With Dracula now dropping on Netflix it’s time to breakdown everything that you need to know about the limited series.
After the show premiered on the BBC earlier in the week it’s had the internet in an uproar and throughout this, we’ll be discussing all of the overall plot, the meaning of it’s final few scenes and the easter eggs that you may have missed.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to watch Dracula yet and don’t want to know what happens then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this video now let’s get into our breakdown of Dracula.
Dracula Plot Recap
Ok so Dracula initially starts as a rough adaptation of the Bram Stoker source material before it veers off massively towards the end. Each episode is set around a key figure in the storyline that recaps the events of their episode.
Initially, we are introduced to Jonathan Harker in 1897 who recounts his time at Count Dracula’s castle to two sisters.
These two sisters become key figures in the first entry and it’s revealed that one of them is Jonathan’s fiance and that the other is Van Helsing.
The former has been brought in because Jonathan has had pretty much his memory drained from him as well as his life force though he is able to discuss his time with Dracula in great detail. Van Helsing, on the other hand, has lost her faith, however, after hearing the tale that Jonathan provides, she slowly begins to recapture it and we watch as this transforms her belief system throughout the show.
In the beginning, though we follow Jonathan as he arrives at the castle where he is met by a very frail and weak old Dracula. However, throughout the first episode Dracula Benjamin Buttons his way back to the prime of his life whilst Jonathan deteriorates rapidly.
From the off the show oozes its own unique style that updates the legend massively. In addition to this, there is, of course, the gender switch with Van Helsing as well as hints that Dracula may be bi-sexual.
This sent some corners of the internet into an uproar, however Stephen Moffat who helped develop the show stated that Dracula isn’t bisexual, he’s bi-homicidal. The writer later went on to say:
“He’s killing them, not dating them. He’s not actually having sex with anyone. He’s drinking their blood.”
The way I looked at it is that when humans eat meat we don’t really care about the gender that we’re consuming. If you’re straight you don’t care about whether your steak is male or female and this is mirrored in Dracula who consumes all.
Dracula’s Powers Explained
Dracula is able to take on the intellect of those he consumes and he picks up Jonathan’s English skills whilst draining him. He can take a person’s memories and intimate details about their lives and thus he gains more knowledge the more that he feasts. He later refers to this as downloading. This also adds motive for why he wishes to travel to England as he views the population as sophisticated and thinks that this will refine his taste.
It’s a really unique take on one of our civilization’s oldest villains and in this first episode, Dracula really caught my attention.
Jonathan discovers a message carved into a window one night that says ‘help me’ and he begins searching for the lost soul.
The castle itself is an inescapable fortress full of twists and turns and as he delves deeper into it he discovers more of what is going on beneath the surface.
The place is littered with the undead and as Dracula calls it his brides who he is trying to use to reproduce. This is a slight differentiation from the original works as in that Gypsys took refuge in the castle.
Harker Vs Dracula
Harker is eventually bitten by one of these brides and Dracula takes him to a high point of his home, breaking his neck and seemingly killing him. However, the character reanimates and with the help of a cross, he is able to escape the castle. This is how he makes it to the convent to tell his story.
We realize that he’s been brainwashed by Dracula and that the initial account he provided to the Nuns were just ramblings of how he worshipped the Count.
Jonathan’s fiance, Mina, reveals herself and similar to the book we discover that she has traveled over from England.
Sherlock And Doctor Who Easter Eggs
There’s a little Sherlock Easter Egg dropped here when Sister Agatha reveals that she used a detective acquaintance in London to find Mina and for those who don’t know, the team behind this also created the BBC version of the show.
There’s also a moment where Jonathan reads a letter from his fiance Mina who jokingly says that in his absence that she might have an affair with a barmaid from The Rose And Crown.
During the Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Snowmen, companion Clara Oswold worked at a bar known as The Rose And Crown and this is a clear tie to Moffatt who also wrote that episode.
Dracula Vs The Nuns
Before they get a happy reunion though bats attack and bite Mina and after this leaves Jonathan craving blood, he decides to commit suicide in order to save her.
Outside the Convent a lurking black dog prowls the premises and this is revealed to be Dracula. I loved watching him rip his way out of the creature and it’s one of the most terrifying transformations that I’ve seen for a long time. As Dracula is a vampire, he cannot enter the convent without being invited in. She teases him with her blood and it’s from consuming this that Dracula is able to see Agatha’s memory and he discovers her name is Van Helsing.
Left with little options, Dracula goes to Jonathan who we learn is not dead because the undead cannot commit suicide. In exchange for an invitation in, he promises to kill the character which he does, taking his skin as a costume in the process.
This is a major change up from the original work as in that Jonathan ended up surviving till the end. When Mina arrived at the convent she nursed him back to health and the two ended up marrying and having a family together.
Dracula ravages the convent and finds Mina and Van Helsing using sacramental bread as a barrier. This hammers home that mentally Dracula is still bound by the legends that surround him. We learn that due to his feeding on peasants who were god-fearing that he has developed a hate of the cross and slowly his own mental state is what has caused him to believe that he has weaknesses that fit the typical vampire archetypes.
We’ll get into this more in the end but it massively plays into the recharacterisation of Dracula and why he is the way that he is.
Episode 1 Ending Explained
Using Jonathan’s skin, Dracula tricks Mina into inviting him into their circle. We learn that Van Helsing sacrifices herself in order to free Mina and Dracula captures her.
There’s an awesome call back to the Christopher Lee depiction with the look of the character being almost identical and we learn that Mina later when on to create the Jonathan Harker foundation that treat diseases throughout the world.
Similar to the first episode, the second entry opens with Van Helsing questioning a character. However, this time it is Dracula and he recounts his journey to Whitby in England.
Though it seems like she may have outsmarted the character last time, it is revealed that he put her into a deep trance and that he has been using her body almost as a milking cow and slowly feeding upon her.
It’s creepy as hell and I definitely think that out of the three the third episode is probably the high point.
Episode 2 Breakdown
Dracula begins making his way to England aboard an ill-fated ship known as the Demeter. Though this entry is a lot simpler plot-wise than the prior episode, it still packs a punch and it’s where we really get to know Dracula.
As the boat makes it’s way to England, Dracula begins picking off the crew one by one, slowly making them all paranoid that they’ll be next and that there is no one on board that they can trust.
I actually got a lot of vibes of John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing, however this time it was from the perspective of the monster. We learn that Dracula intentionally handpicked all of the travelers and he begins hunting them.
He improves his German, creates a fog around the boat and manipulates the people onboard into turning on one another.
However, after they discover Sister Agatha and almost hang her, she proves that it is in fact Dracula behind it all.
Inside Number 9
There’s a nice little easter egg here as Agatha is located inside room number 9. Mark Gatiss, one of the Dracula tv show creators worked with Steve Pemberton & Reece Shearsmith on hilarious show The League of Gentlemen. Pemberton & Shearsmith themselves created a show called Inside Number 9. and it is possible that this is a reference to his partner’s work.
Together they form one last attempt to take him down. Dracula is seemingly defeated but we later learn that he remained on the ship, hiding out in a bed that possessed soil from his native land.
In a last-ditch attempt to stop him Agatha decides to destroy the ship and with the help of the captain they manage to destroy it, just off the coast of England.
Dracula’s coffin sinks to the bottom of the ocean with him in it. We learn that he remained in a comatose restorative state that allowed him to lay at the bottom of the ocean for a century.
He was discovered by members of the Jonathan Harker Foundation and they accidentally fed him which revived him.
This is a big twist in the series with the character in fact arriving in modern-day. Initially, the creative team denied that this would be anything more than a period piece but Dracula arrives on the shore to come face to face with a woman who appears to be Sister Agatha.
The Dracula Time Jump
Now unfortunately for me, I do feel like from this point onward the show did drop the ball quite a lot. Time jumps can always destroy period pieces and I do feel that this was the case here with the creative team being better equipped to write classical dialogue than what they do with teenage characters. They pretty much spend way too much time on characters that we don’t really care about and almost cut to credits mid-sentence which left the finale feeling a bit hollow in my opinion.
It centers around Zoe Van Helsing who we learn is of the same bloodline of Sister Agatha attempting to trap Dracula so that she can study him.
Zoe has cancer and this could add motive to why she wishes to study him and takes a drop of his blood. Dracula is unable to feast upon her as her blood is poisonous due to the disease and we watch as it slowly ravages her from the inside throughout the episode. This studying could be that she wished to find out the secret of his immortality though her motives are never really developed fully as we spend 15 minutes of the episode in a nightclub.
Jack And Lucy
This is where we are introduced to a doctor named Jack who is a member of the Jonathan Harker Foundation. Jack has an unrequited love for a girl named Lucy Westenra.
Those familiar with the original work will remember that Lucy was a character in the book and that she was the best friend of Mina Murray. Similar to the source material, Lucy ends up becoming the undead and the show mirrors her arc with her eventual death being a big part of it.
There’s a nice little Shining easter egg with the wallpaper in Jack’s room possessing the same pattern as the carpet but overall I felt like the modern setting lacked the disturbing horror vibe that the first two entries had. Except for that graveyard kid, goddamn what the hell was that.
After Dracula is caged in an almost Hannibal Lector-esque prison a Lawyer comes and frees him because it is against his rights to be detained.
Left with little options, Zoe drinks Dracula’s blood and this reawakens the spirit of Agatha who has been traveling with him through his blood to the new world.
Another Time Jump
Dracula discovers Jack’s phone and begins seducing Lucy which is when we get another time jump of three months.
Through Dracula and Lucy’s conversations, we discover that sometimes when people die their consciousness remains and they become the undead. Dracula warns Lucy to not be cremated when she dies as this will be extremely painful for her. It seems like he has finally found the bride that he has been searching for this entire time and he drains her blood almost completely.
Her friend reaches out to Jack who in turn reaches out to Zoe who is haunted by visions of Agatha.
Jack is unable to save Lucy and she becomes the undead, conscious in her body but completely paralyzed and unable to move. She is cremated and reanimates becoming horribly disfigured. Due to her vanity and twisted perception of the world, Lucy is unable to see this and she still believes that she is beautiful.
The Bride Of Dracula
Together Jack and Zoe confront Dracula and Lucy arrives discovering how she really looks upon taking a selfie, which once more is a comment on vanity and how the camera never lies.
She breaks down and Jack kills her in some Blade CGI death scene. Where is Wesley Snipes when you need him.
After Dracula confesses that he was besotted by Lucy because of her fascination with death, Agatha takes over Zoe and the two begin to talk because she has finally realised what’s going on with the character.
Dracula 2020 Ending Explained
This is where the show takes probably the biggest turn from the source material and after she proves to Dracula that sunlight cannot harm him she slowly begins to deconstruct his psychology.
Dracula is a coward that has been afraid of death his entire life, possibly because all of his ancestors died in combat on the battlefield. Because of this, he has subconsciously gained a low opinion of himself and thus he lurks in the shadows, cannot confront God and won’t even look at himself in a mirror.
It’s a nice little subversion of the character and we realise that the main reason for the character’s immortality has been because deep down he doesn’t have the courage to die. What he’s most afraid of is the finality of life and because he won’t take this final step he in fact has lost and is doomed to live forever as a coward.
Zoe, on the other hand, is at death’s door, accepting of her fate and ready to go to the afterlife, leaving the character behind to wallow in the shadows.
However, Dracula has a huge change of heart and he steps into the light that also has crosses on it in what is some of the best iconography in the show.
Dracula finally accepts that he must die and he drinks Zoe’s blood killing himself in the process. The two dream that they are drifting off into the sun as lovers when the show cuts to black.
This is important because Dracula was obsessed over the sun his entire life and he longed to see it once more, finally drifting off into it at the end shows that he has embraced the thing he deep down wanted most, a death that would come at the hands of it and the Van Helsings.
The two lock with one another and fade off as credits roll.
But what did I think of the show overall, well I had high hopes for this and after an outstanding couple of episodes, I was really hopeful that the finale would nail the landing. However, from about the time jump onwards this really lost it for me. I do think that they could have kept it in the past and retained all of the plot elements that were in place in this finale and the time jump just feels a bit cheap looking back.
As a whole, though I did enjoy the show and watching it on the BBC night after night has pretty much made up most of my activities in 2020 so far.
I did have a lot of fun with it but it’s difficult not to get the bad taste out of my mouth from the ending, excuse the pun.
Overall I did enjoy Dracula more than I didn’t and that’s why it gets a…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Dracula and it’s ending. Comment below and let me know!