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TV Review: FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (Episode 3: MISTRESS)

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*As always, these FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: The Series reviews will feature quite a few spoilers, so you’ve been warned*

As if the last two episodes weren’t enough to keep you on the edge of your seats, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: The Series begins to heat up even more with the Eduardo Sanchez (THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, V/H/S/2)-helmed third episode, “Mistress“.  Introducing more characters, giving us even more backstories to the characters already established, and setting things up for one epic season ahead of us. Read on!

When the last episode, “Blood Runs Thick” left off, The Gecko brothers were looking for a place to lay low, until their middle man Carlos (who’s secretly a vampire) could arrange a meeting point, where the geckos would be safe, and rich. Richie had taken a hostage with them (Samantha Esteban, HARSH TIMES), shows us viewers (and his brother Seth) that he’s quickly losing his grip on reality and becoming quite the loose cannon. We were also introduced to the Fuller family, as patriarch Jacob, trying his damnedest to hold his family together, makes his daughter Kate and son Scott join him on a road trip in their RV. Adding a third element to the mix, Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzales is hot on the trail of the gecko brothers, wanting to bring them to justice and avenge the death of his mentor, Texas ranger Earl McGraw, so walking into “Mistress“, there’s already quite a bit going on.

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The episode begins with a flashback of Seth’s, having him recall prison, and even as he was incarcerated, having to fight for Richie. Doing his best to give an inmate talking trash about Richie, Seth is in the middle of a all out brawl between said inmate and himself, but gets his ass eventually handed to him. We then see Seth’s initial prison meeting with Carlos, who informs Set of “El Rey”, a place where the Gecko’s could escape to, and be free, rich and protected.

Snapping out of the flashback, Seth and Richie pull into a motel, parking their car, and quickly taking their hostage inside, before Seth leaves to go get food. Meanwhile, the Fuller has a conversation regarding Jacob losing his faith following the death of his wife, and just as Jacob says, “I’ve spent my entire adult life following God, I know what he can do”, the RV breaks down, outside of a ran down old bar…the same bar that Ranger Freddie is inside, talking to Professor Tanner about the “blood cult” whose sign all of the murders that Richie has been committing belongs to. The professor (played way against type in a GREAT way by STARSHIP TROOPERS and IDENTITY star Jake Busey), an expert on said cult, tells Freddie about rituals and sacrifices involving a goddess and the blood cult that worships her. As he’s telling Freddie all of the info on the cult, Jacob enters the bar, and asks the patrons if any of them could help him with his RV.

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Carlos gets vampy and slaughters a couple of cartel members, and eventually leads a bunch of business men/vampires to a truck full of young girls, while Seth pulls up to Big Kahuna Burger, and meets his ex-wife (played by FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS‘ Adrianne Palicki), who we then find out has been a part of the Gecko’s scheme to get out of the country rich. When Seth insists that she takes four million dollars and makes a life for herself without them, she flips out and Seth explains that he owes it to Richie to take care of him. While ordering food there, Seth almost gets busted by a cop, but is saved by his ex, so he quickly makes his way back to the motel. Anyone who is familiar with the film version, already knows what’s waiting for Seth when he returns, as the voices in Richie’s head talks him into slaughtering the hostage, in a ritualistic way, similar to the blood cult that Professor Tanner described to Freddie. Shocked by what he sees, Seth freaks out on Richie, but ends up telling him that like always, he’ll take care of him, and they make their way.

Jacob finally gets the Fuller’s RV fixed, but not before Kate Fuller finds out that the accident that left her mother dead and has haunted her father, was caused by his alcoholism, and as Jacob almost accidentally runs her over, Kate insists on driving. Freddie figures out where he thinks the Gecko brothers are heading, and gets on his way, giving us even more stress than what’s been built up by this third episode.

What Rodriguez and co. have successfully done, is make the series so grand, with viewers following multiple POV’s, a touch that really works for the show. We know that the Geckos, the Fullers and Ranger Freddie will end up colliding (that’s inevitable), but it’s the fact that we get to follow each set of characters’ journeys getting to that collision that really makes the show very tense and also enjoyable. Another very cool element to episode three, is the solid addition of guest stars Jake Busey, Adrianne Palicki, and most of all, Samantha Esteban as Monica Garza (the hostage, who ends up unfortunately meeting Richie’s crazy side). In the film version, the hostage didn’t really add much to the story, but in the series, you really begin to feel for Garza, as she’s portrayed with emotional honesty by Esteban, and when Richie ends up killing her, you feel pretty awful about it. Choices like that, to re-imagine characters big and small for the series, makes it stand on its own two feet, and the show never feels like a lesser version of the film, in fact, in some ways, it comes off MORE enjoyable than the film. Here’s hoping that it continues that trend.