Thursday, July 13, 2023

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Nandor and Laszlo Battle Over Who Is More Charming in 'A Night Out With the Guys'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 5.02 "A Night Out With the Guys"

Nandor and Laszlo have a night out with Sean and his friends. Nadja discovers the source of her bad luck.

"A Night Out With the Guys" was written by Paul Simms and directed by Kyle Newacheck

Guillermo has over a decade of experience working for vampires. That doesn't make him an expert on the subject. He has endured a lot over the course of the series. He has learned surprising things about himself. And yet, he's terrified by the transformation happening within him. He tries his best to keep it a secret. He has Derek to confide in. Derek isn't a reliable source of information either. That makes it striking when the Baron is also dumbfounded by a human not becoming a vampire after being bitten. Even in his old age, he is still learning new things. Everyone is essentially operating on the same wavelength. Sure, not everyone knows that Guillermo was bitten. However, they all have the same thought about how to rectify the situation. Everyone believes a bite from another vampire will cement the transformation. That's not how it works. A vampire being bitten again only leads to their quick and explosive death. That happens right in front of Guillermo. That's the fate that awaits him should anyone else try to offer him the expected transformation. This is the fate he must endure. He made this decision. He has to deal with the consequences whether he likes it or not. That's in addition to the fear of betraying his master. It's a serious violation to Nandor and Laszlo. Nandor is too oblivious to see what is happening to his familiar. Laszlo knows something is different but wasn't anywhere close to guessing the truth. Guillermo's confession is powerful because it brings someone else in on the secret. Laszlo extends empathy to the situation. He doesn't want Nandor to kill Guillermo. He is willing to fool his friend in order to avoid that gruesome fate. Laszlo prides himself as a scholar of the human condition. He pays attention to people. As a result, he knows how to use his charm and wit to get out of any situation. Yes, he absolutely relies on hypnosis just like the other vampires do. But now, he confesses how he's jealous of how skilled Nandor is. It's a crutch to a certain extent. It has made Nandor lazy because he doesn't have to work hard to keep up his social skills. Laszlo overcompensates in that way because he believes he's inferior with this particular skill. It's also outrageously funny to see Nandor turn an entire police force into his own personal army. That's a terrifying thought should he use them for something much more evil. He doesn't behave that way. He's largely focused on maintaining the simple life he has. He doesn't yearn for something more. He has found peace with this existence. And yet, he would still fly into a blind rage should he learn about Guillermo's betrayal. That expectation is now set. Guillermo may not be able to keep the secret for much longer. That's a concern on top of the unknown of what's happening within his body. The transformation is creating something new that no one has ever seen before.

In contrast to Guillermo's guilt over his actions, Nadja fails to acknowledge her own personal failings as of late. She refuses to believe anyone tried to stop her from making those bad decisions. Instead, life is full of things that are happening to her. She isn't responsible for anything. She literally tried to burn down the nightclub to collect the insurance money. Instead, she only destroyed the money she was stealing all season long. She was left with nothing. She blames the blood liquor. It was a terrible problem. But now, it's seemingly over. Others plainly see the role she played in her own dysfunction. She is incapable of doing so. She relies on the Guide as a close personal friend to confide in about her struggles. And yet, she denies how important that female friendship is. It's clearly something the Guide wants. She feared these vampires completely forgot about her now that their time on the vampiric council is over. The Guide was willing to go along with every crazy idea these vampires had about that once scared space. She has evolved alongside them. They disregarded her like it was nothing. That's obvious. She sees it too. She just doesn't want to accept it. She leans into these friendships. She wants them to develop into something more. She believes she must provide a valuable service. Her pursuit of a hex on Nadja is a self-interested impulse. The Guide wants to feel important. Instead, she discovers that a hex truly is hanging over Nadja. That, in turn, leads to the revelation that there is a Little Antipaxos neighborhood not too far from the house. Nadja finds a community that resembles her youth. She finds a new place to belong. As such, she has no need for the friends who helped get her to this place. Instead, it's easy to push them out for not being a part of the culture. It's all worth it to Nadja as well. This is where she needs to be. The hex still lingers though. She doesn't totally grasp the requirement to remove it either. She's tasked with making a genuine act of kindness to someone. She believes that should be easy. It won't. Her actions throughout this episode spell that out completely. She gets distracted so easily. Again, that's a character trait amongst all the vampires. None of them are focused on any particular task for too long. That makes it shocking when Nandor and Laszlo are the sensible ones during their night out with Sean and his friends. That escalates so quickly. They get away with so much. But again, that's common throughout this narrative. No one has to deal with consequences for too long. Their lives remain stable. That is never in doubt. That threatens to remove some tension from the overall narrative. And yet, it's still easy to remain invested in how the characters will get out of the latest disasters caused by their own unfortunate mistakes. That's a constant too. The show always delivers the resolution in the most ridiculous ways possible without losing its focus on the emotions at the heart of the stories.