Television Review: “What We Do in the Shadows” Season 4


Warning: Spoilers ahead! I’ve loved What We Do in the Shadows since I watched the Taika Waititi film. So naturally, I was elated when I saw the show advertised on a subway station billboard. Four seasons in, and What We Do in the Shadows is still entertaining. The show has also been increasingly LGBTQ+.

It is a general fact that all the vampires in the show are bisexual. Lazslo and Nadja are married to each other, but Lazslo has also had sex with their roommate Nandor. And Nadja has kissed another woman- played by openly queer actress Beanie Feldstein- during season one. In season 4, the vampires familiar (human servant) Guillermo, has a boyfriend named Freddie.

Freddie (Al Roberts) and Guillermo (Harvey Guillén)

Nandor is also looking for love, but his strategy is using a Jinn’s lamp to wish for all of his dead 47 wives back. Some of these wives were “girl wifes” and some of them were “guy wives” according to him. We in the audience do end up seeing a couple of his “guy wives”, as well as many “girl wives”. He believes that one of them was one his love, so he is searching for which one of them it is. He ends up deciding that his love was Marwa.

Now here’s the part, that I was really disappointed with this season. Nandor ends up using one of his wishes from the Jinn to make Marwa “like everything he likes”, it isn’t intentional but this does make her magically decide to marry him even though she didn’t want to. And Nandor knows this, she says that she didn’t want to marry him before the wish was made. He also ends up changing her appearance and personality with the wishes.

Marwa (Parisa Fakhri) and Nandor (Kayvan Novak)

In the penulimate episode of season 4, “Freddie”, Nandor ends up transforming Marwa into a clone of Freddie because he’s jealous of Guillermo and Freddie’s relationship. He tries to gift her/him to Guillermo. Then he lets her/him go, but s/he is not Marwa anymore and she ends up with original Freddie. This is obviously messed up, and if it were really portrayed as messed up perhaps I wouldn’t have so much of an issue with it. However, this is being marketed as comedy. What is a nightmare for women, is portrayed as simply a silly thing that a male vampire would do. Unfortunately, a lot of fans seemed to be more upset than this caused Guillermo and Freddie to break up, and that Guillermo was mad at Nandor. You see many fans, are hyperfocused on “shipping” Guillermo and Nandor, that is, wanting them to end up in relationship with each other.

In more positive parts of the show, in episode 8, “Pine Barrens”, Guillermo comes out to his family, both as a familiar to a bunch of vampires (he comes from a family of vampire hunters) and as gay. He ends up having Nadja hypnotise his family, so that they forget that first part though. They are supportive of his coming out, saying that they already knew he was gay, and hugging him. It did confuse me a little that apparently they all knew, since Guillermo also said that his grandma keeps trying to get him a girlfriend. Still, it was a heartwarming coming out scene. It honestly gave me those camp queer vampire vibes that I had been hoping for from First Kill. Nadja also had an iconic moment, in which she said, “Who isn’t gay? You expect people to throw a party or something?”

Despite my frustration with the treatment of Marwa, I would still recommend season 4 of What We Do in the Shadows. I just hope that she gets transformed back in season 5, but she probably won’t. I did think that this season was still hilarious in a lot of moments. Colin Robinson has returned as a child this season, after seeming to die in season 3. Anyway, Colin “Toddlerson” is fascinating to watch, although strange. There are lot of twists and turns this season, but I don’t want to give everything away. So you’ll just have to trust me on this. Also the Mary Sue has a couple of excellent reviews of the “Pine Barrens” episode: here and here Happy viewing!

What We Do in the Shadows. Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, Mark Proksch. Two Canoes Pictures, 323 Incorporated, FXP. FX, Hulu.