Following the amazing first episode of Dracula, Episode 2 feels like a letdown.

“Blood Vessel” is the perfect name for this episode. Set on a ship, it’s quite literally a vessel carrying nothing but bloody bodies. The first episode of BBC’s Dracula had a slow start on account of the many introductions it was required to make. It gave the series a somewhat slow beginning, but that’s not the case in Episode 2 which is like a bloody game of Clue, that we, the audience, are in on.

If anyone remembers Stoker’s novel, they’ll recall the Captain’s Log. Written by the Captain of the Demeter, it recounts Dracula’s voyage to England as the frightful Captain worries that something evil is stowed away on his ship as members of his crew mysteriously vanish each night.

This is where all of Episode 2 takes place, on the Demeter. It sails Dracula across the sea just as the episode itself sails away from the beginning towards the conclusion.

Hartswood Films/BBC- Robert Viglasky

In a way, it feels like nothing but a transition. Something to get us to the thrilling final episode that, judging by the way they set it up, the creators clearly think will blow us away.

In many ways, the second episode surpasses its predecessor. It doesn’t diddle dally and there is much more of Agatha Van Helsing (Dolly Wells). However, I found it a bit underwhelming. It somehow lost most of its better qualities, with only half the humor and horror that it had before. It’s nothing memorable, however, it does have a twist ending that will leave you as confused as Dracula (Claes Bang).

[Warning! Spoilers ahead]

Following the cliffhanger of the last episode, we’re met with a brief time jump as Dracula has left the convent and is now aboard the Demeter. On the ship with him are 13 passengers, none of which you should get attached to. Mostly because most of them are complete idiots. One, in particular, gets the grand prize of idiocy. You’ll know him when you see him.

Second, Dracula proves to lack anything remotely related to self-control and can’t even wait one day before killing someone. The way he picks them off is entertaining, if not a bit too procedure. It’s the guessing game that keeps everything moving, followed by a Murder Mystery game the crew and passengers play in an attempt to track the killer down.

Hartswood Films/BBC – Robert Viglasky

It’s kind of hilarious that they can’t figure out who it is. They never realize that the confident man without personal boundaries, wearing a black cape is the one killing everybody. I know he’s charming but he’s not that charming.

By the end, there are only three people left including Agatha, who had been secretly stashed away on the ship by Dracula. He’s been feeding off her since the convent, making her last like a favorite wine.

Most of this episode’s better moments all include Agatha. She really gets a chance to shine here. By the way, Mina (Morfydd Clark) is not in this episode at all. Dracula has no interest in her and it’s very refreshing. I love seeing an adaptation that doesn’t force them together.

Hartswood Films/BBC

Everything, however, comes down to the final twist at the end. The twist that feels like it came from M. Night Shyamalan, as Dracula winds up in the 21st Century. When he arrives, he’s met by a woman who appears to be Agatha Van Helsing herself, who hasn’t aged a day. Realistically though, it’s probably her great-granddaughter or something.

Episode 2 follows the same format as Episode 1. A split narrative that has a character recounting the events taking place in the episode. Just as before, I’m not a fan of this format but it thankfully stops around the midway point.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
About the Author

Rachel Roth is a writer who lives in South Florida. She has a degree in Writing Studies and a Certificate in Creative Writing, her work has appeared in several literary journals and anthologies. @WinterGreenRoth

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