What We Do In The Shadows S5E2: Has Nandor Gained New Powers Or Awakened His Old Ones?

Contains spoilers for "What We Do in the Shadows" Season 5, Episode 2

Remember Nandor the Relentless (Kayvan Novak)? the 760-year-old vampire who has been a woefully awful hypnotist for the vast majority of "What We Do in the Shadows?" Yeah, he's not that anymore. Instead, Season 5 of FX's monster mockumentary has turned Nandor into an absolute beast on the mind control front. 

The show's version of vampire hypnotism usually requires eye contact which obviously limits the number of subjects they can use it on. Nandor seems to have cracked the code, though. In the Season 5 opener, he unveils an ability to perform crowd hypnotism on an entire basketball arena — audience and players alike — simply because he suspects some of them may have seen him trip on the stairs a little. Based on the way others chide him about his constant mind-control antics, he's been doing quite a bit of stuff like this, and indeed, in Episode 2 he repeats the trick by hypnotizing an entire police station to set up a paramilitary convoy for him and Lazslo (Matt Berry).

So, where does Nandor's impressive power upgrade come from? It could be a throwback to his pillager days or an errant wish from the Djinn (Anoop Desai) — or perhaps the self-help book he picks up in the season premiere is just that good. Let's weigh in on each of the options.

Nandor's hypnosis powers could be a link to his past

In "What We Do in the Shadows" Season 5, Episode 1, Nandor attributes his peace of mind to a book that he thinks is an ancient tome but is actually a copy of Thomas Anthony Harris' 1967 self-help book, "I'm OK — you're OK." It's implicated that this plays a part in the reason he's now "OK" at hypnotism. Could a single book have upgraded his hitherto questionable mind-control powers so much, though? It seems far more likely that Nandor would have asked to become a decent hypnotist as one of the many, many wishes he asked from the Djinn in Season 4, but since that hasn't been shown onscreen, this possibility remains in the realm of pure speculation for the time being. 

Speaking of speculation, there's always the chance that Nandor's newfound powers aren't so new after all, but a call-back to his old life as a warlord. Granted, his personal history indicates that he was kicked out of his position as the Supreme Viceroy of Al Qolnidar fairly soon after he became a vampire ... but there are still hundreds of years mostly unaccounted for before he ended up on Staten Island. 

The show has made it clear that Nandor's only life skills have been picked up from the battlefield, which is why he's so ill at ease with modern, comparatively peaceful times. It's also known that he continued his pillaging for quite some time after leaving Al Qolnidar since he attacked Nadja's (Natasia Demetriou) village at some point in the 14th or 15th century. Could Nandor have gathered the forces required for pillaging with group mind control, just like he creates that huge paramilitary convoy from the cops he hypnotizes? Was he a great hypnotist back in his heyday, stagnated during his quiet Staten Island years, and the more stimulating life he's led during the events of the show has revitalized him? Perhaps "What We Do in the Shadows" Season 5 will eventually answer these questions.