Oh, Dracula. You may not have maintained the madcap weirdness of your first two episodes, but you're always ready to make me utter a plaintive "SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING" and for that, I thank you.
There's a lot going on in this episode, although it's not quite as high stakes as the previous episodes. We begin on the Vampire Express, or whatever you want to call a train whose sole passengers seem to be Lady Jane and three vampire minions. Jane kills two of them, but the third escapes, and of course Jane and her boss Patrick from Coupling assume the one that got away is the old vampire who janked their seers last episode. Hey, why not?
It turns out that this third vampire is Josef, an old war buddy of Dracula's (which means he's very old), who Dracula has more or less summoned to London to serve him just as Lady Jane predicted last episode. Dracula says Josef can stay in his house as long as he wants, although Xaro Xhoan Renfield is less than thrilled at the idea.
Dracula, meanwhile, has discovered that the Order of the Dragon is trying to provoke the Ottoman Empire into a war, so England can swoop in take control of all their oil. So as Grayson, he sends Harker to do some digging on one General Shaw. This is a good call, because later in the episode, Patrick from Coupling meets with Shaw and a General Ogilvy, promptly poisoning Ogilvy for not managing to provoke those darned Ottomans in a war. A disturbed Shaw promises Patrick the war will begin next August.
Meanwhile, Grayson has ever-so-kindly offered to let Jonathan and Mina have their engagement party at his house, although both of them have left all the preparations to Lucy (whose obvious love for Mina continues to sail right over Mina's head). Grayson invites Mina down to see round 2 of his free electricity experiment; they have the cooling problem figured out, but now they need stronger steel, as they find out when bolts and screws start flying around like bullets. Dracula shields Mina with a slow-motion hug, which Mina also is feeling some weird vibes during, although it also disturbs her. She later tells Harker that they shouldn't let Grayson throw their party, but to no avail.
There's more scientific progress when Dracula tries out Van Helsing's Vampire Sunscreen Juice; Dracula is able stand the sunlight, but since Dracula has no beating heart, the serum cannot circulate and only the area near the shot is affected. Van Helsing is ready to modify the serum, but Dracula says it's a problem of machinery and heads off to somehow find a way to make his heart beat again, apparently.
Dracula even manages to turn a problem into an opportunity — namely his pal Josef. Josef eats the maid and is super-pissed Dracula ia dating the vampire huntress Lady Jane, despite Dracula's explanation that he's playing her. And boy, is he; his first act is to invite her to a super fancy and public dinner, then stand her up. The next night, he manages to get back into her good graces by — and this is completely true — taking her to a 19th century women's mud wrestling match. It's actually more like a female fight club in the mud than pure wrestling, but Lady Jane is so excited she forgets to pretend to be demure. Alas, it's not enough, and Lady Jane terminates their relationship (in a wonderful scene where Grayson completely calls her out on pretty much every aspect of her demeanor and thought process).
Josef wants this opportunity to kill Jane, which Dracula/Grayson grants. But when Josef approaches the sleeping Jane, Grayson bursts out for a small (non-mud) wrestling match of their own. Josef pretty quickly and easily tosses Grayson through a table, knocking him out — which seems super-unlikely — but then Jane, seeing Grayson is (supposedly) unconscious and her secret is safe, quickly beheads Josef, killing the vampire instantly. The result is that Jane is in love with Grayson for trying to protect her (even though he clearly broke into her bedroom to do so) but also that Jane and Patrick from Coupling think Josef must have been the ancient vampire they've been looking for, and now London is safe and sound again. As Xaro Xhoan Renfield calls it, "A master stroke."
And speaking of Xaro Xhoan Renfield, he unfortunately ends up being the sole fly in Dracula's ointment this week. Sir Laurent is still a touch miffed about Grayson more or less causing his son to commit suicide last week, and while he gets approval to stop Grayson from the Order Draco — the Order believing Grayson is only threatening their economic interests, because Laurent can't really explain about his son and his secret — and Laurent decides he's going to do a bit more than that. First stop: Hire an Order operative to go off-books and capture Xaro Xhoan Renfield. The episode ends with Renfield in a carriage with a bag over his head, kidnapped. It'll be interesting to see how long Renfield manages to hold out against his employer… if at all.
- The dirt Harker digs up on Shaw seems to be an Asian lady? Not sure what's going on these, but I'm betting 19th century intolerance is going to be involved!
- I should also mention that the tip Harker gets about the Asian lady is from a Corporal something-or-other, who I called "Corporal Hobo" in my notes. This name delights me so much I shan't be changing it.
- Dracula wants Mina to marry Harker just to keep her near him, and Lucy is handling all the engagement party details for much the same reason (although her plan backfires when Mina doesn't really give a shit about the party). Just an observation.
- I assume at some point Dracula's going to get around to turning Lucy into a vampire, right? I mean, not that this thing isn't clearly okay with going off-script, but I don't know what else the character is here for.
- Lot of wind when you kill a vampire, apparently. I'd like to think they leave behind a fresh scent of pine.
- At the end of the episode, Dracula pours a bit of whiskey in the fire for his fallen comrade Josef. I.e., Dracula pours out one for his homey. God, I love this show.