Season 2, Episode 22: “Vampire”
Original airdate: May 20, 2000
So Weird has a remarkable knack for remembering every detail. Gabe’s introduction dates all the way back to season one’s episode titled “Angel.”
Gabe and Jack immediately formed a connection, leading to her gifting him her guardian angel necklace.
Throughout Season 2, this piece of jewelry, and even Gabe herself in passing mentions, reappear as symbols of both love and faith.
These are broad concepts, and they find an ally in trust. Love and faith happen to be precisely the kinds of elements that can help heal the substantial rift among the Phillips family members.
However, trust, their ally, is often fragile and constantly under threat.
Interestingly, Dracula, and vampires in general, make for compelling adversaries of trust. Dracula appears charming on the outside, yet in true Victorian fashion, harbors a monstrous craving for the blood of the living.
This brings us to “Vampire,” a modern-day adaptation of Dracula’s story, with a unique twist: it unfolds within an online study group known as OSSN.
Jack relies on this group to tackle Ned’s challenging homework assignments, much to Fi’s irritation.
The situation escalates when Jack persuades Molly to make a detour to the OSSN headquarters in Milwaukee while en route to Indianapolis. (One constant is knowing the tour bus’s location in any given episode.)
Meanwhile, Brent, played by David Paetkau and resembling a Dracula-like figure, discusses “recruiting” the Phillips family, all while casting a menacing gaze upon a copy of The Phillips-Kane Band’s album titled “Another World.”
This episode sets the stage for a compelling mix of So Weird‘s best elements and Bram Stoker’s classic.
Fi’s growing suspicions regarding Brent and Pete’s activities at the OSSN headquarters lead her to dive into an all-nighter of online research and discussions.
This scene, through Fi’s well-known chatroom, reintroduces a couple of notable past characters, including Fi’s boyfriend Ryan from “Second Generation,” Candy, Fi’s best friend from Hope Springs (last seen in “Medium”), and even Gabe, with a cameo appearance by James from “Tulpa” (clearly, not the recent “James Garr”).
Meanwhile, Brent persuades Molly to deliver a speech at the induction ceremony for Jack and two other “inductees” named Paige and Rita, who, as it turns out, are actually vampires, in another nod to Stoker’s novel.
Brent also frequently stalks the Phillips tour bus, giving it a vibe reminiscent of Twilight, although these vampires are certainly not the heroes.
The unfolding events reach a critical point at the induction ceremony, which Jack humorously observes as taking place “in a creepy basement.”
Just before succumbing to a wave of drowsiness induced by Brent, Jack becomes a victim of this scheme.
Fi manages to escape briefly, but Brent ensnares her. That’s when he reveals the true reason behind establishing the OSSN as a vampire cover: Rick Phillips.
Also Read: Review: So Weird, “Web Sight”
As it turns out, Rick is not as he initially seemed. Rick played a role in driving Brent’s father back to Romania, which fueled Brent’s vengeful plan to turn the world’s youth into vampires through the rapidly spreading OSSN. It’s an incredibly ambitious plan.
Naturally, discovering this new detail about her father gives Fi pause, and Brent uses this opportunity to lull her and her family into a deep slumber.
Brent is insistent on beginning with Jack, and this is when the second surprising occurrence takes place. As Pete unbuttons Jack’s shirt, the angel necklace starts to emit a radiant glow. This burst of light pushes both Brent and Pete back, and it rouses Jack from his hypnotic state.
Fi later emphasizes the significance of this event, which is impressive for the implications it carries.
Despite budget constraints preventing Gabe from maintaining a stable presence on the show, the audience is consistently reminded of Jack’s unique connection with her, both through her name and the symbol represented by the angel necklace.
It’s worth noting that this symbol is powered by Fi’s deep affection for her brother and Gabe.
The show introduces a complication in Fi’s understanding of her father and underscores why Jack and Gabe’s relationship was so crucial to preserve.
Their unwavering support for each other and Fi’s determination to stand up for her brother, as highlighted by a tie-tying scene after her long night of research, prove to be more powerful than Brent’s desire for revenge.
Therefore, the traditional Christian symbolism of the Dracula story remains intact, infused with a touch of So Weird mythos.
Pete’s doubts about Brent turning traitor are eventually resolved, ensuring the Phillips family’s safe return home.
Fi begins writing in her journal, while Pete lurks in the background. Is this just typical teenage girl stuff?
However, the complexity of the situation still lingers even after the episode concludes.
As Fi recounts the episode’s themes in her journal, protected by the password “muintir” (the modern Irish word for “parents”), she comes across a previous journal entry that appears to have been written in the aftermath of “Fall,” when Fi and Molly reconciled following the mid-season discovery of Rick’s interest in the paranormal.
In that entry, Fi expresses doubt about whether her mother has divulged the complete story of Rick Phillips, and “Vampire” appears to validate that fear by linking Rick’s abstract interest in the paranormal to a concrete event—the expulsion of a vampire family from the United States.
Bricriu has previously mentioned that Rick was removed from the mortal world for causing disturbances in the spirit world, precisely the type of event he was referring to back in “Destiny.”
Undoubtedly, he’s still part of Fi’s family. Whether for better or worse, she’ll need to place her trust in Rick and “maintain the faith” if she hopes to uncover the capital-T truth, the very pursuit for which Fox Mulder sacrificed so much.
The lingering question is, can Fi muster the same level of dedication and readiness for sacrifices? Trust is indeed a delicate companion.
Also Read: Review: So Weird, “Angel” and “Strangeling”