Brandon Soo Hoo
Given that the Titty Twister massacre is now a thing of the past, and there are only three episodes remaining, quite a bit needs to happen if they intend to wrap this initial season up. As these reviews are being written as each episode is viewed we are truly going in blind. On one hand this is great for the reviews as we get taken on the ride, experiencing the ups and downs of each episode as they come. But on the other, sometimes it becomes easier to write a review knowing the end game. Now we get to find out if this eighth episode will be one of the highs on the rollercoaster or one of the dips.
The episode begins with a flashback to the middle ages where we see a human Carlos as a Conquistador, giving reference to the episodes title. Back in the present Santanico pressures Richie into joining the ranks of the undead. We discover that the main reason she has been leading Richie to her has been to set her free from the curse of immortality, adding yet another layer to the story. Meanwhile, Kate, Jacob, Sex Machine and Seth decide to venture into the temple below the bar in the hopes of finding Scott, who was sent through a passageway during the initial vampire reveal. But they do not take off before Seth and Freddie have a standoff, resulting in a vote to leave Garcia behind due to the fact that he has been bitten. Needless to say Freddie frees himself not long after, but is then met by Carlos. It is then discovered that the reason the vamps have been referring to him as “rinche” is because he is part of an ancient bloodline, making him resistant to the venom from the “Chanans”. This explains why he had not turned shortly after the biker group that was bitten. During the battle with Carlos, Freddie gains the upper hand, and just as he is about to finish Carlos off for good, he is attacked by the previously missing Scott, who has been turned by Carlos. In the temple Seth and the crew find a cargo area containing all different sorts of items that once belonged to the unfortunate souls who entered the Titty Twister. We also meet Sergeant Frost (played here by Edrick Browne, originally played in the film by Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, who I oddly noted in last episodes review was not brought on for the show, only to be thrown off by his appearance here) who has been living inside the temple for some time. After allowing them a shopping spree he sends them all on their way freshly armed. Unfortunately Kate gets abducted and is about to be sacrificed when the guys show up and save her. Frost returns to stop another attack, sacrificing himself, effectively rendering the character pretty much useless. The episode ends with Santanico finally getting what she wanted, turning Richie.
This episode was directed by Fede Alvarez, best known for directing the Evil Dead remake. What’s funny about that is how this episode is more enjoyable than that film, which had far too little substance in favor of style. Here he gets to have a little fun, and it becomes clear that despite the misstep with the remake, he may be a director to watch out for. It is intriguing the group of directors that Robert Rodriguez was able to assemble for the show, utilizing himself, classic slasher directors such as Dwight Little as well as new up and coming directors like Alvarez. Given the impending second season of the show, he may be in a position to help launch, or even revitalize, the careers of directors in the genre. Whether or not he does that or still handles directorial duties for essentially half the season is something to keep an eye on.
Interestingly enough, despite the amount of plot progression through the episode, it still feels like nothing was accomplished once you’ve finished watching it. It may tie into the penultimate episode of the season to logically set things up for the finale, but taken on its own it almost seems pointless. That’s not to say it is a bad episode, because it is not. It’s well directed and well-acted. I suppose one could blame the writing for the episode, as it is truly the writer’s job to move the story forward, which they did not succeed in doing.
Hopefully the next episode, the last one before the finale, helps expand on what was done in this episode, and gets everyone excited for the finale. Before watching this episode, I was excited to see where things would head. After watching it however, that excitement has sunk away and in its place is cautious optimism.
From Dusk Till Dawn The Series Episode Eight “La Conquista” is available for instant streaming worldwide on Netflix (except in the United States)