We open up on Sean (Anthony Atamanuik) and Charmaine (Marissa Jaret Winokur) Rinaldi pitching the Vampire Residence on a gay pride parade. Seanie’s running for the magisterial position of comptroller and Staten Island’s gay community just so happens to be his largest blindspot. Officious Laszlo (Matt Berry) is more than happy to grand marshal the parade with the household, going as far as being insistent on building the float.
The Doll hasn’t yet forgiven Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) about her situation of being 3/4’s automaton. It seems the only thing to make it right as the spirit of pre-vampire Nadja is to inherit her corporeal sister’s body to experience the desires of the flesh. The Guide (Kristen Schaal) knows that body swapping can be handled easy peasy. Nadja’s not cool with it, but come on. Sometimes atoning for one’s sins requires a fuck ton more sinning. That’s just Balancing the Soul 101.
Nandor (Kayvan Novak) has taken notice of Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) being sequestered more with Laszlo on account of his alleged intelligence. He’s just jealous, thinking a man of letters is dogshit compared to one of fearlessness, strength, and drive. What he doesn’t know is that Laszlo is actually running a series of tests on his Familiar. Armed with baby bat wings and the ability to run as fast as he always has, to enjoy garlic, and to lift beakers of liquid with his mind, Guillermo is the most fascinating thing in the house for once to Lasz.
Because tonight is known colloquially as Freaky Friday in spiritual circles, through a scrying ball, The Guide facilitates the swapping of Nadja and her Dolly’s bodies. Nobody in the house cares that they swapped though. Laszlo has a more burning matter at hand and goes to the only repository of vampire mythology he can find: his housemates. From poor sexual performance to vampiric OCD, Nandor’s all too keen on injecting himself in on the fun in the name of science (really, just of Guillermo).
At speed dating, ‘Nadja’ is killing it… and by it, I mean the mood. Her pickup lines are solid like a rock, but nobody’s down to clown. Shit, and I thought her dowry would bring all the boys to the yard. Laszlo and Nandor aren’t really fairing any better back at the house. From falling victim to rice counting to debating about whether a trip to outer space is possible, they’re fighting for Guillermo in two different ways when they should be joining forces as the Lewis & Clark of vampirism. Instead, Nandor decides to go fucking play Spaceman.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or are they? “Doll Nadja” wants to lay Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), but I’m not all “gag me with a spoon” by it. Skeptical at first, he concedes to the night, but it’s all for naught. He loves the fucked up nature of it all, but he’ll only go with the actual Doll. What can I say? He’s a romantic at heart. He’s also clever about it. When the Doll refuses to call it a wash, Colin has the idea to go into Nadja’s body to convince the Doll to vacate. This causes a third Nadja, one at her most manic: I’ll call her “Col-Doll”. I love Colin, and though he is a baby even by adult vampire standards, he wasn’t born yesterday. Coaxing the Doll out would keep his fantasy alive and save Nadja. Not coaxing her out would throw some chaos in the mix and in Charlie Kaufman fashion, be romance via homunculus. Either way, it seems a win-win. Or maybe I’m just the asshole being unduly cruel to Colin’s moral compass or lack thereof.
Fascinated by his resistance to Ultra Violet, the only way Laszlo can peel back another layer of the human onion that is Guillermo del la Cruz is to sweat the magic out of him on a treadmill. Once distilled, Laszlo slathers himself in the stuff and lives in the moment by living among the blazing ball of hellfire. He’s out and about. He notices how radiant Seanie appears in the sunlight. He goes to the beach in his summer finery, knocks around the ole ball with some friends before launching that shit into the sea, draws a dick in the sand, and caps the sojourn out by seizing a fish and ultimately, the diem.
Viewing himself in the mirror (!), Guillermo checks on his fangs before Nandor checks in. Informing his Familiar that he’s Going Armstrong gets Guillermo giddy. He’s a smart kid. He knows what’s up. After quoting JFK, with Go-Pro and self-stick, Nandor launches. He hits a few snags, but before you knew it, the ole boy’s done it but before he can metaphorically suck his own dick on two different cameras, victory is short-lived. The dude’s about to be a grilled hotdog upon reentry.
At his comptroller pride party parade, Sean brings out a sunburnt to hell Laszlo. He schmoozes the crowd before throwing it to Nandor, but the guy’s busy being a meteor rocketing toward Staten Island. He brings out Nadja, with Colin making a proper appearance on the other side of her head. I’ll be honest, they can belt out the Weather Girls with the best of ’em. #SquadGoals #Col-Doll
Nandor landing on cue, looking all Marvel’s Legion in the buff kicks off the real party. It’s raining men, women, and children in Staten Island spreading the message of love and unity. Will the Blueshirts ever come back to Staten Island like pre-1926? Who’s to say? What’s important is this moment Seanie should savor and take in with friends and family as they proceed on their gay gambol through the streets of S.I. At first, I was a little sad to see Guillermo relegated to the back of a float with a very simple sign… but once that frown turns upside down, the moment was magical. You see true emotion and glee in his eyes, upon the realization that this is his first official, heartfelt party as a vampire. Fuck that shitty birthday at Colin’s place of employment, fuck all the shitty birthdays leading up to that one. Fuck it all. Among housemates, neighbors, friends, lovers, dreamers, this is Guillermo’s first true birthday as a vampire.
The Anthony Atamanuik cup runneth over! What goat did I fucking slaughter in my sleep to have this gift bestowed unto me? Sean is becoming more of a mainstay this season and I will absolutely not wrangle into question why. I will just absolutely enjoy the crap out of it.
The episode delivered on it what is turning out to be my prediction of Guillermo’s journey being the through-line of the season. They’ve managed to take “pride” in a few of its forms and parade them in front of us. Words themselves in definition are black and white. In practice, they’re more of a mesmeric marbled grey. Pride in people can go many ways, both good and bad. By the end of the episode, however, all I saw was a rainbow, a color palette representing the strong, fearless, and driven (like Nandor) and likewise clever, academic, and curious (like Laszlo). Plus, life’s not black and white, and though intentions may be grey, life isn’t. It’s vibrant, diverse, complex, and beautifully chaotic. Get used to it.
By the way, is Natasia Demetriou’s scintillatingly silly, rubberized comedy performance not only a treat but also a range we’d like to see explored and played with more?
I do love that the show finally made good on a joke that was begging to be out there. “Ants Marching” is goddamn Sade as far as Colin’s concerned and I now want an Official “What We Do In The Shadows Colin’s Boner Jams 2023” playlist. Write your congressmen, people. Or maybe start with your local comptroller and work your way up.
By the time the boisterous night crawl down the street was in full bloom, my heartstrings were a bit tugged. It gave me Danny vibes, and that shit is major praise. Through the morass of trying to reach a community with sexually flexible vampires as his constituents, Sean already won the hearts and minds of his neighborhood.
The mid-credits stinger of the foursome betwixt the carnal knowledge of Col-Doll, Nadja Doll, and hubby Laszlo is chef’s kiss. From Colin wanting a doll to the crew going at it, they went there, and why not? It was the perfect cherry on top to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride.