What We Do in the Shadows Season 5 Finale: Can Guillermo Really Get Cured?


This article contains spoilers for WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS season 5 episode 10.

There may be more to the title of What We Do in the Shadows’ season 5 finale than meets the eye. Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) makes some major changes in “Exit Interview,” and Colin Robinson’s (Mark Proksch) questioning means more than just how much the Staten Island vampires will have to pay his successor. The familiar and bodyguard with the Van Helsing DNA makes a choice, but now he has to live with it until he dies a natural death.

What’s Up With Guillermo’s Beard?

Vampires are immortal, spending their nights eternally frozen at the moment of death. They no longer breathe; they only consume blood, they don’t pump it; all their bodily functions cease. In Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire novel, Claudia rebels against her vampiric nature, defiantly cutting off her hair to prove she still has the power to change some things. She wakes up with it at the same length after her descent into daytime death. In the AMC series, Lestat (Sam Reid) reads Claudia’s diary, mocking her curiosity over whether she’ll always be a virgin if her skin grows back like her hair does. The same rule applies to Guillermo.

When Guillermo was turned, all his bodily functions stopped, even though he wasn’t a full vampire. His limbo still locked him into what he looked like when they died. Guillermo grows a full beard because he didn’t need to shave since Vampire Derek (Chris Sandiford) turned him. With the vampire condition removed, Guillermo’s body reverts to its natural state. It continues to grow hair and fingernails, gains weight, breathes, pumps blood, and ages. All that hair which appears on his face all at once would have grown in slowly during the interim between the first bite and the final pulling up of stakes.

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Had the process gone further, and Derek was taken out of the equation, Guillermo would have suffered much more dire consequences. Nandor was really taking a chance on staking Derek after Guillermo drank human blood. After that, Guillermo did undergo an extreme transformation, relishing in superspeed, and the appetite which ultimately put him off his food. Luckily, Guillermo also had the van Helsing DNA as a backup, because that was a dangerous experiment. Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) herself had only recently explained to Guillermo that he had to protect his maker, the same way she and her cohorts protect the Sire, Goëjlrm. If something should happen to him [spit spit], Nadja would crumble into dust, along with Nandor (Kayvan Novak) and Laszlo (Matt Berry).

It should be noted the facial hair factor is apparently different in the cases of psychic vampires, as we saw when the housemates were invited to the home of the illustrious vampire Perdita Morrigan in “A Weekend at Morrigan Manor.” Colin Robinson didn’t shave for one weekend, and wound up growing a full-on Hercule Poirot mustache with van dyke accessories.

Why Would Nandor Change His Mind About Killing Guillermo?

For all of Laszlo’s experiments, he failed to slow Guillermo’s progression into a vampire, though he did stall the flow of information. The Guide (Kristen Schaal) led to Nandor learning the secret everyone knew but him while caged at the end of “A Weekend at Morrigan Manor,” but he was immediately able to suss out what foxed Laszlo all along. Nandor, and most of the viewing audience, know Guillermo is stopped from being turned into a full vampire because his van Helsing DNA is working as a natural antibiotic. “His vampire-killer cells are fighting off the vampire cells with all their might,” Nandor explains in “A Weekend at Morrigan Manor.” Colin Robinson declares “Another mystery solved.”

Nandor also knows the secret to getting around this evolutionary glitch: by feeding Guillermo human blood. The Relentless one knows more than battle plans and the history of pillaging. He may have been out of the loop on Guillermo’s condition, but has all kinds of foreknowledge.

Nandor is completely within his rights to become murderously upset. Which he does in fine fashion, threatening Guillermo with a painful and humiliating death only to be outdone by his own, if the betraying familiar’s demise is not demeaning enough. Jake Bender, Zach Dunn, Sam Johnson, Sarah Naftalis, and Paul Simms, the writers of “Exit Interview,” make it seem like Patton Oswalt is the last straw to make the proud vampire warrior yield, but Nandor was only looking for an excuse.

Vampires are known to be obsessive compulsives, as Laszlo’s experiment to disprove the old myth inadvertently proved early in the season. Nandor is also a little bit anal retentive. We’re not saying he’s an asshole, but he still hasn’t freed the Djinn (Anoop Desai), long after he’s granted his genie-wish quota. Nandor likes to keep his stuff. Colin even brought back his old key chain from the Staten Island Immigration Museum. Nandor is not one to give up Guillermo.

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What’s a Ceremony of Vampiric Transmogrification

While the pomp of the final commencement is a very nice idea, it is more in the “thoughtful” sense than as a vampire tradition. There is no ritual called The Ceremony of Vampiric Transmogrification. Nandor made it up. The symbols, as he explains, just looked nice and spooky, but have no real meaning. It is an elaborate ruse to play into Guillermo’s guilt brought on by Nandor’s jealousy. It’s a win-win situation where everyone loses. Guillermo gives up eternal life, Nandor gets rid of a rival. Sadly, for him, but happily for the audience, What We Do in the Shadows doesn’t give up its undead that easily.

Who Is Wallace the Necromancer?

This isn’t the first time we’re seeing the necromancer, Wallace (Benedict Wong). Nadja and Laszlo hired him in season 2’s opener “Resurrection,” when their familiar Topher Delmonico (Haley Joel Osment) accidentally died a few too many times. As we see in “Exit Interview,” Laszlo has quite a contentious history with Wallace, and has been trashing him as a conman for longer than anyone cares to remember. Laszlo has reason to feel this way. When the necromancer brought Topher back, the jazz scatting scatterbrain got distracted by a phone call, and inadvertently brought him back as a zombie.

The vampires demanded a refund, but instead were dazzled by the free name-tag keychains Wallace dangled before them. He sells them at his souvenir shop, and zombie Topher has been making them in the basement, which appears to be what zombie Derek will be doing for all eternity.

What Will Happen to Guillermo in Season 6?

For five seasons, Guillermo has been hinting and outright begging Nandor to turn him into a vampire. It’s the only reason he does the dirty work as a familiar, and protects the vampire colony as a bodyguard, in spite of his van Helsing DNA. Nandor gave him a final choice, something which is completely unprecedented. Guillermo chooses to be human over being a vampire. Does this mean he will bugging Nandor? That would be a major change in character moving forward. Most of Guillermo’s charm comes from this intense desire to move into eternal life. If he no longer desires it, having been faced with a vampire’s reality, does he even have a reason to stay at the vampire house? He will, of course, because What We Do in the Shadows is not going to break up the best undead comedy troupe currently drawing blood. 

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