‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Team on That Season 3 Finale Twist & What’s Next
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for What We Do in the Shadows, Season 3, Episode 10, “The Portrait.”]
If you’re an avid viewer of FX’s What We Do in the Shadows, then you were probably in mourning like the rest of the vamps as the Season 3 finale episode, “The Portrait,” began.
After the shocking “death” of roommate and energy vampire Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) in the penultimate episode of the season, Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry), and human familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) took time to grieve for a portrait sitting with vampire and actor Donal Logue.
But the mourning ritual didn’t go so smoothly as the vamps struggled to get through the loss in varying ways, from Nandor making travel plans to Nadja considering a position with the Supreme Worldwide Vampiric Council in England. All the while, something strange was happening in the basement as the final moments of the episode reveal that Colin Robinson’s corpse birthed a baby-like creature with Colin’s face.
So, what exactly is happening? “One of the ways this idea came up in the writers’ room [was us] trying to figure out the rules of energy vampires, and if they’re born as energy vampires,” says showrunner, writer, and executive producer Paul Simms. “We had the idea of [making] that Colin’s own question through this season.”
That will continue to be explored, confirms Simms, who adds, “I’ll say that of a lot of Season 4 is about the question of, is it inevitable that baby Colin will grow up to be an energy vampire? Or is this a chance for a fresh start? And is it possible for him to grow up to be a normal, interesting human?”
Part of that decision to continue Colin’s exploration into energy vampire lore stems from the team’s desire to follow through on plot points. “No one really knows the truth about energy vampires, that’s a lot of the fun and the puzzle of Season 4,” Simms continues. “Whenever we do something that seems funny, we like to stick to examining the consequences of it.”
As for Proksch, he’s just as happy that Colin’s alive as fans are likely to be. Regarding the death and life cycle of his character throughout the series, Proksch says, “The way I’ve approached most of my characters is to give them a little and keep them asking for more. Usually, I’ll move on after a couple of years on a show or doing a character. And this built it right into the show where all of a sudden, I get to come back and reapproach this character in a fun, new way. So it was really an exciting twist for me as well as I’m sure it was for the fans.”
Where the energy vampire storyline will take viewers next is unclear until Season 4 arrives, but as Simms shares, cocreator “Jemaine [Clement] thought of this energy vampire character, which was new enough that we make the rules, but we also try to make rules that we stick with. So it doesn’t just seem like it’s all chaos.”
The fun part is taking on Colin’s new baby form. “The baby that you saw in the finale is a combination of separate techniques and effects,” details Proksch. “Some of it’s practical, some of it’s digital, I did do some acting for it.” And although the star didn’t want to say too much about where this could take viewers in Season 4, Simms chimes in with, “It’s probably the biggest technical challenge we’ve created for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, none of the other vampires know about Colin Robinson’s rebirth, besides Laszlo, who stayed behind in Staten Island as Nadja and Guillermo were shipped off to England and Nandor hit the road solo. “We didn’t want to just end the season with them going like, yeah, well, it is what it is. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing for 200 years. We felt like they’re all in a very lazy narcissistic vampire way, searching for something more. And so, and there are consequences from their splitting off,” Simms teases of the household’s divide.
Laszlo was meant to go to England with his wife but instead sent Guillermo in his place, unbeknownst to Nadja. Unaware of Laszlo’s plan, Guillermo was meant to travel the world with his master as his vampire bodyguard.
“So much of the show is about Guillermo wanting to be a vampire, but the end of this season was about his realization that the only thing worse than not being made a vampire is seeing these vampires who treat him pretty terribly, but are still like a family to him, all of a sudden split,” Simms says. “He’s the one who suffers the biggest indignity of being hammered into a box and put on a ship, abandoning his master that he was so excited about going on a big round the world journey.”
“Maybe it’s good,” episode writer and co-executive producer Sam Johnson notes, adding that it’s probably best for Nandor to be out on his own for a bit. “It’s an opportunity to grow. And I will say, I don’t think it’s a surprise that they’ll probably see each other again, everybody, but the consequences of this separation and this travel are pretty cool. There will be some surprising things that happen.”
And even though Laszlo’s friendship with Colin in Season 3 was formed under one-sided circumstances, Simms shares that by pretending to be friends, they became real friends in a way that Simms thinks “carries through with Laszlo’s realization that Colin in this new form is helpless and needs someone to take care of him in a weird way.” This realization is even funnier considering Nadja verbally acknowledges that Laszlo can barely take care of himself when he’s alone.
As for what’s to come, there’s potential for more of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s vampires Viago and Vladislav (who made their debut in 2014’s film by the same name) in the series. Both attached creatively, Waititi and Clement’s vampires are involved with the prospective job Nadja’s pursuing, so one never knows who could pop up. “If you ever existed in the show at some point you’ll and your schedule permits, you’ll [probably] come back,” Simms teases. Whether or not that’s a promise will remain to be seen as Season 4 gets underway. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait as long as a super slumber to find out.
What We Do in the Shadows, Season 4 Premiere, TBA, FX