Thursday, March 27, 2014

From Dusk Till Dawn: Season 1, Episode 3: Mistress

We start with flashback – Seth in prison and not doing so well in a fight which Seth keeps fighting because the other guy keeps insulting his brother. Carlos visits him and sells him the dream of “El Rey”, a place in Mexico he and Richie and go and be protected, never having to worry about whoever after them. He’s not interested for himself – but for Richie? That’s tempting

In the present we see Carlos conducting business – which includes ripping out the throats of guys who try to con him with his huge vampire teeth. And he’s professional enough to answer a call from an increasingly panicked Seth, to tell him where and when to meet to cross the border into Mexico, while cleaning the blood from his fangs and pausing between blood feasts. He does correct Seth when Seth calls him Mexican

Seth is clearly trying to control Richie by giving him a gun he doesn’t like, and they drag Monica, their hostage, out from the boot. He intimidates Monica into staying quiet and tries to almost ask Richie to behave while he goes to get them food – clearly afraid of what Richie will do.

He goes to get the burgers and sees a woman – who he takes into the bathroom and has sex with – apparently his ex-wife. Well, that divorce was amicable. But in the hotel room, Reggie is getting creepy with Monica

Time to check in on Rev Jacob and his family – and Jacob is still not making the best decisions, now letting his highly inexperienced son drive his (and I use the term loosely) vehicle. Kate tries to talk to her dad about the grand, life changing revelations of last episode and he backtracks from all of them. And then the RV breaks down and Jacob says he doesn’t have a tool box. This man is not looking very competent right now (admitted I don’t have a tool box either – but this is a sensible realisation of the damage I will do). Jacob goes into the bar they’ve stopped outside to ask for help.

Policeman Freddie consults a professor about the symbols in the serial killing (which Reggie has been leaving behind too); who demands the gods and the people who worshipped them be treated with respect. He shows him Reggie’s knife with the symbol on it. And yes, they’re doing this in the same bar that Jacob’s just entered because where else would you investigate a serial killing? The knife is ancient and used in ritual sacrifice and super duper non-existantly rare. It suggests the killer worships the vision serpent and comes with 2 gifts – the ability to see and the ability to take action.

Back at the hotel, Richie unties Monica’s hands – but is clearly having trouble and starts rambling about his intelligence; Monica tries to calm him down while mentioning her children. She looks at Richie’s drawings which means she has to drag up a compliment for his gruesome sacrifice sketches.

She treats his wounded eye – and Richie hallucinates an eye in the hand and the voices start up again. And he starts to hallucinate – this time he hears Monica trying to seduce him. when she protests she didn’t say anything, he ties her up and gags her. While he gets a vision of snakes crawling over her.

In the café Seth has to tell his wife that the plan has changed, they’re not crossing together he thinks it’s too dangerous for her to be along (what with Richie being, well, Richie). Seth gives her a stack of money to be happy with instead and she recites a long anecdote which basically comes down to “I’m not a prostitute – how dare you try to buy me off.” And she adds that she worked on the robbery as well – she was the one who cased the bank and laid the groundwork for the job. And she waited for him to get out of prison – not his money.

She would like him to abandon Richie, which Seth is obviously not eager to do. He talks about Richie’s intelligence and how living with their abusive father, Richie used his intelligence to try and keep his father away from Seth who their father focused on. He also saved Seth’s life when their dad set the place on fire – Seth feels obligated. She worries that he will never be saved and warns him that he has a mental illness. Seth is in denial. So she smashes up his car and they have a blazing row before he tells her to leave and that they’re over

Over to Jacob again and the Rev has a temper tantrum when it becomes clear his RV is pretty much junk. The nice man giving him advice on how to fix the thing takes him inside for a drink and they talk wives, families

Cut to the bar – yes this show likes to cut between scenes a lot - the professor tries to get Freddie to understand the blood cult that worships the demigoddess lover of the Serpent god. He tells the story of a woman who the Serpent God was infatuated by – who the cult kidnapped and sacrificed to him, turning her into a “harbinger”. The killer isn’t after blood – he’s trying to “see something”. Flash to Richie losing it again and pointing a gun at Monica – and she asking him to at least tell her how he knew her name and her husband’s pet name for her during sex. She babbles about her sex life with her husband and Richie protests he didn’t hear any of that – he just hears voices in his head! He describes what he saw to her – it was a flashback to when she was with her husband. he says he sees too much and he rests his head in her lap.

And Carlos prays at an altar dedicated to the Snake gods demigoddess lover – complete with the symbols. He credits her for the power to rip out people’s throats (and we see his little way of resolving business conflicts).

Over to the bar again, Jacob this time, and Kate comes in the bar to find her father pretty drunk. She goes back to the RV and searches the bags there… and finds a warrant to test blood alcohol levels in investigating a crime of vehicular homicide. It looks like Jacob got drunk, ran someone over, killed them and is now running to Mexico.

The professor makes a comment about the 9 Lords of the Night (when Freddie makes him give the knife back), Mayan gods. And we cut to 9 men meeting with Carlos who has a truck load of young women to offer them. The men grow fangs. The Professor and Freddie track the killings and find they outline a corridor which the professor calls “the safe zone” of the cult’s lands – centred on the border crossing

Seth has a close call with a pocket full of bullets and a cop – but his wife is there to point a gun at the police man’s head and give him chance to flee. Richie, in the hotel room with Monica, says something ominous about “the night coming” and starts hallucinating again – horribly snaky ones this time. While he’s choking on a snake hallucination, Monica grabs his gun. But there’s no bullets in it – Seth attempting to restrain his brother.

To the bar again Kate is rather cleverly trues to find the truth of the accident and her dad gets the RV working again and reverses it – hitting her. She’s not hurt but she takes the keys off him and decides to do the driving. The professor leaves, giving Freddie one last mythology nugget of a Mayan legend of the brothers who went into the underworld and tricked the gods at their own game. Thank you exposition and foreshadowing man!

Seth returns to Richie to find Monica, dead – her body mutilated like the serial killer victims. Seth is duly disturbed and doesn’t take Richard’s “I can see now” as reassuring. He grabs Richie and pushes him against a wall trying to get him to stop – “this is not who we are.” He maintains his desperate hope that all will be fine when they get to their destination

The first episode, it seemed like they were backing away from Richie’s hallucinations being sexual (and, as in the film, his motivation for raping women).  Now there seems to be some backtracking –though the sexual visions are secondary to the violent ones, they’re there as an undercurrent. But it never goes the way of the film and instead we pull back to him discussing his visions with Monica and the terrifying vision of him resting his head in her lap is more disturbed child seeking comfort than sexual (still deeply terrifying for Monica). I think the show is continuing to try and maintain some of the bones of what happened in the film without going to the places the film did.

We still have the sense that Seth may not be mentally ill and may be woo-woo of some kind.

Even if he’s not mentally ill, he’s presenting as such – and his representation with Seth shows a lot of conflicts that many loved ones of mentally ill people go through – including the denial. But the whole thing also shows mentally ill people not only as really dangerous – but as a grey-hair-causing-burden to their loved ones as well. It makes me hope for more woo-woo and less delusion.

We have a lot of female victimhood still – I hope Seth’s wife hangs around a little while to help counter that

This episode was heavy on the exposition and foreshadowing which makes sense after the rather breakneck action of the last 2