I can’t decide if I’ve actually been bearish on “What We Do in the Shadows: Season Three”—Rona filming and Jermaine Clement leaving the writers’ room being the concerns—or if I’ve just been bearish in general and it infected “Shadows.” Because Escape, the show has cemented its third season. It’d have to crap out in unimaginable ways at this point. Escape’s a “Shadows” classic. But, of course, the show having so many exemplar episodes sets it up for a stumble or fall.
Escape is great. Yana Gorskaya’s direction is outstanding, working from an excellent script credited to Jake Bender and Zach Dunn. The episode’s a comedy thriller. Thanks to Kayvan Novak (ostensibly), the oldest vampire in the world has gone missing, and if he accidentally gets killed, all the other vampires will drop dead. Or so the legend goes. No one’s particularly sure, except Mark Proksch knows it won’t affect him. Energy vampires are born, not turned.
It turns into an all-hands-on-deck episode, with Kristen Schaal and a very special surprise return guest star helping out with the hunt for the creature as it wreaks havoc around Staten Island.
Lots of good set pieces, lots of great punchlines, lots of just right plot turns.
While Novak and Natasia Demetriou try to deal with the political fallout of losing the alpha vampire, Proksch and Matt Berry drag Harvey Guillén along, investigating whether or not the “head of the snake” legend is true. Then Guillén’s gets to step up when the vampires are unable to organize against a greater threat. They’re too used to being the greater threat.
And there’s a nice girl bonding scene for Demetriou and Schaal. It’s a wonderfully balanced episode, especially since there are times they could’ve punted plot points and instead get them wrapped up with lovely proverbial bows.
Standout performances are Novak (who’s got a mini-character arc in his panic over so failing his new responsibilities) and the very special guest star who I’m not spoiling. Guillén and Demetriou have some really good moments too. Proksch, Berry, and Schaal are, obviously, hilarious but very much in supporting parts by the end.
The episode also plays up the documentary angle a little more than usual, especially for integrating into punchlines.
It’s the season highlight (so far).