Five episodes down, one to go. This is a tough one to review, perhaps made tougher by the fact it's my birthday and the evening's been a tad indulgent.
In the patrol car:
Minogue: [pulls out Taser] You're always saying don't tase stuff. [Accidentally Tasers himself.]
O'Leary: Oh. God, this is the fourth time you've done that.
Nothing like a running gag. Another is Sgt Maaka's fake security upgrades for the paranormal office's secret door. This time it's fingerprint recognition.
So tonight it's vampires, and once again we're in the Hutt Valley - this time Taita. (Cue quiet pun on 'tighter' with the handcuffs when they first arrest the vampire character, Nick - played superbly by Cori Gonzalez-Macuer.) Maybe it's something about the water flowing through and under the broad river valley that somehow concentrates paranormal energy. Or maybe the Hutt's just a bit weird. Whatever, there's a lot of quiet humour in this episode. Like the group of hooded vampires carrying flaming torches, circling their potential victim - a naked man tied to a pole - in the middle of a Lower Hutt park:
Minogue: "What's going on here? You guys having a drink, are ya?
Nick: I guess you could say that.
O'leary: What's with the cloaks?
Nick: It's, um, role playing. Like a Dungeons and Dragons thing.
Minogue: This must be a different version, is it?
Nicki: Yeah, it's the Lower Hutt version.
Then there's Nick's talk to camera, once arrested for the second time, about being discriminated against for being a brown vampire, not a white vampire. See Taika Waititi's "New Zealand is racist as f**k."
But I really don't get the ensuing five-minute interlude with the numerous clowns in the Fiat Bambina. This irrelevant, unfunny scene chewed up a large chunk of an episode that wasn't hanging together too well to begin with, so maybe the time could've been better spent advancing the thin and struggling vampire story. Likewise the haunted plastic bag sequence, which was great but didn't much help the plot. Hell, vampires are native territory for the 'What we do in the shadows' team, so why not make more of it? We had barely a glimpse of Alexandr - see poster above - which was annoying.
Overall, this episode - directed by Jemaine Clement - was even more undercooked than episode 1. Best scenes not already mentioned; the goths in Taita Cemetery (the ghosts/goths confusion) and the momentarily-scary reprise of the haunted plastic bag at the end. This episode was weak and disjointed compared to the last three, each of which showed signs of improvement and promise for the series. So back to square one, guys, like a game of snakes and ladders.
Let's see what next week's episode - the series final - has in store, and if it can lift the game overall with a strong finish. What paranormal theme haven't they done yet? Oh, yes, of course: zombies...
Episode 5 of Wellington Paranormal is already available for viewing on TVNZ On Demand - at least if you're in New Zealand. Earlier episodes are possibly available in your home country by now, legitimately or otherwise.
is a blog by James Gilberd - leader and co-founder of Strange Occurrences. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the Strange Occurrences team.
James Gilberd is an amateur paranormalist, writer and musician, and a professional photographer, living in Wellington, New Zealand.