‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ Season 1, Episode 6 Review – My Dinner With Dracula

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Paul Rhys as Dracula in Da Vincis Demons The Devil Da Vincis Demons Season 1, Episode 6 Review – My Dinner With Dracula

So far this season, Da Vinci’s Demons has bounced back and forth between providing more episodic adventures for its titular character and attempting to serialize the storyline to such a degree that da Vinci’s dealings with the Sons of Mithras, the quest for the Book of Leaves and the questions surrounding the mother whose face Leonardo cannot recall remain an important part of the overall story.

It’s is only now, however, in the sixth episode that the series seems intent on diving headlong into the abovementioned mysteries and developing something that might be worth exploring. This is a notable change from the earlier episodes shrouded in attempts at aping genre television like ‘The Prisoner‘ and again with last week’s off-the-rails episode ‘The Tower.’ Generally, those episodes have given hints at the larger storyline during their final moments. As a welcome change of pace, ‘The Devil’ starts up precisely where it left off: with da Vinci wondering to Al-Rahim how it came to be that, as a child, da Vinci saw that a man bound and hanging upside down in a cave was actually a much older version of himself.

Of course, barely six episodes into what is only an 8-episode season, one might have thought there would be an answer to that question – something that could explain this incredible paradox and perhaps shed some new light on Da Vinci’s Demons that might rekindle some interest. Instead, da Vinci – and by extension, the audience – is treated to an inadequate and opaque answer stating that the Sons of Mithras have been entwined in da Vinci’s destiny since before he was born. Al-Rahim goes on to explain how “time is a river,” and that some men have learned to navigate it upstream and downstream.

Eros Vlahos and Gregg Chillin in Da Vincis Demons The Devil Da Vincis Demons Season 1, Episode 6 Review – My Dinner With Dracula

And although da Vinci greets that message with a very pointed “that’s not an answer,” it’s potentially intriguing information. Information, which might have had more significance if it hadn’t been introduced following an episode in which balls of exploding guano were a highlight. Furthermore, simply creating intrigue isn’t enough at this stage of the game (normally, setting up intrigue is the job of the pilot episode). And with only two episodes left to uncover what precisely the gobbledygook that Al-Rahim was peddling meant, the writers apparently decided a distraction was in order.

It may seem strange, but having Da Vinci’s Demons – a series that’s been held back so far by its inability to let go of reality – finally cut loose and put Leonardo da Vinci face-to-face with Vlad the Impaler (a.k.a. Dracula) is precisely what this story needs. It’s utterly ridiculous, to be sure, but so is nearly everything else the program has demonstrated thus far. The difference here is that ‘The Devil’ doesn’t immediately want to take the characters and snap them back into the reality of their situations. Instead, it lets da Vinci and his faithful companions Nico and Zoroaster stew for a bit, and realize this is their new reality.

Besides, if bringing in Dracula as an adversary for Leonardo da Vinci gets the storyline (somewhat) out of the mire that is Florence’s ongoing feud with Rome and the papacy then all sorts of wild match-ups are more than welcome. One of the most peculiar aspects about a program that’s been billed as an adventure series is the surprising lack of adventure. ‘The Devil,’ however, takes da Vinci out of his element and away from the increasingly monotonous dealings of the Medicis. And the result is far livelier episode than has been seen before.

Tom Riley and Paul Rhys in Da Vincis Demons The Devil Da Vincis Demons Season 1, Episode 6 Review – My Dinner With Dracula

Furthermore, pitting a man who is essentially intended to be a superhero against a foe more frightening than a conniving magistrate or myopic politicians and papal yes-men helps to turn up the wattage, while turning down some of the sermonizing about freedom that’s halfheartedly been going on. Sure, the characterization of da Vinci continues to feel off, as the series again mistakes recklessness for genius, but whatever…there’s a sense of energy in the proceedings; I’ll take it.

While the depiction of Dracula is a bit different, there is a strong suggestion that something supernatural is going on. And although Paul Rhys amusingly plays Dracula like a burned-out rock star – raising his cup to the dark lord, wistfully acknowledging the little people (rats, in this case), failing to succumb to whatever drug enters his bloodstream – the character definitely has a presence beyond his scared face and distant, otherworldly eyes.

Whether or not this depiction of evil is a sign of things to come remains to be seen, but tossing Dracula into the middle of this storyline is the kind of zany curveball Da Vinci’s Demons needs to be throwing with a little more regularity.


Da Vinci’s Demons continues Friday, May 31 with ‘The Hierophant’ @9pm on Starz. Check out a preview below:

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  1. This should be right down my alley, but somehow it just is not peaking my interst. I like a touch of the supernatural, history, swashbuckeling high adventure, drama, but…well, sorry, it just is not doing it for me.

  2. This show is amazing. It just keeps getting better. I honestly don’t know what to watch in between each episode. I was thinking Tudors but I doubt it’s like this.

    • Tudors is a pretty good show.

  3. I honestly never get scared at horror or creepy stuff but Paul Rhys crept the hell out me in this episode he was so amazing as Dracula I sincerely hope he’s cast as Dracula in Steven DeKnight’s work in progress about Vlad the impaler if he is indeed still working on it. I agree that this show can loose it’s barrings sometimes like with The Tower but it’s an excellent show all around.

  4. Vlad was f***in awesome. He was straight up creepy. Great episode though.

  5. I enjoyed this episode a lot, especially for the interpretation of Vlad.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I hope we get more episodes of Leonardo travelling outside of Florence.

  7. For me, this episode was the best so far(and since the 5th episode was the best before this one I hope that every episode will just get better).

    I loved the interpretation of Vlad the Impaler and the historic accuracy. I hope will we see him again(maybe in season 2)!

    • On Vlad Tepes:

      - really liked some details, like “tuica”, the legend about people not stealing during his reign, and the fact that they where accurate in regards to Vlad’s brother (Radu the Handsome)

      - on the downside, I didn’t like the whole “Lucifer worship thing”, Vlad was a christian. Him and his brother never where imprisoned, but rather benefited from a “preferential entrapment”, they where actually treated as the adopted children of the sultan, they received proper education in politics, economics and trade.

      - It is clear that the writer did his research on Vlad, so why fall into the vampire cliche?

  8. I loved Vlad! Subtle insane nuances were pretty breathtaking! Best episode yet!

  9. I didn’t like their portray of Vlad Dracula. Why strange contacts, he wasn’t human seem more supernatural. They have him as the bad guy. The character was flat and confusing.