|Season 1, Episode 2|
|Air date||January 2, 2020|
|Written by||Mark Gattis|
|Directed by||Damon Thomas|
The Rules of the Beast
The Dark Compass
"Blood Vessel" is the second episode of the BBC drama Dracula. It aired on January 2, 2020.
To all appearances, the decrepit Russian ship The Demeter is a perfectly ordinary vessel, but its motley collection of passengers - including a German duchess, an Indian scientist and an English lord, his beautiful bride and their resentful manservant - also boasts a strange cargo: fifty boxes of mouldering Transylvanian soil.
Shrouded in a mysterious fog, the Demeter sets sail for Whitby, England, but the voyage is ill-starred from the beginning. Death stalks the ship and before long the crew of the Demeter are locked in a deadly game of cat and mouse with Count Dracula. Can any of them stop the ravenous vampire before he reaches England and sows the seeds of his unholy blood-cult in fresh ground? As the old saying goes: ’The dead travel fast’.
The Count recites the story of his voyage to England. During the journey, Dr Sharma, the ships doctor, examines a grave of someone who was buried alive. The unlikely person buried in the coffin is revealed to be alive, with recent scratches on the coffin lid discovered to be recent, despite the coffin being over seventy-years old. Meanwhile, a young man named Piotr is revealed to be dead. His mother must stake him, presumably before he returns as a vampire. Overhearing what has occurred, a young servant boy boards the Demeter — a large ship — claiming to be Piotr. The sister finds it hard to believe that the Count would travel openly with passengers, however he reveals that the four-week journey is too long not to.
Tensions arise between the passengers among the ship when one complains about the wine they have been served, Lord Ruthven, the mans master, begs him not to cause a scene. The Count begins to socialise with the rest of the passengers, sitting with the Grand Duchess at dinner. The Grand Duchess reveals that she has been invited to England following the treatment she has endured back home. The Count promptly leaves dinner to feed on one of the crew members, gaining the ability to speak German. The Count reveals to the Duchess that the two have met before, confirming her previous suspicions, but confusing the Duchess, who questions what and who the Count is. While the two dance, the Count feeds on the Duchess, presumably killing her. Suspicions are confirmed when the crew realise that they cannot find the Duchess, or the driver of the ship. It is revealed that the Count has the ability to control the fog — a useful act to block out the sun, allowing him to socialise during the daytime. Later that night, Dr. Sharma struggles with flashbacks to the attack from the person inside the coffin.
When night falls, Lady Ruthven finds it difficult to sleep due to the hot weather, and opts to take a stroll around the deck. She encounters, and introduces herself to the Count, but is weary about being alone with him. Lady Ruthven questions if she and the Count should be discussing intimate affairs, and the Count taunts her about being dangerous, before he reveals that he is a vampire. When she looks in a mirror, she sees herself and her husband, with the Count telling her that she deserved a glimpse of what could’ve been, he kills her not long after — an act witnessed by Dr Sharma’s daughter.
The following day, Lord Ruthven is outraged at the news that his wife is missing. The crew of the ship decide to double the watch, ensuring that nobody walks the decks alone. Dracula talks with Sharma’s daughter, and it is revealed that he is aware she witnessed his acts the previous night. Captain Sokolov reluctantly agrees to allow room number nine, a room the Captain had previously forbid anyone to visit, to be searched, but only by him. The Captain reveals that there is nothing amiss in the room, just a sick passenger as before. Sister Agatha realises that the ship was a rehearsal for the Count’s life in England — a test that he was failing at every opportunity.
In the wake of another death aboard the ship, Piotr reveals that one of the lifeboats is missing, with the majority of the crew. The crew decide it is time to know who is in room number nine, which Sister Agatha finally realises is her. She is stuck in a dream having been kidnapped by the Count from the convent. When the crew decide to search room number nine, they find the Count, who reveals that he took matters into his own hands — in reality, he had been feeding on Agatha. The Count blames the murders on Agatha, and the crew tie her up, preparing to hang her. Agatha pretends that she is a vampire, however later bites her lip, which causes her to bleed, revealing that the Count is a vampire. He disappears shortly after, leaving the crew confused and searching for him. He eventually appears at Dr Sharma’s cabin, where it is revealed that he is in league with Lord Ruthven. With death looming over the two, Yamini drinks her father’s poison, killing herself instantly. Ruthven kills Sharma shortly after, but is killed by Dracula in order to inherit his money and status.
The remaining passengers of the ship attempt to protect themselves from the Count. They quickly discover that Piotr could be the Count, simply disguised as Piotr, similar to how he disguised himself as Jonathan Harker. Sister Agatha questions Piotr, and she asks that Piotr cross the circle line. Piotr is able to cross the line, when Dracula springs up before them, revealing Piotr not to be contaminated by the Count. Adisi becomes visibly annoyed at the death of his lover, Lord Ruthven, and steps outside the circle to confront Dracula, only to be slaughtered by him moments later. Dracula is attacked by all of the passengers simultaneously as a result, and they manage to set him on fire, causing him to flee the ship by jumping overboard. Agatha tells Captain Sokolov that the ship cannot reach England and must be sank, with Agatha remaining behind alone. Agatha tells the Captain to tell everyone of Dracula and the curse, but not to reveal too many concerning details. The Captain refuses to leave the ship, citing that the Captain must always go down with his ship. Agatha realises that the Count is not dead, but is too late to stop him from fatally injuring Sokolov. Sokolov tells Agatha to keep the Count talking long enough for him to exact her plan to blow up the ship.
Piotr and Victor manage to survive the explosion, given they abandoned the ship. The Count also manages to survive, and is able to swim to a nearby shore. When he arrives, however, he is met by armed police, and Sister Agatha, who welcomes him to England.
- It is revealed that the Count is over 400 years old.
- It is also revealed that the Count must sleep in a coffin of soil from his native home, Transylvania.
- The majority of the characters who appear in this episode for the first time also die in this episode — this makes it their only appearance in the series.
- Captain Sokolov sinks with his ship.
- Agatha Van Helsing also sinks along with the ship.
- Grand Duchess Valeria, Lord Tom Ruthven, and Lady Ruthven are all killed by the Count.
- Captain Sokolov sinks with his ship.
- Blood Vessel at IMDb
|The Rules of the Beast / Blood Vessel / The Dark Compass|