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Dracula, Season 1, Episode 4, “From Darkness to Light”
Written by Tom Grieves
Directed by Andy Goddard
Airs Fridays at 10pm (ET) on NBC
Here’s what is so frustrating about NBC’s Dracula- it has flashes of absolute juicy goodness, like the standoff that is brewing between Alexander Grayson (Jonathon Rhys Meyers) and kickass Lady Jane (Victoria Smurfit) or the unabashedly steamy love scenes. But aside from these moments everything else seems so – blah. In short, there’s a lot of potential but nowhere for it to go. We’re four episodes in and it feels like we’re stuck with no real movement forward.
With the introduction of one of Grayson’s unpredictable and out for revenge against Lady Jane sires, “From Darkness to Light” is a vast improvement over last week’s deeply flawed “Goblin Merchant Men”. Where last week’s episode highlighted the show’s problems, “From Darkness to Light” reminds viewers what has been good about Dracula from the beginning.
Jonathon Rhys Meyers remains Dracula’s biggest asset. Grayson’s slow seduction of Mina (Jessica De Gouw) is one element that gets better and better each week. He’s so fun, so over the top. The best scenes in “From Darkness to Light” focus on his continued search for a way to walk in the sun, and the physical protection he offers Mina in an explosion. Grayson’s verbal back and forth with Lady Jane is another highlight, and some of the best dialog on the show. When he tells her “Someday, madam, you’ll know I was never playing”, the audience knows he’ll do anything he has to, to keep his plan from falling apart and by the end of the episode, he has.
Dracula has moment of greatness this week, such as when it focuses on Grayson’s choice to torture Lady Jane by attacking her trust or Mina’s increasing curiosity about all things Grayson and Van Helsing (Thomas Kretschmann). Speaking of the Professor, he remains a weak point. He needs to be given much more to do. Having him simply act as Grayson’s doctor who filters in and out, injecting Grayson with medicine, is a disservice to the character and to his very cool backstory, set up in the first two episodes. The idea that Van Helsing, who is Dracula’s greatest adversary in the original story, would now be his somewhat reluctant partner is just too good not to explore further. There are many great places for the character to go but so far we’ve only gotten glimpses into his past.
“From Darkness to Light” proves that if Dracula can just get away from Grayson’s business sabotage it will improve greatly. The idea seemed promising at first, but this is Dracula for goodness’ sakes. If he’s going to really take on the Order of the Dragon shouldn’t things be bloodier and more fun? The business side of his revenge is understandable and is even intriguing on occasion, but it’s getting a little tedious, which isn’t a great sign after only four episodes.
“From Darkness to Light” is an improvement over last week but the show still has a long way to go if it wants to sustain the momentum it developed in its first two episodes.