By Steven Biscotti
“There Will Be Blood” – 10/20/2015 – five stars
Written by Matt Morgan & Ian Sobel
Directed by Joe Menendez
In the second to last episode of El Rey’s second season of From Dusk Till Dawn, “there will be blood.” It’s not just the title of the episode, but also a running motif of sorts throughout the Matt Morgan and Ian Sobel penned episode. For those that have been watching the series, you will be familiar with the dark, twisty, and violent subject matter that nearly guarantees a high body count, action, and blood! Yes, plenty of blood! For those that still haven’t tuned in (and what are you waiting for?) it is of no stretch of words that you are missing out on one of television’s cleverest, most stylized, and theatrical of shows. And, yes, there will be blood.
Episode 208 features two memorable guest stars – Gary Busey and Demi Lovato. Gary Busey, the wild and eccentric father of From Dusk Till Dawn series regular, Jake Busey, is featured in a small, but rather important role that starts off the episode. Director Joe Menendez opens “There Will Be Blood” in 1912. We see a group of weather beaten and over worked men digging in Texas. It’s not quite certain what they’re looking for, but they soon realize that they are in over their heads as their work soon unearths the “future.” Gary Busey discovers a well of blood that soon infects a cut on his arm with a snake like blood creature. Later that night, Busey walks up to his compatriots and kills them in a gruesome, but stylized fashion befitting of Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network.
Demi Lovato stars as Maia. She’s the right hand woman and muscle to Wilmer Valderrama’s Carlos Madrigal. We saw her appear briefly and cloaked in last week’s episode, “The Last Temptation of Richard Gecko.” She’s finally unveiled in “There Will Be Blood” and it’s well worth the nearly 40 minute wait. While she still doesn’t have all that much to do it’s almost a guarantee that she’ll have a smackdown with Eiza Gonzalez’ Santanico in the season finale next week, “Santa Sangre.” Lovato, all intensity and confidence, is remarkably good and is one of the best additions to the From Dusk Till Dawn series.
Robert Rodriguez has managed a terrific amount of talented individuals who exude creativity and imagination. From Dusk Till Dawn is a wildly entertaining ride through the Mesoamamerican Macabre Mythology! It’s also a shining beacon for the giant hub that is everything El Rey. “There Will Be Blood” continues to tease the series concept of El Rey which Lord Mulvado (Esai Morales) is desperately trying to get to. We’re told it’s “a place where you can walk in the sun” and we are teased ever so briefly of it after Mulvado his his villainous way with Santanico. There’s a rich mythology for the series based in real research into the Mesoamerican culture and it adds another contextual layer to not just the original film, but the whole brand. From Dusk Till Dawn is a fountain of creative blood bubbling at the well. The cast and crew have managed to interestingly re-approach the vampire iconography and they’ve done it devilishly well.
“There Will Be Blood” spends time with Kate Fuller (Madison Davenport) and Richard Gecko (Zane Holtz) while they make their way out of the frying pan and into the furnace. After having escaped Lord Mulvado, Kate and Richie begin to understand each other even more after Richie had looked into her soul, courtesy of a nifty ability certain culebras (vampires) have. Madison Davenport gets to have one of the bests scenes in the episode when she scolds Richie about not having “another Gecko boy push [her] to the curb.” We also learn just how much Seth (DJ Cotrona) missed his brother in the time spent away from him during the beginning part of season two. The level of care both actors give to their characters is impressive and some serious acting is done here. Davenport as Kate also gets to continue the role of her father, played by Robert Patrick in season one, as a sort of moral compass. She’s also feisty and written as strong as the other female characters such as Santanico. That’s another trend on the series, similar to the Tarantino trait, of developing each female as a fully developed character.
From Dusk Till Dawn is a series unlike any other. That’s one of the reasons it’s so perfectly suited for El Rey and eventually Netflix. It’s nearly an anything goes kind of show and we have three major deaths within “There Will Be Blood.” We won’t spoil who doesn’t make it to the season two finale, but we will say that faces get burned off, arms get ripped off, there’s a lot of culebra ash, and there will be blood.
From Dusk Till Dawn airs on the El Rey Network, Tuesday nights at 9 pm ET. The season two finale airs next week.