Guillermo’s last name in What We Do In The Shadows has layers of hidden meaning. The show premiered its third season on September 2nd and is following Guillermo’s transition from long-suffering familiar to fully-fledged vampire slayer. But the meaning of his surname foreshadows more than just his vampicidal destiny.
The brilliant vampire comedy, based on the movie created by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, also boasts the heart and cleverness to have planted clues in advance regarding character growth. Guillermo’s arc throughout seasons 1 and 2 has evidently been all part of the grand plan, as suggested by his name. Despite wanting to become a vampire himself, it seems Guillermo is destined to become a formidable vampire slayer, if not by the end of season 3, then certainly well on his way.
Guillermo’s surname is “de la Cruz,” which translates to “of the cross.” This will certainly have major implications for the plot. Whether he likes it or not, his surname seals Guillermo’s fate of becoming a vampire slayer to rival Buffy. Because of this, Guillermo has kept his last name hidden from the vampires for fear of raising their suspicions, only revealing it in the season 3 premiere. It goes right over their heads (despite Colin Robinson claiming to know Spanish in a previous episode). Later, they can’t even remember it, instead dubbing him Guillermo Greenberg. The irony is twofold: One, Guillermo didn’t think much of his last name at first, either. His journey only began when an ancestry test reveals his ancestor is Van Helsing, the legendary vampire slayer from Dracula. His full name, therefore, literally translates to “Strong-Willed Protector of the Cross,” which is the second ironic twist. Despite his desperate desire to be a vampire, his destiny is to kill them, instead, accidentally slaying them without even trying.
Guillermo’s first kill is when he accidentally kills the Baron with sunlight. His second kill is also accidental – using a cross to repel a vampire, who accidentally backs into a broken stake sticking out from a wall, sending Guillermo into hysterics. Eventually, his slayer status escalates in the season 2 finale to slaughtering a whole theater full of vampires with ease in order to protect his housemates. In fact, Guillermo might be the greatest vampire hunter in the profession, even when he’s not trying to be. His apparently supernatural DNA means he has a sixth sense for vampire killing. In yet another bit of irony, he’s also spent over a decade living among them, learning their ways to the point where he is now immune to their hypnosis. In the What We Do in the Shadows season 3 premiere, after being held captive while the vampires decide what to do with him after his slaughter at the vampire High Council, he ends up being promoted to bodyguard.
Guillermo’s fate means it could be possible that he will be faced with having to kill Nandor. The creators have already confirmed Nandor’s love life will be explored in season 3, which has already begun with Meg, the gym employee. Besides this plotline giving Kayvan Novak a chance to show off his impressive vocal impressions, it also has hinted that Guillermo’s feelings for him are indeed romantic. However, this may spell trouble down the line. If Nandor starts dating someone else, it could be a source of tension between the two. Additionally, it’s reported that Guillermo’s whole family, who will also have Van Helsing DNA, will be introduced in What We Do in the Shadows season 4. Perhaps Guillermo will be forced to choose between his real family and his vampire family, killing one to save the other. As endearing as Guillermo is, his life as a talented vampire hunter will clearly escalate in the next two seasons of What We Do In The Shadows. It’s the de la Cruz destiny.
What We Do In The Shadows releases new episodes Thursdays on FX and Next Day FX on Hulu.