Renfield goes to Budapest to obtain the Dresden Triptych while Dracula prepares for the first public presentation of his resonator machine. Lucy begins to seduce Jonathan as revenge for Mina’s rejection, while Mina prepares to put on a dance for the patients at the asylum. Jonathan becomes disenchanted with Dracula and is offered a place in the Order of the Dragon.
Dracula is making the final modifications to his machine and is getting ready to test it. Van Helsing takes Dracula aside and asks him when the last time he fed was. Dracula brushes him off and prepares the test. Van Helsing warns him that he’s playing with fire and that he must feed. The test is successful and Dracula goes to make arrangements for a public display.
Jonathan contemplates his discovery from the previous night that his informant was a hired actor. He tells Dracula this and then suddenly realizes that it must have been Dracula who set the whole thing up. Jonathan is uncomfortable being a party to the ruination of an innocent man and threatens to expose Dracula. But Dracula reminds him that he has no evidence and that it was in fact Jonathan who ruined the man’s reputation. He instructs Jonathan to send invitations to the press for the public demonstration.
The Order meets to discuss Dracula’s upcoming demonstration. Browning decides to employ a policeman to deal with it in a way “not befitting a gentleman” and to bring Jonathan in to persuade him to join the Order against Dracula. Meanwhile, Dracula sends Renfield to Budapest to acquire the Dresden Triptych, the only item of his vast estate that he is unwilling and unable to replace.
Dracula has a flashback of his wife burning to death as Van Helsing infuses him with another dose of the sun serum. Van Helsing asks Dracula why he refuses to feed, and Dracula explains that his time in the sunlight makes him feel like a man again and that he doesn’t wish to tarnish that by drinking blood. Van Helsing says that he deceives himself and that there is no cure for his hunger. Dracula goes for a walk in the park and runs into Mina, who is a little sad. Dracula asks what’s wrong and Mina explains that she’s had an argument with her father about the asylum patients. She thinks the monotony is bad for the patients and wants to do something to change it. Dracula suggests that she hold a dance for the patients. They share their personal flaws and Dracula counts envy among his. Mina asks what he desires that is not his for the taking and they share a look.
Dracula goes to see Lady Jane and they have sex. Lady Jane comments that it feels so decadent to have him there in broad daylight. Lady Jane’s husband is having an affair with a woman he claims he’s fallen in love with, but if she publicly shames him any dishonor that falls on him will also fall on her. Dracula suggest that she wound the object of his affection in order to would him.
Mina convinces her father to allow a dance at the asylum. Dracula has trouble controlling his hunger for blood and has fantasies about killing the maid. Jonathan returns with RSPVs in the negative from the press for the demonstration. Dracula decides to hire street urchins to hand out fliers to the public. Meanwhile, Renfield wins the auction for the Dresden Triptych by waiting until the last moment and then bidding higher than anyone else can pay. Davenport’s man is there and now must think of a way to obtain it for his master.
Mina surprises Dracula at his home. She tells him she convinced her father to allow a dance and she asks to borrow his phonograph and some music. Meanwhile, Lucy and Lady Jane meet for tea where Lucy tells her of her encounter with Mina. Lady Jane says Mina’s behavior was monstrous and that a lesson in kind would be instructive. Lucy decides to seduce Jonathan away from Mina and Lady Jane instructs her on the art of seduction.
Browning meets with Chief Inspector Murrow and instructs him to sabotage Dracula’s public demonstration. Dracula prepares for the big night but Van Helsing plagues him about his refusal to feed. He says this moment is too important to their plans against the Order for Dracula to be so weak for want of blood. Dracula still refuses, saying he will live as a man or not at all.
Renfield returns to his hotel room to find his door open. He finds the maid cleaning the room and tells her to leave. He checks his hiding place for the Dresden Triptych and finds it is still there, boarded up in its box. Lucy has Jonathan over to have him fitted for his wedding tuxedo. She gives the tailor a break when it comes time to measure Jonathan’s inseam and does it herself. Jonathan is very uncomfortable about it. Meanwhile, Inspector Murrow poisons a milk cart outside of Dracula’s laboratory.
Renfield comes home with the Triptych, but when they open the box they find only a piece of wood inside. The maid from the hotel brings the Triptych to Davenport and receives her payment. When they open the box, they find that the Dresden Triptych is a portrait of someone who appears to be Mina Murray. Davenport now knows who to target to get revenge against Dracula.
Dracula leaves his laboratory in the midst of preparations for the big night. Jonathan is forcibly taken to a secret location to talk with Browning and the shadowy members of the Order. Browning tells Jonathan that the Ottomans are sitting on a vast reserve of oil and that if England doesn’t procure it then the Ottomans will soon have the power to rise up and crush Western industry. Jonathan makes the reasonable argument that if Dracula’s machine is successful it will make oil obsolete, thus taking any power away from the Ottomans. The Order claims that Dracula’s machine is a dead end and a dangerous distraction. They ask Jonathan to play Judas to bring down a false Messiah, and then offer him lots of money.
Mina finds that rather than a phonograph, Dracula has hired a six piece orchestra and added some extra flair to the decorations. Dracula dances with one of the patients to get the dance started and everyone has a wonderful time. Mina is delighted. Dracula eventually finds himself weakening due to lack of blood and finds the time of his presentation is nearing. He sneaks off, but Mina sees him go and stops him in the hallway. She says that Jonathan promised he’d be at the dance but never showed up. Dracula says he’s sure Mina won’t have trouble finding another partner to dance with, but Mina says she already has and asks him to dance with her. Against his better judgment, Dracula does.
Meanwhile, people are gathering for the public demonstration and Van Helsing is getting anxious for Dracula’s arrival. Dracula, meanwhile, is losing track of time dancing with Mina. Mina’s father sees them dancing alone in the hallway. He takes note and leaves them alone. As they get close Dracula finds himself losing control, battling his need for blood against his love for Mina. Eventually, he forces himself away and runs off. As Dracula and Jonathan arrive at the laboratory, people in the streets are falling ill from the poisoned milk. Inspector Murrow stops the demonstration before it is able to begin, claiming the machine is to blame for the sickness. Dracula protests, but there is nothing to be done.
Jonathan arrives at the asylum hours after the dance has ended. Jonathan apologizes for not being there and hugs Mina, but she looks unmoved. Inspector Murrow finishes locking up Dracula’s laboratory and gets in a carriage to go home. Dracula is there, posing as the driver, and kills Murrow. Later, as Van Helsing sits by his fire, a bloody Dracula comes to see him. He says that Van Helsing’s monstrosity is worse than his own, that by bringing Dracula back into the world and giving him hope, he is the worst kind of monster. Dracula promises that when it’s all over, he’ll kill Van Helsing.
While I do appreciate that a range of sexualities are being represented in a network television series, I have previously mentioned how their treatment seems to be some kind of appeasing gesture for viewers who do not approve of these sexualities. It was bad enough when both members of the only legitimate gay relationship in the show were killed off (punishment for being gay?), but now they’re portraying Lucy as a petty and vindictive home wrecker, urged on by a proudly sexual woman. Not only are they condemning the behavior of a gay woman by making her a despicable character, but they’re shaming proud female sexuality by making Lady Jane the instigator of Lucy’s revenge. The fact that the show’s protagonist is an evil, blood sucking vampire and is portrayed in a better light than almost anyone else in the series is a clue to how underrepresented the LGBT community is in mainstream American television.
It might be worth it to note, however, that the character of Dracula is often used as a metaphor for the simultaneous fear and fascination caused by not just alternate sexualities, but sexuality in general. Dracula was written in a time of deep societal sexual repression, when male homosexuality was illegal and punishable by up to two years hard labor, in a prison system that intentionally ruined the health and vitality of its inmates. Dracula is seen as a representation of sexual desire – the fear caused by it, but also the inherent animalistic response to it. The imagery in the book is characteristic of vampire tales, but has undeniable sexual connotations – all the sucking and biting, the gradual death of the participants which calls to mind the French term for orgasm (Le petit mort/The little death), the vixen-like transformation of mortals into vampires suggesting an acceptance of sexuality. This show could be so much smarter in the way it goes about challenging our ideas of sexuality. Instead, it ultimately reinforces heteronormativity while condemning other forms of sexuality as decadent and immoral.
Again, this show is trying to be too many things at once, trying to attract the widest range of demographics without considering the possible contradictions and inconsistencies that accompany the attempt. And the very fact that gay characters exist in a network television show at all is simply not good enough.
On a lighter note, I keep thinking about how interesting this show would be if they could only somehow introduce someone more evil than Dracula, someone who could come along and take credit for all Dracula’s inventions, who might then turn around and regulate that technology to sell to the general public for the greatest possible profit – someone like Thomas A. Edison. After all, Edison would be the ultimate member of the Order of the Dragon, claiming credit for groundbreaking inventions and impeding technological progress for his own gain. Maybe Edison stole the idea for electric lighting from Dracula. Perhaps the Order has an American chapter of the club. For anyone who knows anything about the feud between Edison and Tesla, some of the tactics and gambits are pulled directly from that historical battle. The Order is Edison, Dracula is Tesla. Edison intentionally impeded and discredited Tesla’s work in order to create support for his own competing developments. A TV series about Edison and Tesla might be more interesting than this, though.