RECAP | Dracula - Episode 1.02 - 'A Whiff of Sulphur'
One down and a council to go: for all intents and purposes, this is Alexander's almost all consuming goal, especially now that he has gotten a much firmer grasp on the identities, strengths and weaknesses of The Order of The Dragon. His sights are now set on his new business partner - another member of the Order of The Dragon High Council - and removing him too from the equation by buying him out of his portion of the oil shares the Order desperately relies on to keep its pockets so well lined. Of course, he refuses the exorbitant cheque Grayson offers him, but one can't help but think that Alexander is secretly pleased as punch at the idea of shaming the guy's shares out from under him via more devious means.
But for all his focus on crushing the Order, Dracula is also utterly unable to keep his mind from wandering to Mina - to her beauty; her strong, sweet and yet unabashed intelligence; her stark resemblance to Illona (the wife he lost); and to the fact that she is currently enamoured with the nervous, boyish charm of Jonathan Harker. Harker of course can't seem to tell if the thing about Alexander that threatens him most is soley related to his effect on Mina, or something more sinister. Alexander, though, is a shrewdly intelligent man with infinitely more experience of the world and social politics; he knows that to be closer to Mina - as well as to have the inside edge he so desperately wants, on the dark underbelly of the London social scene - he'll need to bring Jonathan - who makes his living as a news journalist for local rag, The Inquisitor - closer as well.
So. What do you do to reel in the guy who's dating the girl of your dreams and also happens to be poor as a churchmouse? Outright buy him the mansion of the nasty old dude you ate last week, and chuck said guy the keys as you offer him a hugely cushy job - that's what. Like, obviously...right? Jonathan of course is naturally suspicious (although to be fair, if a guy like that said 'hey here's the keys to the new house I bought you, how bout dinner on Friday' to me, I personally would be just fine with burying all said suspicion on the spot. I mean really. Hot guy + free real estate = CAN'T LOSE). Mina, in a winning taunt, however threatens to kick Jonathan if he doesn't take the job immediately. (No really - that's her actual taunt. Like getting kicked in the shins is the worst thing that could happen to a person in a town where some guy's just had his head ripped off in the street the day before last.)
But aside from her joy at her almost-fiancee's potential new job at Grayson's firm, Mina is herself dealing with the considerable stress of her upcoming final surgical exam - a test upon which much of the next stage of her medical career hinges. She is brilliant theoretically, but her actual surgical technique is plagued by the jitters of self doubt. Jonathan of course is about as useful as a fork in a kitchen full of soup when it comes to verbally and emotionally encouraging her to be confident in her studies, so when Alexander spots her on the street and offers her a lift home to avoid the rain, the afternoon before her exam, he makes sure to encourage her in every way Harker doesn't, telling her that the only way for a person to truly fail in life is to totally let go of their dreams when they don't achieve them. Mina: *cue giant, blushing zing of sudden self belief in ability to correctly use a scalpel*
Meanwhile, over in BADPEOPLETOWN, Lady Jayne is practicing her sword-brandishing, vampire killin' skills in a giant concrete basement like a total mofo. Watching all this from an iron-barred sideline is a hissy imprisoned vampire girl: a foreign one who appears to have followed the as yet unidentified vampire currently stalking London, across the seas from home. A sire bond, perhaps? Maybe. Either way - even when Lady Jayne taunts her with the prospect of truly nasty and vampire specific torture to make her reveal Dracula's true identity - the girl spits and hisses that regardless of what happens to her, more will come in her wake searching for him.
Although a little annoyed, Jayne still believes she has an unbeatable ace up her sleeves: The Seers. Although the Dragon Council aren't too thrilled about the prospect of using them to search the elusive vampire out, they give Lady Wetherby permission to deal with him her way (i.e. tight dresses, updos, double machetes and employing ninja tactics whilst smirking at everything). When she seeks the Seers - currently high as satellites in an opium den somewhere in town - out to activate them, she orders them to identify the vampire asap via their magic mirror and report back to her. And despite the fact that they look like they've just eaten a shop window full of Snoop Dogg's brownies prior to the exercise, the do manage to seek him out. Alexander is walking back out into the night after having watched Mina pass her surgical exam brilliantly, when he seems to feel the definite, intrusive gaze of someone watching him for a change. He feels it: the magic that the Order has now employed to hunt him down. But as The Seers sit watching for a good look at his face, Alexander turns suddenly - fangs bared and bloody - and appears to look directly at them through the mirror, snarl violently. The mirror shatters under his gaze, and begins oozing blood. Later, Jayne reveals to another member of the order that such power from a vampire has not happened within their lifetimes, and definitely not for some centuries. Whoever he is, though he is very old, and more powerful than any creature ever dealt with by the current order.
So yeah. IN YOUR FACE, SEERS.
Oblivious to all of this, of course, is the man Alexander has hired to be his new PR guy; Jonathan has decided to take the job, and that he is going to ask Mina to marry him - tonight - now that he knows he can provide for her due to his new and impressive salary. He even goes so far as to go out and buy her ring, which he then goes and proudly shows all the guys his office. (NB. Not to abuse the suspended disbelief here, but when was he last time you watched a bunch of straight men giggle like a gaggle of thirteen year old girls over a diamond and potential wedding? Is this some 19th century thing they forgot to add to the books? I mean really.) But it's not til after a few drinks that Jonathan actually revels to his colleagues that his motives go a little deeper: he plans to marry her in the hopes that she will 'put away all this medical nonsense and start following some more ladylike pursuits'. Like, SO RUDE. But misfortune intervenes: his mate nods to the door behind him and dear Mr. Harker realises that Mina is standing there - fresh from her exam triumph - and has heard every word. AWKIES.
Despite his catching up with her, Mina quickly dispatches him and his apologies. Whilst she acknowledges his sentiments that he never spoke a word of discouragement towards her studies, she also realises that he's never said a word of encouragement either, and she tells him as much, before leaving him in her wake and disappearing into the night.
BEST PLOT MOMENT
There were two this episode, actually. It's not altogether surprising that Dracula takes Jayne as a lover despite his suspicions of her being a member of the Order. Nor is it surprising that when he is in the throes of utter passion with Jayne physically, in his mind he is there with Mina and utterly in love with her already. (Seriously - if you watch the ep, prepare yourselves for the fact that your tv screen may actually fog up from the inside and destroy it). But I did also like the fact that Alexander sees for himself Jayne's emotionless capacity for utter deadliness, when she hacks off the head of the shop girl he's left half eaten in an alleyway just in case she turns and becomes undead herself. As he looks at her in the alley below, Alexander seems to realise that she is more than just a member of the Order, or his lover: she's an adversary and a formidible one at that.
The other highly intruiging plot moment of this ep was when - after it first surfaced to Dracula's memory from his own experience - Mina awoke from an horrific nightmare...of herself being burned at the stake with a man screaming in grief, terror and captivity at her feet as she died. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.
MVP OF THE WEEK Much as she irks me, I have to give this week to Lady Jayne. If she were just some interfering siren whose whole purpose in the the Order's plans was to glamourously seduce her way to answers for them, she would just plain bug me. But - evil as she is - she's a contender in her own right. She can fight as well as entice her prey, plus she's a pretty mean hand at swordfighting. In a lot of ways, she's a Lady Dracula, and who even knows yet what her motives are in being a member of the Order of The Dragon. Either way, she gon' make things interesting.
A good follow up episode to the pilot that has left me with a heap of questions and a hankering for swordfights.
QUESTIONS FOR NEXT WEEK
What will happen when Jady Jayne puts two and ALL THE OBVIOUS SIGNS IN THE UNIVERSE TOGETHER and realises that Alexander has a serious thing for Mina?
What will Dracula's next move be - he might have scared The Seers but they did still see his face didn't they?
What's the deal with Dracula's magical abilities that seem to exist on top of his vampirism?
What is the 19th century equivalent of Cosmo Bride and where can they buy it, because those boys need to get busy and dammit, that bonbonniere isn't going to pick itself.