Thursday, August 17, 2023

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Laszlo Gives Up While Nadja Purchases Dozens of Donuts in 'Hybrid Creatures'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 5.07 "Hybrid Creatures"

Nadja gives back to her community. Laszlo's experiments have some unexpected results.

"Hybrid Creatures" was written by Jeremy Levick & Rajat Suresh and directed by Kyle Newacheck

Laszlo is ending his experiment. He's not giving up on Guillermo. However, he accepts that he cannot solve why the familiar's vampire transformation has been impeded. It's better to view him as a hybrid creature just like all the other results from his experiment. Laszlo has been injecting Guillermo's DNA into animals. He did so largely to see what would happen. He repeated the same experiment several times. He always produced the same result. That hasn't brought him any closer to figuring out what's going on within Guillermo. Instead, it has led to a room full of hybrid creatures. These animals bear a striking resemblance to Guillermo. They exist in the same unknown as him. They don't belong anywhere else in the world. Laszlo tasks Guillermo with killing them. That's how he can repay Laszlo for all the time and effort he put in trying to help. Guillermo seeks to display his appreciation. He can't follow through on this request. These creatures are just like him. They need to be quiet and hidden. Their presence in the world could result in many questions. And yet, Guillermo has faith that nothing bad will come as a result of letting them live. He finds them a new home at a retirement community. He believes the elderly residents won't question the presence of talking animals. It can simply be explained away by their failing health. Plus, the animals provide comfort and emotional support. Guillermo witnesses the destruction they can produce. One accident burns a hole through the floor. That would be much harder to explain outside the vampire residence. Guillermo simply can't kill them. They were created because he needed answers. He has made progress in his vampire transformation over the course of the season. He can transform into a bat even though it isn't graceful or long lasting. He can scale a building only to lose his footing after awhile. He grows more powerful. He expected all of this to happen immediately. It's been a slow and grueling process. One where he doesn't know how to talk about it with Nandor. He loves his vampire master. Laszlo tries to make the best of this insane situation. And yet, so much has gone awry. No one offers any clarity. Guillermo is stuck living in this great unknown. He has freedom. He remains terrified over what must be done next. Death seems like the only viable punishment awaiting him. That's true if Nandor finds out about his transformation or tries to offer it himself. Guillermo wants to avoid that fate. He can only do so for so long. Death can't be the only answer. He finds another way with the hybrid creatures. He is one of them. However, none of the vampires behave with as much compassion as he does. As such, he would have to convince them to behave differently. That remains a struggle given how stuck in their ways they have each been for centuries.

Elsewhere, Nadja remains plagued by the hex. New clues have been discovered. None of her actions have alleviated her situation. A dark cloud still lingers over her every move. She is susceptible to anyone who promises a quick fix. Helen the Magic Woman is nothing more than a con artist desperate to enjoy donuts from her favorite shop. Nadja eventually feels empathy towards her as she too was once banished from the place she loved more than anywhere else. For Nadja, it was her home. The Antipaxos culture is still alive and well. She has newly discovered her love for the people. She aspires to give back to the community by helping the newcomers adjust to American society. She's not exactly in the place to offer sensible advice. She doesn't know how the system works either. She simply projects what she understands present-day life to entail. It's all simple with no true difficulties whatsoever. Dealing with magic and hexes is much more central to her. Those are her concerns. She will do anything to remove this darkness. She is certain that it's there. She believes magic can remove it. However, it's far easier for her to provide satisfaction to Helen than the other way around. As such, Nadja remains stuck too. She can't move on. She has this explanation for the dysfunction. Nothing changes. She gives so much power and consideration to it. She sees meaning in everything she does. She burned down the local school which denied resources and opportunities to the rest of her village. She is apparently still dealing with the consequences from that action. It's also projection. She feels guilt. She strives to do better. She simply doesn't know how. Meanwhile, Nandor and Colin are equally thrilled by the prospect of passing their knowledge onto others. For Nandor, it's all about sharing the subjects he's excited by like war. For Colin, it's the glory of another massive energy drain. He knows how to keep everyone in class hanging on his every word while also boring them completely. It's a truly special skill. One that applies to so much of life. Colin offers the true perspective for why cool teachers act the way they do. It's all about preserving their own self-interest. Nothing can change that. Colin will share the spotlight with Nandor. The vampires are friends who work together. And yet, Nandor is thrown by the description of his immigrant story in the Staten Island museum. He didn't know this telling of events was there. It was immortalized for all to see. He lashes out at the conclusions made. He's eager to prove how dominant and sexually satisfied he has always been. It's performative too. He's easily soothed by Colin reworking the display. That spotlights their friendship while still showcasing how fragile their egos can be. That's nothing new. As such, this episode is a bit more thin than the show operating at its best. It's still enjoyable. It's also more evident that this is a show in its fifth season straining for new ways to be absurd and silly with these characters.