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Dracula Has An Explosive Finale With “Let There Be Light”

By on January 27, 2014
Rhys Meyers as Alexander Grayson -- Photo by: Egon Endrenyi/NBC

Rhys Meyers as Alexander Grayson -- Photo by: Egon Endrenyi/NBC

Dracula has come a long way since it October premiere. The show, which has generally struggled to sustain viewer interest through pacing and plot development, hit a high note with its season finale on Friday.

The going has been steadily slow, but “Let There Be Light” was the final pulled curtain on all the series’ plot twists and plans. Last week Mina fell in love, while Harker fell apart. Lucy spent her time on the morally monstrous edges and now has become just that. Lady Jane is right on the cusp of catching Dracula. And Browning seems on the brink of a (unknowing) death. In the finale, however, Dracula is in the same boat as everyone else. He just doesn’t know it.

The finale was masterful and what this series has been selling itself as all along. The pacing was perfect, characters were alive (physically and emotionally) within their plot lines, the narrative never let us forget the stakes, and the twists were fun, if only to see the fallen try and get back up. We were simultaneously rooting for every character even when it meant the destruction of another. Perhaps because they all walk in the shadows whether it be of life or morality. When the playing field is even, you have no favorites and you have no survivors.

During the episode Grayson’s big display unravels in a grisly bang thanks to Harker. The wires in the machine are fiddled with and when the demonstration begins, the chaos is set in motion. Meanwhile, Van Helsing takes care of Dracula’s new gift after destroying the concotion that lets him walk in the light.  When Renfield walks in Van Helsing kills him, then lures Browning through his children to a firey and bloody fate. Upon learning the identity of Dracula through a seer, Jane tracks Grayson down and the two put on a rousing battle. Ultimately immortality wins out and Jane joins the dead.

This entire series has been based around the premise of destruction and death. Yet none of it dramatically – despite the show’s tone and consistently dark imagery – had as much of a payoff as the finale. Harker’s ploy not only turned Mina against him, but forced him to take responsibility for choices he has (and hasn’t) made. It also furthered his hate for the vampire, and left us on a wonderfully exciting cliffhanger. As the final axe came down for Mina with Harker, she sought out Grayson who – not surprisingly – survived the explosion, and they both gave in. Jane’s obsession literally consumed her and her last breath. Lucy’s turn is realized and we’re only left with questions about how her new “life” might play out.

It’s hard, with a show that has been so inconsistent, to say that you desire more but that is exactly the feeling the finale left us with. The deaths of several characters (two beloved in their own rights) means that more time can be spent on tightening the storylines and filling out the remaining, living characters. Heroes and villains, along with the action sequences (one of the best things about this show), can be more fully realized. Characters are over that hump of will they won’t they and so they can give in finally to their deepest motivations, something that’s sure to increase drama.

In terms of hanging storylines, a couple things remain unclear. Will Mina accept Grayson as Dracula or will it scare her away? How dark and dirty can Harker get to stop the vampire’s rise? What will happen to The Order now that two of its major players are out of the game? Will Lucy fully become a creature of the night or will she live on the fringes of the upper crust, playing a cat and mouse game with London’s elite? And finally, now that Dracula has his love, what will he actually do?

The viewing experience of this series probably improves if binge watched versus being taken in slowly week after week. It’s clear though that Dracula can be great when it wants to be. It’s just a shame that it took it so long to… well, get really good. Here’s to season 2, right?