TV REVIEW: ‘Dracula’ Episode 101: ‘The Blood is the Life’

Dracula - Season 1

If you think the picture above is rather tame and boring, that pretty much describes a huge portion of the first episode of this series. What I was expecting to be a violent horror-based show, turned out to be a surprisingly uneventful mash-up of alliances and company business.

The show begins with two men breaking into a vault and opening up a coffin. There is a skeleton inside, and one of the men begins looting the valuables. The other man stabs him and slits his throat, directing the blood into the skeleton’s mouth. Dracula is re-born!

It is 1896 in London, and for some reason Dracula has to pretend to be an American businessman named Alexander Grayson. Grayson throws a party with a bunch of wealthy townspeople. They all want to meet him, but it’s never really explained as to why. Some of the men hold patents that Grayson wants to buy for his company, but one of the men says they do not deal with Americans.

Grayson also meets Jonathan Harker, a “journalist”, and his girlfriend, Rina Murray. Grayson and Rina look at each other as though they have seen each other before, and a flashback of them together is shown. So she may be an old lover, or a vampire, or his ex-lover’s daughter, or something completely else.

Grayson is showing off some kind of wireless electromagnetic electricity. He gives everyone a light bulb, and some people in the back pump a bunch of electricity into the room. I have no idea if that was actually electromagnetic energy, or if he was just tricking everyone. Some men in the back get zapped by electricity, so the experiment is stopped.

At this point, I actually checked to see how long I had been watching. I was watching on Hulu, and I was 16 minutes in out of 43. I can’t remember the last time I actually checked to see how long in I was on a TV show I actually wanted to watch.

Grayson is returning to his home, when one of the men from the party accuses him of being a fraud. Grayson does not take well to this, and kills him. It turns out this man is part of some group called the Order of the Dragon. Grayson has tabs on all the members of this group, and many men from the party are in this group. They include the still living Lord Laurent and Lord Davenport.

This group has murdered, tortured, and raped for over 500 years. They have slaughtered entire villages, and even burned people at the stakes. They now swindle the poor through private clubs and boardrooms. He wants to further his geo-magnetic technology, so the Order of the Dragon will have no more money or power. So apparently Dracula is a good guy?

The head of the dead man is brought to some higher ups in The Order. I guess they cut the head off in case he was going to turn into a vampire. It has been 8 years since vampire activity. They even insinuate that they made up the Jack The Ripper serial murders to cover for what were actually vampire murders.

Rina is in class, which is taught by the (probably not at the time) legendary Van Helsing. The more interesting part is that Van Helsing is working with Dracula to take out The Order, and was even the one to bring Dracula back to life!

Grayson wants Harker to interview him. He tells Harker of how his great grandparents were from England, so that’s why he wants to be in England. It has nothing to do with Thomas Edison running him out of the United States. I have no idea if the Edison stuff is supposed to be true, or a story that Grayson made up as part of his back-story of being an “American businessman”. He wants to redefine the species, as he is a mix of the old and new. All Harker writes in his notes is “Visionary, delusional, egomaniac”.

Rina visits Van Helsing. She has the best grades in the class, but cannot perform surgery. She wants to be Van Helsing’s assistant. He tells her once she believes it in her heart, she will do fine. Grayson is there, watching her. He catches eyes with another woman, and he brings her into an alley and kills her.

Rina and Harker are at the Opera, and so is Grayson. He takes up an offer from Lady Wetherby, who happens to be the widow of the man he killed earlier. He cozies up with her in her private box at the Opera, and apparently convinced her to sell him some stock in exchange for her husband’s gambling debts.

An unknown woman is shown training in a basement somewhere. She has a woman (who I believe is a vampire) in a cage.

Van Helsing is upset with Grayson for getting involved with Lady Wetherby. This was not the plan. They have to play it cool and stick to the plan. The Order slaughtered his entire family, as well as Dracula’s wife.

So there you have it, the first episode in this series. It got a little better towards the end, but was very slow, and quite boring in the first half to two-thirds. Hopefully, since it was the first episode, it was just laying all the groundwork, and future episodes will be more interesting.

And I could not stand Jonathan Rhys-Meyers’ (Grayson/Dracula) American voice. I thought he sounded like Christian Slater. My friend thought he sounded like The Brain from Pinky and the Brain. I guess we’re both right. But it’s quite annoying. I hope I get used to it.

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