*As always, these FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: The Series reviews will feature quite a few spoilers, so you’ve been warned*
While the pilot episode of El Rey’s FROM DUSK TILL DAWN TV series did a great job of establishing their version of the Gecko brothers and Earl McGraw (and introduced viewers to the character of Freddie), episode two gave us the new interpretations of the Fuller family. Originally played in the film by Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Ernest Liu, in the TV series, the roles of Jacob Fuller and his kids Kate and Scott, are now played by Robert Patrick (T2, A FIRE IN THE SKY), Madison Davenport and Brandon Soo Hoo.
Following the death of his wife, former minster Jacob is in the middle of taking his kids on a long due road-trip, and in episode 2, we’re introduced to a new subplot involving Kate’s lack of faith in her dad and wanting to run away with Kyle, a young member of the family’s former congregation. All while this is going on, thing begin to heat up between Seth and Richie Gecko with Seth not being very impressed with how things went down in the first episode at Benny’s. We also find out that Richie had taken a hostage during the brothers’ bank robbery, the hostage still being in the Gecko’s trunk. Freddie is pissed as all hell about Earl McGraw dying, and when he puts two and two together and suspects Richie Gecko of being the murderer that he and Earl were looking for, his superiors don’t back him up, so naturally, he’s ready to go after the brothers alone.
Seeing visions in the middle of nowhere, Richie forcefully makes Seth pull over, and as the vision disappears, the Gecko bros. get into a pretty gnarly fistfight before heading on their way. Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama), the middleman for the brothers is on his way to their meeting point, and when Carlos runs into Kyle, we find out that not only is Carlos bad news, but that he’s a vampire, as he quickly springs onto Kyle’s neck. As the Fullers get closer to finally colliding with the Geckos, we’re left with a small run in between Jacob and Kyle, who seems fine, but as he walks away, we see the real Kyle’s dead body in the trunk bed, showing us that Carlos is not only a vamp but a shape-shifter as well.
The pilot did a good job letting viewers know what kind of tone the show was going for, as opposed to just being an exact copy of the film, and episode two furthers that. Like the first episode, we get a completely different Richie, this one isn’t Seth’s lapdog like the film, but instead he’s a quiet force of nature, not afraid of getting down and dirty and kicking some ass, even if it includes Seth’s. It’s an interesting and very welcomed angle to the character, and I’m very anxious to see where it goes from here.
Another difference is that of the Jacob Fuller character. Harvey Keitel’s performance in the film version is quiet yet completely angry. While he was absolutely great in the film, there wasn’t much to feel sorry for, because we never got to see the mourning part of the character, and in the TV series, the character is all about that. He’s a man whose last connection to his faith (his wife) has been taken from him, and he’s struggling to keep his family together. Aside from giving a great performance so far, it’s also awesome to see Robert Patrick back in the series (he played Buck in Scott Spiegel’s fun and underrated as hell FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2: TEXAS BLOOD MONEY sequel to the original film), as the guy proves time and time again that he is one of the most versatile actors working today. Rodriguez and Co. did their homework with deciding who to cast in this show, because they continually knock it out of the part left and right.
Overall, the second episode was a great continuation to the pilot. The Gecko brothers are heading towards the border, the Fuller family is headed the same way and we know that they’re about to come head to head with each other and a hell of a lot more. While the shape-shifting elements to Carlos gave a slight “wait, huh?” feeling, the rest of the episode was fun, tightly-paced and put the hook deeper in that it already had, making this viewer even more anxious to see what’s in store.