“The Last Temptation of Richard Gecko” – 10/13/2015 – ***** stars
Written by Alvaro Rodriguez & Marcel Rodriguez
Directed by Eduardo Sanchez
*The following review contains spoilers.
From Dusk Till Dawn by El Rey Network was one of our highlight’s at this year’s New York Comic Con. Not only were we able to participate in a fun and informative roundtable, stay tuned for the videos, but we also sat in on the panel held at the Empire Stage on Saturday, October 10th. El Rey Network is the creation of the gifted, imaginative, and visionary writer/director Robert Rodriguez. Last year he gave us a television series based on him and Quentin Tarantino’s cult-classic film From Dusk Till Dawn and now, a year later, we have season two. For those that have been watching the crime/horror series, you’ll know how wild, how uncensored, and how stylish the series is. For those that haven’t, you’ve probably spent too much time in your wooden coffin. We’re three episodes away from the season finale and episode eight brings us even closer to the dawn of a new age of television.
“The Last Temptation of Richard Gecko” is a magnificent play on the Nikos Kazantzakis novel and Martin Scorsese film of the same name (and one of my favorites)! Throughout the arc of season one and two, we’ve seen Richie (Zane Holtz) troubled with his delusions, visions, hauntings, and eventual descent into vampirism. It’s a radical shift in the character Quentin Tarantino famously played in the original film and, in many ways, works even better than the original portrayal. Despite Richie’s penchant for violence, he still has a soul and he’s still drawn to Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez). Psst, during the NYCCFrom Dusk Till Dawn roundtable, Robert Rodriguez revealed that the vampiric femme fatale was originally envisioned as a possible character for Madonna to play, but ultimately went to Salma Hayek. “The Last Temptation of Richard Gecko” sees the Gecko Brothers heist go awry and Richie eventually led astray by the vampiric devil himself, Lord Malvado (Esai Morales). While the Gecko Brothers, along with Santanico, believe they can rob Malvado blind, he has plans of his own. It’s revealed that Malvado wants to get into El Rey so during the heist he’s able to get into Richie’s head and convince him that Santanico is calling for him. Richie falls for it and manages to make his way to Santanico who’s really Malvado. It’s here that he’s given this vision and temptation to take the Head of the Nine Lords seat because of Malvado’s journey to El Rey. He tells Richie about “the dusk of one age and the dawn of another” which is really one of the first times that the title is ever used outside of the now destroyed Twister. He believes that this is his proper and only path and takes his place among the Nine Lords.
The script by Alvaro Rodriguez and Marcel Rodriguez is peppered with wit, violence, and intriguing twists. Season one was interesting to watch in that as closely as it resembled the screenplay of the film, it managed to weave in and out of the classic moments we know such as the Benny’s World of Liquor shoot-out. Season Two, while initially troubling in the sense that the material was truly original and that character arcs were now uncharted, it grew on me. Season two is a proper second season and follow up to a fantastic series. There’s a clear direction and plot for the characters that make up the world of From Dusk Till Dawn. We’ve seen tremendous character growth in Kate Fuller (Madison Davenport), and in the relationship/partnership between Seth Gecko (DJ Cotrona) and Sonja Lam (Briana Evigan). After Seth began to doubt his alliance with Sonja in the previous episode, it becomes clear to him that Sonja has an agenda all her own. Despite her “easy peasey” score of $32 million, he realizes that she can’t be trusted and shoots her.
From Dusk Till Dawn is reliably entertaining and is one of the best shows that more people should be talking about. It’s also consistently one of the most excitingly stylish of shows, but then that should be of no surprise considering it comes from Robert Rodriguez. There’s only two more episodes left of this season and they should not be missed. If you like the genres of crime and horror, it’d be hard for you to not enjoy this series.
From Dusk Till Dawn airs Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET on the El Rey Network. Check your local listings.