From Dusk till Dawn: “There Will Be Blood”


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.

From Dusk Till Dawn Episode 208 Review


“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.