Reginald the Vampire S1E8: “The Odyssey,” Apparently

Jacob Batalon as Reginald talking to his past self out back of the Slush Shack
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE -- “The Odyssey” Episode 108 -- Pictured in this screengrab: Jacob Batalon as Reginald -- (Photo by: SYFY)

The following contains spoilers for Reginald the Vampire S1E8, “The Odyssey” (written by Alexandra Zarowny, based on the books by Johnny B. Truant and directed by Siobhan Devine)

It’s always a bold choice to go black and white. Stylistically it can translate to an audience a shift in style and tone that may bring about new expectations for different genres or tropes; I believe the most popular choices would be going black and white for a Twilight Zone episode or a Film Noir episode; nevertheless, something of a retro feel.

Reginald the Vampire S1E8 (“The Odyssey”) starts black and white, a little like a modern western with country music, southern accents, a dive bar, and hustlers. Later, the colour returns when Reginald and his new British companion, Jenkins (Bernard Cuffling), enter the lair of an ancient vampire.

Bernard Cuffling as Jenkins, Jacob Batalon as Reginald in the black and white dive bar sitting at a table having a drink
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “The Odyssey” Episode 108 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Bernard Cuffling as Jenkins, Jacob Batalon as Reginald — (Photo by: SYFY)

We can infer from the latter part that Reginald the Vampire S1E8 references The Wizard of Oz. However, stylistically and tonally, the content and dialogue are confused and sloppy; why is the episode called “The Odyssey”? I understand there are correlations between the Wizard of Oz and the Odyssey by Homer. However, these two texts are historically not represented in media the same way. Conflating the two for this episode was an odd choice.

Theoretically, the ancient vampire Abraham (Danny Wattley) is the wizard; Jenkins is the tin man looking for a heart; Reginald is Dorothy trying to return to his old life, aka “home”. Missing is the scarecrow and the lion. Or, perhaps Reginald is meant to be every character? It’s very odd.

Bernard Cuffling as Jenkins and Jacob Batalon as Reginald in the first level of Abraham's psychological test; the party
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “The Odyssey” Episode 108 — Pictured in this screengrab: Bernard Cuffling as Jenkins — (Photo by: SYFY)

Through all of the trials and obstacles to get to Abraham, Reginald seems to be learning things about his character. Although, nothing directly correlates to The Wizard of Oz. Using it as a reference stylistically left a lot to be replicated and desired in this episode. It would have given the writer much more breathing room if they had just used the Odyssey as a reference point and framed the episode through a Twilight Zone B&W abstract lens. Alas, it’s too late to listen to me.

Each time that Reginald is confronted with something terrible he’s done or a person he’s hurt, what he learns feels very superficial. In reality, each obstacle tells him he’s been an asshole. Fair point; he has. Although, it becomes very repetitive and doesn’t seem to come to any discernible end for Reginald to learn from.

What do you learn from constantly being insulted? You lean into the insults and believe them. Reginald doesn’t need to discover he’s the bad guy and walk away feeling bad about himself; he needs to feel he can overcome his misdeeds.

That’s where the underlying narrative of the episode snaps in place: Throughout Reginald’s trial is the persistent ghost of a vampire assassin there to kill Abraham, which we eventually learn is on a time loop keeping Abraham alive. I understand the purpose of this; however, the interwoven narrative of it was poorly done. And after all of the name-calling, it feels self-evident that it’s Reginald’s time to shine and save this vampire’s life to right his wrongs and show heart and courage. Instead, Reginald tells Maurice (Mandela Van Peebles) [who miraculously shows up a half hour into the episode] to save Abraham.

Mandela Van Peebles as Maurice, Jacob Batalon as Reginald in Abraham's lair
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “The Odyssey” Episode 108 — Pictured in this screengrab: (l-r) Mandela Van Peebles as Maurice, Jacob Batalon as Reginald — (Photo by: SYFY)

Are you kidding me? It was too much dragging out Reginald’s redemption like that. Then we’re reminded of the obvious when it’s ‘revealed’ that all of the obstacles were a projection of Abraham’s mind. I mean, duh!

Reginald the Vampire S1E8 must have been pitched as a mysterious, spooky, abstract episode. However, it ended up a convoluted mess of what I’m sure was supposed to be a bottle episode that went over budget.

As for lore, Abraham reveals that he is part vampire and part archangel. If you can remember back a few episodes, Sarah (Em Haine) used to be part of a fanatical religion to do with archangels. I don’t think they would obtusely include Abraham’s genetics if there wasn’t a connection between these tidbits of information. Fabulous, the world around Reginald the Vampire is growing.

However, will the series last long enough to explore its untapped potential? At this rate, I highly doubt it.

Written by Isobel Grieve

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