Dracula ‘A Whiff of Sulfer’ Recap – Episode 1.02

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Dracula courts Jonathan Harker to be his Vice President of Public Affairs, Mina has an important exam that could make or break her dreams of becoming a physician, and Lady Jane continues to hunt down the vampire plaguing London.

The Breakdown

A Whiff of SulferA flashback shows us how Van Helsing released Dracula from his prison and persuaded him to join his vendetta against the Order of the Dragon. In present day Van Helsing draws blood from Dracula to continue his medical experiments to make him immune to sunlight. They discuss the progress of their plan to take down the Order, and Dracula is hilariously sensitive to Van Helsing’s needles.

At a fencing tournament Lucy gives all her support (in the form of colored ribbons) to Alastair, who promptly loses horribly to Lord Davenport’s son, Daniel. Daniel and Lord Laurent give each other meaningful looks and arrange to meet later. Lady Jane and Browning discuss their vampire problem and Lady Jane takes on the hunt rather than calling in a new huntsman.

A Whiff of SulferJonathan asks for a raise but gets denied. He doesn’t make enough money to support a wife or keep up appearances with his high society friends. Dracula meets with Lord Laurent and attempts to buy out his share of the Imperial British Coolant Company, which would give him a controlling interest in the company. Lord Laurent refuses.

Renfield and Dracula discuss Dracula’s interest in Mina. Renfield wonders why Dracula doesn’t just take her with his mesmerizing powers. Dracula says it would be an abomination to take her against her will and make her a vampire, and yet he cannot just leave her alone either. Dracula asks Jonathan to be his Vice President of Public Affairs, offering to give him a lavish house and a generous salary. Jonathan is taken aback and has reservations about accepting the offer. Dracula gives him until Monday to make his decision.

A Whiff of SulferJonathan and Mina walk together in the mall. Mina worries about an upcoming surgical exam that will determine her future as a physician. Jonathan gives her feeble encouragement but is preoccupied by Dracula’s job offer. Mina insists that he accept the job, but Jonathan’s journalistic instincts make him suspicious of Dracula.

Lady Jane employs a pair of seers to find the vampire stalking London. When they find him, Dracula senses them and takes measures against the seers – something that only a very old vampire is capable of doing. Browning and Lord Laurent discuss Dracula’s attempts to gain control of the Imperial British Coolant Company and their attempts to block his moves. Browning says that it is imperative to keep Dracula in check. If the mere idea of Dracula’s technological advances were allowed to gain a foothold in the public’s imagination, it could bring their entire business empire down.

A Whiff of SulferDracula and Lady Jane share a sexy dinner, Dracula performs a magic trick with a coin that disappears from a plate and into Lady Jane’s underwear. Dracula imagines Mina in place of Lady Jane when they have sex.

Dracula gives Mina a ride to her medical school where she has her exam. Dracula gives her some sage advice that gets her through her exam with flying colors. Mina shares her annoyance with society’s expectations of her and their disapproval of her medical ambitions. Jonathan has second thoughts about accepting Dracula’s job offer, sensing that something is amiss with Dracula and his secret agenda.

Jonathan ends up accepting Dracula’s job offer. Dracula wants to know compromising information about Lord Laurent and Jonathan sends him to a Molly House where Lord Laurent is secretly meeting with his lover, Daniel Davenport. Dracula takes advantage of the secret relationship to force Lord Laurent to sell his shares of the Imperial British Coolant Company.

A Whiff of SulferJonathan drunkenly shows off the engagement ring he’s bought for Mina to his newspaper buddies. One asks about what he’s going to do about Mina’s medical school ambitions and he says that he’s sure she’ll forget all about her medical school silliness as soon as he slips the ring on her finger. Mina walks in as he’s saying this and trouble ensues. Jonathan tries to apologize, saying that he’s never discouraged her from pursuing her studies. Mina says he’s never given her one word of support either.

Dracula finds someone to feed on as Lady Jane hunts for him. She nearly catches him, but Dracula senses her approach and leaves the scene just in time. Dracula discovers Lady Jane is a huntress.

The Analysis

This week’s episode feels slightly less taxing than the tedious series premiere. Dracula is still waging his war against the Order of the Dragon, taking down one member at a time with his vicious business strategy. The A plot of the episode centers around Dracula trying to become a controlling member of the Imperial British Coolant Company by attempting to buy Lord Laurent’s interest in the company. Yawn. To be fair, he goes about it in a wickedly smart way – first by hiring the nosey journalist Jonathan Harker to dish the dirt on British socialites, then by blackmailing Lord Laurent using that dirt. The dirt, in this case, is his relationship with the shining son of Lord Davenport.

Given the show’s historical and social inaccuracies, it was nice to see that it treated this part of Victorian society with some precision. Molly Houses – establishments where men could carry out their secret relationships with other men – were an open secret in Victorian society and often catered to some of the most influential men of the time. Meanwhile, Mina and Jonathan continue to kiss openly in public, but at least there was a random Victorian woman who had the sense to be scandalized by it. The social impropriety of Mina’s medical school studies have also neatly been touched upon in this episode. Mina complains of the social stigma attached to her studies and Jonathan’s co-workers question Mina’s ability to be a proper English wife. And it turns out that Jonathan, while tolerant of Mina’s ambitions, by no means supports them.

Meanwhile, Van Helsing is working on curing Dracula’s sunlight problem. I always have an issue on the point of vampires’ aversion to sunlight. While it is a nifty little plot point to have, seeing as how the death-by-sunlight part of the vampire mythos originated in the film Nosferatu (1922) as a way of avoiding legal action from Bram Stoker’s estate, I personally have no problem with day-walking vampires. Sparkling vampires are another thing entirely, however.

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About the Author

Bethany Lewis
My cinema education started when, at three years old, Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush" became my earliest memory of cinema. Since then, I've been obsessed with film and television, learning more about it, analyzing it, researching it, and experiencing different kinds of it. After getting my BA in Theater, I went on to get my MFA in Film Studies. I now spend my free time watching and writing about movies.
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