There was nothing transparently insane about this week's episode of Dracula — no coolant company acquisition, no women's mud wrestling. But if you don't think a show about Dracula where Dracula saves the day through the power of friendship is insane, all I can tell you is you are missing out.
If you'll recall, we ended last episode with Lord Davenport kidnapping Renfield, because Dracula indirectly made his son commit suicide. Thus begins Xaro Xhoan Renfield's No Good, Very Bad Day, in which the lady Davenport contracted tortures the living shit out of him. It is shockingly graphic, and at one point, the torturers just literally put salt in Renfield's wounds — it's hardcore. What they want to know is who Dracula loves, presumably so Davenport can kill them in revenge.
So Grayson has Harker investigate Lord Shaw, but quickly reassigns him to find Renfield when it's discovered he's missing. Harker manages to partially do both — he's learns that Lord Shaw is getting a commission of all sales of munitions to England's armed forces, and he's the one ordering the sales. As for Renfield, Harker figures out he was abducted and where, but doesn't know who took him.
Unfortunately, he finds this out during the day, so Dracula has to wait until the sun goes down. He does have a bit to keep him busy; tonight is the night's of Mina and Harker's engagement party, and Van Helsing is trying to get a vampire's heart started to see if his formula, once being circulated through the body, will prevent the vampire from bursting into flames. The heart beating thing works, the not bursting into flames thing, not so much.
Meanwhile, everyone else is pretty busy too: Mina is having sex dreams about Grayson, then worrying that Harker is abandoning his old friends and forgetting who he is; Lucy is still very sad about not getting to have hot lesbian sex with Mina; Patrick from Coupling is getting suspicious that Grayson is the vampire who showed up at the exact same time Grayson did; Lady Jane is denying that Grayson is the vampire because she'd feel really stupid; and again, Renfield is having the shit tortured out of him.
Despite the fact that he's hosting the party. Dracula ignores it the minute the sun goes down so he can save his good pal Renfield. He runs to the place where he was abducted, and starts sniffing around, which I assume is a nod to Dracula's ability to turn into a wolf, but watching a well-dressed man sniff repeatedly is not quite as eye-catching as seeing a wolf do it. Meanwhile, we start getting flashbacks to how he and Renfield first met — Grayson was trying to buy a mine from some assholes in the American Eest, in a train car where Renfield was the bartender. When Renfield saw the assholes were going to kill Grayson, he interrupted with some sagely tax advice (and warned Grayson he was about to be murdered), and the assholes began all kicking their bartender. Then Dracula killed the living shit out of all of them.
Later, they talked, and Renfield revealed he was a lawyer whose firm sent him out West, almost certainly to get fired by a racist client for being black, and then ending up stranded out there, with neither job nor money. Dracula tells him he knows about being outcast, and hires him to be his lawyer on the spot, but Renfield has one condition — he must be trusted absolutely. Dracula accepts. There's no reason these scenes should work as well as they do, but Nonzo Anozie plays it with so much dignity, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers just seems so genuine that you actually feel a real bond between these two.
This bond is reinforced when Dracula arrives at where Renfield is being held, and only Renfield sees him, and starts laughing through all the blood pooling in his mouth. Dracula kills all the motherfuckers, saving the woman who did the actual torturing for last. The scene cuts right after her completely terrified scream, and I can't tell you how satisfying it is to watch this ice-cold woman, who was such a badass for the entire episode, just falls to pieces when she sees an angry Dracula slowly walking towards her.
With Renfield secured and being seen to, it's party time! All the Order of the Dragon people are there, as is one of Harker's old drunk college buddies, because Mina wants to make sure Harker remembers his roots; it gets mushy. Then there comes a lot of noticing things. Lady Jane notices Lucy is really, really sad that Mina is getting married, and that she obviously wants her friend's body. Patrick from Coupling notices that he's never seen Grayson in the day. Grayson/Dracula shakes the hands of all the Order of the Dragon people, and notices that Davenport smells like the dude who abducted Renfield.
And then Harker gets up to make a speech, and thanks his benefactor Grayson by offering what is most precious to him, the first dance with Mina — and then everybody notices that Grayson and Mina want to fuck each other so bad. It's a wonderful scene, not just because of the intensity between Grayson/Dracula and Mina, but the intense looks of discomfort on the faces of every other single person at the party.
And then a a super-not-okay Harker asks to cut in, and Dracula rips out his goddamn throat.
I admit, my jaw hit the floor. I know it probably couldn't be real, but this show is so goddamned crazy maybe it could go that far, and the way the scene is shot is gives no indication that it's Dracula's very violent daydream. But it is, and a clearly distracted Dracula basically just leaves, as does Mina, which just adds insult to injury for Harker. The rest of the episode is nothing but Dracula personally tending to Renfield and his wounds as the world turns on. I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.
• Patrick from Coupling directly or indirectly set Van Helsing's family on fire, which should surprise no one.
• The fight scene in the train, where the only view is what Renfield sees from the ground, and the assholes just start flying back and forth, and then Dracula walks over him carrying the chief asshole's severed head? That was awesome.
What Jonathan Harker was thinking, 60 seconds after he offered Mina's first dance to Grayson: "I've made a huge mistake."
• There is no way to make a man smelling his own hand look dignified, even if it's Jonathan Rhys Meyers in a tuxedo.
• I can't tell you how weirdly invested I am in Grayson/Dracula being able to walk in the sun to be able to sustain his disguise. If you had told six months ago I'd be watching a show about Dracula where Dracula is there hero and loving it, I would have slapped you and taken a crap on your front porch. But here I am. Here I am.