The gentle art of topiary has been around since Roman times. Shaved shrubbery is majestic as it is thought-provoking. Going on the latter trait, it can also be Freudian.. at least according to Lazslo’s (Matt Berry) pastime in the tertiary episode of What We Do In The Shadows (FX). His verdant works of pride are all Obelisks, if you will, to women he’s been with and greatly admires. We run the gamut from such luminaries as Nancy Reagan down to the most prized piece in the collection: Mummy Dearest. This is where things take a very oddly scented turn as a werewolf has urinated on his physical and emotional real estate. Lazslo, the genteel-man and all around level headed cornerstone of the House sees more red than he does on a buffet night. This means war.
In this third episode, my focal point was way more on the love interest of Colin (Mark Proksch) and his newcomer to the Office, a woman named Evie Russell (Vanessa Bayer). He believes this is a new plate on the menu, and through a ‘business-casual’ stance in welcoming her, he simply cannot read her nor drain her. This flummoxes the poor guy, but his interest is piqued, as this marks the first time he’s in a superposition. He cannot overcome nor be overtaken by her gradual stories that would take a run at Raymond Carver as what they call an ‘Emotional Vampire’- those who don’t drain you of energy but of tears. Evie is basically a Sarah McLachlan song wrapped in a plaintiff visage swaddled in more dramatic swag. She is one not to be trifled with and because Colin sees something is off, he starts falling for her.
Back onto the more contentious side of things, Lazslo’s caught the culprit, which is hilarious as the rest of the housemates take a very civil approach to the protocol with handling a Werewolf. Think of it as the Geneva convention… was it drafted in 1993. There are a few lines one does not cross between the vampires and lycanthropes. This is 2019 and though the werewolves have crossed enemy lines and the vampires drew first blood, the doggies could give a bloody fig about what they think. And oooh, does that juice taste sweet.
In the office, Colin shows more of his softer side. His overall contempt of humans as mere cattle to the slaughter. I’ve said it before, he is one to watch. However, he realizes Evie (get it, E.V.) is another energy siphoning one, but for one who looks at us like mere Capri Suns, he actually catches feelings, which is in the human condition. This culminates in a late night office battle with Evie, as they finally realize what each other is and actually at the end of it try to ally and romantically link. What pursues is bliss for them, for a time. I’ve always been a believer in not going with someone too much to what makes you special. It will ‘were’ thin and ultimately have you questioning yourself.
Meanwhile, in the House, the band of werewolves presents themselves in glorious fashion. By the by, these ARE swearwolves. They don’t really care how you perceive them, though they are breaking an armistice. The order of 1993 stipulates they weren’t to engage in a brawl in any count and if such were to happen, it were to transpire on neutral ground (in this case, the roof, excuse, ruf’top) of a Circuit City. Both parties are to pick their Champions to partake in a battle to the death.
This multicultural pack of werewolves chooses a ringer that could go claw-to-fang with Nandor (Kayvon Novak), their bulkiest choice. Before it goes down, as per the rules of engagement, a party is able to choose a weapon for the dispatch of said foe. Silver bullets won’t do (without a gun) so, with a smile and a thought, when basically walking furry and fury death is staring him in the face, Nandor picks up a squeaky toy. Throws it off the ‘ruf. That’s all I needed to just laugh my ass off. It was a funny moment that smacked us in the face with its beautiful simplicity. Nicely done.
We end on that high with a more poignant, if you could outdo a depressingly boring person dating the embodiment of a Feed The Kids commercial note.
Though Colin enjoys a familiar, in that she’s like him, I think we’ve all been there in that sadly, the person that is like you isn’t the best fit. Opposites attract sometimes work, but if you’re competing and that makes you turned on, it will only turn into A Star Is Born. I think Colin had realized that before it got too serious. You want someone that complements you, not competes with you.
The wonderful thing is that Evie keeps gaslighting Colin in the final scene and I don’t believe this is the last we will see of her.
Overall, I really liked this episode. Some of the most choke on your Vampires Kiss moments have been with the werewolves. I truly feel the episodes, like a good werewolf getting used to their skin and how it changes and is elastic.
Nadja’s (Natasia Demetriou) slight foray into the lair of her beloved, Lazslo’s I thought was a slight throwaway, but I was brought back in due to the sheer humor of it. The pack we got an inkling of and actually, I am thirsty for more of them.
Overall, this episode was on brand and what made it special was the subtle humor. It’s still trying to find its footing, but that’s cool with me. The series is going to be something special, and it has a lot of diamonds in the rough to mine, as we are scratching the surface of that… diamond.
So what has topiary taught us? If you’re an artist, live your truth. If you’re a critic… fall off a roof. Ruf, ruf, ruf.
You Can Watch What We Do In The Shadows on FX