Brandon Soo Hoo
We’ve now reached the penultimate episode of the initial season for From Dusk Till Dawn The Series. Given that the previous episode completely changed the storyline from the film giving the show its own life. While throughout the series there have been subtle changes here and there, it’s truly been the episodes since the vampire massacre at the Titty Twister that they have tried to make the storyline its own, and expand upon the mythology. In the original film the whole of the ancient Aztec storyline is relegated to the ending shot showing the temple of which the bar is placed on top of, whereas the show has taken it and not only expands upon it, but makes it a central point of the plot.
The ninth episode begins with a flashback to Seth and Richie’s childhood, including a fire caused by their father (played by the apparent go-to guy for father figures nowadays, James Remar). This leads us back to the present where Richie has been bitten and turned by Santanico. She takes the form of Monica (the banker who Richie killed in the hotel) and stabs him in the eye, returning the favor he provided her with. Shortly after Seth is reunited with Richie, who informs him that they must face a labyrinth of the mind in order to free Santanico of her curse. Meanwhile, Jacob, Sex Machine and Kate are reunited with Ranger Gonzalez. They set out to find Scott in the temple, not knowing that he has been turned and is in the employ of Carlos.
The focus of the episode is on Seth and Richie’s trip through the labyrinth, which takes place during a job that was botched in the past. Essentially, they are doing a heist that involves ripping off Big Jim (played by the delightfully awesome William Sadler) and having to go through memories of their drunken father. In one of these moments between Seth and his father it is revealed that the fire that killed their father was actually set by Richie. His labyrinth father tries to warn Seth of the precedent set by Richie betraying his own blood.
Meanwhile back at the temple, Carlos looks to be going into business for himself, and seems to be making his own deal with the still captured Narciso. Scott goes on a search of his own for his sister and father, who have been separated once again. Jacob is left with Freddie, while Kate is stranded with Sex Machine. As it turns out, our good ol’ friend Professor Tanner has been the serial killer that Ranger Gonzalez has been hunting all this time. Turns out he had been trying to get into the temple for several years, and had recently all but given up until receiving the call from Gonzalez earlier in the season. This is the real reason that he was at the Titty Twister. The last we see of Sex Machine and Kate this episode is with him tying her up to make a sacrifice to the gods. Elsewhere, Gonzalez and Jacob find Scott feeding on a pile of dead bodies to end their portion of the episode.
Given that this is the final episode that the series can use to set up the final battle, it’s rather disappointing how it plays out. It completely feels like another placeholder episode from the early parts of the season, which at this point is almost wholly unacceptable. It’s sad, because the ideas are there, it just doesn’t feel like director Nick Copus knows how to execute them properly. Given that his directorial experience is solely in the television world, it may have been a better idea for the producers to bring on one of the directors who had experience with feature films to helm such an important episode. Alas, there is nothing that can be done to change it now.
There are sadly very few standout moments in this episode, which is disappointing considering how well the show has been doing the past few episodes. Other than the great William Sadler, who is seriously always a standout in everything he has ever been in (seriously, from playing Death in Bill And Ted’s Bogus Journey to his villainous turn in the low budget The Hills Run Red the guy always brings out the best in whatever material he is a part of), the only other standout from the episode is when Seth is about to drive a stake through Richie’s heart, and he recreates the speech from the original film when he does kill the infected Richie.
Outside of this, there could not have been a worse time for a lackluster episode. But on the other hand, there is still one last chance to gain back their momentum, with the season finale, arguably the most important episode of the series beyond the pilot. Look for that review coming shortly.
From Dusk Till Dawn The Series Episode Nine, “Boxman” is currently available streaming worldwide on Netflix (except in the United States).