Brandon Soo Hoo
WARNING: SPOILERS ABOUND
So here we are. The end of the line. Well, somewhat. Given that the show has already been renewed for a second season, the way that one looks at this episode can be skewed slightly. Some of the events in the season finale have been being built to from the pilot episode, and as I’ve mentioned before, the only episode more important than the pilot episode is the season finale. This is the show’s last opportunity to build a dedicated fan base for the forthcoming second season.
Right from the beginning, they made a very wise choice in bringing back director Dwight Little who directed episode six, the best episode of the show thus far. From what I understand at this point in the filming, Robert Rodriguez had stepped back from the show to focus on directing a pilot for another show that will be debuting on the El Rey Network (the US home of the show, while the rest of the world has the show as a Netflix original), leaving Little in complete control. After the success of episode six, this seemed to be the best idea they could go with.
The episode begins with the ending of the Gecko Brothers trip through the labyrinth, where good ol’ Big Jim (William Sadler) just doesn’t seem to know when to keep his mouth shut and gets a chest full of lead for his problems. From there we see the aftermath of Professor Tanner/Sex Machine attempting to make a sacrifice of Kate, which is stopped by Gonzalez. Freddie kills Tanner by impaling him with a sword, saving Kate at the last moment. Meanwhile, Jacob is with Scott trying to come to terms with the fact that his son is now a vampire. Scott attempts to have his father join him willingly to no avail, and takes a chunk out of his arm, dooming his father to his same fate. Shortly after, Freddie and Kate find Jacob, and after some emotional scenes, she is forced to drive a stake through her father’s heart. Shortly after, Freddie has a vision of a young woman seemingly in rehab, who he soon realizes is his own daughter.
Elsewhere in the temple, Carlos and Narciso make an effort to stop Santanico from being freed by Richie and Seth. They paralyze Richie and take him hostage, leaving the temple, where Santanico cannot go. Seth and Santanico create a plan to free Richie when they are interrupted by Freddie, attempting to get the keys to the RV. Seth willingly gives them up while finalizing his plans with Santanico and her bevy of vampires. Freddie makes his exit from the show leaving on a motorcycle to return home, while Kate goes to the RV.
Shortly after, the plan set in motion by Seth and Santanico goes almost according to plan, with the only exception being that Narciso and Carlos escape with their lives. Richie is returned to set Santanico free from her curse, allowing her to leave the temple. The episode, and season, end with Richie and Santanico going off on their own, and Kate reuniting with Seth to go their own way, much like the film of which the show is based. Carlos returns to the temple with Narciso, and is sent on a mission of his own to end his arc of the story. As for Scott, well, apparently he did not merit any further mention and is presumed to be wandering through the temple on his own, possibly for a return in the forthcoming second season.
This final episode of the season may be the strongest yet. It takes literally everything that makes the show fun and watchable and amps it up to eleven. With the characters that the show knows aren’t that interesting (ahem, Scott) it quickly wraps up their stories and shuffles them off, focusing on the characters we do like. The episode also does a good job of wrapping up the story well enough to be a satisfactory ending in the event that the show had not been renewed, but also leaving things open ended enough to continue as well.
In retrospect, the show did not exactly seem like the greatest idea. There are many horror movies that could easily be perfect to be expanded into an episodic format (look at the success of Hannibal as a prime example, although that one is not strictly horror) and From Dusk Till Dawn did not immediately seem ripe for the format, but thankfully the mythology was expanded enough, and certain characters fate changed, that for the most part kept the show engaging throughout. The actors brought in did a wonderful job of taking the inspiration from the original film while also expanding them to make it their own. In that regard, definite praise must go to D.J. Cotrona as Seth Gecko and Eiza Gonzalez as Santanico Pandemonium. In fact, given the Santanico’s screen time in the original film is roughly ten minutes or so, she does a fantastic job taking the role and almost making you forget about Salma Hayek being in the original film. But the most credit must be given to Zane Holtz as Richie Gecko, who I would consider the anchor of the entire show. He takes on the mantle of the role originally played by Quentin Tarantino who mostly existed in the original film to make Seth be more likeable despite being a homicidal crook, but Holtz takes it to another level. Out of all the actors on the show, he is the one I would be happy to see have a bigger career coming out of the show. I can only imagine that all the surviving cast members will return in some form or another for the second season, but that remains to be seen.
If you have been on the fence throughout the episodic recaps here, this episode ensures that the show is worth catching. When I started the show, I wasn’t completely sold on the concept, but I am now actively looking forward to what comes in the show’s second season. At the very least, it can’t be as bad as From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (Bruce Campbell appearance notwithstanding) which ironically starred Robert Patrick as well.
Thanks for sticking with us throughout the season, and stay tuned as The Deadhouse goes onto coverage of the new Penny Dreadful show.