I had strangely mixed feelings about last night's episode. There were points where I was terribly disengaged by it, and parts where I was all, "Whoa." It was very schizophrenic in that regard.
Part of what left me disengaged was Grayson losing -- shunned by Harker, spurned by Mina, manipulated by Van Helsing, tossed out by Lady Jayne. (Yet, the look on Dracula's face when Mina told him off was priceless; JRM conveys so much in the way his face falls.) Much of it, especially the scene with Lady Jayne, felt arbitrary and devoid of feeling.
The discovery of Dracula's name, of course, is important. (I wondered how the fledgling vampires would have known that Dracula could walk in the sunlight, though.) Browning's story about how Dracula was created was interesting, and we finally have an explanation for why Dracula is fighting an organization with whom he shares a name. I expect next week's cliffhanger will be Lady Jayne's realization that Alexander Grayson is Dracula.
Renfield continues to prove himself as the most important person in Dracula's life. From laying it out for Dracula on the subject of Mina to actually resorting to physical violence to keep Dracula from doing something rash, he's the glue that holds Dracula's operation together.
I'm assuming that it was Van Helsing that moved against Browning. I have to admit it was disconcerting to see Browning share a quiet and joyous familial moment. This is a man who has no difficulty murdering people, and here we see him singing with his children.
In the last few weeks I've begun to entertain the idea that Van Helsing actually has a cure for Dracula's vampirism (ever since it came up, actually), and I think it's in the bottle that Mina stole last night. I know it's unlikely, but I can see a conclusion where the Order is destroyed, Van Helsing gets his revenge, Dracula gets cured, and he and Mina live a long and happy life.
Speaking of Mina, I didn't know quite how to take her conversation with her father, where he gives her permission to pursue Grayson. "Wait, am I actually hearing this?" I said to myself.
And, in light of Harker's behavior this episode, Dracula, for all of his faults, starts to look good by comparison.
I spent the episode going, "No, Harker. Oh, please no, Harker. No, Harker!" Every decision Harker made was a really
bad decision. I even thought Dracula was trying to talk Harker out of doing something rash in the wake of Mina's attack, and I was gobsmacked when it turned out that Dracula had been manipulating him into eliminating Davenport. (But what does that mean for the Dresden Triptych? Harker obviously left it behind, but does anyone else know that it's there?) And then he runs right to Lucy.
(Speaking of Lucy, Katie McGrath looked incredibly like Keira Knightly in the sex scene.)
Next week has a lot of noose-tightening to do on Dracula's interests, and his identity will need to be blown, setting the stage for the apocalyptic final episode, which I imagine will not take place among the Carpathians.