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'Reginald the Vampire' showrunner & Mandela Van Peebles unpack Episode 6's vampire slayer twists
How do you solve a problem named Nikki?
How do you solve a problem named Nikki? In this week's new Reginald the Vampire, “Halfway to a Threeway," Angela's (Savannah Basley) vampire assassin, Nikki (Christin Park), surprises everyone with her smitten kitten status after listening to Reg's (Jacob Batalon) karaoke skills. Her super crush throws the whole vibe around Reg off kilter as she pursues the fledgling to the befuddlement of everyone including Angela, Maurice (Mandela Van Peebles) and Sarah (Em Haine). But we can't help loving what Nikki's bringing to the story table.
For this week's exclusive SYFY WIRE Reginald the Vampire post mortem, we asked showrunner Harley Peyton to unpack Nikki's impact on Reg's circle. And Mandela Van Peebles gives us Maurice's perspective about how dangerous she might be to his fledgling's burgeoning romance with Sarah and his Assessment focus.
In just two appearances in the series, Nikki the assassin has already created delicious havoc in Reg's already precarious vampire existence, and Peyton tells SYFY WIRE that she's an even bigger agent of chaos in the series than she was in Johnny B. Truant's Fat Vampire books, where she was a girlfriend who wants to be a vampire, much like Claire aspires to be. "As we worked through the season, I realized that I wanted Angela to send someone after Reg, and then I thought, 'Let's just make Nikki this assassin,'" Peyton says of how she came to appear in their adaptation.
Comparing her to another memorable, ostentatious TV vampire, Drusilla (Juliet Landau) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Peyton says they knew great casting would also be key in ensuring that Nikki has immediate impact on audiences. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy, because it's hard to do that kind of a part," he assesses. "But [Christin's] audition was so amazing. She'd self taped it and we looked at it and went, 'This is Nikki.'"
Peyton says Park was so good that he was tempted to bring her into the story earlier, but he held back because she makes such an impact heading towards the season finale. "She's a great way to turbocharge into the back half of the first season because Nikki is right in the middle of everybody's business," he laughs. "In these last five, in particular, she's all there, so that was really a thrill for me to get to work with her."
And in the meantime, Reg has no idea what she's going to mean for his already complicated undead existence, but Maurice certainly does. As he witnesses Nikki at the bar and what she's meant to do by her employer, Angela, the sire has no choice but to assess the threat and get involved. So he glamours Sarah to get some intel that helps him judge how to guide Reg.
"It does opens up a bit of a 'saving the cat' moment because, obviously, I glamoured Sarah," Van Peebles says of Maurice's choice to work his nefarious powers on her for the greater good. "You don't want to hurt your friend. And I know, it's out of wisdom. But I feel Maurice wants to do his part in at least saying he did his best to rectify the situation."
Why? Because Maurice can't help but let himself bond with Reg, who allows him to be more compassionate. "When you look at it from the scope of being a vampire and being immortal and around for eternity, Maurice has had it pretty rough, you know," the actor explains. "He's realistically lost his family, lost any friends he had as a human, and since then has been on this revenge war path with Angela. Reginald is the first time he's broken out of that energy and made a new friend. And in a way, humanized him again. I don't know, once you have a friend, it's hard to go back to being a lone wolf again."
But the glamouring can also go in a very bad way, which Angela proves when she also takes a turn with Sarah and compels her to stake Reg during an intimate moment. Peyton says when they came up with that moment in the writers' room, it really twisted the power into something funny and surprising. "And it was a way to pull Nikki into it because she comes to the rescue," he says of the end of episode moment, where Nikki does a white knight move for her crush. "And that launches us into the seventh episode, where Reginald truly abuses his powers and tries to live in a way that he is in no way prepared to live."
Reginald the Vampire gushes out new episodes on SYFY every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.