Dracula recap and review: Episode 3, “The Dark Compass”

The third and final episode of Dracula, titled The Dark Compass, brings the vampire into the present day. What could go wrong?

At the end of episode 2, “Blood Vessel,” we saw Dracula stagger onto a beach where he is met by people in uniform, and one of them bore a striking resemblance to Sister Agatha. It is revealed she is Zoe Van Helsing, the great-grandniece of Sister Agatha.

Dracula plays with all the new toys his welcoming committee brings with them until he gets bored, and then he shoots one of the women in the head and promptly escapes, or so he thinks.

We see a woman sleeping while Dracula slowly stalks her before she wakes up on her own. Thankfully, she is wearing a cross that stops Dracula from killing her, but he informs her that he is a Vampire, and he sits on the refrigerator waiting for her questions.

He happily tells her that her husband Bob enjoyed hitting her and compliments her on all of the material stuff that exists in the 21st century. Then, she gets a call and runs out of the house before Dracula can stop her. Because it is still daylight outside, he can’t follow her.

A coffin is awaiting him upstairs, and a voice on the phone tells him to get into it. He balks at first. Then, they rip the roof off the house, and he agrees to meet the caller downstairs.

Zoe Van Helsing walks hesitantly into the house, and she should have realized he would attack her. Of course, he does, and he’s successful, but her blood makes him sick.

They capture Dracula and transport him to the Jonathan Harker Foundation set up by Mina Murray, the same person who Dracula let live because he wanted Sister Agatha.

It is revealed then the reason why Zoe’s blood made Dracula sick is because she is dying from cancer. Her blood is poison to him, and if he drank it, it would eventually kill him.

We flash to a night club where the lovesick Dr. Jack Seward (Matthew Beard) watches the beautiful Lucy Westenra (Lydia West) dancing and getting friendly with another man. It’s obvious from the pain on his face that he is in love with her, but she isn’t in love with him.

So, how does this scene at a dance club fit into our story? Well, it so happens that both characters are from Bram Stoker’s novel. Gatiss and Moffat decided to use the same characters but moved them into the present day.

Lucy was Mina’s best friend and Dracula turned Lucy into a Vampire as a way to get closer to Mina. Unfortunately, since Mina was from 1897 and Lucy is now in 2020, they don’t even know each other, but it is Lucy’s personality that will eventually draw Dracula to her. Lucy is beautiful, and Dr. Seward was the administrator of an asylum not far from his first English home, Carfax Abbey.

That is also the name of the property Jonathan Harker sold him back in the first episode. In the present, Dr. Seward works at the Jonathan Harker Foundation where Dracula is the main project. Zoe Van Helsing’s dream was to capture him and study him to find his weaknesses. Sound Familiar? Yes, she has the same insatiable curiosity as her great-aunt.

Well, they have finally captured Count Dracula, or have they? They made the mistake of leaving an iPad in his cage with him, and he had a few hours to learn. He contacted his lawyer, Frank Renfield (Mark Gatiss) and had been skyping him. Renfield is another character from the novel, but in that timeline, he was an inmate in the asylum that Dr. Seward managed.

Renfield advised the foundation that Dracula has rights, and they were violating those rights by holding him against his will. Unless they had proof to support their reasoning in keeping Dracula prisoner, he was to be released at sunset. Of course, they had to release him, and using the money he gained from the passengers on The Demeter in Blood Vessel, he was now filthy rich.

Yes, it seems Mr. Balaur from episode 2 arranged to have Count Dracula inherit Lord Ruthven’s and Duchess Valeria’s fortunes. That was the Vampire’s nest egg for when he arrived in London. Pretty crafty if you ask me.

Now filthy rich and free, what is the charming Vampire to do? Why search for a new bride of course!  His search leads him to the lovely Lucy Wenstra. He tells her who and what he is, but she still willingly offered her blood to him in exchange for transporting her to a wonderful dream. Dracula told her she was the only bride ever in 500 years to willingly open her veins for him and that’s why he wanted her as a bride.

He failed to tell her that important little detail. She shouldn’t be cremated after her death. Lucy didn’t like the idea of her beauty rotting away and becoming food for the insects and bugs. So, when Dracula takes too much blood from her and Lucy dies, the order to cremate her was still standing.

She feels everything as she was being cremated. She escapes from the pain and heads to Dracula’s home not knowing her entire body has been burned, and now she is hideous.

Back at the ranch, Dr. Seward had guessed what Dracula was doing to Lucy and went to enlist the help of the now terminal Zoe Van Helsing. She is in pain and just wants to die in peace, but because she drank a vial of Dracula’s blood, the spirit of her great aunt won’t let her be. Her final dying act will be to stop Dracula.

They both arrive at Dracula’s house minutes before Lucy does. Sister Agatha’s spirit inhabiting Zoe begins a rhetorical conversation with Dracula once more about why the Rules of the Beast from season 1 works on Dracula.

Lucy shows up in the middle of the conversation, and what follows is a heart-wrenching scene in which Lucy discovers what she really looks like. Even though Dracula tries to convince her that he doesn’t care, she begs Dr. Seward to kill her. He stabs her with the stake and she turns to dust.

Zoe then tells Dr. Seward to leave because what she has to say is for Dracula’s ears only. He reluctantly leaves. With the last of her strength, she leaps up and pulls the heavy curtains down letting in the sunlight. Dracula hisses and backs away until he realizes that the sun isn’t burning him.

Dropping into a nearby chair with her strength depleted, Zoe tells him that it is death that he’s afraid of and that’s why he’s afraid of the cross.

She tells Dracula that he is a coward, and while she gets to die, he will live being constantly reminded that he is a coward because he is afraid of death. The next thing she knows is she is dreaming of an erotic dream of her and Dracula. In the dream, Dracula tells her they will die together.

On the table under the bright light of the sun, they died together in a dream. I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. It borders on romantic, and I didn’t get the vibe that Dracula was romantically interested in Zoe or Agatha. There were rivals and adversaries, so maybe it’s fitting they die together.

Except for this interesting ending, this series is, by far, the best version of this story I have seen yet. It even beat my favorite to date, Dracula Untold starring Luke Evans.

What did you think of the series? Let us know in the comments below.

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