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The Rules of the Beast
Season 1, Episode 1
The Rules of the Beast Promotional.jpg
Air date January 1,2020
Written by Mark Gattis
Steven Moffat
Directed by Jonny Campbell
Episode guide
Blood Vessel

"The Rules of the Beast" is the first episode of the BBC drama Dracula. It aired on January 1, 2020.


It’s 1897 and St Mary's Convent, Budapest plays host to a desiccated husk of a human being, Jonathan Harker; an English lawyer with a strange and unsettling story to tell. Listening in is the kind and inquisitive Sister Agatha, a nun with a more-than-ordinary-interest in the creatures of the night. Invited to Transylvania to meet the reclusive Count Dracula, Harker finds himself trapped in an ancient, terrifying castle, a maze of mouldering corridors and vaults: a prison without locks. It soon becomes clear that he and his client are the only things living in the echoing halls of the moulding pile: and that the Count himself isn't living at all! In fact, Dracula is a four hundred year old vampire who has grown weary of his own exhausted country and has set his sights on the new world. As the shadows lengthen and Harker's account unfolds it becomes clear that the remorseless vampire may have unfinished business with his erstwhile guest.[1]


The year is 1897, Hungary, Jonathan Harker is being assisted by Sister Agatha, who questions Harker over his biography of his recent trip to Transylvania. Sister Agatha questions why Harker has stopped running from the “monster” he met during his stay. Harker finds it difficult to understand when Agatha tells him that God does not care, he is even more confused when the Sister asks if he had sexual intercourse with the Count.

In a flashback to the moment his journey began, Harker is dropped off at the foot of a hill, Transylvania. Whilst Harker questions why he has been dropped off so far away from the Count's castle, the driver tells him that they shall go no further and the Count will send his driver. When he arrives at the Count's castle, he is granted entry after being attacked by a flock of bats, however finds an empty castle before him. Harker helps himself to food and wine he finds at the Count’s table, before being interrupted by the Count, an old man with long, grey hair. Dracula welcomes Harker, and the two speak over dinner, which seems to make Harker uncomfortable. Over dinner the two talk about the Count's recent purchase of Carfax Abbey, with the Count revealing that he is looking forward to England.The two clash when Harker admits that he will return to England the next day, with the Count revealing that Harker will stay at the castle for the remainder of the month to assist with his English and understanding of English culture.

The Count gives Harker a tour of his castle, warning him that it is not easy to navigate, and he could be easily lost. Further tensions arise between the two when Harker cuts his finger, causing him to bleed, putting the Count — a vampire — on edge. In flash forwards to present day, Harker questions Sister Agatha over how Count could know about Mina, given he never mentioned her at dinner.

Sister Agatha questions if there could be another prisoner at the castle, and Harker recites the dream he had of his fiancé, Mina during the night — a dream that turned to nightmare. The following day, when sunlight streams through the windows of the castle, Harker notices a reflection of the phrase "help us" that had been inscribed into the window of his room. Sister Agatha finds it convenient that the writing was in English, therefore were not likely written by the Count. For the remained of the day, Harker searches the castle for anyone that could perhaps be trapped, however he finds it difficult to navigate the castle, finding himself lost in the labyrinth of stairs and rooms of the castle. When he is awoken by the Count from his sleep, he finds it startling that the Count appears younger than previously. Even more startling is that the following day the Count is younger more so.

At dinner that night, Harker questions if anyone else lives at the castle. The Count reveals that nobody lives there, but the servants work during the day, a fact Harker is reluctant to believe given he has not seen anyone other than the driver. Back in the present, Harker and Agatha talk about how each day the Count appears younger, whilst he progressively ages. Bite marks are apparent on Harker's neck, those correspondent with a vampire bite. Harker discusses how he found a chest full of photographs and belongings of people dating back years, he is even more shocked to find zombie-like people trapped in the basement of the castle. Furthermore, he finds what appears to be a coffin with the inscription "Dracula" engraved. When he peers inside, he finds the Count lying inside. He is attacked by the Count, but tells Sister Agatha that he must've passed out and remembers nothing more.

The following day, Harker awakens to find the Count is younger than ever. The Count asks him to write three letters, all to Mina telling of his journey leaving the Count's castle. Harker finds it difficult to understand why he would write the letters in advance, with the Count revealing that Mina will not look at the castle if anything was to happen to Harker. He decides that day that he will kill the Count.

In a photograph of Petruvio's wife in the basement of the castle, Harker finds a map of the castle. The maps detail a series of hidden passages that Harker believes are unknown to the Count. Behind Petruvio's painting, Harker finds a door to the hidden passages. When he enters, he finds what seems to be scientific equipment, however there are people inside. One of the women in the box pleads with Harker not to reveal to the Count that she can escape the box. The woman further pleads for more food, telling him that she is hungry but further revealing herself to be a vampire. The woman bites Harker, and he awakens finding himself locked in one of the boxes. The Count frees him from the box not long after, and he finds the woman dead on the floor, having been staked by the Count.

Detailing his escape to Sister Agatha, Harker is confused to find that he did not write an account of his time with the Count, but instead wrote numerous pages praising the Count, almost worshipping him. Harker recounts how the Count snapped his neck, but is confused when Sister Agatha reveals that he is undead, but not quite a vampire. Harker awakens after his death, with his first instinct being to jump from the castle, escaping the castle despite the Count's pleads for him to remain. Sister Agatha reveals how he was brought to the Sisters after being found by fishermen. Sister Agatha believes that the Count's fear of the cross provides proof for his existence — Harker disagrees, citing that God has allowed his current situation. When Harker reveals that he cannot remember Mina's face, Agatha reveals that Sister Angela — an accomplice to Agatha — is indeed Harker's fiancé. Harker finds warmth in the fact that Mina still believes him to be unchanged. They are attacked by bats not long after.

The sisters of St Mary's Convent, Budapest

Agatha leaves to watch the situation unfold before her. Agatha warns Mother Superior not to invite Count Dracula into the compound, but takes point on addressing the Count. Meanwhile, Harker struggles with his bloodlust when Mina suffers a cut from the bat attack. Harker cannot resist drinking Mina's blood, leading to an increased bloodlust and Harker attacking her, before he realises the errors of his ways. Realising what he has become, Harker stabs himself through the heart with a wooden stake. Mother Superior and Sister Agatha watch as the Count transitions from wolf to human-form. Agatha calls the rest of the sisters, who brandish wooden stakes against the Count. Dracula becomes angry when Agatha will not grant him permission to enter the property, but offers eternal life to the one nun who invites him onto the property, promising to tear apart the others.

After a confrontation with Dracula, Agatha reveals to Mina that they alone are the only ones capable of defeating the Count. The Count climbs the wall of the convent and, speaking with Johnny, he reveals that suicide cannot kill vampires. He pleads with Johnny to invite him in, to which he does. Whilst the sisters are praying, Dracula attacks them, killing one of them and making a game out of it. Agatha flees to the basement, prompting Mina to stand in direct sunlight. Dracula allows wolves to tear the nuns apart, whilst Harker descends to the basement, revealing that he invited Dracula inside. Harker removes his face shortly after, revealing himself to be Dracula.





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Dracula (BBC)
The Rules of the Beast / Blood Vessel / The Dark Compass