Tuesday, August 16, 2022

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Guillermo Reveals to His Family What His Life Is Actually Like in 'Pine Barrens'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 4.07 "Pine Barrens"

Nandor and Laszlo air out their differences on a hunting trip at an isolated cabin, Nadja has a girls' night, and Guillermo reconnects with his family for the first time in twelve years.

"Pine Barrens" was written by Sarah Naftalis and directed by Kyle Newacheck

Guillermo has been distant from his family for twelve years. He's prioritized working for the vampires. That was what he truly cared about. He didn't have time to explore any other aspect of his life. Sure, he could visit family members from time to time. He hasn't spent any quality time with them so they could know who he is as an adult. He didn't even feel compelled to do so after learning he came from a long lineage of vampire hunters. That was simply a development in his life. It didn't require any additional information. That makes it fun when Guillermo invites his family to the vampire house while Nadja is still home. The roommates thought they each had the place to themselves while Nandor, Laszlo and Baby Colin were away on a hunting weekend with Sean. They are so accustomed to doing things as a group. It's easy to see why they each would have thought everyone else would be away. For Nadja, it was a boys weekend in New Jersey. For Guillermo, it was an outing for the vampires. Neither of them needed to feel included. They celebrated this time for themselves. Of course, they both chose to be surrounded by other people. Those relationships are just as important to them. They simply bring out new energy. Guillermo can no longer deny the power every member of his family has. They can still be hypnotized. They forget about him working for vampires and wanting to become one himself. That's not the point of this entire story. Instead, it's Guillermo having the confidence to come out to his family. Sure, it's wrapped up in comedic hijinks where Nadja pretends to be his girlfriend for a little bit. Things go awry when Guillermo's family has a physical compulsion to kill her. They can't deny who they are any more than the vampires' bloodlust for humans. It doesn't make up the totality of their existence in this world. It's still something that can't be changed. It's a physical response. Guillermo and Nadja don't have the luxury of faking their way through this dinner. Instead, the confrontation must occur. It leaves Guillermo more vulnerable than ever before. However, he needed that push. It isn't a big deal that he's gay whatsoever. To the vampires, everyone in the world is at least a little gay. As such, no one has to go around declaring themselves as such. Moreover, Guillermo's family already knew this about him. They still love him so much. The power of the moment comes from Guillermo being able to verbalize it himself. He gets to state his true feelings. He gets to express himself for all that he is. That's so freeing. This season has been one of immense freedom for Guillermo. His job is still virtually the same. He's standing up for himself in a way that could backfire at some point. He's also learning how to prioritize his needs instead of shrinking in the background for whatever trivial desires the vampires have.

Of course, the vampires have personal needs as well. They seek emotional satisfaction from the people around them. Nadja never gets a night to hang out with the girls. It's amusing when they just want to watch Mamma Mia. That's so strange. It's so fitting as well. It showcases the delight and wonder these creatures can still experience. The world continually surprises them. That is true even within the confines of this home. It's a vast space with so much potential. It's mesmerizing to see how Guillermo decorates for his family. He has an explanation for everything. Of course, it only works when others don't question the stories given. This house comes alive at night because everywhere there works at the railroad. None of them can quite explain what that job actually entails. They haven't put much work into the cover story. That too is who they basically are in this world. The vampires only wish to put in as much work as necessary. They don't want to go above and beyond for something they aren't interested in. They have unlimited power. They have all the time in the world. They have gone on so many classic adventures. They still pursue new opportunities. They find new dreams to explore. That even includes raising a child. It's so strange. It remains incredibly alluring as well. The show hasn't lost that special spark that makes these creatures so amusing. They want to maintain their own individual lives. They all secretly care about each other. Laszlo proclaims Sean as his best friend. Doing so actually hurts Nandor. He fears he is losing his special connection with his roommate. He can only see Laszlo's annoying qualities. He doesn't care about others, needs to be right about everything and only wants to have sex. The house fell apart when he was tasked with keeping it together. He takes his responsibilities as a parent seriously. That's mostly been about keeping Baby Colin out of the most dangerous situations. He still contends with a lot of perilous moments. Laszlo exposes him to those worlds in hopes of creating a more fascinating and powerful person than Colin Robinson was. Baby Colin is armed with the internet too. That makes him a key resource for every argument Laszlo and Nandor get into. Of course, the internet doesn't have answers to everything. Part of this world is solely contained to the dark creatures who inhabit it. The vampires want to dismiss the myths of the Jersey Devil. It too was nothing more than a convenient story shared so humans would remain oblivious to their existence. The creature does actually roam these woods. Laszlo and Nandor have to work together to defeat it while also rocking out to Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer." Sean gets injured during all of this. But again, his presence doesn't offer the emotional clarity. Instead, that comes from Laszlo and Nandor learning how to reconnect despite all the changes in their lives as of late. They miss their friendship even though they still carry grudges from decades ago that are completely pointless to bring up now. It's still hilarious when they present competing contracts as to who had the right to pick the bedrooms in the house. It all concludes with them having the perfect diagonal seating arrangement in the car to chat as they return home. That's special in a way that matters to these two.