It’s the summertime. It’s a time for gatherings, street fairs, and festivals.
This year, we seem more out in full force than ever, and why not? Things are starting to look up. It’s good to mingle, be among the polity, interact and no more ‘exclusive’ can one say they feel than a good old-fashioned market of the nocturne, when the sun goes down and the heat turns up.
For us night owls, it’s always something special, but for those “day-walkers”, it’s a place of wonderment.
It is here in the fourth episode of What We Do In The Shadows (FX) titled “The Night Market” that sometimes warns us, going into something of a moonlight bazaar might have you headed into something more bizarre.
We open in on Kid Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) with his flighty, fanciful feet beguiling Nadja’s nightclub crowd with his musical numbers. Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) couldn’t be happier. On the other hand…
Outside of reeling in record numbers of both humans and vampires alike, she believes the wraiths leave a little more to be desired as hired hands. I mean, one can only put up with five wraith-related deaths in a singular week (even if four were just human).
As it turns out their treatment by upper management was less than satisfactory and they are now taking a labor-united-kind-of-action.
Believing diplomacy is for dreamers, Nadja opts for killing the lot, as it would be far more efficient with less overhead. This leaves the Guide (Kristen Schaal) as less than a cheerleader.
Meanwhile, though Laszlo (Matt Berry) attempts to get Child Colin to rehearse his new Nat King Cole number, the poor chum’s tired. He craves a break to get back into his Book of Fairytales, which Lazzo writes off as disgustingly glossed over pablum, chiding the boy for even flirting with the idea that its contents therein provide any feel-good message. I suppose rest is for the educated, Colin!
Nadja looking as officious as ever in her ledgers meets with Xerxes, the wraiths’ appointed representative. It doesn’t come empty-handed, but rather with a handwritten list of demands including more breaks to haunt.
Thinking this is all σκατά, Nadja storms off, leaving the Guide and her team at square one.
The woes of management are all to take a turn for the better though.
As Laszlo reads Kid Colin a recounting of the Nine Years’ War, a fuming under-the-collar beloved finds pause thumbing through a tome.
It’s time for a field trip to the night market!
Now we as simple humans have all heard of night markets, as they are becoming increasingly en vogue through hipsterdom. However, those on the fringe of this earthly plane, such as vampires, have always known of their existence in every town, hidden among our pedestrian oculars.
Nandor (Kayvan Novak) compares them to our festivals, with many diversities being represented as a great place to pillage and/or barter.
As Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) gets off the phone with this mysterious vox from the first episode, all are ready to depart. He asks if it’s okay to join as a human and Nandor assures him that claiming he’s an orc would smooth over the situation in a pinch.
That’s not demeaning at all!
The one person Master doesn’t want to tag along with is poor excited Marwa (Parisa Fakhri), and through the power of his put upon Djinn (Anoop Desai) she is happy to stay home. His wishes are dwindling and through his treatment of Guillermo, he soon may have two pissed-off wives on his plate, a dish best served cold.
Taking the South Ferry Station, the crew gets a glimpse as to what kind of a train this truly is, starting with a performer who farts rhythmically to jazz, causing the humans to depart at the next stop. Those who have remained are headed towards a specific destination and as their train doors part, what lays before them is a candle-lit smorgasbord of sundries purveyed by all of demonkind.
However progressive the safe space is though, no unified currency exists between the species, so the only avenue of business is bartering, which to me is a very clever way of keeping the unnecessary logistics out of it for a comedy.
You want that script to flow, not take superfluous detours. Save that shit for literature. On a related note…
Colin’s brought his books of fairytales to barter for historical ones, as per Laszlo’s tutelage.
Nadja’s trading-up game isn’t so shabby either… I mean she ended up with Cravensworth, didn’t she?
It’s looking up for ya girl, who simply swiped it from Nandor’s room.
Something tells me this mild-mannered relic might be of some import down the line… I mean fuck, look at Antiques Roadshow.
In giving Kid Colin a crash course in the bleakness of reality, Laszlo introduces his protege to real faeries: garbage-dwelling shit eaters.
Not exactly the Victorian romanticism of comely wisps residing in mushrooms Colin dreamt of.
Though narrowly avoiding a Demon (Kurtys Kidd), this is only going to get worse for the guy.
Hark! Nandor hears in the distance one of the night market’s best-kept secrets: Familiar Fights! Think of dog fighting… but with Familiars.
With the Ring Master (Nick Corirossi) presiding over all, his color commentary all aglow, Nandor excitedly explains that the vampires have to submit their familiar into the fracas and a victory for one means a capital L for the other.
A warlock overhearing a way too excited vampire tell his familiar he could take on all comers brings an unexpected twist to this ‘orcs’ night.
Guillermo insists on not partaking and though a chorus of hissing and booing isn’t helping. Nandor attempting to convey his Gizmo is just too badass to compete just throws more trash talk onto this dumpster fire now in progress.
“A Challenger Appears”
Elsewhere in the market of midnight misfits, Nadja’s trade was a success for what equated to Swedish meatballs. With those, she traded with the Imps (as they love tiny foodstuffs) for a motorcycle t-shirt that bears a misogynistic rib-tickler.
Guillermo’s first fight is a win, with no punches thrown by him. The Ring Master’s commentary might as well be on point because none of the first loser’s hits were.
Taking a small break to take in the sights, Laszlo imparts the ugly truth to Kid Colin—fairy tales are lies to children because the reality is too grim or boring. This includes “a” Pinocchio who suffers from a medical malady rather than being a real puppet to garden gnomes that are only frozen in fright when being stared at.
Being fed sugary stories mentally tastes superb, but it ultimately rots your brain. Better to rip that band-aid off now, I guess?
As the second on-taker SMOKING A CIGARETTE with the acrobatics of Eddy Gordo tries to drive Gizmo into an early grave, the dude’s deft dodges ultimately send his combatant into an asthma attack, resulting in the Ring Master snapping his neck.
Let this be a lesson to you kids, DON’T square off with Guillermo de la Cruz.
With a goal in her head, Nadja delves deeper into the night market, into its more murky side streets. Think Silk Road for the undead and there she finds Big Ed’s Anarchy & Apothecary and the only proof she isn’t some fucking narc is coming up with her last trade, which is a sight gag that bears repeating. (Think Jackie Daytona’s gift from last season to Jim the Vampire).
Highly amused he extracts a box containing three milky vials. Her final deal has been made.
As for finality, Guillermo defeats his last rival, an old lady with glasses (still breathing). The pacifist pugilist is the grand champion of the familiars.
Therein lies the rub.
Sending him off with a stupid bag of dry dog food is his prize. Theirs?
A square-off with their champ vamp, a monster monikered Gorgo the Murderer (Nicholas Grimes). I wonder how he earned that honorific.
My guy’s not phased, as he’s a born vampire killer, but because a rally of vampires seeing a familiar kill one of their own for the first time isn’t a great look for him nor his Master, Nandor wishes to take Gorgo’s place.
They say the nightlife can take you places you’d never expect!
Though both don’t actually wish to kill the other, Nandor’s doubt in Guillermo’s ability makes the tussle all the more personal. This includes deployment of stakes, a bit of flipping, “Phantom Menacing” and good ole’ sword fighting, ultimately ending up with a wooden pole aimed at Master’s heart.
This isn’t how their friendship is supposed to go down, much less to a febrile audience, so Nandor agrees to pretend to snap Guillermo’s neck, thusly concluding basically what was their therapy session in real-time.
Back at the club, Nadja presents the Guide with the box, extracting the vials and placing them right in front of Xerxes, rubbing its hands before Big Boss retracts the goods.
These vials contain the Water Lily of the Nile, a medicinal flower, which according to the Egyptians would ease the suffering of the afterlife when buried with the dead. It’s the only drug that helps with the pain of being a wraith, basically being the heroin of the afterlife.
Thanks, Compendium Narcoticum!
Ostensibly, solidarity means fuck-all to Xerxes and it takes the bribe in exchange for telling the others what to do in concordance with Nadja’s whims.
However, you don’t fuck with the Local though no matter if you’re living or dead, as scabs get picked off.
Without a leader, Nadja has no choice but to relent to Mondays off with pay and five additional storage closets for lodgings, which seems amenable to the rest.
Laszlo offers to read a tucked-in but mind-blown Colin fairy tale but he denies it.
His boy opts instead for one of Laszlo’s choices, which unsurprisingly he had loaded for bear.
What better choice for a vampire to read than Truman Capote’s best?