Dracula must attend a shareholders meeting in broad daylight in order to prove to the Order that he is not the vampire they seek. Meanwhile, Davenport continues his private investigation into “Alexander Grayson”, Lucy struggles with her feelings for Mina, and Mina investigates a strange substance she finds in Van Helsing’s lab that can seemingly reanimate dead cells.
Dracula tentatively steps into the sunlight, revels in the daylight without it burning his skin. Cut to Dracula inside in the shadows, looking out the window and shuffling cards. Whether this daylight venture was fancy or future events is currently unclear. Meanwhile, Lady Jane, Browning, and Davenport discuss the possibility that Dracula might be a vampire. Browning points out that Dracula has yet to attend a single event in daylight. Lady Jane is adamant that he is not nosferatu, claims that if he were she would have noticed. Davenport keeps his secret interest in Dracula to himself, but agrees with the necessity to take action. Browning says there is a simple way to flush out the beast.
Dracula and Lady Jane arrive for dinner at a restaurant. Mina is being entertained at another table by a card trick, with a depressed Lucy and Jonathan looking on. Dracula excuses himself from Lady Jane and does some card tricks of his own for Mina. Lucy excuses herself, jealous of the apparent connection between Dracula and Mina. Jonathan is annoyed, but then Dracula makes it known through a card trick that he is dedicated to their coupledom and Jonathan’s jealousy seems to vanish. Dracula expenses their dinner to his account and they decide see how much of his money they can drink in one night. Lady Jane talks with Lucy and invites her to tea. Lucy is embarrassed by Lady Jane’s knowledge of her love for Mina.
Later, a drunken Jonathan and Mina return home in the rain. The night turns serious when Mina decides she wants to have sex with Jonathan and they sleep together for the first time. In the morning, Jonathan suggests they elope, which upsets Mina. She asks if what they did last night makes their union any less sacred, and Jonathan says of course not. Then Mina says they should get married in a church in front of God, their family, and friends.
Jonathan arrives at Carfax, where Dracula wants to know everything about the man who owns the only nickel/steel alloy foundry in Britain – a Bostonian named Ewan Tellford III, who just happens to be obsessed with the Wild West, particularly high stakes poker, and happens to be holding a game that very night. Renfield interrupts with the information that a 15th century Romanian painting called the Dresden Triptych – an item that Dracula has been seeking since his resurrection – is being auctioned off in London. At the same time, Davenport finds out that Dracula is obsessed by the art piece and determines to acquire it himself. The time and location of its origin suggests that it may be a painting depicting Dracula, perhaps with his wife Ilona – who bears a striking resemblance to Mina Murray.
Dracula attends the game and makes a show of being a timid player, folding every time after betting to the limit, regardless of the strength of his hand. This way he lulls Tellford into unfounded confidence and wins his company in the poker game. Dracula arrives home in high spirits, until Renfield informs him that the shareholder meeting has been moved from the evening to broad daylight in a solarium. Now Dracula must either attend the meeting for lose the company.
Mina runs some experiments with the substance she found in Van Helsing’s private lab. She adds some to dead cells and finds that they seem to reanimate. She injects a dead rat with some of the substance but it seems to have no effect. However, as she throws the rat back into the closet, it begins to show signs of life. As she returns the substance to the lab, Van Helsing catches her and dismisses her. Mina perseveres, telling Van Helsing what she discovered about the substance and demands to be told the truth. Van Helsing invents a story about the substance being filled with tiny parasites that simply feed off the dead cells, imitating signs of life. He prepares to kill Mina, but finds that he doesn’t have to when she apologizes for wasting his time, recognizing perhaps that her senses were fooled by her subjective desire to cure death.
Lucy and Lady Jane meet for tea. Lucy is nervous, but Lady Jane reassures her that what she feels for Mina is perfectly natural, and that she understands perfectly. Lady Jane suggests that Mina very likely feels the same way about Lucy, but has hidden her feelings for the same reasons. She encourages Lucy to tell Mina how she feels.
Van Helsing tells Dracula about the next phase of his sunlight serum experiment. Dracula demands that the experiment be moved up and that he be the test subject, so that he may be able to attend the shareholder meeting. Later, Dracula feigns outrage that Jonathan has leaked the information about General Shaw’s bribe taking to the press. Jonathan assures Dracula that the information will not be traced back to either himself or Dracula. Dracula’s smile as he walks away tells us that all is going according to plan. General Shaw is now useless to the Order and their plans. Lord Davenport, however, receives information that a woman named Vera Markum was paid by Dracula for services unknown. Davenport tells his henchman to find out what those services were and who Vera Markum is.
Davenport pays a surprise visit to Jonathan and Mina who happen to be at a funfair. Davenport tells Jonathan that he knows that he’s the one who exposed General Shaw and makes some vague threats toward him to ruin his life. He gives Jonathan a ticket to a play – Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Jonathan attends the show, watching distractedly, until Vera Markum – the woman who claimed to be General Shaw’s bookkeeper and exposed his corruption – appears onstage as the character Christine Linde. Jonathan realizes that she is an actress, paid to play the part of a bookkeeper to feed him false information that lead to General Shaw’s public ruin.
Lucy and Mina spend an evening together. Lucy talks of wedding dresses and Mina talks of how she believes she’s being deceived by Van Helsing. Lucy confesses her love to Mina, who at first does not understand the kind of love Lucy means. When she comes to understand, however, she feels she has been betrayed, that Lucy’s friendship has been a pretense. She asks Lucy to leave.
Van Helsing runs his experiment on Dracula, which is a pretty horrific process. However, the scene from the beginning turns out to have been the testing of the results, and the experiment is temporarily successful. Dracula is able to attend the shareholder meeting long enough to cement his control over it and prove to the Order that he is not the vampire they seek. Dracula rushes away, beginning to feel the effects of the sunlight. Davenport delays him to ask some questions while the other side of Dracula’s profile begins to burn. He is finally able to leave, his image intact. However, the journey back to Carfax is a painful one.
Van Helsing reviews a file on Browning, who is the one who burned his family and ruined his life so many years ago. Meanwhile, Vera Markum is left alone in the empty theater. She hears a creek and calls out to the air that she did everything she was asked to do and that she won’t tell anyone. Dracula, horribly burned, appears behind her and heals himself by sucking her blood. His one loose end in what turns out to have been his fabrication of General Shaw’s corruption is now dead.
While the storylines seem to be coming together more coherently and concisely than previous episodes, there is still a great deal of overly complicated storytelling. A short recap of any given episode hardly seems possible without sacrificing coherency, indicating that there is perhaps too much going on, leaving the show feeling slightly unfocused. There are so many storylines converging at once that the entire episode seems like a series of B plots – including whatever the A plot was. Throw in the setups for future episodes – the reference to what I fear will be the insanely predictable Dresden Triptych plot and Lord Davenport’s continued secret crusade to ruin Alexander Grayson – and you have a very busy episode indeed.
And while it might seem silly to be concerned with historio-social inaccuracies in a series that takes the existence of vampires as granted, the Victorian enthusiast in me can’t help but be irked by these liberties. There continues to be nothing remotely Victorian about these people or the manner in which they’re portrayed. While this is perhaps not what a producer might want in a sexy new series, young, unmarried women in Victorian society often didn’t know anything about sex at all until it was imminently necessary. Women in this series, when they’re not sexually free like Lady Jane, speak about sex with more knowledge than was proper for them to have at the time. Historically speaking, Lucy and Mina shouldn’t know anything about male parts versus female parts and how they fit together, let alone know enough about the importance of a man’s size to make a ribald joke about it. Why set the series in Victorian London at all if you’re not interested in the people or the history? I suspect that the lavish production values and the current draw of period dramas have something to do with it, and less about an interest or dedication to the period itself.
I understand, of course, that dramatically speaking Dracula’s struggle to walk in sunlight is a dynamic storyline and how that ability is not only a symbol of power but a metaphor for his lost humanity. It is not, however, a struggle that Dracula, or any vampire up until 1922, ever had. While vampires certainly have an aversion to daylight and often use it as a time of rest, they are more than able to walk in daylight without being harmed. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Count often travels and runs errands by day. There is specific mention of him leaving Carfax around noon to investigate the extent of the sabotage against him, and of him walking near Hyde Park in broad daylight as Mina and Jonathan take a stroll. This is a point on which Francis Ford Coppola (Dracula, 1992) was completely correct – Dracula can walk in the sunlight, he just doesn’t have access to his multitude of powers until after the sun sets.
There is one thing I completely agree with Ruby LeRouge on, and that’s that there’s too many cooks in the kitchen. A complex series like Dracula would hugely benefit from a lead writer with a solid vision of what the show should be. So far, creator Cole Haddon has written only one episode, that being the messy series premiere. Every episode since has had a different writer. It is difficult to say whether Haddon has the vision necessary to lead the series in a positive direction, mostly due to the fact that he’s done nothing to which this can be compared. Suffice to say, there has yet to emerge a powerful, recognizable creative force in a series that desperately needs one.