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The Beauty of the Dark: Dracula “From Darkness To Light” Review

By on November 16, 2013
Pictured (L-R): Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Victoria Smurfit -- Photo by: Jonathon Hession/NBC

Pictured (L-R): Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Victoria Smurfit -- Photo by: Jonathon Hession/NBC

In “From Darkness to Light” we watched as Josef, Dracula’s former right hand man, reemerged and wreaked havoc on the old vampire’s plans. Jayne thinks she’s caught the vampire plaguing London, Lucy makes a vague confession, and Mina begins her work as Van Helsing’s assistant.

The newly engaged couple make plans for their wedding, plans that include the assistance of Lucy and a building belonging to Grayson. Lucy becomes upset by the idea of Mina’s marriage, making it clear her attitude towards Harker is not based solely on his social status. Mina has a change of heart about the location of her wedding when in small explosion during an energy demonstration, Grayson shields her from flying parts in just the right way. It is after this moment that Mina has her suspicions raised.

While Mina is having doubts about Grayson’s intentions, he is juggling the manipulation of Jayne and the handling of an old friend with some bad habits. Josef, his former right hand man, has returned and might’ve been a good thing if he was not so… aggressive. Grayson’s plans are not about ravaging The Order, but about taking down the system itself. Josef isn’t a fan of this approach and has already made a connection between Mina and Dracula’s dead wife, on top of being perturbed (an underwhelming description, yes?) by the nature of Lady Jayne. Oh, and he also can’t stop eating the help.

Handling Josef is only half of the juggling act though. Despite Renfield’s advice, Alexander reaches out even more to Jayne in an effort to keep his enemy close. He lavishes her with female mud wrestling and attempts to woo her with honest confessions about herself and his intentions. Jayne successfully keeps Grayson at a safe distance until Josef inserts himself into the vampire’s plans. Seeing an opportunity, Grayson sets up Josef to attack the vampire huntress on his behalf. In the last minute Grayson makes it seem as if he is trying to protect Jayne, giving her enough time to kill Josef and declare Grayson her hero.

Other than preparing for their marriage, Mina and Harker spend some time off doing their own things. Harker is on a mission to dig up more about General Shaw – who is later threatened by The Order – but he can’t find much. That is until he receives a mysterious letter encouraging him to meet the writer later that evening. He goes and finds Vera Markhim, but that’s all we learn. Mina is busy working as Van Helsing’s assistant and doing a bit of her own detective work. While in the lab she stumbles upon blood samples, accept they are “live” samples when the date on the blood indicates the samples shouldn’t be. This puts Mina one step closer to getting answers and gives us one more reason to like her.

The inclusion of Josef, though for only an episode, created different back story expansion for Dracula. The character also raised the stakes in a slow plot line. So far Grayson’s plans to take down The Order have consisted mostly of watching rich people enjoy themselves as he played a card or two. With Dracula so in control all of the time, there wasn’t a real feel of danger or urgency. Josef’s eating habits and impulse control issues provided some much needed energy within the storyline. Hopefully we’ll continue to see more game-changing, and less game-designing, characters.

This episode proved Dracula has plans to keep all its women relevant and well-written.  De Gouw balances conscious, intelligent, and caring delightfully. And while soft-spoken, Mina never shies from being honest nor does De Gouw’s physicality as the character exude an expected “delicacy.” Mina is dimensional and minus a single scene last week has managed to avoid the damsel trope. In addition to Mina’s on screen presence, Lucy and Jayne both received some key development.

Lucy’s general air of entitlement and arrogance had served to make her quite an antagonist for Mina and Harker’s relationship. However, her budding love storyline with her friend has given the character heart and empathy. Mina doesn’t appear to share in the same type of love so it will be interesting to see how their relationship storyline develops among the romantic interests of two other men. Jayne’s nature as a woman and vampire hunter were well illustrated this episode and her full turn to Grayson should definitely create some interesting tension and perhaps a power triangle. Let’s hope love doesn’t get the best of our hunter.

“From Darkness To Light” was arguably the best episode of the show so far. The major story lines were given proper development, new stakes raising characters were introduced and the potential of relationships was explored. It took several episodes, but Grayson has evolved into the empathetic anti-hero with the help (not surprisingly) of Mina. Harker’s storyline took a backseat, allowing Rhys Meyers and De Gouw to deliver a tender chemistry necessary for our investment in their relationship. As a bonus, the female characters all out-shown the males. The show struggles in some areas, but is clearly way ahead on others. Hopefully in the upcoming episodes it can continue in the right direction, giving balance to many facets.