Thursday, August 3, 2023

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Guillermo Grows Isolated Upon Seeing the Vampires Protect Themselves in 'Local News'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 5.05 "Local News"

Coverage of a local water main break brings unwanted attention to the vampires.

"Local News" was written by Sarah Naftalis and directed by Yana Gorskaya

The vampires cannot fend for themselves. They would be chased out of Staten Island by either humans or their fellow vampires if Guillermo wasn't there to always protect them. Guillermo wants the respect of the vampires. He yearns for his freedom as well. That just happens to be a very lonely life. He is a vampire hunter who has always wanted to become a vampire. He never seriously considered killing the vampires he lives with. His entire family possess these incredible talents too. He doesn't believe they too could suppress their urges in order to continue welcoming him as part of the family. He feared how they would react when he was simply coming out as gay. That wasn't a big deal to them whatsoever. Guillermo has changed though. It's a personal burden he carries. He's annoyed because the vampire transformation was disrupted. He doesn't feel complete. Of course, he also felt that way before asking Derek to bite him. Guillermo always thought he walked between two incredibly different worlds. That conflict is now happening internally. In some ways, vampire powers have developed. He is burned by the cross necklace his mother puts around his neck. He has super strength. He's also incredibly timid and tentative. He builds up the importance of this final meal with his mother. In reality, he completely forgot it was her birthday party. At the event, he's too distracted by the events on the television and his phone to recognize what is going on. He's not an active part of this family. He is included in this celebration. He doesn't participate. He's going through the motions of having this human family. It obviously matters to him. He's distraught every time he tries to say goodbye to his mother. And yet, this is already something he has done. He has said goodbye to her because of some inexplicable change several times already. He always comes back. That's his pattern in life. His mother expects that. He always yearns for more. He sees more importance on his actions than he may otherwise deserve. He is important though. That can never be lost. It's simply a complicated journey. He seemingly got what he always wanted. Nothing has gone according to plan. No one is helping him. The vampires are perfectly fine by themselves too. They have survived on Staten Island for centuries. Guillermo has only joined for a decade. The threats have certainly increased in that time. Guillermo's skills embolden the vampires to take even more dangerous risks. But they have always been reckless. They have always survived. That was true long before Guillermo entered their lives. It's still nice to have him around. Nandor relies on his familiar to provide sensible guidance. He doesn't always listen. He expects it whenever disaster strikes though.

Nandor fears he has just alerted Staten Island to the existence of vampires and where to find them. He happened to be a witness to a water main break. It's the kind of neighborhood disaster that makes it onto the local news. In between the story, the news channel focuses on puff pieces about puppy parades and the forthcoming weather. Nandor believes his word is taken at face value. It isn't. It's easy for the reporters to laugh off his suggestion that he and his friends have lived on this street for centuries. It's not within the realm of possibility for them. It's not something they need to investigate further. It's not a believable story. It's the truth though. Vampires are real. They inhabit this street in Staten Island. Some people are watching local news. A majority aren't though. The vampires don't realize that. Instead, they believe this is the latest example of getting run out of their home. It has happened countless times. As such, they each have certain expectations. Colin Robinson is ready to stand his ground. He won't go down without a fight. He quickly sets up elaborate traps to kill anyone who invades their home. Of course, Nandor and Guillermo are the only people who actually fall into them. Neither of them are harmed. Nandor is too strong to feel the pain while Guillermo has the reflexes to avoid every single trap down a hallway. It's actually impressive. Again, that provides value to the overall service Guillermo provides. He belongs in this community. And yet, the vampires abandon him. He wants to be seen as an equal. The vampires don't view him as such. Nandor is even dismissive of the Guide. No one knows why she continues to hang out around the house. She too is lonely and wants to belong to a tribe of vampires. She knows how territorial they can be. She's patient and willing to accept whatever comes her way eventually. At times, she's a little too eager. She supports Nadja's plan of changing their identities and running. She has go bags prepared for everyone in the house. No one is working in unison though. Instead, it's a bunch of different reactions. Laszlo believes killing or just kidnapping the reporter is a good enough solution. Joanna actually witnesses the impossible feats of vampirism. She sees them fly a car out of the sinkhole that developed. The feed was cut. The Staten Island community at large doesn't become aware. The vampires still pull off breaking into the studio and hypnotizing everyone into forgetting the broadcast. Of course, they amusingly believe they have to finish the script as to not confuse anyone further. That's delightful as well. The vampires are suddenly cast in unexpected roles. This isn't what they want to be doing. They go through the motions too. It's in service of their protection. They are capable in that regard which only makes Guillermo more depressed and doubting his self-worth. That's troubling even as the vampires largely remain in the dark about his transformation and its lack of progress.