Dracula ‘From Darkness to Light’ Recap – Episode 01.04

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrby feather

The Order plans the British invasion of the Ottoman Empire, Lady Jane struggles with her feelings for Dracula while he deftly manipulates those feelings, Dracula is visited by an old friend, and Mina considers Dracula’s interest in her life.

The Breakdown

From Darkness To LightThree vampires on the London Underground target a shrouded, drunken figure at the other end of an empty car. Predictably enough, this turns out to be Lady Jane and she quickly dispatches two of the three, as the third escapes from the car into the vast tunnels.

Dracula and Renfield discuss Lady Jane and the surprisingly forward thinking Order for employing a huntress in the first place. Renfield assumes that Dracula will kill her, or at least end his relationship with her, but Dracula has other plans. He wants to keep Lady Jane in his sight – so as to avoid suspicion as much as to keep a record of her movements – and he wants to take from her what she has given to no man before: her trust. He has Renfield make a reservation for two at the Savoy for the most exclusive visible table in the main dining room.

From Darkness To LightThe escaped vampire from the Underground pays Dracula a visit. His name is Josef and he used to be Dracula’s right hand man. Josef tells Dracula about his encounter with Lady Jane, and Dracula tells Josef about his plan to take away the Order’s power by removing their wealth. Josef is not a fan of this underhanded thievery, but Dracula insists all the same that Josef stay with him in his house. Renfield looks uneasy about this old alliance.

At the funereal of Daniel Davenport, it is made clear that his true cause of death – suicide – is being covered up by his father. Meanwhile, Lucy is making plans for Mina and Jonathan’s engagement party, which is being hosted by Dracula at his house. While Mina and Lucy discuss arrangements, Jonathan and Dracula talk about the impending Ottoman war, how General Arthur Ogilvy is publically for the war but privately against it. His fellow officer, General Shaw, is apparently the one fueling favor for the war, believing the Ottomans to be a real threat. Domination of the Ottoman Empire would open up their oil fields to the Order and Dracula sees that as a real threat to his plans to corner the market on power. Jonathan is sent to find dirt on General Shaw. Meanwhile, Josef is lurking in the shadows and is amazed by Mina’s resemblance to Ilona, Dracula’s dead wife.

From Darkness To LightMina attends a test run of Dracula’s resonator machine and finds it all very exciting. Dracula is pleased by her interest. Things seem to be running smoothly until steam pressure bursts a seam in a tank and sends bolts flying. Dracula puts his arms around Mina and protects her from the blast. As engineers struggle to get the system under control, Dracula and Mina find a fleeting comfort in each other’s arms. Later, Josef tells Dracula what he already knows, that Mina must be Dracula’s wife reincarnated. Dracula denies this to Josef, telling him that he is never to mention the striking resemblance to anyone ever again.

Dracula, putting into effect some elaborate plan, stands up Lady Jane at the Savoy. Meanwhile, Mina comes to see Jonathan at his house. She is obviously affected by her experience with Dracula earlier and confused by how she feels about him. She tells Jonathan that she feels uncomfortable about his intense involvement in their lives and that she doesn’t want to have the engagement party at his house. Jonathan tells her about how Dracula was the one who talked sense into him when they were fighting, how he taught him to respect Mina as a woman with ambitions as important as his own.

From Darkness To LightMina decides to bury herself in work and let Lucy handle all the details for the party. Van Helsing leaves Mina to grade papers and prepare lambs heads for neurology students. Meanwhile, Van Helsing goes to test his newest anti-sun serum on Dracula. It works in the surrounding tissues of the injection site, but without a working heart to pump the serum throughout the body, everything else gets burned. The next step in the process is to make Dracula’s heart work.

Mina does some exploring around Van Helsing’s lab and finds a locked door behind a curtain. Obviously she is overwhelmed with the desire to open it, so she searches the lab until she finds a key. In the room she finds slides of years old blood that still have living cells. She becomes obsessed with the samples and accidentally stands Lucy up. Lucy comes to see her at the hospital and Lucy tries to tell her how everything will change once Mina’s married. Of course, Mina doesn’t understand what Lucy is trying to say, telling Lucy that they will still be friends just as before.

From Darkness To LightDracula goes to see Lady Jane, who keeps him waiting for quite a long time. Dracula apologizes for standing her up. She plays it cool and Dracula persuades her to come out with him that night. He takes her out to a girl-on-girl cage fight, which she finds overwhelmingly exciting. They later have really intense sex.

Later, Renfield and Dracula find one of the house staff stuffed in a chute, having been eaten by Josef. They find this mildly annoying. Meanwhile, Jonathan is having a hard time finding any real information on General Shaw. Lady Jane meets with Lord Davenport and Browning to discuss the increasing vampire population. Lady Jane thinks that it’s much more important to focus on them than on Dracula’s inconvenient meddling in the market. Lord Davenport agrees, that it’s a secondary priority and that the Order need not get directly involved. Lord Davenport, for his own obvious reasons, takes Dracula’s case upon himself. Generals Shaw and Ogilvy arrive at the meeting and Ogilvy makes some reasonable excuses regarding the delay in invading the Ottoman Empire. They strangle Ogilvy, leaving Shaw in charge of the invasion.

From Darkness To LightLord Davenport meets with a woman for lunch, employing her services to discover what Dracula loves most in the world and then corrupt, deface, and obliterate it. She is aware of his underlying motives for this act of vengeance and that it is not entirely sanctioned by the Order. The only thing she requires is double her usual fee, plus expenses. Jonathan gets a mysterious note regarding General Shaw. Renfield and Dracula discuss Josef’s impetuousness and the danger he poses to their plans. Dracula resists the idea that Josef is a liability, but Renfield makes some rather important points that make him reconsider.

Dracula meets with Lady Jane and she tells him that she’s breaking off their relationship. Dracula psychoanalyzes why this is, saying that she enjoys dominating men, but that once she does she becomes bored with them. Since she has been unable to dominate Dracula, she has become infatuated with him and feels the need to distance herself from her feelings. As they speak, her new suitor comes in for dinner. Lady Jane says that it’s a game that needs three players. Dracula tells her that one day she will realize that he was never playing.

From Darkness To LightBack at Carfax, Josef and Dracula discuss Lady Jane. Josef fails to see how Dracula’s plan is unfolding regarding Lady Jane, thinking that she made a fool of him. Josef begs Dracula to let him kill her and Dracula agrees. However, as Josef is about to kill her, Dracula comes in and attacks him from behind, making it appear to Lady Jane that he saved her from an intruder. Dracula pretends to be knocked unconscious while Lady Jane kills Josef. Lady Jane and Dracula rekindle their relationship.

Meanwhile, Jonathan follows up a lead that brings him to a mysterious woman’s house. What she has to do with General Shaw is as yet unexplained. Lady Jane brings the remains of Josef to Browning, thinking that she has killed the vampire plaguing London. Renfield goes to see about some materials for Dracula’s machine but is abducted by Lord Davenport.

The Analysis

I’m never quite sure how to feel about the range of female characters in this show. While they display some strength of both intelligence and character, that strength is constantly being undermined by the men in the show. Mina’s very reasonable suspicions regarding Dracula’s intense interest in her and Jonathan’s relationship are rationalized and brushed aside when she confides them to Jonathan. The fact that the question hadn’t been brought up earlier is a little confounding, but perhaps can be put down to Dracula’s vampiric mesmerizing powers. And while Lady Jane is imminently capable, she is easily manipulated by Dracula into feeling and doing exactly as he wants. Again, perhaps mesmerizing powers account for this as well, but that’s a lazy answer for anything that doesn’t make sense in this show. One can only hope that Lady Jane is secretly playing a long game of her own against Dracula – or if not specifically against the vampire, at least against the American industrialist Alexander Grayson.

At the same time, as I’ve mentioned previously, I have an issue with the historical inaccuracy of this type of strong female character. There are ways of presenting feminine strength and intelligence without blatantly disregarding socio-historical facts. The Sherlock Holmes stories are filled with clever and strong-willed women, and while Holmes himself was arguably a misogynist, at least he knew enough to respect the power women are capable of holding. Bram Stoker’s Mina Murray is a resourceful and intelligent young woman, a woman proud of her accomplishments, a woman of supreme reason – but that Mina knew how to fly under the radar of the contemporary social conventions regarding women. This Mina – indeed, all the female characters in this show – would never be considered respectable British citizens. More than likely they would have been outcast or institutionalized – not sashaying through high society.

And then, of course, there is the treatment of LGBT characters to be considered. While Lord Laurent and Daniel Davenport’s relationship would absolutely have been a dangerous secret in Victorian society, and any threat of exposure may very well have ended in suicide, it says something that a major network television show would introduce a homosexual relationship and immediately kill off both characters. It feels a little bit like when DC rebranded Green Lantern as a gay superhero – which was undoubtedly an awesome step toward sexual diversity in a major comic brand – but then immediately killed off his boyfriend in horrific fashion. It’s like mainstream gay characters aren’t allowed to be happy, or are being punished with death for being gay. And honestly, every character in the show feels like a desperate bid to cater to an unimaginably diverse audience. Here are some gay characters for the LGBT community, but we’ll also kill them off to make more conservative viewers happy. And poor Lucy is clearly pining away for Mina, resigned to the fact that she’s losing her to Jonathan but trying desperately to make Mina understand how she feels. For a decidedly worldly young lady, Mina is uncharacteristically clueless regarding Lucy’s feelings.

In the end, Dracula is spending too much time catering to demographics to construct a truly compelling storyline. It’s beginning to feel like a mash of characters and plot points that don’t quite add up. It could be massively trimmed down and there might even be a story and some characters underneath it all.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrby feather

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.
Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
Google