Thursday, July 13, 2023

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Guillermo Keeps His Unexpected Changes From the Vampires in 'The Mall'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 5.01 "The Mall"

The vampires discover the mall.

"The Mall" was written by Marika Sawyer and directed by Yana Gorskaya

Life at the vampire residence never changes. Time holds no real meaning to the vampires. They are immortal. They'll do whatever interests them in the moment. They don't care about the consequences. Guillermo fears the citizens of Staten Island are getting dumber because of how frequently the vampires hypnotize them to cover up their mistakes. The vampires don't have that power over Guillermo. And yet, they always belittle him because he is not a vampire. They laugh at his expense. They know how desperately he wants to become a vampire. They never actually agree to make it happen. It's sensible that Guillermo took matters into his own hands. He's far more capable than any of the vampires he serves. They would die if he didn't care for them every day. He has access to more vampires than Nandor, Laszlo, Nadja and Colin do. He doesn't need them to make his dreams come true. Derek has never actually turned anyone into a vampire. Plus, he faints at the sight of his own blood. Guillermo is reluctant throughout the process. He knows he is betraying his friends. But they can only deny him what he wants for so long. He must make this happen himself. And then, nothing seems to change. He can still walk in the sunlight. He can still eat human food. He can't transform into a bat. Sixteen days later and everything has seemingly returned to normal at the vampire residence. This isn't what Guillermo wanted. And yet, it seems better to just keep the vampires in the dark. He doesn't need to tell them what happened. He doesn't understand it fully himself. He's told he suddenly has perfect vision. He no longer has to wear glasses. However, he decides to keep up the ruse. He doesn't see the value in making the vampires question what he's doing. Of course, they feel guilty because they sense something different about Guillermo. They simply believe they forgot his birthday. That isn't it at all. The vampires are so self-centered though that they act as if they are doing a kind gesture. Guillermo doesn't want a literal foot locker. And yet, it provides an impromptu coffin for him. He yearns for the life they have. Instead, he laments over the fact that vampires are just hiding in plain sight. They are members of society. They engage with this world just like any human. They are meant to wallow in the shadows. They aren't noticed. Nothing ever changes. No one demands a radical overthrow of society. It's all about the pursuit of personal pleasure. Guillermo thought becoming a vampire would solve everything. It turns out it isn't as simple as that. That would have been true even if his transformation played out in a normal way. The delayed response only further adds to the mystery and misery.

Laszlo is the only vampire willing to investigate deeper. Sure, he still doesn't get any closer to uncovering the truth about Guillermo. The filmmakers are better at getting a response. They push Guillermo for details even though they have the footage detailing the entire encounter with Derek. He can't provide any greater context to what happened. He pursued his ultimate dream. Laszlo can sense that something is different. He is intrigued by the prospect. And yet, Guillermo remains better at deceiving the vampires. It's easy for them to get distracted by the mall. It's a concept they have never explored before. They are delighted by all the pleasures that can be found there. It's not significant in the slightest. They bring much more vulgarity to the environment than most people are comfortable with. That's the overall nature of their lives. That hasn't changed even though Nandor is now reading a book about self-improvement. He is more willing to state that Guillermo's feelings are okay. That doesn't make him any better at respecting what his familiar actually wants. Instead, it's simply annoying when Guillermo continues to talk in hypotheticals. That's not something Nandor wishes to contemplate. He would rather react to the actual situations happening in front of him. He doesn't want to spend any time agonizing over what could happen instead. That anxiety and dread is present elsewhere. That's how Guillermo feels. Meanwhile, Colin is back to work as an energy vampire. He has traded in his corporate office for food service. It provides him with the precise high he always requires. The environment is different but the experience is the same. He still feeds on his fellow vampires. They are annoyed. And yet, they still rely on him as a member of their house. This is simply something they have to go along with. They enjoyed something different during the year of Baby Colin Robinson. However, he's now back to being the energy vampire he was for a hundred years. That isn't going to change now. The promise of something new was ultimately more devastating for the others because they got their hopes up. Something new actually happens to the ghost of human Nadja trapped in a doll. Her body is crushed. It was an honest mistake. But the vampires delight in how they can now contort her body to their own amusement. It builds on the overall condescension vampires have for all humans. That's true even of the people closest to them. The doll is literally embodied by Nadja's former human self. They are so closely connected. And yet, their experiences are different. The vampire still believes she gets to dictate everything that happens. That pompous attitude defines everything. It doesn't always work out. In fact, it mostly results in more chaos and destruction across Staten Island. Guillermo and Doll Nadja may share that pain. However, it's unlikely they will ever commiserate with one another. They are simply conditioned to think less of themselves because the vampires express their superiority all the time. They are taking action though. Those seeds are being planted. It's a thrilling prospect even as the fundamentals of life in the vampire residence haven't changed whatsoever.