Dracula "A Whiff of Sulphur" Review: The Count Is Counting His Stock Shares

By Tim Surette

Nov 02, 2013

Dracula S01E02: "A Whiff of Sulphur"

If there are three things I know about Dracula, King of the Vampires, those things are as follows:

  • He likes blood
  • He likes women, too
  • But he LOVES aggressive business strategies

And all three of them ('specially the business bits) were on display in "A Whiff of Sulphur," the second episode of NBC's insane re-imagining of the famous fanged one as a pioneer of Earth-friendly energy as he battles the evil oil industry. Just so we're straight, I find Dracula to be entirely outrageous YET increasingly compelling. Part of the intrigue comes from wondering exactly how far the series will travel into utterly ridiculous territory, but honestly, I'm oddly into this silliness because I get a kick out of watching Dracula—THE Dracula—run around London with an American accent that sounds like it was downloaded from a Speak-n-Spell, pushing geomagnetic energy on a society that turns off lights by blowing them out. 

In "Whiff of Sulphur," Dracula, CEO of DraculaCo, really put his MBA to use by bringing a Wall Street attitude to Baker Street. Armed with the shares of British Imperial Cooling Company he acquired from the widow of a man he killed in the series premiere (classic cutthroat business maneuver), Dracula set forth on an aggressive takeover of the company by offering triple the stock price value of the holdings of Lord Laurent, Co-Chairman of the British Imperial Cooling Company, in order to gain a majority interest. YES! Go get 'em, Dracula! This episode was business-as usual for Mr. Businessman Dracula, as long as "business" literally means "business." Listen to these boardroom gems that were actually uttered in a show about vampires: 

  • "Our sole purpose in London is to make geomagnetic power a practical reality and wipe out the [Order of the Dragon's] investments in oil." —Van Helsing, former vampire hunter and current CFO, DraculaCo.
  • "Of course, I don't have a controlling interest." —Dracula, former badass and current CEO, DraculaCo.
  • "Yes, but even if the mere idea [of geomagnetic energy] gets a foothold in the public's imagination it could impact severely on our portfolio." —Dracula's arch-enemy, Mr. Rich White Guy.

What kind of Dracula story is this? NBC's Dracula, that's what, and it's amazing. You came here looking for an undead monster turning lonely ladies into a vampiress harem and you found a savvy business jerk making business pitches as part of an aggro corporate strategy. This is Dracula for the modern age... except back in the Victorian age. Or something like that. Oh just stay with me here, because it's stupid fun and Dracula wasn't done playing Gordon Gecko.

Obviously Laurent refused to sell Dracula his shares in the British Imperial Cooling Company because you'd have to be a pretty bad businessdude to give up a major share of an emerging energy company in a society that's dependent on candles. Side thought: What are the chances that Big Candle attempts to engage in corporate espionage against DraculaCo and the British Imperial Cooling Company for threatening its own stranglehold on London's lighting? NBC, run with that! Dracula vs. the Candlemakers... that should happen by Episode 5.


Dracula's thirst for blood corporate expansion wouldn't be stymied by a stubborn stockholder, so Mr. Drac focused on his internal workforce, and offered Jonathan Harker a position in DraculaCo. Yes! Dracula, the evil monster who once made a name for himself by impaling his enemies on sharp sticks, actually asked literary figure Jonathan Harker to be his Vice President of Public Affairs. Let me repeat that: Dracula has a Vice President of Public Affairs. Here's a list of things I thought Dracula would have before he had a Vice President of Public Affairs:

  • A pet Pomeranian named "Mr. Fluffles" with a pink bow in its hair
  • Diabetes
  • A meddlesome nephew named Oliver who gets into innocent trouble but teaches Dracula lessons about life through the innocent perspective of a child

Harker reluctantly accepted the offer (because Dracula threw a 100-bedroom mansion into the deal) in a plot that was as relevant then as it is now: It sucks to be broke! Harker couldn't even afford to pay for Fencing Brunch, so he and his GF Mina had to rely on Mina's pal Lucy (and Lucy's loaded family) to foot the bill with oversized currency while Harker made mopey poor-man faces.


You know, I'm not even sure Dracula needs to be a period piece at all with its very generalized storylines. In addition to Harker's everyman problem and Dracula's business expansion, Mina was worried about failing an exam at school, Lord Laurent was fiddling around at a gay/tranny club, Harker accidentally got busted in saying that he was going to marry Mina and make her take on womanly pursuits instead of being a doctor, and Dracula got all emo and lovesick over Mina. Wasn't this basically the plot of that one One Tree Hill episode? 


Anyway, Mina passed her doctor test (which involved her reaching her hands inside a corpse while professors watched, also WHO CARES) at the top of her class, and Dracula used Laurent's gayness with a young fencer to blackmail Laurent, presumably into selling his stock. (It was also nice to discover that in addition to favoring green energy, Dracula is also a supporter of gay rights who doesn't have a problem with man-on-man love. But Dracula Businessman had to do what Dracula Businessman had to do, and exploiting Laurent's extra-curricular activities was an opportunity he couldn't ignore. Besides, if Dracula is going to be a businessman, he'd better be a GREAT businessman, because he's Dracula! And that means no mercy and really fancy suits.)

Hmmm, what else, what else? There was a moment when Dracula remembered it was a vampire show and expanded its supernatural dabblings with the introduction of two seers. Employed by Lady Jane, the pair—a guy and a girl—used a magic black-and-white non-HD mirror to locate Dracula when they weren't getting blitzed in an opium den. At the end of the episode, they told Lady Jane where Dracula would be, I guess, and she showed up in a sweet, tight, leather vampire-hunting outfit and a wonderfully neat-yet-playful coif, arriving just a few seconds too late to the spot where Dracula was snacking on an unlucky coat-check lady. She cut off the woman's head off to prevent the spread of vampirism, and was none the wiser that it was sexy American businessman Alexandar Grayson who she was chasing. 



(Sorry, I couldn't choose between those two images, so I left them both in.)

The Lady Jane and Dracula dynamic is so good that it makes the rest of Dracula look like, well, what it actually is. Earlier in the episode, Dracula was at Lady Jane's for an evening of dinner and magic tricks, which obviously led to Dracula passionately driving his stake into a climaxing Lady Jane! Trick number one: Make a coin disappear. Trick number two: Make his penis disappear. And then later, there she was, scouring the streets for the vampire who she didn't know she had just boinked. Relationship status: It's complicated! How long until Lady Jane realizes that she's trying to kill her fuckbuddy? And excuse me, but where does Mr. Dracula get off having sex with Lady Jane and eating other women while he's crushing on Mina? Typical man. Yet we're all going to give the scumbag a free pass simply because he's Dracula, aren't we? Of course we are. 

Two episodes in, Dracula has already presented a ton of mysteries to solve. Who is more of a danger to Dracula, the Order of the Dragon or the business division of the IRS? Can Dracula hire a woman, or is that a sexual harassment suit just waiting to happen? Is Dracula a micro-manager or a cool boss? So many business questions related to Dracula, and I can't wait to explore them as the series moves on. 



NOTES

– Dracula's car is awesome! 

– Did we ever find out whether Harker attended Mina's celebratory dinner after she passed her exam? Harker seemed to make a big stink about it, but then we saw him contemplate going without making the decision. I need to know!

– If the geomagnetic thing doesn't work out for Dracula, he can always be a motivational speaker, the way he gave Mina the confidence the pass her test. Or a Hallmark card-writer. The only way to fail is to abandon your dreams? Cheeseball!

– Dracula is so confident that he'll just roll into a gay club and kiss a man on the cheek/mouth area. What a stud.

– Dracula, a monster with the power of immortality and regenerative powers, is scared of getting a shot! Oh, and this week we learned how the show will manage to film scenes that take place in the daytime: Van Helsing is making a magic potion that will help Dracula survive a sunburn.


What'd you think of Dracula's second episode? Are you planning to stick with the show? 


  • Comments (90)
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  • MikeUK123 Dec 08, 2013

    I think this is a massively creative take on a genre that's been done to death.

    Well done I say!

    No idea what '(sorry England)' means on that pic. Inside joke?

  • TracyTrouble Dec 11, 2013

    No, it's just a Surette joke, which means only he gets it. He probably thought that review was hilarious and was laughing out loud as he typed......

    They really ought to just get him reviewing shows like The League, and anything with fart jokes, beer and 'men being men' in it. Oh and motorbikes would be nice, but only if someone was getting in hit in the back of the head with lead piping. This involved storyline is just way beyond his little comfort zone, bless him. It has vampires, flashbacks about past lives; sadistic masonic clubs bent on world domination......he can't cope with all that.

    Dracula has a LOT of promise - it's got some good elements. Surette finds Drac's struggling with the sun stupid and funny. But Dracula, as all vampires (except the - shudder - sparkly ones) have been doing that for centuries now. After all, that's been an established canon since vampires were first spoken of in hushed whispers around the hearth millennia ago.

    Little heads up for Surette for future reference - as this is bound to come up given it's a vampire show. Silver and garlic are supposed to be purifiers of blood - one of the reasons silver nitrate was used in certain medicines (like the treatment of syphilis and gonorrhea to name just two). Garlic is still held as one of the best ways to help prevent strokes and purify your blood even today amongst herbalists.

    Vampires were believed to have impure blood because of what they were; which is why they had to drink the blood of the living to survive. Hence why both garlic and silver is poison to them.

    Sunshine was only to shine on the 'righteous' (or, according to others, those with a soul) and, as the vampires are considered evil, unclean and soulless, it would mean death to them - it being 'God's light' and all. Likewise going onto hallowed ground (or consecrated ground as it's also called) would be forbidden to them. As they're neither really living or dead, they are no longer considered one of God's creatures; they are an abomination in the eyes of the church and so cannot step on holy ground without being 'struck down by God's wrath' (burning up basically).

    A stake was originally meant to be made of a particular type of wood; depending on your culture of reference ash, yew or aspen wood should be used (vampires are from everywhere - Ireland to Japan; Kenya to Germany; so the wood is dependant on the country's mythology). Of course it could be argued that stabbing anything though the heart with a lump of wood will kill it regardless of what wood it is; or, at the very least, slow it down for a while.

    But, as you can see, this would all be way beyond what Surette's normally used to. And when in doubt he's default of choice is to ridicule what he doesn't understand or like. If you like vampires then this is the show for you; if you don't, then I'd give it a miss and find something else to do as it's fairly vampire canon heavy - especially the dracula story.

  • MikeUK123 Dec 14, 2013

    TIm's reviews of Fringe were some of the best reviews I've read, both from an entertainment point of view, but also a 'getting it' point of view. both re. the sciencey-whiancy stuff and the character development.

  • TracyTrouble Dec 16, 2013

    IF he likes a show, and it's a big one when it comes to anything sci-fi, then he's great - his reviews, as you say, can be very good and totally on the money.

    BUT, and again it's a big one, if he hates it then his reviews are just all about the hating. He ridicules and laughs at the shows, ridicules and laughs at the fans and basically just tries to be as nasty as possible. I'm not even sure he knows why; I mean it's not clever or 'insightful' and certainly doesn't win him any fans. It just annoys the hell out of everyone; the fans of the show because he's so horrible; and people not sure if they should watch it or not as his reviews tell them nothing about the actual programme itself.

    Basically snarkasm will only get you so far - sure it worked for 'House', but that was in tv land; here in the real world it will only get you a punch on the nose or, in this case, lots of people finding your 'reviews' (at least of a genre you obviously don't like) utterly irrelevant.

    Hence my saying he should be kept to shows he relates to - as Fringe has ended (more's the pity) he needs to be corraled into shows that appeal to him. Shows with fart jokes, guys that live in their parents basements, guys that hit on girls and get their faces slapped, guys that talk about vomiting as if it's really hilarious.....

    Maybe if another Fringe ever happens then he can be released to review it; but until then he needs to be crate trained with shows about guys like Ron Burgundy from 'Anchorman'.

  • Togana Dec 05, 2013

    I enjoy this show a lot. It's a bit more sophisticated than what I think most people were expecting, especially since crap like Twilight is so popular.

  • Natani Nov 26, 2013

    @ andrew: yeah he's a member of the order, which is said in the show btw.. the whole point is.. he was betrayed by it

  • Natani Nov 26, 2013

    Really? Hilarious? Hmm.. I myself have seen the six hundred versions of dracula that exist, oh and for fanfare read all the books too. One if you recap an episode make sure its the correct version and don't throw other episodes in the bunch. F.E. it wasn't at all Lucy who paid during "fencing luncheon" she paid for the dinner at the savoy courtesy of her passing her exams. Which is what tipped harker over. Well I find it relishing that someone who doesn't like the series would "waste" time watching it, just so he or she could write " a hilarious recap" than again people bitch about NCIS, the Mentalist and a loads of other over five seasons running series.

    I don't agree at all with this main course recap. Yes it starts off slow, but for once Dracula is not who we expected and the makers have thrown another view into it. He's less the savage and more the distinguished gentleman. I believe Bram Stoker did the same.. and woops that movie was a box office hit was it not? Only this series goes further than Stoker and entwines other story details in it. I think the cast is doing a good job and I find it sad that people can't just see things more open minded.

    Just let it evolve first and maybe even mister pink pomeranian here might grow to like it. I remember watching the first episode of the vampire diaries and wanting to throw up, especially because it felt like a rehashed version of twilight (which by the third movie still isn't any good and yet gets great applause) but nowadays I like it. The creators have become creative and started their own plots instead of following mainstream. Seeing as this has already occurred here, it will unfold and I do believe it will also become very good.

    There was no need at all to crap on the second episode since it feels like at the end of the season someone might have to review his opinion and swallow the criticism.

    Its way better than twilight and fifty shades of grey combined so i'm definitely giving it a spitting chance.

    Ugh and whats with the comments on the friggin american accent. Have you ever heard americans try to either speak british english or French? You want to squeal, but damn we take it in stride. The guy does a damn good job of it, way better than most americans would vice versa. Really if thats all the comments some people can have on this show, its just sad. You guys aren't made from bloody gold and flawless gems….

  • CandiMom3 Dec 02, 2013

    Haha you tell it gurrrrl!!!!!

  • DesolaKazeem Nov 14, 2013

    Y no more recaps? These were so hilarious :(

  • carlyspade Nov 13, 2013

    The season premiere, I was bored to tears not going to lie. I even contemplated watching the 2nd episode because it just didn't seem like the type of show I was going to like, and I am a sucker (*HA*) for vampire dramas. Except for Vampire Diaries...not into teeny bopper vampires, but anyway...THIS episode was surprisingly another WORLD better.

    I was definitely pleased and the American accent isn't the greatest but I've heard American's destroy his native country's accent as well so I'm willing to let bygones be bygones and I will definitely keep watching for now, just hope it gets even juicier! I wouldn't mind having continuous implied sexim's like the scene with Lady Jane either, little bit of that never hurt anyone.


  • stanking Nov 12, 2013

    Where can I find a download of this show with captions. I wanna watch it on mute and see if it's any better without the painful American accent. Otherwise, I just can't do it. I tried. And he was so good on The Tudors too. I just don't understand.

  • Natani Apr 08, 2014

    Pff if we had to mute every american show that has BAD accents in it.. we'd not watch anything from the States ever again. I bloody well hate these simpleton comments

  • antmorris3511 Nov 13, 2013

    what painful american accent? i been speaking american my entire life!

  • Toujours177 Nov 08, 2013

    I just love this Dracula! Yes it's insane but so what, it's incredibly entertaining. Dracula as an American, green-friendly, gay-friendly, woman's rights-friendly, blood-thirsty business mogul vampire. Who does not apologize for any of it! I love him. I hope this show lasts a long time.

    What was the deal with Van Helsing taking his blood? Is that to make the magic sunscreen?

    And Mina is quite progressive, isn't she. Love her too.

    And Lady Jane and her opium den and wasn't that an interesting place. Also insane but fascinating.

    Love this!

  • marlajulia Nov 05, 2013

    My favourite line from this episode: "You will call me Alexander and I will call you Harker." Wtf? I know, there were lots of hilarious quotes, but that was just so...confidentially uttered, I had to point it out.

    Besides that, and beyond it's ridiculously new approach, I can't help but find the episode in itself (like the first one) a bit boring – things were happening, but nothing much of a storyline. Maybe it's still too early for that and I should be patient....

    But again, I had more fun with the review than with the show!

  • olavaudun Nov 05, 2013

    Dracula is a bit boring compared to simular shows like sleepy Hollow.

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