The thing about Dorian in the show is that they’re not giving away every part of his character yet.
I know we supposedly saw a Dorian-centric episode emphasizing his hedonism and boredom with everything but his darkness was mostly hinted at in subtle moments through his words and looks more than his actions.
He only shows his real self in tiny moments like when he answers Ethan’s question regarding what he pretends to be. The way he says "Human" is not simply about being immortal. It’s also about how he views himself. His depravity isn’t reflected in context like Victor’s or Vanessa’s.
Then again, in this episode, he shows his true face to Vanessa even more than anyone else. She says he doesn’t give anything away but their conversation during dinner and his words about “seeking” tells us he’s done everything and anything and he can’t find happiness. He thinks he’s doomed to be lonely. The hope in his eyes shows as he talks to Vanessa sums it up.
It’s left to us to imagine how far he’s gone unlike Victor for instance. We are allowed to think that there are absolutely no limits for him. But he hides how all he lived affects him perfectly just like he hides his portrait.So we’ll probably won’t be shown that part of him until we’re shown the painting.
I think the fact that writers are leaving questions and mysteries about these mostly known or “predictable” characters is essential to move the story and the show. So far they’ve been keeping us guessing. They’re placing mysteries and secrets, making revelations at appropriate moments to move the story further.
If they just gave us every part of the character right in the beginning, we’d be barely surprised at anything they do. We already know Dorian, but we have to wait to see how he truly is in this story.
Personally, I’m glad they’re playing around with everyone and that they can keep me curious about Dorian or Victor, even though their book counterparts are mostly well-known.
I honestly adore what they’ve done with Dorian and all the other characters so far.
And Reeve surprises me with his performance (which I feared would be superficial at first) There are only certain moments he lets the true Dorian take a peek and I can’t wait to see more.