After the death, destruction, and blazing inferno of the pilot episode of Robert Rodriguez small screen adaptation of the cult hit From Dusk Til Dawn, episode two opens with a touch of mundanity. Infamous bank robbers Seth and Richie Gecko take a moment to enjoy the sunshine, and quibble over Seth’s failure to get Richie the right taco.
It’s a short bit giving us a light hearted opening that quickly segues into a reminder that Seth has been behind bars for five years. Seth’s worried Richie completely lost his mind while he was away, while Richie is disappointed his brother didn’t spend the time doing something worthwhile, like get a degree. It’s a nice reminder that the due are more than just a swashbuckling, gun slinging pair of bad boys, ozzing attitude and swagger: they’re brothers.
And blood runs thick.
As the title indicates, this is the central theme of the episode, not for the Gecko brothers, but for the other character too.
SPOILER ALERT: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
After the credits we’re swiftly introduced to the other family dynamic that will be prominent throughout the season. Jacob Fuller appears, seemingly in high spirits, singing Christian tunes while driving a beaten up campervan and trying to reassure his daughter, Kate, that he hasn’t lost his mind. The impromptu ‘holiday’ Jacob is taking his children on was very last minute, and on the heels of his wife’s death. Jacob is played by Robert Patrick, a very familiar face to all Geeks and vampire loveres: he played Alcide’s father on True Blood, and has done stints on Sons of Anarchy, Stargate Atlantis, and Psych. His true feelings and mood quickly show as he becomes angry at Kate for wanting more details about her mother’s death. His adopted son, Matt, is content to let things play out, despite the fact Jacob has no idea where they’re going. Kate on the other hand is very confused, feeling her father has kidnapped her, and asks her boyfriend, Kyle, to come and get her.
Another sibling squabble ensues as the van rolls past the still-blazing liquor store Seth and Richie shot up and torched last episode.
Speaking of whom, the Gecko’s continue to squabble over their situation, how they will make it across the Mexican border with every cop in the area looking for them, and just what the hell is up with Richie. Seth goes so far as to ask if he’s on PCP, as this would at least explain the voices he’s hearing, and the hallucinations. Richie denies it, and also that there’s anything wrong with him.
Back at the liquor store, the extent of Richie’s odd behaviour becomes clear. Freddie and the Rangers (I’m sure that’s the name of a band…) have discovered an eye drawn on each of the girls’ hands. It’s the same eye as the knife Richie had, which Seth tried to ditch in the bathroom last episode. It’s also been present at the scenes of several cartel deaths.
As if that wasn’t worrying enough, on the road Richie starts hearing voices again and swerves the car, forcing them to stop. He rushes out and sees a dead body a short way off down a bank. As far as we know, there’s no way he could have known it was there. Richie seems morbidly curious but not disturbed by this fact, until the body vanishes and we realise it was never actually there. After running down to search for it, Richie gets into a fist fight with his brother, who is just trying to get them over the border to safety, and doesn’t have time for this sh*t. Wandering off in a daze he picks up a dead coyote and seems confused, asking Seth what’s happening to him.
Seth calls Carlos, desperate for an update, but Carlos is less than forthcoming about his plan and Seth is far from reassured. At this point the two halves of the episode have their first collision, as Carlos flags down a ride to get him to the border. His hand noticeably smoked when in the sunlight, and he quickly covers it with a leather glove. The driver of the car that stops for him turns out to be Kyle, chivalrously on his way to rescue Kate from the clutches of her nutso father… not that he’s going to get there. Carlos makes short work of Kyle, giving us our first glimpse of the form vampires take on the show: snake-like eyes and descending fangs that snap down from the roof of his mouth and work like a snake’s.
And we all remember that opening scene from the pilot and snake forcing their way down an innocent girl’s throat…
Flashbacks throughout the episode allow us to watch what happened in the much-mentioned bank job the boys were coming from when they got caught at the liquor store. We see more from the Fuller family, and the extent of Carlos’ powers are further revealed.
Meanwhile, Freddie the Ranger is hot on the heels of our bank robbing bad boys and stops in the same place Richie pulled the car over, only to see the same eye that has been turning up at so many crime scenes, drawn in blood in the sand – this is what Richie was doing with the dead coyote, seemingly without realising it.
Overall it’s a good episode, though quite a come down from the high action adrenaline rush of the pilot. The only real action of the episode comes in flash back form, as we see what happened at the bank, and much of this is hilariously funny with a side of brutal. This isn’t a criticism, it’s a nice change of pace, and Carlos brings an edge of quietly developing menage that sucks you right into the story.
If you missed it, you can read my review of the Pilot here. I’ll be reviewing the rest of season one over the coming weeks.