Some focus more on the folks of the people involved, while others are just silly fun. Others are all about developing the story more or adding to the show’s vampire lore. What We Do in the Shadows Season 5 Episode 8, titled “The Roast,” mixes in a bunch of different styles. We can only guess that a big chunk of the show’s budget for the season was set aside for this week’s show since it’s a showcase for the show’s makeup and special effects teams. There was a flight! Vampires were hauled around the yard in broad daylight! With our full-body burn makeup and flames, we had super speed and strength.
What Happened In What We Do in the Shadows Season 5 Episode 8?
“The Roast” targets the Guillermo (Harvey Guillén)-centric storyline of the fifth season, is a funny and works show in the here-and-now but mostly not doing much in the big picture.
It wouldn’t be quite as annoying if the show didn’t count on the language and clichés of story flow to give the vibe of something a little more real deal, only to go back to the same “Nandor acts like he knows Guillermo’s secret but he’s just being an idiot” joke that ended the previous show, “Urgent Care.” But we’re going about this all wrong, so let’s back up a bit: This week at the Vampire home, everyone is upset about Laszlo (Matt Berry), who can’t seem to break out of a rut he’s in.
Nadja’s hex, Guillermo’s slowly changing into a vampire, and, in a very funny reference, Colin Robinson’s revelation that he’s been experiencing odd hallucinations about Laszlo being his daddy are all blamed by the housemates for Lasz’s going downhill mood.
After a little buildup, it’s decided that what to do is to host a roast of Laszlo Cravensworth and invite as many people as possible, most especially Baron Afanas (Doug Jones). A weird part of “The Roast,” however, is that The Roast is neither the show’s main thing nor its main draw. Watching Nandor, Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) awkwardly roast a near-comatose Laszlo, tossing out “You Might Be A Laszlo Cravensworth” gags, and Colin’s typically painful butchering of The Aristocrats isn’t as fun as it seems like it should be, but WWDITS isn’t exactly a show where the characters make jokes as jokes.
Things don’t really get going until The Guide (who actually gets to speak) spills to Afanas that Guillermo set him on fire in the pilot and that he has some sneaky Van Helsing blood in his system. Right away, Afanas loses it, ruins the roast, and goes on the search, reminding us for a brief moment that this guy—and vampires in general, in this universe—can be really freaky when they’re not playing Suburb Dads to a hellhound that spews fire and crap.
Scenes when Afanas follows Guillermo around the home, and then they are both kidnapped by the rest of the team and have to settle things fang to fang are the show’s best. Jones is fantastic in these moments, expertly balancing Afanas’ charming and creepy vibe, while Harvey Guillén is as solid as ever as the voice of reason.
In another scene, Afanas throws Guillermo’s body down the carpeted entryway floor, and Laszlo performs an on-the-rug autopsy to figure out that the victim is really a Frog-Gizmo. Everything is running well, with the trademark mix of pathos, horror, and comedy that this show is so good at making when it’s on. The bottom line is that “The Roast” works, at least in theory.
When taken as a whole, the show’s light story flow starts to annoy, especially the repeated, creepy warnings that Nandor will kill Guillermo and himself after finding out the truth (which he obviously won’t do until the very end of the season).
When Laszlo’s sadness is shown to have nothing to do with the season arc nonsense, it’s almost as if the show is nodding at how ridiculous it is to invest in the program’s main story. The show’s long-form story isn’t up to the same standard as its funny, startling, in-the-moment work, but it doesn’t make the same old any less of a drag.
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