As we check in, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) is still in stasis as half-human, half-vampire. In his pursuit of knowledge, Laszlo (Matt Berry) has decided to combine Guillermo’s DNA with that of various animals. After three days and three nights in sequestration, whoever said progress equaled promise should be fucking drawn and quartered. Guillermo’s gobsmacked. A fauna family that bears his cute countenance is now foisted on him per Laszlo pissing in Mother Nature’s eyes. Whereas some scientists display their failures as reminders, others only see the Delete key. Laszlo wants Gizmo to push the button.
At Richmond Heights Community College in State Island, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) presides over a classroom full of fellow Antipaxons. She’s been teaching night classes on America, from dialect and the national anthem to her idiosyncratic (vastly superior) version of Thanksgiving. This doesn’t come from an entirely altruistic place. She suspects the flashpoint of her hex is the arson of her school perpetrated by none other than herself. Though nobody perished, the death of education for all was her most egregious transgression.
Night school’s looking a bit more interesting with Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) as participants. At first, a move Nadja introduced to fluff out the class number, both dunces have taken a liking to the gig. Nandor’s waiting for the chapter on pillaging and erstwhile night class auditor Colin attends for the big-Drain potential. No matter, Nadja fears her efforts may be for naught. (Un)fortunately, Helen (Kerri Kenney-Silver), appearing almost Hecate-like by way of the G Train approaches Nadja. Though Laszlo called Guillermo a “lost cause” earlier in the episode, I believe his beloved fits the bill more in this moment of desperation. Helen has grifter written all over her, but Nadja’s got a pen out already jotting down ingredients. The night’s only getting warmed up as the boys go substitute teach and she “Goes Dunkin’.”
Guillermo’s plans for an exterminator are defenestrated when he finds out the science experiments have the ability to talk. Dog Guillermo (Raenna Guitard/ William Calvert) addresses him. With Pig Guillermo (Lizz Porter/ Warren Sroka) After Lamb Guillermo (Korina Rothery/ Bridget Hoffman) calls him daddy, shit’s becoming too real. The only experiment not accounted for is Binky, who lives in the koi pond. Guillermo must act quickly on saving lives under Laszlo’s nose. This is as easily said as it is done, as Mr. Cravensworth’s onanistic appetite precludes him from seeing through Guillermo… or maybe cranking it too much has made him blind to what’s clearly in front of him. Guillermo’s a good egg. Damn, now I want to go on a Dunkin’ run.
While Nandor gets the class started on the history of Al-Qolnidor, Colin extinguishes his fervor with his “cool teacher” exterior. It’s a good energy drain because anybody who tries too hard is fucking exhausting and with class time out in the frigid quad, he’s losing them. Since seizing is in Nandor’s DNA, so he takes the opportunity to get the class to follow him to learn more about history indoors.
We arrive at the Staten Island Heritage Museum, after hypnotizing a security guard, the group gets a history of Staten Island, but most importantly, a history of the teacher himself, Nandor. He sees his Al-Qolindarian and sirens needn’t go off because Nandor’s name is all there in black and white: his personalized skivvies.
Unsatisfied with the donuts from a different Dunkin’ than she specified (each place can taste different). I have to hand it to her, the woman is clever with her very specific desire. At the South and Forest DD, Nadja sees the No Serve Flyer of Helen Johnson, and even when confronted with the evidence, Helen still manages to win Nadja over. Being an outcast is something Nadja’s far too familiar with, so as a true act of charity, she allows Helen Johnson to feel magical for a night at her spot with the cashier feeding her. Even if it doesn’t lift the hex in the long run, Nadja seemed to have genuinely felt good about helping out a fellow nighthawk.
As Colin Robinson reads Nandor’s story from the placard, it’s evident the Relentless has been done dirty. No, not that celebrated as an early progenitor of erotic fiction because the text comes from his diary. Yep. He’s a virgin and now that the class knows, they get a lesson in sexual incompetence — his violent outburst.
Back at the Vampire Residence, Colin Robinson proves he is the coolest teacher by not only stealing Nandor’s amulet his mother gave him but also by “remixing” his story, complete with Dream Team-approved battle armor. Colin most likely knew from his past of embarrassment much like Nadja with her story of being banished from her homeland, history fucking sucks. Just because it blew for you though doesn’t mean you lack the power of making the day (or night) of someone else. Now that’s fucking making history.
The seventh episode of What We Do In The Shadows (FX) titled “Hybrid Creatures” pleasantly surprised me. That is not a slight on the amazing team behind this series. I enjoyed the CGI with Guillermo’s frogs in the last episode, but seeing a preview for further animal testing in this episode made me roll my eyes for the sole fact I thought that much more CGI was going to be deployed. In this day and age of computers doing much of the heavy lifting (like Nadja), the Helens of the world prosper. This is not to be kvetching because what CGI was used was actually done so judiciously throughout the episode with the inclusion of live actors alike. The practical effects are stunning.
The Dr. Moreau trope doesn’t outstay its welcome. I have seen it done before, but it’s played more for the self-acknowledging wink of it all and it made me laugh, so that’s all I need. The stinger of Guillermo keeping Binky is great. Having the creepiest outcome as a pet is a good move as it keeps the audience uncomfortable. This is a comedy, but make no mistake, it loves to set out a reminder that it loves to bathe in the grotesque as well. The casting of Kerri Kenny-Silver (Reno 911!) was a continuation of the brilliance of casting this season. She’s fucking evergreen. Comedic brilliance I’d fallen for from the pilot airing of The State (MTV). Her interplay with Natasia was a thing of beauty and all that talk of fried dough made my stomach growl. What could be cruller? (I’ll go fetch my own rope and horses.)
Colin’s redemption of Nandor was truly one of the most tender moments in the whole fucking series and an elegant reminder that though the series plays in the absurd the way Michaelangelo played in marble, at the (radically beating) heart of it all has always been the theme of very real, true “salt (hissss) of the earth” bonds. The only thing that melted my heart more is what immediately follows as a direct result of Guillermo deceiving Laszlo, dropping his familial folly at their “forever home” aka a retirement home his tia is employed at. You can call ‘em, residents, you can call ‘em “emotional support animals.” Personally, I chose to call them a goddamn home run. Call it mad, but my new prediction is that these hybrid creatures along with everything this season is leading to a possible moment of truth of Guillermo being the bridge in a humans vs. vampires “Final Stand” that Colin was all fucking hard for. Isn’t a first stand a final stand in a situation like this anyway?
Dunkin’ Donuts. A true fucking night staple for us tri-staters. The night culture is something that is in our DNA as much as the caffeine that spawns it. Whether it’s shit coffee and donuts or manna from heaven is beside the damn point. It’s always there for us and this episode made me realize something inherent about every single episode of this series I sometimes take for granted… it’s ethereal nature, being perpetually night. I sometimes get so lost in the spooky, sensuous palette of a Staten Island night, I forget I’m watching something flipped on its axis. Every week, every episode, every escapade is a travel into the exotic, erotic, and absurd. That type of magic is real.