Season 4, Episode 9, “Freddie”
One of the great things about the fantastical nature of What we do in the shadowsThe basic reality is that it really expands the scope of how its characters can be assholes to each other. Many shows, after all, have had one of their characters, angered by the theft of the spotlight, decide to have sex with their friend’s new significant other. Very few have seen this character choose instead to spend one of the three wishes he received as a wedding gift from a djinn to transform his wife into an exact copy of said significant other, and then have sex with them instead.
But such is the magic of “Freddie,” an episode of our favorite vampire-based TV sitcom in which heartbreak is rampant and all that is truly magical – whether it’s love, youth, or a vampire clown who can suck his own dick – never seems to last as long as you want.
We open at Nadja, where business is booming and celebrity heads are flying – RIP Sofia Coppola and Phoenix Thomas Mars – all thanks to continued superstar Baby Colin Robinson. Laszlo, sensing a chance to shed his weight, tries to spin Baby Colin’s indispensable nature into a new contract with heavy-status riders (“Nightclub staff won’t make direct eye contact with Colin unless he doesn’t give her a present”), but Nadja shoots him down. (It’s one of the nice things about this show that at no point in the argument did it feel like this conflict was going to turn into a problem for the couple’s relationship; they’re really perfect for each other.) Unfazed, Laszlo agrees to take Baby Colin on the vampire nightclub circuit, copies of his new double CD in hand – a plan that fails almost immediately when another growth spurt hits, transforming Baby Colin into a creaky-voiced, acne-prone, Papa Roach-loving teenage Colin.
It had to happen eventually, of course (if for no other reason than all those child actors in tuxedos, the show has been Mark Proksch’s head in CGI all season couldn’t have been cheap). Outside of a few easy gags of surly teenagers and the end of his music career, we don’t quite understand what this will mean for Colin, or his relationship with Laszlo, as we head into next week’s finale. (Although we do get a long list of Laszlo’s hit vampire musical acts, which might ultimately be more satisfying, depending on your taste for Matt Berry saying some very silly things.) It also underscores tonight’s sense that a boom era is coming. at its end.
See also: Things at Nadja, where brief efforts to bring in new child actors or, failing that, replace them with an erotic vampire circus with seemingly serious booking issues, are all in vain. Not even the much mentioned BladeStyle blood sprinklers can save the day, and the only person who emerges happy from the nightclub debacle is undead clown Gustave Leroy (Michael McDonald), who gleefully proclaims “Wasn’t that amazing ? I have never lasted so long! after managing 20 whole seconds of auto-fellatio on stage for the quickly enraged crowd.
And with that hint of self-love, we return to our plot tonight, as Guillermo’s British boyfriend Freddie (Al Roberts) finally comes to visit, only to find himself immediately wrapped up in the strange web of the jealousy. , affection and familiar vampire bullshit that exists between Guillermo and his master/friend/bodyguard/etc. But rather than lurking in discomfort like a slow-burning relationship drama, What we do in the shadows does what he does best: blows the whole situation to absurd proportions almost immediately by having Nandor use one of his last djinn wishes to turn his “beloved” Marwa (Parisa Fakhri) into an exact copy of Freddie so he can have one, too.
It’s a perfect Nandor move: the latest punchline in his treatment of a season of Marwa as nothing more than an extension of his own selfish desires and his endless but unspoken need to be at the center of Guillermo’s world at all times and (if you’re really squinting) a mild expression of her affection for him. (After all, he could have just taken the real Freddie. But that would have been wrong!) It also opens the door to some really weird Charades playing, and some great sight gags, once the two Freddies are hypnotized. ‘d not be freaked out by all this. (Which apparently ends up working a bit too well, because, well…)
As a handsome starter, Roberts hits all the required notes. He’s funny, he’s charming, and he’s just self-obsessed enough to land the episode’s final dose of heartbreak (Guillermo flying to London to surprise his first real boyfriend and finding out he’s been dropped by Real Freddie for Marwa-Freddie). It also plays well with the episode’s darker satire. There is, after all, a certain superficiality in the fact that Freddie’s list of New York must-sees doesn’t really change, whether he’s with Nandor or Guillermo; in the end, he really seems to be there for, uh, himself.
Ultimately, however, “Freddie” turns to Harvey Guillén and Kayvan Novak, who once again demonstrate why this relationship is where What we do in the shadows has invested much of its energy into, admittedly sporadic, character development over the years. The series takes lightly on Guillermo’s feelings about his sewage-strewn living situation, his general disrespect from roommates, and his unsuccessful quest to become a vampire. But it still takes his feelings about Nandor – and his need for Nandor to see him as more than just an expression of his endless desire to have Things-seriously. So when Guillermo expresses to Nandor that he really hurt him, it hits. The same goes for Novak’s reaction; he’s always been good at projecting a childlike innocence that constantly threatens to leak through Nandor’s haughty self-esteem, and the moment his face opens up as he realizes he’s really hurt his best friend rings true.
So: busted nightclub, heartbroken hero, terrifying teenager. We are clearly at the moment when all is lost of the season. The only thing left to do is tune in next week and see if “Sunrise, Sunset” can grant our main characters a dose of the same happiness we see tonight from the guy dating his own magically created clone. , or the super flexible clown . Crossed fingers!
- I rolled my eyes a bit at celebrity cameos from Coppola, Mars, and Jim Jarmusch, but the “Celebrity Special” reveal made me laugh for the first time all night. “Surely they won’t kill them” I found myself thinking, stupidly, just before Coppola’s head came off.
- Call me Colin contains a number of Laszlo Cravensworth originals (as seen long ago “Collaboration”), including “Kokomo, Seafarer’s Song” and “Cum On Irene”. (It was “Chum On, Irene” in season 2; I mostly write it down so people don’t yell at me if they fix it or change it between my review filter and the released version.)
- I will miss Fakhri, who really made the most of Marwa’s magic-induced smoothness. (Or, as Nandor puts it: “Damn, she’s boring.”)
- Laszlo lists great vampire musical acts: “Gloria Estefang. Holy holly. Bat Stevens. Batboy Slim. Paul and gorges. Tamed Impaler. The living dead Kennedys.
- “Rest in peace, Sofia Copp…opola.”
- Highlights from the kids’ auditions include the spelling kid being replaced with “Grandpa and Grandma” and having Nadja say out loud, “Your bullies aren’t doing a good enough job!”
- Nadja once singing a big bird “stealing all my brothers” is funny; twice is magic. “I realized the egg was me!”
- Nandor, when Guillermo explains everything to him: “Stop saying things I’ve done!”
- The revelation of the identifying marks on the backs of the two Freddies killed me.
- Nandor, after freeing his Freddie (which he decides not to be Marwa again, because “she seems happier that way”) to see the world: “Guess I’m the wish-granting one now…. Damn, that’s is zero.
- Laszlo bursts into Nadja’s house with a foolproof plan to save the club: “I heard about this amazing clown who can suck himself dry!”
- “Impale Swift. Bruno Scars. Lindsay Suckingham. Bonnie Specter. Wraith Hill. Wraith Evans. Billy Wraith Cyrus. Wraith no more. Wraith Charles. I could go on.” God, this must be a fun writers room.