We’re dead happy that hilarious and smart vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows is back. The two-part season three premiere was last night on FX; you can watch it today on Hulu. In celebration, we’re looking back at some of our favourite moments from season two.
The season two premiere, “Resurrection,” introduced guest star Haley Joel Osment as Topher, the latest in a long line of doomed familiars for Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) and Laszlo (Matt Berry). They, along with Nandor (Kayvan Novak), think he’s swell, but Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) can’t stand Topher’s smarmy attitude, his disinterest in actually becoming a vampire, and his “side hustle” with Doze Apples, a start-up hard cider brand, something he’s much more devoted to than his familiar duties. But energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), who thrives on boring other people, eagerly accepts a stack of Doze Apples rebate coupons that come with a long-winded explanation of how to use them. “And… I can explain this whole process as I’m handing these out?” he asks. “Oh yeah! Sometimes more than once,” replies Topher, as a smile slowly spreads across Colin’s face. It almost makes up for the fact that Topher is so douchey he’s immune to Colin’s energy-draining powers.
Guillermo the vampire slayer
Season two spent a lot of time exploring Guillermo’s double life. On the one hand, he’s a subservient familiar to Nandor, forever hoping he’ll actually get his wish of being transformed into a vampire; on the other, he’s a direct descendent of Dracula nemesis Van Helsing and has newly discovered, deadly accurate vampire-slaying powers. “Resurrection” picked up from the season one reveal of Guillermo’s heritage, showing his incredible skill in taking down all the vampire assassins who’re trying to murder his roommates…while secretly hiding his prowess from everyone in the house (other than the ever-present camera crew, of course). Comedy gold, and a theme that built as the season progressed.
In episode two, “Ghosts,” Nadja leads the roommates in a séance to contact the restless spirit that’s been causing chaos in their home. What We Do in the Shadows has a lot of fun with the idea that certain vampires are sceptical about the existence of ghosts (“Huh. Vampires are real, but ghosts are not?” Guillermo asks. “After years of working for you, a known vampire, I have seen werewolves, necromancers, a zombie, and several Babadooks…but a ghost, that’s where we draw the line?”), but the séance — a mix of dad jokes, poop jokes (Nandor, Colin, Laszlo), and operatic chanting (Nadja) — does indeed prove that there’s always room for yet another supernatural creature on this show.
Sent on food-sourcing duties while the roommates attend a Superb Owl (or Superbowl, if you prefer) party in “Brain Scramblies,” Guillermo is sure he’s hit pay dirt when he crashes a Mosquito Collectors of the Tri-State Area meeting. Virgins galore, right? Maybe…except the so-called “mosquito collectors” are actually budding vampire hunters who are all too thrilled to welcome an uncomfortable Guillermo into their midst. “You’re the first person we got to do that cool reveal for!” one of the members tells him excitedly after the group shows off their impressive array of wooden stakes, holy water, and other vampire-eradication tools. Guillermo’s panicked fourth-wall break to the camera as he draws out the word “Wowwwwww” is perfection.
This is not a joke
In “The Curse,” the technologically clueless Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo believe the Bloody Mary-themed email chain letter they’ve received will spell doom…unless they follow its instructions and forward the message to 10 people before the next sunrise.
Immediately, the race to gather 10 email addresses (Nadja: “Where are we going to get the email addresses? The email address shop?” Laszlo: “No, I’m guessing that’ll be closed this time of night.”) becomes their sole focus. This plot perfectly captures how out-of-touch the roommates are with the modern world — and also the hilarity that ensues when they bump up against something incredibly trivial that they can’t be bothered to understand until it impacts them directly.
It’s five o’clock somewhere
In “Colin’s Promotion,” the only household member with an actual job — though he’s not even sure what he does, since he just shows up at random offices and blends in among the cubicles, tormenting his co-workers and draining their energy as he goes — somehow finds himself in a managerial role. It doesn’t take long before being boss gives him a literal power surge (“I feel like I have the power of a thousand cowboys running through my veins right now!” he giggles, before smashing a trash can like a paper cup) and soon, we get to see Colin Robinson, so often dismissed by his housemates, at his vampiric peak.
Season two high point “On the Run” followed Laszlo as he skipped town to avoid paying a long-overdue debt to another vampire (more on him next). After donning “my foolproof human disguise” (jeans and a toothpick), Laszlo adopts the persona of “Jackie Daytona, regular human bartender” at working-class watering hole Lucky Brew’s Bar and Grill. By the end, the episode somehow transforms itself into a send-up of heartwarming small-town sports movies — and exemplifies how What We Do in the Shadows is continually reinventing what “a vampire comedy” can be.
Jim the Vampire
What We Do in the Shadows is known for its incredible guest stars, but it’s hard to beat “On the Run”’s casting of Mark Hamill as Laszlo’s former landlord — especially when the two come to blows and briefly attack each other with pool cues that look a lot like lightsabers in battle.
Unlike the rest of the vampire roommates, Colin Robinson is well aware of how the internet works and takes great joy in trolling people on social media, which he’s found to be an efficient modern way to drain people’s energy — by mansplaining, offering terrible hot takes (“Women are getting too tall”), giving unsolicited advice, being casually offensive, etc. When a fellow hater steps to him, their feud escalates — until they end up meeting in person and we see the anti-Colin troll is an actual troll. It’s an obvious joke, but one that What We Do in the Shadows plays expertly, thanks to its trademark combination of spot-on writing and performances, macabre humour, well-deployed special effects, and comic timing.
“I am the tempo king!”
In “Collaboration,” Nadja and Laszlo revive their playfully raunchy musical act (sample title: “Hoop Skirt, Poop Skirt”) for an open-mic night at the behest of Colin Robinson, who correctly predicts it will be an agonisingly awkward experience for the audience (except for Colin, who has a feeding frenzy). When the crowd turns on Nadja and Laszlo, the day is saved when they play “‘The Seafaring Song’ from 1792” — which, in a joke that ties into a running gag throughout the episode, sounds remarkably like the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” from 1988.
“We’re not talking.”
The delicious irony of Guillermo: as he begins to embrace his inherited vampire-killing skills, his frustration over Nandor’s reluctance to turn him into a vampire only grows — to the point where they “break up” when Guillermo decides to become a familiar to Celeste (Greta Lee) instead. The scene where Nandor goes to visit Guillermo at his new digs — followed by their fumbling reconciliation when it’s revealed that Celeste is actually not a vampire — is probably the most real their relationship has ever gotten.
“I think it’s a Wu-Tang reference.”
When an exasperated Guillermo moves out of the mansion in the season two finale, “Nouveau Théâtre des Vampires,” the chaos that ensues in his absence crescendoes when the vampires receive an invitation to the much-coveted event that gives the episode its title. Naturally, they fail to realise they’re being set up for humiliation and execution by the Vampiric Council.
The show turns out to be a mocking recreation of the death of Baron Afanas (Doug Jones) in season one — which was, of course, accidentally caused by Guillermo, as were all the other vampire deaths they’re subsequently accused of — but the roommates are more outraged by their on-stage portrayal than they are concerned about their looming fate. Najda: “I would never high-five!”
The grand finale
Same episode. Same scene, too. But worth another slide to praise the return of Vladislav — played by What We Do in the Shadows co-creator and original film star Jemaine Clement. Don’t rule him out for season three, since we see him turn into a bat and scurry away before Guillermo (whose elusive last name is de la Cruz, as we learn at the very end) swoops in to unleash hell on the whole theatre to save his friends.