Dracula Season 1 Review “The Devil’s Waltz”

Dracula (NBC) Episode 5 The Devil's Waltz (6)

In a perhaps inevitably transitional episode of “Dracula,” we got a resolution of the previous show’s Renfield kidnapping, the expected engagement party, and Dracula’s first official meeting with the rest of the Order (he already knew Lady Jayne and the vengeful Davenport, of course) in the aptly-titled “The Devil’s Waltz.” I say aptly because not only did Dracula actually dance the waltz with Mina, but he also tipped his hand somewhat to the Order, by putting himself on their radar even more so than he was already- definitely a dangerous dance move, however calculated.

Now Browning is all but convinced that Grayson is, in fact, the old-school vampire they’ve been looking for that Jayne was convinced she’d already taken care of. Not entirely sure what Dracula expected to accomplish with this bold action, but if it was acceleration he wanted, he’s definitely gotten it. I guess kidnapping his most trusted ally was maybe not the greatest move, at least in the case of Davenport, who’s sure to meet an untimely end soon enough.

We never did see the end result of what happened to the woman he hired, Mrs. Kleiberson. I expect Davenport will be receiving a “Se7en”-style box with her head or some other part of her, if Dracula chooses to prolong the agony a bit, which I wouldn’t blame him for, given what she did to poor Renfield. I did like his cackling when he realized Dracula was there to save his bacon, and realized history was about to repeat itself.

Speaking of which, we also got a nice series of flashbacks in which it was revealed how Renfield and Dracula met and became so close. I liked the bit where after Renfield was overtaken and laid out, we saw Dracula taking care of business through a fish-eye lens, with him darting about, at one point carrying one unlucky guy’s decapitated head with him. Then we saw the scene essentially repeated in the present of the show, this time getting a better look at the action, as Dracula sliced necks and tore off arms and generally massacred everyone in sight, as Renfield continued to laugh heartily. Wouldn’t want to be Mrs. Kleiberson right about now.

Meanwhile, back at the engagement party, any uncertainty about my interpretations of Lucy’s feelings towards Mina were laid to rest, as it became clear that she was indeed in love with her. Between the pointed inclusion of Lucy’s longing looks at Mina in the opening montage of the previous episode recap, to her breakdown into tears towards the end of the episode, there’s no denying that Lucy’s feelings towards Mina are anything but platonic- and it did not go unnoticed by Jayne, either. I suspect she will use that to her advantage somehow, though I’m not sure how, as of yet.

Jayne also noted that Dracula’s feelings towards Mina weren’t exactly platonic, either- but then so did everyone in the room, no doubt, after that display on the dance floor. At least that bit with Dracula killing Harker wasn’t real, or it’d be game over before it had really begun. When you get down to it, I think that was what really did it for Browning more so than the fact that Dracula was bold enough to invite him there in the first place. He also floated the prospect of recruiting Harker, which might prove handy if Harker actually goes for it- which I would have said was unlikely until Dracula put the eyes on his girl, but now…it’s a distinct possibility. Drac better watch his back!

Dracula might want to watch his front, too, if next week’s preview was any indication. After the latest test for sunlight immunization failed on this episode, it looks like Dracula will be putting Van Helsing’s work to the test personally next week. Not sure that’s a wise move, but he’s not wrong in that people are getting suspicious about his lack of being out and about during daylight hours, which was another thing that put him on Browning’s radar. I’m guessing that will be rectified one way or another next week, and it’s probably not a stretch to assume that it’s going to work next time around, or else we wouldn’t have a Dracula anymore- and thus, no show!

So, a decent episode, but nowhere near as solid as last week’s superlative entry, which was easily the best episode in the series so far. Still, there was much to resolve and we had to get from point “A” to point “B” somehow, so it was a necessary evil, I suppose. Though the payoff was solid last week for all that plotting, they might want to consider streamlining things if the show gets picked up for another season. While I appreciate intelligent writing and plotting as much as the next critic, there is such a thing as over-plotting, and “Dracula” is definitely skirting convoluted territory, to be sure.

What did you think of “Dracula” this week? Do you like the slow burn approach the show is taking, or do you wish they’d speed things up a bit? What do you make of the more modern trappings, i.e. the music or the fact that Lucy and other characters are gay in a time where that wasn’t exactly accepted? What do you think happened to Kleiberson? Is she dead or did Dracula add her to the collection in the basement? Do you think the Order will successfully recruit Harker into the fold? Will he and Mina actually go through with the wedding? How will Jayne handle the Dracula situation, given her involvement with Grayson? Sound off on this and more below, and see you next week!

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  • Lynn

    I’m enjoying the show a lot and, I’m liking each dramatic reveal along the way. As for a ‘slow burn’ , I’m actually concerned with how quickly the story is moving forward and wondering how they can sustain the momentum and still have enough left for another season. It’s really allowing us to understand each character’s motives and each character’s history and still have the time to appreciate the sets and feel of the era they’re portraying which is really incredibly done.

    • Mark Trammell

      Good point. I’m not sure where they’re headed with all this, either, at least in a long-term sense. If there is a long-term, that is. There’s still no official word on whether the show will be renewed or not yet. I do think it deserves at least one more shot at a second season. Overall, the good has outweighed the bad, and the bad can be rectified fairly easily, IMHO.

  • Ian B

    Welcome to this weeks episode of “Everybody Wants Mina”.

    I’m not sure why nobody wants Lucy, who I think is much hotter. Standout performances this week: Nonso Anozie, and Victoria Smurfit’s upper torso.

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