I adore What We Do in the Shadows so it pains me to admit an element is added to the vampire mythology in the most recent season that bothered me. In Season 5 we learn if a vampire dies, any vampires they’ve sired also die (which I will from this point on refer to as “The Lost Boys Rule”). This means the presumed death of Baron Afanas in Season 1, the trial that follows featuring so many amazing cameos, and two near executions of the leading vampire characters no longer make any kind of sense.
The “Death” Of Baron Afanas
The plot of What We Do in the Shadows kicks off in the pilot episode with the arrival of Baron Afanas in Staten Island. This causes no end of stress for the Staten Island vampires not only because they have failed to conquer the United States as Afanas was hoping, but because the Baron keeps doing very inadvisable things like eating food meant for humans (which, in the world of What We Do in the Shadows, causes vampires to immediately projectile vomit).
At the end of Season 1’s “Baron’s Night Out,” the Staten Island vampires’ worst fears seem to be realized when Nandor’s familiar Guillermo returns to the house in the daytime, allowing just enough sunlight in to turn Afanas to dust.
In the following episode, “The Trial,” the vampires are brought before the Vampire Council and accused of willfully murdering Baron Afanas. The episode is famous for including cameos from actors reprising their roles from various vampire media, including Tilda Swinton, Paul Reubens, Danny Trejo, Evan Rachel Wood, and even a Skype call from Wesley Snipes as Blade.
Guillermo and Colin Robinson save them from their execution but in the Season 2 finale, “Nouveau Théâtre des Vampires,” the Staten Island vampires are once again threatened with execution. The Baron’s death and the vampires’ initial escape from punishment are named as two of the reasons for the second execution attempt, with vampire killings actually committed by Guillermo making up the rest of the accusations.
What does all this have to do with Season 5? Well, in Season 5’s “The Roast” it is confirmed that the vampires of What We Do in the Shadows are governed by The Lost Boys Rule.
Baron Afanas is revealed to still be alive in Season 3, and in Season 5’s “The Roast” he learns it was the actions of Guillermo that inadvertently led to his “death.” The Baron vows to kill Guillermo in retaliation, and Nandor and Nadja do everything they can to stop him.
Part of their motivation is the concern that Guillermo might kill Afanas in self-defense, and since both Nandor and Nadja were sired by Afanas, that would lead to their deaths. This would also kill Laszlo, since it was Nadja who sired him.
But if all of this is true, then why did anyone think Baron Afanas was dead in Season 1?
As soon as Baron Afanas got hit with the sunlight in What We Do in the Shadows‘s inaugural season, everyone should have known he was alive. Simply by virtue of Laszlo, Nadja, and Nandor not immediately turning to dust, they should have realize Afanas endured.
More importantly, the very first trial of the Vampire Council should never have happened. The fact that the Baron’s death would also kill the lead vampires would mean none of them — unless they were suicidal — could have any motive to murder Afanas.
If there were any question about one or more of them being suicidal enough to murder Afanas, their continued survival should’ve settled it. If anything, rather than asking the vampires if or why they killed Afanas, the Council should’ve been asking where the Baron was since he was clearly still alive.
The Baron’s Return
To be fair, What We Do in the Shadows did address this in Season 3’s “The Escape,” but arguably it just makes things worse.
By Season 3 the Staten Island vampires have actually taken over as the new Vampire Council, and they unintentionally allow the escape of The Sire — the world’s very first vampire. This terrifies everyone, because should something happen to The Sire, every single vampire could die because of it.
It’s this fear that indirectly leads to the discovery that Baron Afanas still lives. When Nadja and Nandor run off to find The Sire, Laszlo is unconcerned. He claims that The Lost Boys Rule is “an urban myth, like ghosts or large penises.”
Staying behind and chatting with Colin Robinson, Laszlo points out that he and Nadja should both be dead if the “urban myth” is true. Then he and Robinson immediately get up and go to the Baron’s grave, ultimately realizing Afanas still lives.
This actually just creates more of a discrepancy in What We Do in the Shadows. Once the concept of The Lost Boys Rule comes up, it’s treated as something unconfirmed that not all vampires believe.
But by Season 5 The Lost Boys Rule is treated as absolute, verified vampire science. It’s how Nandor manages to cure Guillermo of his half-vampirism in the Season 5 finale: by killing Derek, Guillermo’s sire (which is no doubt the whole point of creating the discrepancy in the first place).
Don’t get me wrong, no discrepancy could make me dislike What We Do in the Shadows. And really, a lot of this could be explained away as “well, in What We Do in the Shadows, vampires are pretty stupid.”
But we just need to the Staten Island vamps to know that not all the toothpicks and impromptu identity switches in the world can hide what they did. We saw what you did there “regular human bartender.” We saw it.