Random Musings -- The Vampire Solution

Random Musings About The Vampire Solution:

Ah... good old Arthur Bauer. What an annoying man. Well, this episode starts out with some more intriguing bits of background information about Gustav: Arthur says that he "hasn't changed much in 15 years" ("You're still alarmingly... informal."), so we know for certain that 15 years ago Gustav was teaching. Arthur was one of his best students when he was at Tuebingen. (Thanks to Sarah T. for identifying the correct spelling of "Teubingen" for me; it was spelt "Toomingham" in the closed-captioning that was used in the YTV broadcast!) Gustav was a professor in 1975, and apparently one with seniority, as it was his not recommending Arthur for a professorship that "ruined" Arthur's life. Gustav says Arthur had a real talent for vampire history. I wonder what department Gustav was in? I can't imagine Tuebingen actually having a professor who does nothing but teach vampire history; what else did he specialize in?

A marvellous moment in this episode is when Gustav looks out the window and sees Klaus snatching Arthur. This is our first view of Klaus, and we don't yet know that he's Gustav's son (in fact, we don't know during this entire episode). For once, Klaus actually looks rather cool, in his dark glasses and long black coat, dragging Arthur into the waiting limo. "My God!" gasps Gustav and his appalled expression contains more meaning than we can rightfully know.

It seems as if Gustav hasn't seen Klaus in quite a while. The wonderful interaction when Klaus catches him in Lucard's office, pretending to infect Lucard's computer with a virus implies so. (BTW, I'd like to know how he thinks he's going to do that without a disk! All he does is tap a few keys and say, "You're too late--it's been set in motion!" Ha!) Klaus really seems to hate Gustav--I suppose because Gustav wants to bring him back to the world of the living. During the few moments in "Klaus Encounters" when he does turn back, his attitude is entirely different. It is interesting how drastically personalities change when a person becomes a vampire. Klaus is quite sadistic toward his father. The first thing he does upon being reunited with him is knock him out; next we see them, he is taking cruel pleasure in reviving him with an ammonia capsule and wants to kill him. To think that a consistent violent hatred as strong as Klaus's can be completely erased in a moment is rather unnerving. This implies that a vampire's personality isn't his "real" personality at all.

You know (this is completely out of the subject area once again), Klaus' behaviour towards Gustav kind of reminds me of the way Lore in ST:TNG acts toward his father/creator, "often-wrong" Soong. "... but then you've always been wrong about everything, haven't you? A foolish old man, sniffing around things that he'll never understand," says Klaus to Gustav. A reoccurring taunt with him throughout the rest of the series is Gustav's age. It is in this scene that we first realise how unstable Klaus is. He starts to lose control and screams "Boring!!" in an altogether over-the-top way. I've been wondering a lot lately what Klaus was like before he became a vampire. Did he always have these unstable tendencies? And if not, what is it about his particular situation that makes him so goofy? It's not as if Lucard is known for making inferior vampires, yet I would hardly call Klaus a prime example of vampire-hood. Lucard mentions two particular problems that Klaus has difficulty keeping under control: impatience and a lack of caution. I would speculate that the human Klaus shared these failings, but in a much less extreme (and, it goes without saying, dangerous) way.

This episode introduces other reoccurring elements in addition to the character of Klaus. We learn that Lucard has access to all the police files; this is shown again in "Get a Job," where police captain Wolf is in fact a vampire in league with Lucard. Uncle Wilhelm is also mentioned for the first time; Uncle Gustav told the kids that he was going to be at Wilhem's birthday party. Gustav consistenly leaves the kids out of situations involving Klaus and does not tell them his plans. It seems fairly clear that Wilhelm is Gustav's brother, so I won't make any wild speculations about him.

I particularly like "The Vampire Solution" for the light-hearted and campy way it makes reference to itself. This is classic "Dracula: the Series." We have Lucard saying, "After Gustav becomes a vampire--" (then, interrupting himself, turning to the camera) "--sounds so dramatic, doesn't it?" and the kids, realising where Gustav must be, chorusing in unison, miming quotation marks in the air, "The castle;" then, once there, looking for something "dungeon-like." It's campy in the exaggerated way Lucard relishes preparing to bite Gustav, and in Lucard's and Klaus's wonderful side-by-side posing, arms raised dramatically. Lucard is just so good at posing, and at that spin he does when turning into a bat... why, his spins absolutely put Klaus's to shame. You can't laugh at "Dracula: the Series," (though many people try to), because it knows itself; it's not silly because it's a dumb show; it's silly intentionally.

I found it quite interesting that when they got to "the castle," the kids split up--Sophie and Chris looking for a dungeon while Max looks for Gustav. Even though Max is the youngest, he is truly the leader in the realm of vampire affairs. When Max comes upon Lucard and Klaus, he makes a surprising declaration: "You don't scare me, Lucard." ("Now this guy scares me..."). This is not a remark I would expect from Max at this point in the series, especially coming as close as it does to Lucard's attack on the Helsing home. Not that I believe him--but it still surprised me.

I suppose I should outline the properties of the quinidrine solution before I end. It is certainly a powerful concoction. The recipe for quinidrine solution is as follows: Swiss water, 3 dashes of mustard seed, a measure of wolf's blood, burnt ash, garlic, mandrake juice, and (the key ingredient) a leaf from the philemon tree. Quite an imprecise recipe, but apparently the proportions don't matter much, as long as the philemon leaf is present. As I outline in my list of vampire characteristics, the quinidrine seems to be intrinsically a vampire-repellent. When a normal human (in this case, Max) drinks the solution and encounters a vampire, the solution enables him to ward off the vampire by shooting blue energy bolts from his hands. The energy bolts do not appear when he is not in the vicinity of a vampire, and do not harm non-vampires, as we see when he gives Chris an electric high-five. When a vampire actually injests the solution, the vampire element in him is repelled and he is transformed back into a human. Actually, the solution is never given a very good test in this regard, since Gustav has not completely died when he uses it to restore himself. We don't know if it would work on a old vampire like Lucard or even on Klaus. Although never explicitly stated (and, of course, it can't be, as it hasn't yet been revealed that Klaus is Gustav's son), Gustav's intention in making the solution was clearly to bring Klaus back. Klaus knows this, and comments to Lucard that he has "no intention of losing all of this because of some potion or spell." Fortunately for Klaus and unfortunately for Gustav, Lucard has the last remaining leaf.

Follow-up Discussion:

Sarah T.:
I am glad to see you calling attention to Lucard's spins. I've always admired them immensely.

Yes, as have I.

Sarah T.:
Indeed, your entire manifesto on the silliness of "Dracula" was right on the money. Do you think van Helsing could have taught at Tuebingen University? It's an old and famous university in Germany, and if it's pronounced quickly, it could be taken for "Toomingham" by an inattentive person.

Ah, I knew I could count on you, Sarah. I'm ashamed to say that I am ignorant of Tuebingen University, but I am sure you must be right in identifying it as the mysterious "Toomingham." I wish I had more of the YTV episodes... the closed-captioning is so terrible--it's downright hilarious. Most of the mistakes are far less excusable than "Toomingham" for "Tuebingen," too. Although, it did help me figure out what on earth Lucard was saying when he said he likes "hip hop and some ska." I had no clue what "ska" was, but did a web search on the word as they had spelled it. I still can't quite believe Alexander wasn't joking when he said that, though. I really can't imagine Lucard listening to rap, hip hop or ska. I guess that line is suppose to show how "hip" Lucard is, but we never see any later evidence that his tastes run that way. I'd rather expect him to consider it noise, but maybe I'm just shallow.

Sarah T.:
I don't think merely becoming a vampire could eradicate any native goofiness of Klaus's; rather, it would probably intensify it. Unlike most cases, I doubt Lucard much cared whether Klaus would turn out to be an aesthetically pleasing vampire (that cape he wears--ugh! He doesn't even look very good in a suit most of the time. Proof that being bitten by a vampire does not automatically improve one's sartorial sense).

Indeed not. And yes... as Gustav points out to Klaus in another episode, "He took you because you are my son," not based on aesthetics. (What a pity... shouldn't all decisions be aesthetic ones??) Actually, Klaus looks much better for the few moments that he's not a vampire. I think much of the problem is that dreadful hair-style he wears. Of course, he can't see his reflection in the mirror, so perhaps Lucard gets perverse pleasure out of telling him it looks good that way.

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