What We Do in the Shadows Introduces Some Big Energy Vampire Cameos

It's election season on What We Do in the Shadows and that means it's a unique new Vampire Council's time to shine.

Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) on What We Do in the Shadows Season 5 Episode 4
Photo: Russ Martin | FX

This article contains spoilers for WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS season 5 episode 4.

Politics are a draining business, as local community jurisdictions are filled with meaningless edicts requiring endless paperwork. This is the clot to the workings of American society, but lifeblood to those who thrive on the mind-numbing boredom of legislative agendas, especially those filed in triplicate. What We Do in the Shadows season 5 episode 4 “The Campaign” takes on the establishment, speaking hard truths to power in order to drain it.

“The Campaign” is filled with surprises. One is there is a cap on how many DUIs can be on someone’s record before being given the okay to run for office on Staten Island. This is ultimately the reason Sean Rinaldi (Anthony Atamanuik) is dropping out of the race for Staten Island Comptroller, in spite of all the hard work he put in to make his platform inclusive in “Pride Parade.” Sean fills his vacancy with Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), a clean-burning energy vampire who has no dark marks in his record. Even though running for Staten Island Comptroller is not a convictable offense on the surface, the taint of community service does not easily wash off a psychic vampire.

An energy vampire’s nutritional needs are different from traditional vampires, who subsist on the life-sustaining plasma of living creatures. Energy vampires drain electromagnetic debris from a person’s neurological system. While it has not yet proven to be a lethal feeding, like exsanguination, it is best done surreptitiously. An increased public profile attracts more nutritional sources, but comes at a price.

Ad – content continues below

“If they go to it too often, they stand out too much,” Proksch, who wore pants for the Zoom meeting, unlike his character who sacrifices his electability with erectile exposure, tells Den of Geek. “An energy vampire wants to just fit into the crowd, and stay somewhat hidden amongst the crowd. I don’t think he seeks the spotlight too often because of that.”

This is consistent with how Proksch considered his character’s non-descript tenure with the Vampire Council. “As much as Colin loved having some power, I think his M.O. is really just fading into the background,” Proksch told us in 2021. “He can prey a lot easier just trying to mix into the group, be a spider with his web, in the background. I think that’s how he prefers to prey. Even when he becomes part of the Vampiric Council, he still allows others to exceed him in power.”

The episode introduces The Council of Energy Vampires, which Colin believed was always a myth, as opposed to the very visible Vampire Council, played by well-known actors renowned for iconic vampiric roles. The Council of Energy Vampires are played by a group of reliable comedians and comic actors, all identified in the credits by their first names: Jo Firestone, whose phone is blowing up with messages throughout the proceedings; Aparna Nancherla, who cannot work the volume on her microphone; Gregg Turkington, who over-explains the technological solutions to both their problems; Hannibal Buress, who gets there first, apologizes for being late, but explains he wasn’t listening; and Martha Kelly who plays the Chairman of the Council.

The Vampire Council are so effective, they make regular appearances. The Council of Energy Vampires are so good at their job, we are not sure if we’d can’t wait to see them come back, or hope this is a one-time guest appearance. Politics make for strange bedfellows, and Colin’s old heartbreaker Evie Russell (Vanessa Bayer) returns to suck all the air out of the room, and walks off with the most pathetic of emotional vacuum performance magnificence.

The Council of Energy Vampires make a great case for that specific vampire class being so drawn to politics. The appeal does not lie in the angst which can be drawn from the drama of political intrigue, but the comedy of soul-searing bureaucracy. The council says it is the very foundation on which they thrive, but there are other perks. As Colin points out in the episode, the debate stage is a prime source for a mega-drain.  

“I think that’s just something that energy vampires dabble in once in a while when they need to put on some pounds,” says Proksch. “It’s the Wagyu of the energy vampire world.”

Ad – content continues below

The other cast members concur with the haute cuisine comparison to glorified power lunches.

“It’s the caviar, the prime steak of the energy vampire,” says Natasia Demetriou, who plays Nadja, a vampire from Antipaxos who nibbles at her native cuisine, and immediately projectile vomits it, as it is not what vampires consume. But the actor did get to sample the tastes of her youth in the small neighborhood community on Staten Island called Little Antipaxos.

“It was so lovely,” Demetriou tells us. “It reminded me of my Greek family, and my childhood growing up spending lots of weekends at my godfather’s house in Palmers Green in North London, which is a very Greek area.”

All politics are local, whether courting the dozens of votes to be cast for local paper-pushers, or assimilating a mythologically pompous buffoon into a tight family gathering. With no discernable competition for a mandate, “The Campaign” concedes in a landslide. 

What We Do in the Shadows airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on FX.