“Collaboration” becomes an amusing power play on ‘What We Do In the Shadows’

When he meets his master’s old familiar who was abandoned and never turned into a vampire, Guillermo decides to jump ship and become a familiar to a brand new vampire master, making Nandor realize how much he actually values his former human servant. Meanwhile, after learning that one of their original songs was stolen and adapted into “Come on Eileen,” Nadja and Lazlo collaborate to come up with new music and Colin Robinson books them at an open mic night.

I never quite know where this show is going with Guillermo’s story and that is what makes it so much fun. The guy could become a vampire, he could stay a flunkie, or he could become a vampire killer and, during all of this, he walks a razor’s edge where he could get killed in any number of ways by any number of people, including Nandor himself who is already suspicious of him and his vampire killingness in the first place.

Take “Collaboration,” for example. In a way, this story is all about one person holding power over another. Nandor is undoubtedly more powerful than Guillermo and could kill him with a well-timed flick of his wrist. We as an audience, however, know that Guillermo has got vampire killer skills and has that power over Nandor. Basically, the two are already in a power play and only one of them know it.

With this episode, the power dynamic between the two becomes common knowledge, but not in the way I was thinking it would. I’ve been thinking that Guillermo would probably get found out and have to turn against his masters to survive or, perhaps even, Nandor would learn of Guillermo’s skill and use him as an assassin since vampire assassins seem to be a common problem in the house. But no… no, this series did a completely different and, if you ask me, true to character direction. Guillermo, from the very beginning, has wanted to be a vampire. It’s his dream and motivation and he’s never deviated from that dream. True to form, he doesn’t deviate from that dream now even with the discovery of his talents. Being a vampire is still something he wants and it didn’t go away simply because he knows how to hold a stake.

Even without resorting to violence, Guillermo asserted his dominance and walked away, revealing how helpless and inept Nandor is without him. Again, this is so true to character that I can’t believe I didn’t see this scenario over the possibilities I dreamed up.

The entire plot of this episode is both characters gaining and simultaneously being stripped of their power and highlighting what a precarious situation that both of them are constantly in… either one of them could destroy the other through action or inaction and both of them know it. It’s like a cold war between the two of them and, yet… strangely enough, you get the idea that both of them leave the episode with a shallow, newfound appreciation of each other.

Usually, the vampires on this show are shallow, stagnant characters who never learn and don’t grow, but you really get a sense that Nandor does… even in a superficial way. It’s actually rather heartwarming in the minimal sense.

The Nadja and Lazo story was there just for the laughs and the laughs were plentiful so I am happy.

My goodness, this show is just so consistently good.


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