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Recap / What We Do In The Shadows S2 E6 "On The Run"

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When a not-very-remembered acquaintance of Laszlo drops by to collect on an old debt, Laszlo promptly leaves Staten Island, his wife, and old life as Laszlo Cravensworth to embrace his new life in Pennsylvania as Jackie Daytona, bartender and patron of women's volleyball.


Tropes:

  • The Ace: Being a vampire, Laszlo as "Jackie Daytona" uses his powers to make himself look like an impressive, hyper-competent bar owner that everyone likes.
  • Actor Allusion:
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    • When Jim, played by Mark Hamill, fights Laszlo, they both grab pool-cues and hold them up much like they were lightsabers. Jim then makes an annoyed face, before quickly breaking his cue and holding it up as a cross instead.
    • "Jackie Daytona" was partly inspired by the production team making fun of the oddness of Matt Berry using Americanisms in his British accent, like his (and Jackie's) habit of calling things "major-league".
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Laszlo goes into hiding in Clairton, Pennsylvania. It's actually a suburb of Pittsburgh, though the show implies that it's in the middle of nowhere.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Laszlo has completely fallen victim to this stereotype, thus making a heroic moment out of violently assaulting some local citizens whose only crime was doing a charity run for Toys for Tots.
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  • AM/FM Characterization: The montage showing us the daily life of Jackie Daytona starts off with Laszlo playing Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible" on the jukebox to kick off an impromptu dance at the bar, which also ends up being the song Lucy sings as a tribute to him at the talent show.
  • And Zoidberg: A subtle but hilarious example: Guillermo stays hidden and clutching his wooden stake as Nandor, Nadja and Colin ask if the intruder is there to kill them — and when he reveals he's there for Laszlo and only Laszlo, Guillermo gives a half-shrug, puts the stake away and comes out peacefully.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Matt Berry does a gut-bustingly ineffective one of these while threatening the "biker gang".
  • Awesome McCoolname: "Jackie Daytona", Stefani Robinson's idea of the ultimate name for a carefree badass American cowboy.
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  • Bait-and-Switch: The episode's title and opening scenes set up the idea of Laszlo Walking the Earth as Jackie Daytona and traveling from place to place trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuer... only to suddenly swerve and reveal that he's gotten distracted by the girls' volleyball team in Clairton, PA and decided to settle down there permanently, and then the rest of the episode is about trying to get the girls the money to go to State.
  • Becoming the Mask: The whole episode is one big glorious spoof of this trope.
  • Benevolent Boss: Compared to how Laszlo treats Guillermo — to say nothing of his and Nadja's own familiars — the way "Jackie Daytona" runs the Lucky Brew's bar is night and day (so to speak). Lucy the waitress just can't stop talking about what a "big heart" he has and how much he's changed the town for the better, he encourages her to come out of her shell and show off her singing talents to the rest of the town, and he's seen repeatedly impulsively shouting "Drinks on the house!" just to make his patrons happy. Of course, he only came to acquire the bar by murdering its initial owner, he kills several of the patrons to feed while he's there, and after only about a week he burns the place down (accidentally killing one of his employees in the process), but for a vampire (and especially for Laszlo) "Jackie" was a great philanthropist. (He even acquired a second building and burned that one down for the insurance money too to make sure the dead employee's family was taken care of.)
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The episode ends with Laszlo huffily informing the audience that "Jackie Daytona" is apparently also the name of an indie band, which he didn't know when he first came up with the name, and he's been forced to give this disclaimer by "Mark from Clearance". This is, in fact, all true in Real Life and was a result of episode writer and producer Stefani Robinson being unwilling to let go of the name "Jackie Daytona" after inventing it.
  • Circling Monologue: Laszlo and Jim indulge in a bit of this when they first see each other.
    Nadja: Yes... scare him with your circles!
  • Comically Missing the Point: The vampires think that Guillermo's come up with a fun new game to play outside on the lawn. Guillermo exasperatedly points out that the number of cadaver-caused sinkholes has become a safety hazard that he wanted to secure.
  • Commonplace Rare: Laszlo has his debt forgiven for the rented room with a Big Mouth Billy Bass. Jim is later infuriated to learn a volleyball coach could easily afford a replacement.
  • A Day in the Limelight: This episode is almost entirely focused on Laszlo and his alter ego "Jackie Daytona". The other main characters only show up for the beginning, end, and a scene in the middle that establishes how they're doing without Laszlo.
  • Deal with the Devil: The reason why Laszlo went to California was to make a deal with the Devil of the Crossroads to become a better guitarist. The flaw in that plan was that the Devil's crossroads were actually in Mississippi.
  • Determinator: Jim is a parody of this trope. It sounds very impressive and frightening at first that he's been hunting Laszlo ceaselessly for 167 years, until you ask yourself how the hell it could've possibly taken that long to find him, considering he's been living in the same place the whole time.
  • Dirty Coward: All Laszlo had to do was either repay his debt or fight Jim. His response? Run away to Pennsylvania under a false identity.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: Jim and Laszlo throw their beers aside while the other isn't looking to maintain their masquerade.
  • Does Not Drive: As Laszlo dramatically starts the engine on his new pickup truck to drive back to New York, the audience has just enough time to wonder if we've ever seen him behind the wheel of a car before we see him smash it into a wall and sheepishly admit that, no, he never learned to drive. (Which raises the entertaining Fridge Logic questions not just of why he bought it in the first place but how he even got it into the parking spot behind the bar.)
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The final punchline of the episode is The Reveal from Nandor after Laszlo comes back to the house that he's "only been gone for, like, a week".
  • Fainting: Lucy faints twice at the revelation that Lazlo is a vampire.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Laszlo's Paper-Thin Disguise includes the fact that his vampire fangs are, in fact, clearly visible throughout the episode — but it is true that having a toothpick permanently in his mouth draws attention away from them (and naturally keeps him from ever baring his teeth fully to show them off).
    • A wooden toothpick is also, in theory, a very small version of a wooden stake, which Laszlo has previously noted is one of the most offensive things to show to a vampire — surely someone with one in his mouth all the time couldn't be a vampire himself. (It's logic only vampires themselves would really understand, but then it's mostly another vampire he's trying to stay hidden from.)
  • Fridge Horror: The vampires have buried (well, made Guillermo bury) so many dead bodies on the grounds of the house — and buried them shallowly and sloppily enough — that the bodies rotting and liquefying over time has created soft patches and sinkholes all over the yard.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Jackie Daytona tries to be one of these, though since this is a Black Comedy he's terrible at it (he still regularly drains and kills innocent people, the "biker gang" he beats up was just raising money for charity, etc.) Luckily, all he really needs to do to establish himself as a pillar of the community is be a consistent supporter of the local high school girls' volleyball team.
    Volleyball Coach: When you're Jackie Daytona, you can do whatever you want, because you change lives.
  • Genre Roulette: Much of the episode revolves around cool bartender "Jackie" helping the small-town volleyball team make the playoffs like a Sports Story from The '90s, albeit with a level of Gallows Humor considering the show's tone.
  • Good Ol' Boy: Laszlo's extremely half-assed attempt to transform himself from British aristocrat to a laid-back American from a working-class background, consisting of putting on blue jeans, putting a toothpick in his mouth, and buying a brand-new shiny red pickup truck. He doesn't even change his shirt.
  • Good-Times Montage: Our introduction to "the life of Jackie Daytona" over the sound of "Simply Irresistible".
  • Heel Realization: The two vampires put aside their feud when they realize their fight has destroyed the money from the fundraiser and dashed the Bucks' hopes of going to State.
  • Historical In-Joke: The reference Laszlo uses to try to explain the kind of thing Billy the Big-Mouthed Bass is to Jim is the Mechanical Turk.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Laszlo and Jim both get the bright idea to snap their pool cues in half to make crosses with which to repel each other. But, of course, for a vampire touching a cross is even worse than seeing one, and they both quickly have to drop them thanks to their hands burning and smoking.
  • Honor Before Reason: Despite Jim claiming Laszlo's debt exceeds the means of even the wealthiest of vampires, it seems very unlikely that Laszlo's escape scheme (which, among other things, involved spending a "fortune" on a brand-new pickup truck he can't actually drive to help sell the Jackie Daytona persona) could possibly be cheaper than just paying it.
  • Hugh Mann: "Jackie Daytona" feels the need to clarify that he's an "ordinary human bartender" to anyone who asks, and that what he serves are "ordinary human drinks" in an "ordinary human bar".
  • I Have Many Names: Laszlo's tormentor (and creditor) says this very portentously about himself when he first shows up at the house, as a setup for the later Brick Joke that the name he currently goes by is "Jim".
  • I Know You Know I Know: Hilariously parodied. Laszlo spends half the episode convinced that Jim knows who he is and is just toying with him, picking the right moment to spring his trap... until it's revealed that Jim legitimately has no idea who he is and was completely telling the truth about perceiving him as a trustworthy, salt-of-the-earth bartender. Laszlo ends up being revealed completely by accident, with Jim more shocked than anyone else.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Just as Jim is leaving the bar, Laszlo says "goodbye, Jim the Vampire." There's a tense moment of Jim asking how this "stranger" knew his name...and then Laszlo points out it's on the card Jim just gave him.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: Laszlo does this to entertain Lucy, making a shadow of a realistic, detailed bat that then detaches from his hands and flies off.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    Laszlo: (pouring vodka into his mouth) Hey, Jim the Vampire? YOU'RE FIRED!
    Jim: That doesn't make any sense! I don't work for you!
    Laszlo: (puts cigarette lighter up to his lips, spraying a gout of flame from his mouth)
    Jim: Oh, fire! Now I get it!
  • Insane Troll Logic: Laszlo's stated reasoning for picking Clairton, PA as a hideout is that "Pennsylvania" sounds like "Transylvania"... "And we all know that sounds cool". And then Jim stumbles on him after only a week, by accident, because he went to Pennsylvania for the same reason.
  • Insurance Fraud: Laszlo pays the Volleyball teams entry fee with the bar's insurance money after the donations are burnt up... and burns another bar to pay for the funeral of an employee caught in the first one's fire.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: When Laszlo insists to Lucy he really is from Tucson, "Arizoña" (pronounced like a Spanish word).
  • Kiss Diss: Colin makes an advance on Nadja after Laszlo disappears. He wanted to feed on the awkwardness of the rejection. His later futile pass at the Nadja doll was genuine, though.
  • Meanwhile Scene: The only "B-plot" in this episode is a single scene cutting back to the gang in Staten Island showing Nadja is coping poorly with her husband's absence.
  • Nominal Importance: For all the talk of all the good Jackie Daytona has done for the sleepy town of Clairton, PA, he's also murdered several of its citizens (including the original owner of the Lucky Brew's bar), most of whom were probably innocent bystanders (Laszlo demonstrates in the altercation with the "biker gang" he's not very good at judging humans' relative innocence even when he makes the effort). But none of that matters as much as getting the girls' volleyball team to State. This is even quietly lampshaded, when we're about to be upset at the employee who burned to death in Jackie's final act of Insurance Fraud until he reveals it was a man and therefore can't be Lucy, the one townsperson whose name we've learned.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Aside from all the other reasons "Jackie Daytona" is a ridiculous name for Laszlo to be using, he seems to be intentionally trying to throw off suspicion he's a vampire by using a name that prominently includes the word "day" (and that's named for a city in the Sunshine State).
  • Noodle Incident: Our introduction to the "Jackie Daytona" persona shows us how Laszlo's toothpick-and-jeans disguise originated in some earlier incident where he had to go into hiding as a working-class wanderer (the black-and-white photo implies sometime in the '20s or '30s).
  • The Not-Love Interest: Laszlo Cravensworth may be an amoral cad and a shameless Anything That Moves horndog, but Jackie Daytona has nothing but honorable, fatherly intentions with his employee Lucy — despite her openly expressed intense admiration and affection for him, their friendship stays entirely platonic.
    Laszlo: You're a very sweet girl, but it never would've worked. One, I'm married. Two, I'm a vampire! (bares fangs)
    Lucy: (screams, faints)
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Laszlo uses blue jeans and a toothpick to hide his identity. It succeeds in fooling Jim the Vampire.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Laszlo pretends to do this to fix the bar's disused jukebox, while actually fixing it with vampire magic (to a round of applause from the patrons).
  • Pet the Dog: Laszlo and Jim's selfish and destructive scheming gets derailed by both of them falling in love with the local high school girls' volleyball team and becoming deeply invested in helping them win the state championship.
  • Say My Name: Jim yells "CRAAAAVEENNNNSWOORRRTHHHHH!" whenever he gets humiliated because of Laszlo.
  • Serious Business: High school girls' volleyball (in an intentional spoof of how Friday Night Lights treated football).
  • Sequel Hook: The episode ends with Jim discovering Laszlo's deception and possibly planning to come after him again, though since it took him 167 years to get around to doing so the first time it's not clear how long Laszlo will have to wait (depending, of course, on Mark Hamill's availability).
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Laszlo incurred his debt to Jim the Vampire during his 19th-century trip to California to make a Deal with the Devil At the Crossroads by moonlight to become a better guitar player (a reference to the legend of Robert Johnson doing this), only for nothing to come of it because, of course, the crossroads the legend is about is in Mississippi, not California.
  • Shout-Out: Laszlo having an emergency bugout kit hidden in the air vent of a cheap motel room is a reference to No Country for Old Men.
  • Spotting the Thread: Jim realizes that Jackie Daytona is in fact Laszlo when the cloth over a mirror drops and "Jackie" has no reflection.
  • Stealth Pun: Jim the Vampire's human identity when he moves to Clairton and takes the job as the girls' volleyball coach is... "Jim Coach".
  • That Man Is Dead: Laszlo very portentously says this of his former identity as "Laszlo Cravensworth" and proclaims that he's Jackie Daytona now. The whole joke of the episode is looking at the bizarre degree to which this both isn't true (he looks and talks and acts exactly the same, and hasn't even changed any of the clothing on his upper body) and to which it is (he's suddenly a Nice Guy and a Good Ol' Boy with great enthusiasm for classic rock, pickup trucks and high school athletics).
  • Tom the Dark Lord: "Jim the Vampire". Especially hilarious because up to the point we learn his name, Jim has come off as the most pretentious, patrician Old World vampire we've yet encountered, giving Laszlo himself a run for his money in the pomposity department.
  • Unknown Rival: In the 167 years Jim has been hunting Laszlo, Jim has never lost sight of his goal of vengeance against Laszlo, while Laszlo has completely forgotten who Jim is.
  • Vampire Vords: Jim has one of the most classic stereotypical vampire accents in the whole show.
  • Visual Pun: In the opening scene, when the delivery guy falls into one of the sinkholes/shallow graves, Guillermo runs over and shouts "Give me your hand," only for the delivery guy to pull a rotting severed forearm and hand out of the ground and start screaming.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Laszlo seems to think he's doing a flawless American accent when, in fact, he's talking in the same plummy British accent as always with just a few glaringly misplaced words (like saying "ass" instead of "arse").

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