Thursday, August 31, 2023

REVIEW: 'What We Do In the Shadows' - Nandor and Guillermo Understand Precisely What Each Other Needs in 'Exit Interview'

FX's What We Do In the Shadows - Episode 5.10 "Exit Interview"

The vampires search for a missing Guillermo.

"Exit Interview" was written by Jake Bender, Zach Dunn, Sam Johnson, Sarah Naftalis & Paul Simms and directed by Tig Fong

Guillermo never thought about the reality of being a vampire. It has been a passion of his for so long. He wanted this more than anything else. It finally happened. The progress was impeded. He spent the season keeping up his appearance as nothing more than a familiar. He lied to the vampires. One by one they learned the truth. Nandor is furious. This was a betrayal of their friendship. He doesn't let many people into his life. Even then, he still treats Guillermo horribly. And yet, he also understands him better than anyone else. They have a bond that transcends typical description. They are codependent. They are also in love. They can't verbalize everything they feel. Nandor knows how to respond upon hearing this news from Guillermo. He has no problem killing. He targets Patton Oswalt as he's coming out of a Panera Bread simply for looking like his familiar. The actor helps him realize their friendship can heal. Not everything has to be lived in such extremes. Of course, Nandor still takes things to a heightened level. He pushes Patton off a building before he fully grasps the lesson. He then threatens Guillermo's mother. That's how he lures Guillermo out of hiding. Nandor is the only one who doesn't know where Guillermo is. It remains only a secret to him. It's the most costly. It's the most personally charged. The other characters each get a private moment with Guillermo. It's funny because they all find him at the motel. He's not well hidden. It reveals how they care about him too. They say their goodbyes. They each actively choose to do so. Sure, they get distracted along the way. For Nadja and Laszlo, it's merely the temptation of sex. With Colin, it's the need to gauge whether the vampires can continue not paying their familiar. With the Guide, it's simply entertaining the hybrid creatures who believe Guillermo is leaving for a big farm in the sky. Anything is possible. However, this confrontation can't be delayed any longer. Both have to arrive with these newfound understandings. Nandor and Guillermo both have the potential to kill each other. They no longer have the desire to do so. It's not a trick either. It's an enlightened perspective from Nandor. He still carries the code of the warrior. He swears on it. Guillermo trusts him. That remains unshaken. He has feared for his life this entire season. He knew Nandor would react badly. The vampire is ultimately gracious in his response. He's willing to accept Guillermo as the newest vampire in the house. Sure, the others argue about the space. They know how to live with him. The math is off as the Guide points out. Everyone still accepts this new arrangement. Plus, Nandor has the solution for how to complete Guillermo's transformation. All it takes is a sip of human blood. Laszlo is foolish for not having thought of that before. Guillermo drinks and becomes all that he has ever wanted to be.

It's only in acceptance that Guillermo reckons with the true cost of being a vampire. He has killed many times before - both on purpose and accidentally. He carries those natural abilities. He could compartmentalize those deaths. He delivered humans to the vampires but wasn't the one to ultimately kill them. The vampires he killed were already blessed with extended lives with luxurious opportunities. Everything he did occurred in the heat of the moment. He embraces his vampiric existence fully right away. He wants to display all this power in its newfound glory. And yet, he can't kill an innocent human. He still carries that empathy. He's connected with the humanity. He imagines what his victim's life is like. He relates to that existence. He doesn't want to end it. No one deserves that fate. That's the essence of being a vampire though. He must drink blood to stay alive. He can't deny that essential quality. He can't document it onscreen either. Guillermo walks away from the documentary crew. These emotions are complicated and conflicted. He can't deal with them while also performing for the cameras. He walks away. The conversation is too difficult. Nandor was lurking behind him. He understands that Guillermo could never truly thrive as a vampire. That too may be the latest excuse for why he never turned his familiar. His response offers love. He knows precisely what Guillermo needs. It simply comes at the expense of another vampire. Nandor has plenty of disdain for Derek for not obeying the basic code of this supernatural existence. It's a great honor to be a vampire. It's not for everyone. Guillermo fulfilled his lifelong dream. It didn't turn out how he wanted. He struggled. His master provided the solution. It still doesn't provide peace. Guillermo knows that. He just doesn't know how to talk about it. He doesn't need to. Nandor understands. Despite his inability to figure out what was happening, he still knows a great deal about Guillermo. He presents an elaborate ceremony to provide Guillermo with a choice. Moreover, he offers yet another solution for how to restore Guillermo as a human. In fact, it's a possibility only because Derek turned him. If Nandor fulfilled that wish, he wouldn't have sacrificed his life to save Guillermo. With Derek, it's easy to kill and revive him. The vampires have the resources to do both. He becomes a member of the undead instead of a vampire. He has a community able to guide him. He didn't have that as a vampire. And so, the conclusion seems satisfactory for everything. It didn't matter to some. It brought peace and clarity to Guillermo. Plus, the vampires are willing to help when they see the pain of the struggle. It has to be painfully obvious sometimes. They remain incredibly selfish. That sometimes obstructs the mentality to present as more fulfilling individuals. They enjoy killing. That was a moral line for Guillermo. He belongs as a human. That acceptance is powerful while also leaving the future a complete unknown. What else can life be when his dream didn't ultimately pan out? That's a fascinating place for future exploration especially with vampires still around him.