Thursday, March 20, 2014

From Dusk till Dawn, Season 1, Episode 2: Blood Runs Thick

Seth and Richie can’t even have a quiet dinner in the park without arguing. You thought Richie’s itchy trigger finger made him annoying? It’s nothing compared to his nagging. He’s not impressed by Seth not improving himself while in prison (Richie just freed him from 5 years in prison), Seth hits back at Richie’s people skills being so bad he had to live in a shack – and it just devolves from there into a full blown bickering. Having eaten, they go to rob the bank

Ah, this would be a flashback? This show needs to work on their butchered time lines, they really do – there are time travel programmes which keep things more coherent.

Earlier, later – who knows when – we join Jacob (a reverend), his daughter Kate and son Scott riding in an RV to Mexico, with the news of the bank robbery on the radio to give us some desperate flailing attempt at a time line. Jacob also sings so if someone is going to shoot him I’d appreciate them doing it soon. It looks like Jacob has dragged his family off on holiday at the last second with no idea when they’re returning, caring little for Kate’s education let alone her social life; he’s really endearing himself to me. Kate and Scott bicker which is basically a method of info-dumping that Scott is adopted (which comes across more the writers feeling the need to explain Scott being Asian) and that their mother died recently which may explain their father’s… eccentricity (and pawning his wedding ring to buy the RV). But not the singing. Because nothing can explain the singing. He also really really really will not talk about his wife’s death.

They’re being followed by Kate’s Bible-quoting boyfriend, Kyle. No, really, he seems to ram in random quotations into his conversation. Kate is hoping for him to get her and rescue her from the road trip.

They pass the burning shop that was devastated in the pilot, inside which Freddie is dragging Earl to safety. Freddie calls it all in, grabs a passing civilian for transport and charges off to hunt the Geckos, giving out instructions for road blocks and support.

He interviews the two women who were held hostage learning about Seth’s contact, Carlos, and the odd symbols Richie drew on their hands (the symbol isn’t too different from the eye symbols in the serial killer pictures he was examining). His boss arrives and Freddie is eager to get involved – but the rules mean he has to take Freddie off the case after being so personally effected.

He finds, in Earl’s pocket, Richie’s knife that Earl picked up in the bathroom. The knife has the same eye symbol.

Richie’s quite happy with how things went, Seth really really not. He tries to figure out exactly why his brother explodes into random, uncontrollable violence. It doesn’t get more reassuring when Richie starts hearing things and announces something bad is coming. And they still have a bank teller in the boot. This starts another argument over Richie’s habit of taking unnecessary hostages. He wants to know what set Richie on his killing spree – and the voices in Richie’s head whisper again – this time telling him not to trust Seth. He talks back to them (which doesn’t reassure Seth) then forces Seth to pull over – in the scrub desert there’s a body.

Flashback to the bank robbery – seeing the poor bank teller’s (Monica) day be really ruined by the Gecko brothers raiding the bank, cutting out the CCTV – and Richie’s voices starting. Seth tries to keep things peaceful, Richie hits a guy. Because. Unfortunately that’s the guy with the vault combination (but hey, Richie found a drink to steal). The voices start up and Richie holds a knife to a woman’s throat – until Monica offers the vault code.

To the present and the body isn’t there any more – Seth, somewhat irate, calls Richie a “whack job” and they have a fist fight rolling in the dirt before Richie goes looking for the disappearing body. Seth, again, calls Carlos for help to cross the bored and to vent some frustrations about Richie (Carlos makes it clear he considers the brothers a package deal and doesn’t want to deal with just one of them).

Back to the reverend who stops for food while Kate plans her escape with Kyle. Kyle is, unfortunately for him, playing good Samaritan and giving a lift to a guy whose hand burns in the sunlight before he adjusts his glove. He has some interesting conversation – including how souls choose their gods and that gives them they’re tasty tasty flavour, yum. Right before snacking on Kyle – and wow, that’s some seriously impressive vampire fangs, no teeny little teeth on these vampires. Take note – this is how you make a scary vampire without them having to spill blood everywhere like a 3 year old playing with their food.

Back to the flashback and Monica doesn’t know the combination – it may have changed. Luckily, Richie is a super safe cracker – or is if he’s not hallucinating women in the metal of the vault door. So Seth resorts to the drill while Richie takes Monica to the bathroom, complaining that he can crack a safe, honest. Monica tries to use this to spread conflict between the brothers which is brave – but given Richie’s constant hallucinations, probably not wise. Only the alarm stops him from cutting Monica’s throat (urged on by his hallucinations). When Seth sees the cut on Monica’s neck, he takes Richie’s knife.

The police arrive alerted by the alarm – and the voices in Richie’s head guide him on how to open the back door.

Back to the present and Richie finds the body – it’s Monica’s and she’s missing her eyes like the victims of the serial killer Freddie was looking at. He picks up the body and is extra super creepy – before Seth arrives and it’s revealed to be another hallucination. He’s carrying a dead dog (and still all kinds of creepy). Richie finally realises something is happening to him and Seth tries to reassure him

Freddie’s at home obsessing about the case and the serial killings while his wife tries to get him to pull back from it; he has his promise of revenge and his family – behold the future conflict. Freddie notices that Monica, on the CCTV, has a phone they didn’t find (her daughter’s phone in her pocket). He calls it

Back to the Geckos and they hear the phone ring and Seth answers. Seth is fool enough to engage in banter before Richie stops him and destroys the phone – of course Freddie is having the phone traced. Freddie loads up and heads out to the location.

Back to the rev Jacob and his family – and they find Kate before she manages to make her escape. Kyle also pulls up, apparently recovered from being a vampire snack. Kyle reveals that the rev has quit his congregation, which is news to Kate and Scott. He’s lost his faith. Kyle tries to drag Kate away and Jacob tries to stop him – and Kyle attacks him and knocks Scott over. Kate is not impressed and tells him to leave, doubly so when he slurs her brother. A Kyle gets back in his car, he transforms into a vampire – the body of the real Kyle is in the back.

Freddie finds the broken phone – but the Geckos are long gone. But there’s a giant eye symbol in the dirt by the road (we flash back to Richie drawing it with the blood of the dead dog)

And we have one last flashback to the end of the bank robbery, putting Monica in the boot of the car and Richie shooting 6 police while Seth looks on, rather stunned before shooting a police car.

I like the vampires – oh yes, serpentine, menacing, with HUGE fangs and a whole lot of scary – without spraying blood everywhere.

There’s a definite sense that Richie’s voices are not just mental illness – or mental illness at all – continuing the development of last episode. I also find the various sibling on the show really believable -or maybe it's just me finding bickering as a sign of true family (cynical, me?)

The rest – gore, violence and character development; which can be guilty fun. I’m waiting to see why the vampire decided to pretend to be Kyle though because that made little sense.