TV Review: FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: The Series (Episode Five: “SELF-CONTAINED”)

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 *Editor’s note: these episode recaps contain many spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the episode yet, we suggest watching it first

After an intense shootout and having taken the Fuller family hostage, The Gecko brothers head towards the border in “Self-Contained“, the fifth episode of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN: The Series. An episode mostly contained to a single location of inside the Fuller family’s RV (hence the title), episode five does an excellent job of elevating the already heavy tension that the first season has established, and ends with quite a familiar location.

Heavy in flashbacks, episode five finally explains what really happened to Jacob’s wife, putting to rest any suspicions that Kate might have had regarding her father. Having been deep in marital problems, the flashbacks show Jacob attempting to explain to his wife that all that they needed was a fresh start, that the family should pack up and move to Mexico. Being sick and ready to give up, Mrs. Fuller attempts to kill herself by jumping out of the car, but instead the car accidentally swerves, spinning, and eventually killing her, as Jacob curses God for taking her life instead of his.

Meanwhile, Freddie is knee deep in trouble by his superiors, as the snafu at the Dew Drop Inn leaves him in handcuffs and ready to be taken in, to answer for not waiting to apprehend the Geckos. Seeing an opportunity to escape, Freddie knocks out a fellow ranger, steals his truck and heads towards the border to stop the Geckos.

Tension between Seth and Jacob are at an all time high, as Jacob thinks Richie is going to hurt Kate and Scott, which isn’t false, as Richie begins to see visions of the family being demons, and just when things get to a boiling point, they’re made worse, by Jacob accidentally rear-ending a car in front of him at the border. Carlos visits the border patrol, and kills the head patrolman, assuming his image, and when Freddie shows up, ready to take the RV down, Carlos (looking like the Border Patrolman), locks him in a room, as he makes sure the Geckos and Fuller get across the border. Just as Freddie gets loose, Carlos reveals himself, and his cartel shows up, spraying the border patrol with a hail of gunfire, with Freddie barely escaping and the Geckos/Fullers finally making it into Mexico. Freddie, completely spooked, ditches his clothes, badge of the possessed knife and walks through a body of water, and the Geckos/Fuller pull up to where we as viewers know, the shit will hit the fan: the Titty Twister bar, making the first season’s adventure that much closer to the end.

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Like the previous four episodes, “Self-Contained” does a hell of a job breathing new life into the FROM DUSK TILL DAWN story, as it gives more back-story, and fresh interpretations of the characters. Seth and Richie are just as great as they have been, but like the last two episodes, Robert Patrick’s portrayal of Jacob Fuller really continues to steal to show in my opinion. He’s such a layered character in the series, and that’s a real testament to Patrick’s ability to give viewers a completely relatable and sympathetic character to follow. His desire to make up his mistakes as a father and former husband makes his mission a singular one, and while the Gecko’s are doing a good job pushing Jacob and the Fullers around, his eye is on the end result, making his character better than ever.

Also coming into his own, little by little, is Wilmer Valderrama as Carlos. While the first appearance or two of the character in previous episodes were somewhat hard to watch, due to continually thinking of his Fez character from THAT ’70s SHOW the whole, Valderrama is doing a fine job shedding any traces of that, and creating one mean as hell character, who has already done more than his share of spilling blood.

With the gang finally arriving at the Titty Twister at the end of “Self-Contained“, I’m curious to see how the remaining five episodes can all play out within the bar, or if they even will. Rodriguez and his staff have done such an excellent job making the series its own entity, so who knows?, maybe we’ll see different people live and die, than what the film version showed. Either way, I’m definitely in for the ride.

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