While FX’s vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows is across-the-board delightful, we have a special affection for the show’s “energy vampire”, a character who’s both totally original and instantly recognisable. He’s also pretty terrifying—especially when he gets a sudden power boost.
Last night’s “Colin’s Promotion” shifted the focus onto Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) for the first time this season—giving us an episode that mirrored season one’s “Werewolf Feud,” which featured a storyline about Colin’s fraught encounter with a co-worker whose pathological neediness revealed her to be an “emotional vampire” in disguise. The scene is, once again, Colin’s exaggeratedly dull office job, but this time, there’s no monstrous rival—and that’s where the trouble (and the hilarity) starts.
Since Colin’s an energy vampire—not a traditional vampire like his roommates—he’s able to go out during the day, and he feeds on life forces rather than blood. An office full of cubicles staffed by people who’d already rather be anywhere else is, therefore, Colin’s ideal feeding ground. “I don’t even know what the hell this company does,” he admits to the unseen camera crew that keeps tabs on all the show’s characters, though he’s pretty sure it has something to do with playground equipment or maybe land mines.
While it’s been made abundantly clear that Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) don’t especially enjoy having Colin around—he’s exceptionally boring, and his debilitating “draining” powers do extend to vampires—we haven’t really been shown how Colin feels about them (though he did care enough to find a giant golf umbrella so he could rescue them from certain sunlight death last season).
On “Colin’s Promotion,” which is directed by WWDITS co-creator Jemaine Clement, we see that he’s the only person in the equation who considers the others to be friends. “Coworkers die,” he points out. “Vampire roommates—they’re forever.” Unfortunately for, well, everyone, Colin gets a big promotion at work, despite the fact that his day-to-day routine consists of wandering around and making excruciating small talk.
Now that he’s suddenly the boss, his power set soars; he’s able to summon underlings into his office to “drain on demand” under the guise of micromanagement, or fiddle around on conference calls when it’s clear the person on the other end of the line just really wants to get the goddamn meeting started. “I’m becoming something new, stronger!” he marvels—a full head of hair even sprouts on his shiny dome—and he’s able to drop bodies with just a mundane phrase (“TGIF!” “It’s five o’clock somewhere!”) or gesture. (Even the WWDITS cameraperson falls victim to his magic zap.)
Work may be the source of his new powers, but his most diabolical use of it comes when he returns home. Peeved that nobody gave a crap about his career triumph, he begins a “mega drain,” pitting Nadja against Nandor over who burned whose village 400 years ago and eventually ageing everyone and putting them into a lethargic stupor. Colin’s reign of terror only stops when he duplicates himself into a trio, and the three Colins proceed to drain each other to the point of total collapse. As they bury the Colins, the roommates realise, sort of, that they don’t totally loathe the guy after all. When she would catch him eavesdropping, for instance, “he would actually often be a very good mute listener,” Nadja admits.
Fortunately, normalcy—or what passes for it among What We Do in the Shadows’ resident weirdos—returns by the end, but not before one last chilling scene: A revived Colin rolling into a brand-new office that looks just like his old office, looking for a new job to fake his way into (and a fresh batch of victims; how’s this for an opening line: “Hey, are you a fan of conservative AM radio?”) after de-energising his previous employer into ruin.
What We Do in the Shadows airs on Foxtel in Australia, but the new season has yet to begin airing. Stay tuned.