As one of the count's girlfriends, the BBC / Netflix miniseries Dracula He is charming, funny and sexy, until he runs out of life. However, the culprit is not the bite of a vampire, but rather the showrunners Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss biting more than they were willing to chew in the first three episodes, which they like Sherlock, play as three independent films.
(Ed. Note: this contains minor spoilers for the first season of Dracula)
While the first two episodes freely follow the plot of Bram Stoker's novel, Moffat and Gatiss twist the literature by adding a nun: Agatha Van Helsing, who now faces face-to-face with the vampire lord. Gender investment (which is revealed about 20 minutes after the audience should have resolved it by itself) does not seem like a trick in the hands of Doll & Em Actress Dolly Wells. There is a playful vivacity in Wells & # 39; van Helsing that complements the undead Count Dracula of Claes Bang, who hesitates between soft and animalistic depending on how hungry he is.
Dracula "The first two episodes are full of scenes that fall directly into the Moffat attack zone: dialogue that reads like a verbal chess game between a brilliant hero and an equally brilliant villain. The series is at its best when Wells and Bang speak in circles. Near the climax of episode 1, "The rules of the beast," Sister Agatha opens the doors of the convent to Dracula, realizing that she cannot enter a space without an invitation. The tension since the two are dimensioned for the first time is palpable: it is not entirely sexual, but it is not do not sexual either. (Still, Moffat's tendency toward self-complacent intelligence is also displayed. He was rolling his eyes when Dracula and Van Helsing continued their fight with a game of literal chess.)
After serving two changing episodes of horror, Moffat and Gatiss insert an important turn at the beginning of the end: Dracula emerges from his coffin, which fell to the bottom of the ocean with him inside him at the end of episode 2, "Blood Vessel" , and walks to a beach. Immediately surrounded by police helicopters. As a result, she has been underwater for 123 years, and Van Helsing's great granddaughter, Zoe, (also played by Dolly Wells) has been preparing for her arrival as a scientist employed by the mysterious Jonathan Harker Foundation.
The premise itself is not necessarily bad. In fact, imprisoning Dracula in a modern medical center designed specifically to catch a vampire is a fun investment of the Gothic castle in which his victims were imprisoned. As we know by Sherlock, Moffat and Gatiss are fully capable of making a modern and elegant interpretation of classical British literature. But with Dracula, the writers completely abandon the tone and style that made the two previous episodes so convincing; instead, they serve as a meandering slogan.
Episode 3, "The Dark Compass" is everywhere in terms of plot and tone. After being ambushed on the beach, Dracula escapes custody, only to be imprisoned again. Zoe provides a dump of information about what the Harker Foundation really does, then Dracula calls a lawyer (named Renfield, naturally, played by Mark Gatiss) who releases him on the premise that the foundation does not have the legal right to hold him against his will. The first half of the episode feels like a police procedure with vampire hunters. Again, that is not an uninteresting concept, but in the context of the rest of the program it is very out of place.
Then there is Lucy Westenra, the promiscuous femme fatale who becomes Dracula's girlfriend. Critics have argued that Lucy's representation in the novel is radical in the face of Victorian sexual oppression, but the Netflix series does nothing to update the character other than turning her into a party girl absorbed in herself. Moffat and Gatiss punish her for that vanity; After Dracula kills her, she is revived in the middle of cremation and emerges covered with burns. She is only redeemed through the eyes of a child who says she is in love with her, despite her clear and firm indication that she was not interested. It is a horrible and deaf representation of the sexuality of a young woman, although it is not surprising given Moffat's story of writing women.
The series culminates in a final showdown between Van Helsing and Dracula. Zoe has drunk Dracula's blood, connecting her and allowing her to talk to Sister Agatha. Yes, it is silly, but honestly it is a relief. Zoe is mostly a diluted version of Agatha anyway. Zoe-as-Agatha lowers the curtains to reveal that the morning has come. Sunlight enters and Dracula recedes, but does not explode or dissolve in powder. Agatha then explains his theory, which also works as the thesis of the show: Dracula is just a coward who fears dying. Their "rules" are nothing more than habits, driven by fear and shame.
Apparently, this is the point that Moffat and Gatiss want to make. They have reversed the script in one of the most fearsome villains of literature, postulating that their terrifying behavior, taking advantage of mortals in the dark, is not a tactic to disorient their victims, but an obsessive compulsion to protect it from sunlight that He will reveal his deepest shame. Certainly, here is a nugget of truth about things that scare us because they are wrapped in darkness, and a potential argument for the metaphorical sunlight to shine on them (and perhaps on our own deepest shame). But in the last five minutes of the episode, it feels half cooked. The scene ends with the blow of an image: Dracula nervously emerges from the shadows to the heat and sunlight, but that moment is not won.
While "The Rules of the Beast" and "Blood Vessel" are fun, "The Dark Compass" completely lacks theme. Its rhythm and tone are impossible to follow and its gender policy is a disaster. I recommend simply watching the first two episodes and turning off your TV before the third episode begins, if it wasn't for the final image of the series: Agatha and Dracula have sex in the middle of the sun after drinking Zoe's cancerous blood, killing to both. (Zoe has cancer, which is an important plot point that doesn't matter at all.) It's crazy that ends in the best way, the kind of elevated schlock that made the first two episodes so fun. .
This ending wraps Dracula's arc with a clean arc, although unsatisfactory, but it seems that a second season has not been ruled out. Even before the series aired, Mark Gatiss told RadioTimes: "It's very difficult to kill a vampire. Do you know what I mean? What they do is resurrect."
It is not clear exactly how a season 2 would work, especially since the two main characters die in each other's arms. Will we get a prequel that shows how Dracula's obsessions became a tradition? Will Dracula and Van Helsing meet again in the future, resurrected by the Harker Foundation? Gatiss and Moffat have certainly shown that they are willing to play with deadlines, but we expect them to resurrect the more campy tone if Netflix orders another season.
Dracula Now it's streaming on Netflix.