” in Queens, something matching their description had been seen in Ozone Park. They expect some hot goss in return, but since time is of the essence, not even a stunning Silence of the Lambs joke could hold the two vamps. I hope we see more of the two Marbled Mamas in the future, as it’s fucking classic screwball.

Out in Queens, the gang, seven abreast (eight, if you count the Baron riding the hellhound) are getting closer to finding the Sire. This is evident after Guillermo determines the dude is headed south by way of sampling his piss. Now that it’s in your head, best not to linger on it.

En route, they find the freshly torn arm of a security guard, eaten in the fashion of a crab leg. Again, best not to dwell.

The Original Vampire is in the store, and though all want Guillermo to handle it, that isn’t flying with him. This is evident by him physically slapping Nandor out of his hopeless state, prompting everyone to charge inside, save for the hellhound, which found a better treat in the discarded limb. No meat? No problem!

Inside, Guillermo prompts Nadja and Laszlo to find the Sire, corner him to the back where he, Colin, and Nandor will be setting the trap. The Guide and the Baron are to just keep quiet.

Splintered off, Laszlo maintains his magic flute would’ve come in clutch at a time like this. In crossing paths with the ancient one (Vaios Skretas), he does find something that might suffice. In an attempt to lull the creature with a harmonica, Lazzie-boy ends up face down with the fucking instrument lodged in his windpipe. I guess music doesn’t always soothe the savage beast.

Over in sporting goods, Guillermo fashions a spider web of sorts. Even though the mastermind of this operation, he invariably ends up being the fly, with a tether to his waist and the superhuman strength of housemates on the other end.

As the Baron lives it up in his new set of wheels powered by the Guide, Laszlo and Nadja warn the rest of the Sire’s speed but before they know it they are all staring up at the progenitor. Before Guillermo can give him a taste of the goods through awkward twerk, he’s wrested in by Nandor. His guilt sends him into battle but before he can engage, Nadja stops him. Though the guilt is pursed upon her lips, she opts to save face instead, instructing him to lose the bike helmet Guillermo specifically told him to put on to save his life.

In some misguided attempt to wrangle him in like a steer, Nandor only tests the Sire’s patience. The Baron doesn’t understand all of this, as he understands that the Sire just wants to be free. Because he can speak the ancient vampiric tongue, Guillermo carries the Baron to broker some peace.

A dialogue is opened up between the two, some laughs are shared and ultimately an understanding is arrived at. Turns out, the poor guy thought they were out to kill him and that if they make him return to those accommodations, he’ll rip their fucking throats out. Seems cut and dry to me.

When all is said and done, he acts more like a cuddly dog, gaining the trust of the crew in addition to more amenable living conditions in a bucolic, sleepy Northern Jersey town along with the Baron and their hellhound. As for the food situation, takeout is more of their jam these days in the form of Airbnb. As I always say, if Nutley’s good enough for Martha Stewart, it’s good enough for anybody. “And that is a good thing.”

With both Nandor AND Nadja evenly at the lectern, the Guide and Guillermo flanking them, the heads of Vampire Council looking stately as ever simply address the press with three words- “We got him!” It’s a new dawn, (hisss) I mean evening for this house and they damned well deserve it.

This episode was fucking the bee’s knees through and through. Not only do we get to check in with two more vampires, but also we have more creatures fleshing out this world. Their house has a new pride and presence among its peers and we also got to spend time with two wickedly watchable chatty Cathy’s which you can now hear the wails of in your everyday life. Ohh, Julie and Cole, you’ve made traffic so much more enjoyable!

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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