Coming off the high that was last week’s “The Grand Opening,” WWDITS Season 4 Episode 4, “The Night Market,” returns to What We Do In The Shadows‘ regular structure: having the gang venture to a new location together and then splitting off into their specific storylines. And while this episode is immensely enjoyable, it doesn’t quite hit all the marks that made “The Grand Opening” as good as it was.
Continuing many of the threads set up last week, “The Night Market” follows the gang as they venture into the secretive Night Market, their very own New Jersey “Diagon Alley” (one similarly hidden from humans). Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) has to go to the Night Market because she’s feuding with the wraiths, who are unhappy with their work environment, are protesting, and have even threatened to unionize. Instead of negotiating with them, Nadja will try to procure a bargaining chip so they’ll do what she wants.
Meanwhile, Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) and Nandor (Kayvan Novak) stumble into a demon fight club hosted by a Ring Master (Nick Corirossi). After learning that the main attraction is vampire familiars fighting to the death, Nandor accidentally enters Guillermo in the bloodbath. And Laszlo (Matt Berry) and Tween Colin (Mark Proksch) take a stroll through the market, with Laszlo hellbent on proving to Tween Colin that the fairies and magical creatures he’s reading about in his fantasy books are all completely bogus.
But to be entirely honest, I don’t give a flying fuck about almost anything that happens in this episode – with two exceptions. The first is how phenomenal and sexy Guillermo is as a character. This is something that we should definitely talk about more. From his on-point fighting to the way he carries himself with the utmost confidence because of it, Guillermo has grown into his own from the person he was in Season 1. And we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. Because the second thing I give a flying fuck about is just how much Nandor will find any sort of excuse to physically fight the men he’s attracted to, and boy is he falling for Guillermo hard.
Before I lose myself explaining my unhinged manifesto of all the times that Nandor used physical violence as foreplay and how it plays out beautifully in WWDITS Season 4 Episode 4, I do want to shout out Nadja’s storyline as well. There weren’t as many laugh-out-loud quotable lines in this particular episode as there were last week, but “The Night Market” does have a lot of story-based comedy. We’ve got the Valkyries (Laura Ramoso and Alex Jade) who run an Ikea-like store and whose priceless possession is their Swedish meatballs; we’ve got my personal favorite: Nadja’s badass haggling that she uses to “fuck the other guy before he fucks you.” Nadja is easily the funniest part of this episode, and even after all her haggling and success in fucking people over at the Night Market, her story ends with a resounding “There’s power in numbers” – ultimately, she wins the battle, loses the capitalism war, and agrees to make the work environment better for the wraiths.
As for Laszlo and Tween Colin, their storyline, while overshadowed by everything else going on, started on a very jarring theme: that the real world is not as magical as the one we read about in fantasy novels. There’s grit, there’s dirt, and there are…fairies who eat poop. But even when everything isn’t rainbow-colored and sparkling in the sunshine, there are also people who have your back and want to spend time with you no matter what. The end of their story was just as touching as last week’s; now it’s Colin’s turn to connect with Laszlo, finding common ground through enjoying the kinds of stories – real, and often scientific – that he likes. Because it’s not so much about doing things you like, but about spending time with those you love.
Anyways, back to what really matters: Nandor and Guillermo fucking – I mean fighting – in what can only be described as homoerotic foreplay.
The first time we saw Nandor and Guillermo fight, the first time they really went at it and let out all of their frustration, pent-up emotions, and secret feelings, was in Season 3’s “The Portrait.” While Guillermo fought in order to show Nandor he could very much kill him if he wanted to, Nandor had other motives. He wanted to see if Guillermo was still capable of fighting to protect himself – and, thus, to protect Nandor when they left for their world trip. Unfortunately, because of Laszlo, that trip never happened. However, what’s important about this moment in “The Night Market” is that the fight was clearly erotically charged. And if you don’t want to believe me, we have only to return to Season 4 Episode 2, “The Lamp,” for the final nail in my theory coffin.
A quick reminder: in “The Lamp,” Nandor finds the Djinn lamp and wishes to bring his thirty-seven wives back to life. We’re told that “wife” doesn’t necessarily have such a gendered connotation to Nandor, as some of his wives were men. Then, in a small part of the episode’s speed dating montage, we see Nandor and his wife Kublai (Tig Fong) wrestle each other while Nandor takes all of his female wives on thoughtful, “romantic” dates. The wrestling match further suggests that Nandor’s idea of being physical with men in a romantic setting involves fighting them. When paired together with just how far out of his way he’s willing to go to be the one to fight Guillermo in “The Night Market,” the implication is that he’s totally in love with Guillermo and fighting with him is the safest, most natural way to show it.
And Guillermo might just enjoy it as much as Nandor does! He’s started to blow off his British boyfriend more and more in favor of spending time with Nandor, and he lets Nandor win their battle when Guillermo was clearly the winner just so Nandor’s pride won’t be hurt in the presence of the demon community.
But if I’m 100% certain of anything, it’s that I am both glad and going completely feral over the fact that their foreplay seems to be over. Nandor and Guillermo’s romantic relationship, building slowly since WWDITS Season 1, is finally starting to pay off.