What We Do in the Shadows Season 4 Celebrates Unholy Matrimony
Nandor’s big night turns into his longest as What We Do in the Shadows reassembles old fiends for “The Wedding.”
This What We Do in The Shadows review contains spoilers.
What We Do in the Shadows Season 4 Episode 6
Speak now, because you’ll be holding your peace for the duration of What We Do in the Shadows’ “The Wedding,” if Laszlo (Matt Berry) has anything to say about it. Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak) is living up to his name. The once-living and still blood-thirsty medieval warlord will stop at nothing to procure the perfect wedding, and sees only treachery and betrayal in its path. His campaign is almost Shakespearean in its tragic comedy, and plays out well for the groundlings.
The quest for the perfect mix of matrimonial makings grinds the Best Man, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén), magnificently under its weight. The former-familiar now bodyguard-and-embezzling-bookkeeper bottles more conflicting emotions and anguish than a Djinn’s (Anoop Desaigenie) lamp could contain, so when Guillermo cracks in his first onscreen appearance, it is a wish fulfilled.
Guillén keeps Guillermo on such a self-consciously tight leash, every time he gets slack it is a satisfying moment, abetted by the belated attempts to cut it back. The repressed rage also feeds into the vaguely blooming romance between the master vampire and the vampire-slaying descendent of the most famous vampire slayer of all. Even the Guide (Kristen Schaal) feels the awesome sexual power of the forbidden and dangerous potential in the unassuming young still-wannabe. As it turns out over the course of the evening, this is not really such a big deal for the guide, who will later get on line twice to promote her frustration.
The ambiguity between Guillermo the fearsome slayer, who almost beat Nandor during the Familiar Fights at “The Night Market,” and the underdog in a wolf pack is fertile ground for comic undertones and character evolution. Nandor has had Guillermo on his mind since, at the very least, the Djinn’s last-moment small print addition to a big-dick contract. In his one of many wishes wasted on self-improvement, whenever Nandor put his new and improved penis to use, all he could think about was Guillermo.
Romantic tension is inherent between vampire and familiar, even the bride Marwa (Parisa Fakhri), picks up on it. She feels whatever Nandor likes, so this has the potential to grow like the list of impossible requests for the wedding. In this, the series jumps a shark, not literally but historically, as one of the oldest go-to jokes in the book. The Dodo Bird is the most famous of all creatures who went extinct during human consciousness. Entire ecosystems and a rare fruit were lost when the last dodo was snacked upon, apparently by the Wraiths, if we follow the mythology of What We Do in the Shadows to ridiculous conclusions. Considered the help by the vampires, Nadja wouldn’t let the Wraiths eat the cake being drawn into the nuptial feast by six mighty black stallions. They don’t have that kind of sweetbread.
“Rich humans are like veal, conceptually repulsive but buttery on my tongue,” Nadja says in what is becoming a running gag of subtle social commentary. Nutley, N.J., is also a very subliminally unsettling setting, which leads to one of the least subtle sequences of the series so far: Baron Afanas’ (Doug Jones) makeover montage. What We Do in the Shadows purists may find the sequence too staged, campy, and clichéd, but it is a very effective takeoff on the art of comic editing, as well as being full of visual gags. It also restores the Afanas character for future chaos.
While wedding bells usually spell the dissolution of the old gang, vampire weddings tend to reassemble them. Derek (Chris Sandiford), who went from being a vampire hunter to a vampire, returns as an eternally needy friend indeed. His reading of “you had my number this whole time?” is heartbreakingly amusing, proving exactly why Guillermo hadn’t thought to call. The creature which crawled out of the abdominal cavity of Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) only makes one appearance in the episode, and that is as a sidekick to Doll Nadja as the two are reduced to being the flower children.
The ceremony itself is a traditional affair, the human neighbors have been hypnotized not to freak out by all the vampires there, and the vampires maintain a repressed respectability. This breaks when Baron Afanas begins the oration, and the true nature of the vampire spills out. It’s all about sex, and the promise of more sex, and will ultimately lead to a musical high point: a bawdily inquisitive duet between Nadja and Laszlo on the duration of marital consummation.
There are many reasons to object to the union of Nandor and Marwa, beyond parking validation. The central chemistry of the leads is still reacting to all the Wraith energy The Guide is bringing to the series, and Baby Colin hasn’t yet found his niche. But the most damning, as far as a viewers’ choice contention, comes from the Sire, also known as Goéjlrm: “Ruin is inevitable, all else is prelude.” He speaks for TV executives across all platforms, who only speak in numbers.
The Djinn’s wish list ends in an anticlimax, with no repercussions, and no ultimate payback. This is disappointing, unless, of course, the marriage fulfillment is the ultimate Djinn curse. There are three wishes left in the tiny lamp he bestows as a gift, and may be the rub for needful ends. Parisa Fakhri has an almost thankless role in Marwa, and performs it so graciously we are waiting for another side to emerge. If she really shares Nandor’s desires, her after-party showering of gratitude on Guillermo opens new doorways into uncharted comic possibilities.
Written by Sam Johnson, Sarah Naftalis, Marika Sawyer, and Paul Simms, and directed by Tig Fong, “The Wedding” fulfills its sitcom obligations, a bucket list waiting to be kicked over by the series. What We Do in the Shadows continues to showcase the troupe’s unique repartee, with biting parody, ridiculous idiosyncrasies, and ironic-to-moronic indulgences which are becoming iconic.
What We Do in the Shadows airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX, and streams the next day on Hulu.