WarningMight contain spoilers.

This season picks back up in an enjoyable way with few answers and few concerns about what happened before, because there’re all these new things to look at instead. The first episode passes by in a blur, really just establishing that Nadja’s going to have a vampire nightclub. The second immediately returns to superb, zany, unpredictable form.

I was surprised to see what a success the nightclub was to begin with, and I was impressed by Nadja’s clever—if futile—bartering to gain control over Xerxes the lead wraith. Colin Robinson saving the day with musical theatre is an amusing and inspired choice. His baby incarnation’s unsettling smiles and hammer-waving make me snort, and his toddler version being a (figurative) demon makes me giggle.

Laszlo’s exploration of the Guide’s psyche is absolutely hilarious (Smaller boxes… yes, I thought you would say that). The Djinn[1] is instantly my new favourite character, and while Nandor using up his wishes on his wives makes me want to scream in frustration, it’s hilariously in-character, although I didn’t enjoy his next wish being all about his penis (even if it was done in an entertaining way and starred the Djinn). Meanwhile, it’s nice to see Doug Jones as a vaguely human character for a change, and clearly relishing the opportunity.

Some of the sexual humour is unsettling. Nandor telling the woman at the park that he’s not a creep before asking her to marry him is no longer funny. While he’s doing that, Guillermo agrees to sleep with a woman despite having no attraction to them, and although Kristen Schaal deftly navigates the Guide’s role in that scene and it never comes to fruition, it’s an unpleasant sequence. It’s also hard to understand for a while where Marwa’s story is headed, as her liking everything Nandor does and him finding it tedious becomes itself tedious, leaving us with only the unyielding reality that he asked a genie to alter a woman for his satisfaction.

The eighth episode, ‘Go Flip Yourself’, is downright brilliant. It isn’t surprising that framing it as an episode of the in-universe Go Flip Yourself is an effective choice, given that What We Do in the Shadows is a mockumentary to begin with. On the other hand, framing it as an episode of that show is a staggeringly effective choice. Toby and Bran have exactly the right amount of enthusiasm: believably worn but not cynical. Nadja quickly killing the former is dark, though the show carries it off, particularly when Simon the Devious reveals himself. Guillermo’s discomfort with the whole idea is funny, and it’s funnier still to see his attitude evolve when they discuss having to change the plans to fix his room.

The show expertly handles emotion too, as usual. Guillermo telling his family he’s gay and all of them just looking at him warmly because they knew is a sweet moment. The Djinn giving Nandor a new lamp is sweet in a different way. It’s heartbreaking, however, to see what Nandor does to Guillermo by cloning Freddie, though at least it sets Marwa free. Nandor and Laszlo’s quarrel in ‘Pine Barrens’ feels all too real, as well, and it’s quite a relief when they make up.

The well-constructed and melancholy finale highlights some rather intense developments. There’s something truly tragic about the return of the adult Colin Robinson and Laszlo’s subtly heartbroken demeanour after he discovers the secret room in a gripping sequence, even if he does behave like a bit of a boor earlier in the season. Guillermo taking matters into his own hands and asking Derek to turn him comes as a shock; it’s smart to show him putting away the money earlier. The reprise of the strange, mournful ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ in the credits took me by surprise. Nadja singing it elicits no major reaction, but Laszlo joining her as the music swells completely transforms it.

I’ll keep missing this show until it comes back. It’s so reliably enjoyable, notwithstanding the occasional misstep. I’ll content myself with remembering one of my favourite lines from the season: Derek’s quick, forlorn, You had my number this whole time? as Guillermo walks out of earshot in ‘The Wedding’.

  1. Who I knew was played by an Indian actor the moment he opened his mouth.