Thursday, July 27, 2023

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Colin Pursues a Mega Drain While Nandor Tries to Make a New Friend in 'The Campaign'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 5.04 "The Campaign"

Colin runs for office, Nandor makes a new friend and Nadja reconnects with her roots.

"The Campaign" was written by Max Brockman & Shana Gohd and directed by Yana Gorskaya

Many energy vampires hold political office. That's a cynical yet hilarious observation of what type of professions would draw this type of vampire. They feed by sucking the energy out of people by being boring. Colin Robinson is a master at it. A campaign seems more invigorating than his current job as a waiter. Plus, he's excited about the debate. He doesn't care if he wins. He just wants this mega drain. He wants the ability to talk for hours in front of a captive office. Not many people will be tuning in. Later on, Colin notes just how small the election turnout was. However, enough people showed up to the debate to make this a tantalizing offer. He wants to share the feast as well. He has thought about Evie numerous times in the years since they last interacted. They are always looking for prime opportunities to feast. They helped each other once. It ultimately didn't work because they always fed off each other. It was a toxic relationship. And yet, Evie is the only person Colin can imagine playing his wife. She brings sympathy to the campaign because of the wild stories she tells. It's mutually beneficial. It's a perfect opportunity they take for selfish reasons. It's not because they care about others. That ultimately extends to each other. Colin wants more from this relationship. It's best if they never see each other again. Evie delivers that final message. Her path leads her elsewhere. In fact, they only annoy each other. Any simple gift ultimately becomes a weapon to use against the other person. They are both thrilled upon learning the council of energy vampires actually exists. They are forced to take this campaign seriously. Energy vampires require bureaucracy. That's the greatest gift society provides them. The incumbent comptroller wants to digitize the entire process. She represents a threat. An energy vampire needs to take over this office. That requires Colin to engage in the actual work of a campaign. It's suddenly no longer about him. It's interacting with other people. He has to pretend to care about their interests. That's boring. He creates a scandal knowing it will force him to withdraw. Even the council can't deny that. It's incredibly purposeful. Colin doesn't mind flashing his supporters. It's despicable behavior. He doesn't abide by the standards of society. He walks amongst regular people. He's elevated as a vampire who has lived for over a century. He doesn't consider how to behave around others. Evie is the more empathetic creature mostly because she requires those emotions from her victims. That endears her to them in a way that is always plainly annoying with Colin. He can't change his ways. Neither can Evie. She wins the campaign. She holds actual power now. Vampires creep further into society. They expand their reach in Staten Island. It's not in pursuit of some sinister conquest. It's just about maintaining the status quo to ensure vampires have the ability to feed on the system as is. That's enjoyable for them. It's delightful watching the members of the council bounce off each other as they struggle to carry out their agenda. It's perfect casting for Martha Kelly as well.

Elsewhere, Nandor and Laszlo try their best to impress others. Nandor is upset by how little time Guillermo is spending with him. He notices the absence of his familiar. Guillermo is literally in the same room sometimes. Nandor doesn't really acknowledge him. He's only interested in a one-sided dynamic. Guillermo is going through changes. This is the season's first episode that doesn't build on that particular plot. Instead, it's the vampires off on their own adventures. It's simple for Nandor because he just wants to befriend Alexander at the gym. He's thirsty for friendship. It's all an effort to make Guillermo jealous. Those feelings are becoming more blatant between the two. They don't have the precise words to pinpoint how they feel. It's not necessary to understand their feelings in order to know they are motived by how the other will react. Of course, Nandor believes the way to build a connection with someone new is to get a circumcision. It's such an extreme reaction. Nandor is intrigued by the Jewish identity. He just wants to boast that he has a Jewish friend. It interests Nandor for a moment. He always takes it too far. These vampires are so free and open with their bodies. Humanity doesn't react the same way. And so, Alexander is also horrified by having to see the penis of someone in his vicinity. That doesn't create an endearing friendship. However, Nandor and Guillermo are back together. That stability continues even though they want to dictate how the other behaves while watching a movie. Similarly, nothing is going to change in Laszlo and Nadja's marriage no matter what her new adoptive Antipaxos family thinks. Sure, he wants to win their approval. They have fully accepted Nadja. She feels closer to her community. She has changed in the centuries since she left though. As a vampire, she can't engage in the celebration of food. She doesn't know how to serve it either. Plus, she still has a hex on her. She hasn't committed an act of genuine kindness towards someone yet. Instead, she is merely embarrassed by how Laszlo acts. He doesn't conduct any real research into the customs of this community. Instead, he merely treats them as lower beings. He has the far mightier intellect. He believes he can charm them no matter what. He tries over and over again. Ultimately, he is accepted. It's not because of him proving his worth as an outsider who respects this family. Instead, he comes to symbolize good fortune as he plays into a cultural myth that cherishes oafs. He is the king of pigs as Nadja declares. In fact, that helps contextualize the initial attraction between them. He may have brought good luck at some points. That hasn't helped Nadja all that much with her current hex. However, he is more than willing to play into that narrative knowing it makes her happy. He doesn't need to understand any more. He is just done with the hard work. He can return to being himself and not really caring about how others respond to him.