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Everybody Tells: Dracula “The Devil’s Waltz” Review

By on November 30, 2013

Pictured (L-R): Nonso Anozie and Jonathan Rhys Meyers -- Photo by: David Lukacs/NBC

Van Helsing and Grayson are back at the sunlight experiments again in “The Devil’s Waltz.” This time they’ve acquired themselves a female vampire to test the “cure” on. The last time they worked, the concoction worked, but it had no way to pump itself through Grayson’s entire body, so it only covered the portion that was injected.

To help work out a solution, Van Helsing pumps thousands of volts of electricity through the vampire’s heart. At first it doesn’t work, but after another go again – at a higher voltage – the vampire’s heart begins to beat. They inject her with the cure and expose her to sunlight. For a few moments it appears as if it has work, but soon after she begins to burn and ultimately dies.

Though this storyline is essential to the larger plot it, it feels repetitive now that we are five episodes in. Part of Dracula’s conflict is that he can’t enter the light and so he must struggle to keep up the facade while trying to find a way to break part of his wretched existence. Viewers knows this. They also know that once Van Helsing is successful the game will change drastically for Dracula, Mina and Harker to start. Why then has the writing dedicated screen time to something like this week after week? To put it bluntly, it’s a bit like watching Frankenstein sew his monster together piece by piece – totally unnecessary.

More interestingly the episode spends a large time focusing on an established, but previously unexplored, relationship: Renfield and Grayson. Early in the episode we see that the woman hired last episode to glean more information out about Grayson has now captured Renfield and is in the process of torturing him. Her goal? To find out who Grayson loves. Little does she know it’s the very person sitting in front of her. Grayson’s focus on during the entire episode was on finding Renfield. Van Helsing attempted to focus Grayson the project at hand and Harker tried to fill his employer in on some suspicious trading. But still his focus is on finding Renfield.

He eventually comes to Jonathan with the news of Renfield’s disappearance and Jonathan proves himself by visiting the spot of Renfield’s abduction, bringing back his notebook. Grayson sniffs, locates Renfield then takes care of his captors viciously one by one. During all of this we see flashbacks to how their partnership came to be and a large glimpse into the person Grayson has at his side. We have watched Renfield dutifully protect Grayson and work without question. Their relationship is the strongest in the series and we were given solid development as to why. Renfield, whether intentional or not, became one of our favorite characters and a protagonist, despite the questionable nature of his work.

While Grayson was busy with Renfield, the soon to be newlyweds were busy parading at their engagement. Both Mina and Jonathan had their own troubles to sort out though, even during a party meant to celebrate their happiness. Since being employed by Grayson, Jonathan has made some new friends in the elite crowd. As such, his old friends are apparently not good enough company to be in. Mina goes to Jonathan about this and instead hearing her out, he initially states that the loss of a few old friends is a result of new status.

Mina doesn’t take to well to this and she approaches her father about her feelings. He is, however, quite bedazzled by Jonathan. Eventually Harker relents, much to Mina’s approval, and we are presented with quite the interesting development. We were introduced to a version of Harker that was sentimental and empathetic. On the flip side, Grayson lacked humanity on nearly every front. The more we see of Harker and how he handles social change, the less one likes of him. He eventually comes around to the right thing, but it’s always with a bit of goading. This has pushed his character from white into gray moral area, all the while Grayson edges farther from black to gray.

Pictured (L-R): Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Alexander Grayson, Jessica De Gouw as Mina Murray -- Photo by: David Lukacs/NBC

Pictured (L-R): Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Alexander Grayson, Jessica De Gouw as Mina Murray — Photo by: David Lukacs/NBC

Mina had her own troubles to worry about as well. In quite the sultry dream, Mina is spending time with Grayson under the sheets. She reveals the details of this intimate dream to Lucy, who immediately jumps to the “trouble in paradise” conclusion. And that’s not just in Harker’s paradise, either. During the engagement party, Harker offers the first dance to Grayson. This seems like a pretty bad idea and it ends up being just that. Mina and Grayson share a few electric moments and it becomes pretty clear to Mr. Fiance that something is up. He cuts in, but it’s too late. Mina is already an emotional mess and she dashes out.

Mina’s predicament is growing. She senses that Grayson has ulterior motives, however she’s reached a point where she may also be interested in them. You can see though that she desires to protect her relationship with Jonathan. That will be significantly harder though as Grayson is inextricably linked to her life in a very prominent and powerful way. More than before the audience is rooting for her happiness. Let’s just hope one of her options can shape up before she chooses.

Overall the episode felt tighter, better paced, and developed for our main players more effectively than past episodes. One thing this show has lacked up to this point is really emotionally moving relationship building. “The Devil’s Waltz” delivered on this well, in addition to pushing forward quite a few of the major plots.

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