Dracula: From Darkness to Light.

Previously on Dracula: Goblin Merchant Men.

Oh, good. Dracy’s got his butler back.

And while he commends the Order of the Dragon for being so “forward-thinking,” the bottom line is that being hunted down and killed — bested — by a woman is a shameful thing. Thanks very much.

Aye, and Renfield senses trouble and, possibly, a rival for his position as Grayson’s right-hand man.

After last episode’s revelation, we see Lucy’s devotion to Mina even more clearly, and how hard she’s struggling to hold on to her appearance as cheerful and vibrant, when in fact her heart is breaking as she’s forced to watch Mina and Jonathan fawn over each other. Now, what we have here is the potential for Mina’s anti-patriarchal awakening, her ditching Harker and Grayson, and her and Lucy becoming an ass-kicking lesbian power couple all but stomped into the dust by the fact that, ooh, no, female lead can’t be homosexual, and Lucy’s desire may well be visible, but can’t ever go anywhere. Lucy’s despair channels itself into the planning of the engagement party — which, naturally, the men find excruciating, because real men don’t find enjoyment in that sort of thing.

Lucy: “Honestly, it’s like talking to a man sometimes!”

It’s so funny — by which I mean, stupid. Men have no interest, which is seen as normal. At the same time, women are derided for not being interested, and their behaviour is characterised as masculine, rather than a facet of femininity. I thought Lucy was Mina’s friend — why couldn’t the writers just let her say, Ugh, I know you hate flower arrangements, just let me handle that. One reason for that, of course, is Lucy’s wish to keep Mina close before losing her to Jonathan. The other is the writers’ completely nonsensical gender stereotyping.

dracula s01e04

Insert long-suffering sigh. And as Mina’s involvement with Grayson is clearly spelling her doom, Lucy does the right thing in not being interested in the resonating machine in the basement.

Why do I get the feeling that they’re both going to end up being punished by the narrative for their off-the-books interests and desires? If this ends up being another leaf in the big old book entitled, Good Girls Don’t, there’ll be a lot of shouting on this blog. What’s funny is Harker’s 180° turn. Seeing Mina as a woman with aspirations every bit as important as his own? That’s great. Except it doesn’t add up, not with how Mina was portrayed at the beginning, and with her only overcoming her insecurities at Grayson’s behest. The show is only superficially empowering her while undermining her agency in other situations, and that’s not how this is going to work.

Dracula, of course, is only too happy to indulge Mina in everything — but then, following his own reasoning, a man in love is also a fool. A fool who humiliates Lady Jayne, the currently biggest threat, by standing her up. What a crushing blow!

What I want is for Mina to see Lucy’s love for her or for Lucy to admit the true scope of her feelings and, well, to see Mina react. I want to see where the show is going with this, how it’s going to handle it.

Dracula’s other big problem remains his inability to walk in sunlight — without a beating heart, the serum cannot be distributed through his veins and therefore can’t work anywhere except the tissue surrounding the injection site.

Another thing good girls don’t do is snooping, Mina…

Oh, and Dracula’s diversion is mud-wrestling women? Seriously?! As ever, the sex scenes between Lady Jayne and Dracula are excruciatingly unnecessary… and then — he sends Joseph to kill her. That thing with him accusing her of having fallen in love with him — went nowhere. She seemed to have asserted her dominance, but Dracula asserts that he won the game — and yet, condemns her to death. Except THEN he follows Joseph, attacks him, causing such a ruckus that she’s sure to wake up, and then pretends he’s unconscious while she kills Joseph. Which, of course, she can’t reveal to him, so she acts like he scared the assailant off. (It’s very convenient that Joseph transformed into ashes and dust instead of just losing his head, right?) Now, is her gratitude real or is she playing him? Dracula certainly believes her — which would render her resistance to his assertion that she’s infatuated with him null and void. Oh, good. If all of this pans out as planned, he’s been playing her emotions like a fiddle. Of course…

Of course, he’s thus also managed to trick her into believing that she’s just killed the vampire she’s been looking for — she’s completely off his trail, then, and he can continue to deceive her as he pleases. Funny, again. The show makes her look the only competent hunter out there, and yet she sleeps with him and spends time with him so often and never realises…

dracula s01e04-2

In the meantime, Davenport is keeping the real circumstances of his son’s death quiet, of course he is. Let it be known that the poor boy had a heart attack, instead of killing himself over the loss of the man he loved. That’s where something indeed promising happens: Davenport hires a sort of fixer Mary Poppins, charging her with finding what Alexander Grayson loves most and taking it from him. After her Monday outing on Ripper Street, the amazing Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra on Doctor Who) is now playing Janina Kleiberson. She’s promising in that she’s a female character operating very much outside the boundaries society has set for her. The trouble is that she’s also cast as a little bit insane. So, yay, a woman has to be insane to do what she does… Janina Kleiberson isn’t Lisbeth Salander, whose mental state isn’t blamed for who she is, it’s society that’s blamed for not accepting her. In Janina, it’s used to justify her professional situation and saying, a woman that does this can only be insane. Instead of, you know, a quite sane lady who works as a private contractor. She doesn’t instil respect by being good at her job — she instills fear by being crazy.

What I’m getting from the promo: Mina has dirty dreams about Grayson because, suddenly, Dracula’s “spell is taking hold”? After he said that he wasn’t going to pursue her?! And then, apparently, things get so intense when they dance that he hallucinates that he kills Jonathan at their engagement party?!!?! Has this show lost all semblance of, I don’t know, continuity and sense in establishing motive and characterisation?!?!

Next: The Devil’s Waltz (airs November 29th).

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2 thoughts on “Dracula: From Darkness to Light.

  1. Gender stereotypes! Yay! (╯✿◕ ‿ ◕)╯︵ ┻━┻) not.
    This is a lovely review – because it makes me wonder if this show is worth watching (I’m currently not) with all the women-bashing and not-so-coherent story-line. (Are people trying to imitate Ovid when they write motiveless acts? I heard he did that a lot.)

    Like

    1. I was really looking forward to the show — and now I’m basically just watching to see how bad it’s going to get this time. In any case, I’ll keep you up to date on whether the wind changes (not that I’m terribly hopeful that it will).
      Ovid’s Metamorphosis was entertaining, at least…

      Like

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