‘What We Do In the Shadows’ Review- Episode 6: Founding Father

Benjamin Franklin had once writ: “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Ever a wise and prescient man, homeboy also treaded the wild side of life. Attending the goings-on at London’s fabled Hellfire Club, he knew how to entertain as well as be entertained. Share and share alike, am I right? On this week’s episode of What We Do In The Shadows (FX), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Nandor (Kavan Novak) are left in the dark as to what do with their eminence, Baron Afanas (Doug Jones). I wonder if ole’ Benny boy would’ve sung the same tune if he had let an ancient Vampire into his domicile. On second thought, he would’ve. He was all about that freaky-deak shit.

We open in on the group deciding what to do with the Baron, as he’s come to remind them of their mission, yet he’s not left. As Guillermo is tasked to retrieve Roses for Baron’s cotillion in this New World, the others flounder. An admission that they control a paltry two street radius is most likely not to satiate the mercurial nature of a Vampire Most High. To be fair, the climate of the house is that though world domination sounds like a pretty bad-ass way of existence, it’s really not even that exciting. They are all over it. I suppose when you’ve lead intrepid lifetimes chockablock with times violent, passionate and even more violent and more passionate, the subjugation of the humans seems almost pedestrian and archaic.

Awakening from his what’s probably the equivalent to the slumber of a college kid, Baron simply informs the group that being away for so long has made him long for an exciting night about town, among commoners. The group grows a little worried, as Baron’s appearance would undercut their enjoyment of anonymity among the potential food and friends. They have no choice but to capitulate, growing suspicious of Baron’s intent. Is this all a ruse and are they all the main course tonight? What if Baron just ‘missed dinner’ and was never heard from again?

After a quick makeover, compliments of daywalker Colin (Mark Proksch), the four set flight for the night, with Baron almost nailing it. Ya can’t wear a NJ Devil’s cap in Islander’s country, man! It was a rookie mistake on Colin’s part, but then again, it is Colin so the headwear works for annoyance sake alone. It probably serves as a wearable Tap if humans were barrels for the guy.

Feeling good, feeling right Baron is ready to- CHOMP! In broad moonlight, Afanas just goes hog on a dude clearly urinating in an alley. Now this is a rule of the universe in a past episode they’ve alluded to before. Depending on the mood on whom you feed, that is transferred to you. I guess the same goes for what flows through ones’ bloodstream at the time of feeding. Logically, I like this rule. It makes for more fun with the characters and gives the writers more places to explore.

As the others clearly notice this and try to help this newfound babe (I mean come on, he’s a relic in the now… Ya might as well call him a newborn) find his footing like a little faun, Laszlo goes in for the kill.. The two others take pity on Baron and get him to another bar. His alcohol is wearing off Baron-need-his-Baba… SHOTS!

Caught (not yet Red Mouthed) in the bathroom, Baron’s about to take this shot (human upended), but is caught by the others. In an almost guilty moment, the others agree. All of a sudden, things are a bit better! All are yucking it up compliments of the intemperate shot (I can only imagine his BAC was like a damn Arnold Palmer. Fifty percent alcohol, fifty blood.) All four got pretty hammered, but they didn’t stop there. You want night life? These guys INVENTED night life.

After a maudlin admission of Baron’s that he’s not actually a Baron but it’s more of a mocking mantle (Barren) due to lack of genetalia, the crew has pity on him. They volunteer to be his surrogates. We drunkenly traipse on to the next bar, a cozy hole in the wall. There, Baron laments that he’s grown cold and tired of what used to make him happy- plunder, violence. He wants to feel something. On a side note, I’ve seen this in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. Being alive for so long and doing what you presumably love can even make the undead feel dead. Still on the buzz, Baron admits that he was actually going to kill them. It’s uncomfortable for the reason that Nandor, who for being once a feared warlord is more like a labrador now, admits that they were in a plot to kill him too.

This leads to them in uncomfortable backtracking that only makes things funnier. Of course Baron’s going to have the last laugh, making his hosts uncomfortable. He’s drunk now, but that ain’t the only thing he’ll be ‘fore the night is done. He wants more. He wants… a good ole tristate slice.

With massive protestation from the others knowing its ramifications, Baron chomps onto something red but not human- a classic coal-fired slice of Tri State Za. What can only be described as the water jet pack videos gone wrong on Youtube, if the propulsion was his own torrential vomit. This is one of the funniest visual gags in the series because it goes above and beyond what they’d done in the movie or on a previous episode with Nadja consuming a kernel of popped corn. With that out of his system, the Baron only wants more…

They all attend a rave and feast on the party-goers DNA. Tripping balls, having drunk drugged blood. This is their time. They drink up the night as well as the life inhabiting it.

Their evening winds down with a session of Karoake, Baron belting out a quite heartfelt rendition of the Zombies’ “Time Of The Season”. A clock stops for nobody though, not even for the Felons of the Flesh. Once Nadja sings a song from the Old World acapella, Baron is reminded of the time and demands everyone retire.

Ambling into the house before sunrise like a couple of teenagers out for a ‘sleep over’, they are met by Colin, just getting up for work. They try to coax a most cozy Baron back into his tomb but feeling anew with a new lease on existence, he plays with the prospect of the sunlight. Inebriated and struggling to get his coat off, he hilariously stumbles down some stairs. He’s okay though. He recomposes himself and extracts a little totem he took from a dollar store before. He misses the simple things. Wait, nope, he just broke a rail crashing down to the main floor. Nope, he’s okay.

The entrance Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) bearing dual bouquets of roses and the emergence of piercing sunlight immolates Baron to a crisp pretty quickly, leaving the others gobsmacked. The bright side (outside of that which dispatched Baron Afanas) is that Roses are funeral appropriate.

What We Do In The Shadows airs on FX Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

Robert Kijowski
Robert Kijowski
Robert Kijowski is a script writer who enjoys a good chuckle and an even better weep when indulging in art both good and even better bad. He's written for pop culture and film websites alike. You can hear him on Spotify (After the Credits) and reach out on Instagram, X or by English Carrier Pigeon.

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