What We Do in the Shadows: Nandor the Relentless Becomes Nandor the Cruel

Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Nadja are currently embroiled in contract negotiations for the performer which crawled out of the abdominal cavity of Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch). When the talks lead to a walk out, Laszlo takes Colin on the road. Even more than previous years, season 4 has been on a search for love, with the main power couple in separate stories, the romantic vampire duties fall to Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and Guillermo.

Nandor the Relentless is bored with the one true love he picked from the 37 men and women he’d married while alive, and had the Djinn upgrade to a perfectly agreeable wife, Marwa (Parisa Fakhri). Guillermo finally brings Freddie, a man he met in London while accompanying Nadja in her short stint as International Vampire Council member.

Guillermo, through Guillén’s deft dance between deeply emotional and exasperatingly hilarious turns, has made a dramatic transformation. He is consistently surprising, whether it is with his skills as a genetically-attuned vampire hunter or the self-recriminating excuses he makes for backsliding on promises to himself. Guillermo came out to his family in “Pine Barrens,” who embraced his open secret. He’s been caught hiding conversations all season, so when the audience finally gets the payoff, we are primed to see the love story explored through Guillermo’s arc.

What We Do in the Shadows effectively captures a romcom glow as Guillermo and his visiting boyfriend Freddie, first take in the sights of the city. “Freddie” recalls Disney’s puppy-love feature The Lady and the Tramp, trading meatballs for pretzels, as the romance gets tangled. There is a vapid sweetness behind Nandor’s cruel wish, though it comes with a mustard squirt of ego. Guillermo finds something special, individual, and uniquely his own.

The first thing Nandor lets the audience know is he could steal Freddie away. By the logic of his background, we should applaud his solution. What We Do in the Shadows excels in its ironic mastery. Every outcome is a travesty of any expectation, and usually further twisted in its delivery. The turn of the screw is a twist of a knife in the personal cost to Guillermo, tossing Guillén though a cheese-grater of repressed rage, pain, and outrage which should make Nandor see he went a step too far.

This is, of course, perfect, because vampires are far too self-involved to evolve too far. Novak brings a glimmer of comprehension as Guillermo makes a particularly effective exit, but he also telegraphs a misguided translation to play out.

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