Random Musings -- Double Cross


Random Musings About Double Cross:

How Sophie fits in gets even weirder in this episode! When Gustav introduces her to Peter and Anna Dyson, he says, "This is Sophie, whom you've heard so much about." Why did Gustav tell them so much about Sophie, if she's just a girl who stays with him "when she goes to school," as he claimed in the first episode? Not only that, but... think about it: If Sophie stays with Gustav while she's at school, what's she doing there in the summertime when school's not even in session? It is positively confirmed that it's summertime in this episode, as Chris directly states so. Sophie must live with Gustav all the time. But why? What happened to her parents? (I have some theories about this...). And yes, indeed, as Dorothy N. points out, Gustav leaves instructions for her to go with the Townsend family to Philadelphia at the end of the series. He must have custody of her. This does not really jibe with the comment about her staying there "when she goes to school." The material I have says that she is his "ward."

Another really odd thing in the same conversation is that Gustav then introduces Chris (and the absent Max) by saying, "... and Eileen Townsend's sons, Chris and Max." Now, if Eileen is his sister, would he refer to her as "Eileen Townsend"? Wouldn't he say, "My sister, Eileen," or something similar? And anyway, I want to know: what happened to the boys' father?? We never hear one mention of him in the whole series. (This leads me to want to ask about Gustav & Klaus, too, but I'll save that for a more appropriate time.) Did they ever have a father? Is he dead? Divorced? Working insanely all the time, too, like Eileen? As for the age of Gustav, we get several clues in this episode. He and the Dysons have been friends for almost 40 years and had a band ("Three Flying Dutchmen and a Dutchgirl"--Gustav played the tuba) back in the 50's. I would assume that they were in their very late 'teens or early 'twenties when they had the band, since it broke up when Peter and Anna married, so Gustav must be around 60 years old. I would say that Eileen is in her mid thirties (since Chris is 16), so if they are brother and sister, that's quite an age difference--he's old enough to he her father! So what relation could they be?? Any ideas?

This episode is a very enjoyable one, and introduces several reoccurring elements. We see Gustav's funny little red CitroŽn for the first time, parked out in front of the house, and it's the first time Gustav mentions Herr Blusen, the shop owner that he always orders his hot and steamy schnitzel (and other foods, too) from. The closest we ever come to seeing Herr Blusen is when Gustav talks to him on the phone in "Bats in the Attic," but he's sure mentioned a lot! Another fun thing about this episode is the creepy sexton--the grave digger at the church to whom Max gives the cross of the Magyars to be blessed. He's a very weird and scary looking skinny bald guy with a huge German accent. I love his reaction when he returns the cross at the last minute!

As you can see in my wardrobe notes, a rare thing about this episode is that get to see Lucard kind of (kind of) casually dressed--he is riding his exercise bicycle with no jacket, his sleeves rolled up (a little bit) and his top shirt button unfastened! Amazing. The exercise bicycle is another reoccurring element; we first see it in "Children of the Night," but he's actually using it here, while taking notes on a small tape recorder. Why does Lucard ride an exercise bicycle (it's pretty weird to have all that exercise equipment right in one's office in the first place, isn't it?). He clearly doesn't have to, so he must like it. My favourite line in this episode is Lucard's classic, "It was an ugly little town anyway." Still another reoccurring element we first see in this episode is Gustav's bad back, which plays an important role in some later shows. Here, he strains it while demonstrating the dance he used to do when in his band (this scene appears in the opening credits sequence). Poor Gustav. Notice that he always cuts himself shaving before important events (the visit from his old girlfriend, and his appearance on TV in "Mind over Matter"). Very endearing. Another endearing thing Gustav does, twice in this episode, is use old fashioned/wrong words for things: he calls Max's headphones "earmuffs" and refers to the freezer (or refrigerator?) as the "icebox". We also are given a small clue about Gustav's background: he says that one of the reasons Anna married Peter instead of him was that Peter had a more "secure" future. I wonder what exactly that means.

Important background information is given about the Cross of the Magyars ("the big cross over the stairway"). "It is the reason Lucard can never come in here," Gustav tells Max. "My family has had that cross for generations. It has complete power over Lucard and any one like him. They can never enter this house so long as it is there." We learn that it was crafted by Saint Varma, and in "Bats in the Attic" the additional information that it was made in the 12th century in Hungary is added. The cross is indeed powerful--in the highly dramatic climax of this episode, it drives Lucard from the house by zapping him with a huge bolt of electricity. It's so powerful that Lucard senses its presence the moment the sexton brings it back, even though it is covered by a cloth. Other crosses only effect vampires if they can see them. The Cross of the Magyars kills a vampire and a zombie in later episodes, but Lucard is able to survive its blast. (I wonder if there were any after-effects?)

As January T. commented to me, "You know what my fav. part of Double Cross is? I like when Alexander tells how long 'til sundown it is to the second by the position of the sun. <G> He's such a cool guy!" Lucard is very cool indeed in this episode. For a complete list of all the powers he demonstrates, see my list. I think "Forever Knight" vampires are wimps compared to Alexander! One thing in "Double Cross" that I don't understand at all occurs right before Lucard shows up to terrorize the Helsing home. We see all these really dramatic things going on--thunder & lightning, weird noises, flickering lights, telephone ringing, TV and radio acting bizarre, books flying across the room, etc., and Sophie says, "He's enjoying himself--letting us know we can't win." But then we see Max upstairs and he says, while looking down toward the floor, "You can't scare Dracula with noises, you dimwits!" Who on earth is Max talking to?? His invisible friends? His friendly poltergeist companions? Who?? I don't get it. Does anyone have any idea what's going on here?

The plot of "Double Cross" is actually very tricky. All along, it really seems as if it's Peter who's double-crossing Gustav by informing Lucard that the cross is missing. We even have the very misleading scene in which Lucard talks to someone on the phone who makes derisive comments about the decor at the Helsing home, just as Peter did in an earlier scene. It's quite a surprise at the end when the betrayer turns out to be Anna, under Lucard's power. His control over her seems comparable with his control over Mina in Bram Stoker's book. Anna's case is interesting. In another episode (is it "Klaus Encounters"?) Max outlines the various things that can happen to someone who is bitten by a vampire: 1) dead as a doornail, 2) turn into a mindless zombie, 3) die and become a vampire. Anna is none of these. She has been bitten by Lucard, but she acts perfectly normal most of the time. As Gustav says, "Until you kill her, you only control her mind, not her soul." So, apparently, unless a vampire actually kills his victim the effect is reversible. Indeed, Gustav brings Anna back by applying holy water to the bite marks on her neck and saying, "This holy water will free you from that monster by my hand." The holes then disappear. Gustav laments, "That I am the cause of such things... [as Lucard attacking Anna]. Perhaps you were better off with Peter after all." Is there deeper significance behind this, I wonder? We know about Klaus... I wonder if there were others that Gustav loved who were hurt because of his dedication to vampire hunting (er, Klaus' mother, perhaps? But I was going to save that for later.)


Follow-up Discussion:

Sarah T.:
About this "uncle" business: I know several Americans who call unrelated adults who have lived with their family or been close family friends for a long time "Aunt," so Sophie could be doing the same thing with Gustav. Also, if she were his "ward," she might not--because of her age--want to call him "Dad," so she settles for "uncle." The apparent inconsistency about her going to school could be explained by interpreting "goes to school" more broadly--that is, the whole time she's in high school. If her family lives in an inaccessible area, she might not go home that often. If her parents are dead, she would have no other home to go to, but she might not want to discuss that freely. If Lucard were involved in her parents' death and she knew it, I think she would react very differently to him. But if Gustav hadn't told her because of her age (especially if they became vampires before their destruction), that would resolve that problem, and if they were indeed somehow connected to Gustav, that would be an extra source of guilt for him.

Laura:
Yes, I agree that if Lucard is somehow responsible for her parents' death, she doesn't know about it. If her parents were killed in some vampire-related way, I could very well believe Gustav would not have told her. After all, he never told any of them about Klaus being his son.

Sarah T:
I have a theory about how this could have happened, but I'm not sure that everything in this universe should be Lucard's doing. They could have died perfectly natural deaths.

Laura:
True. Good point, and I agree. And even if their deaths were vampire-related, it doesn't have to have been Lucard.

Sarah T.
But if they didn't...well, I keep thinking about the fact that Gustav used to be a professor. I wonder if he inspired some of his students to take on a task too great for their abilities? We know next to nothing about the lives of Dracula and Gustav in the period prior to the appearance of "Alexander Lucard," but they must have been enemies even then, or otherwise Dracula would never have bothered with Klaus.

Laura:
Interesting idea!! Yes, it's implied that Lucard's new identity is fairly recent, and stated that he vampirized Klaus 13 years ago. It's really hard to know when he took on the identity as Alexander Lucard. But we do know that Gustav and Lucard *were* enemies before Dracula became Lucard, and that Gustav "lost track of him" somehow, until he created the new identity. We don't really know when or why Gustav stopped teaching, either. (Although he may have just retired normally, of course.)

Sarah T:
As for the boys, Eileen could have married a much older man who would more naturally be Gustav's brother and could have died even of natural causes long enough ago that the boys aren't still actively upset over it. It's clear that the vampire-hunting mantle of the family is destined to fall on little Max's shoulders (I do hope that Gustav's illustrious great-grandfather was the van Helsing played by Peter Cushing in "Horror of Dracula"! This would actually be consistent with the show, since neither the movie nor the show seem to be actually set in Transylvania), which would help explain Lucard's interest in him.

Laura:
Ah! Enlightenment! Thank you. I think this makes perfect sense.

Sarah T:
Finally, during the attack, Max might have been thinking that the other kids were trying to make a lot of noise to scare Lucard away...

Laura:
Yes, I guess so. Dorothy N. suggested the same thing to me. It makes sense... it's just that the way it's filmed I did not get this impression at all. I can't make the connection between the "noises" and the other kids. How could they make noises like that? You must be right, but I still think the scene is very weird.

Sarah T:
An additional advantage to the "Gustav is related by blood to the kids' father, not Eileen" is that it would help explain Eileen's ignorance of the actual goings-on in Europe--and also why the kids are Americans. If Gustav's brother emigrated to America many years ago, perhaps to escape the family troubles, perhaps for other reasons, and married a nice normal American woman, he might well have done his best to leave that past behind him. Which would include all that incredible nonsense about vampires--and also, perhaps, the existence of Klaus.

Laura:
Ah, Sarah, what a credit to Lucard's Home Page you are! This is just splendid stuff. Excellent thinking.

Sarah T.
(This would be a little stronger if Klaus's vampirization clearly antedated the kids' birth, but alas it doesn't; Chris cannot be thirteen or younger.)

Laura:
True... the fact that Eileen doesn't know anything about Klaus remains mysterious. There are two possibilities that I can think of:

  1. Gustav and his brother (let's call him Fritz) had a rift and Fritz never even talked to his wife about Gustav. This theory is difficult to believe, as Eileen seems to know Gustav well when the series takes place. Could she have become close to him after her husband's death--close enough to leave her kids with him? If Fritz didn't like Gustav (or thought he was bonkers), he must not have told Eileen. Perhaps he just said as little as possible about his family.
  2. Klaus is illegitimate and Gustav never told anyone about him. This would make sense, although it brings up the question of when Gustav started to be Klaus' "father" (i.e., to take on that role in their relationship)--Klaus clearly views Gustav as a father and so he must have lived with him in the father role for some time. Klaus has been a vampire for 13 years, and before he was vampirized was in his early 30's... what does that mean for this possibility?
Sarah T.:
With regard to "the secret of Klaus," I think it would be slightly contrary to the tone of the show for Gustav to have an illegitimate child.

Laura:
Yes, I agree. I was just trying to name all the reasonable explanations I could think of. I do think that would be inappropriate for Gustav.

Sarah T.:
I just can't see the poor man foolin' around, even if he _did_ use to be one of those shady musician types. I wonder what sort of drugs you were supposed to do in a polka band in the 50s.

Sarah T.:
I prefer to think that there may have been a rift between Gustav and "Fritz" (which may have led to his emigration). It need not have lasted until Fritz's death; they could have been reconciled any time after Lucard got to Klaus and then they might well have agreed not to mention his existence--for how could they explain?

Laura:
Ahh... so Fritz knew (after the reconcilliation), but kept it from Eileen because he didn't want her involved with the vampire stuff, and she didn't know Klaus existed anyway, since he'd never talked about his family during the rift? It's complicated, but it does make sense. I could see that happening in real life.

Sarah T:
Exactly. Given the fact that Eileen should never meet him, the only other alternative is to say that he is dead, but of course that presents other problems (what if Gustav succeeded in bringing him back, for example? Easier to say that he was estranged and reconciled than that he was dead and resurrected!).


Random Musings / Lucard's Home Page / lpetix@dpcc.com