Thursday, May 8, 2014

From Dusk Till Dawn, Season 1, Episode 8: La Conquista

Flashback to begin – waaaay back this time, to the Conquistadors arriving in Mexico.

In the present, Santanico is with Richie’s wounded, maybe dead body. And by “with” I mean writhing gratuitously over it while still wearing not much of anything” because Reasons. She lets Carlos know that Ranger Freddie is still alive and she’s isn’t happy about it. The problem is that, whatever they need Richie for, it has to be his choice and desire.

When Richie wakes up he backs away from Santanico, horrified. He blames her for the women he killed and mutilated.

In the main club there’s a showdown, Seth has a knife to Freddie’s throat, Jacob’s upset about Scott being missing and has a shotgun to Seth’s head to stop him killing Freddie, Freddie has visible bite marks and they’ve already seen people turn and Freddie claims to know a way out. Lots of tension. Jacob calls on a vote for who wants to leave Freddie behind – and Katie votes for death, as does the professor. Jacob is shocked, they’re sensible – someone is bitten, they turn, they attack you.

They tie Freddie to a stripper pole before opening his “way out” the trap door to the grinder. They work their way down to a side passage, working carefully pas the grinder (Professor Sex Machine drops their weapons in it. Not useful – but, hey, if they were still drinking blood from the fountain they could get a splinter).

Freddie frees himself from the pole and grabs the Eye Knife to free his arms. But before he can join them through the trap door, Carlos arrives. They fight, Carlos with sword, Freddie with Axe (Carlos claims to have made Freddie stronger – I think to explain why Freddie isn’t dead in seconds). The fight looks well done but the cameraman has a bad case of random jerking. Freddie manages to disarm Carlos – but the axe to the face just causes wounds that heal instantly. Carlos rams Freddie onto the bar, salts Freddie’s wounds, drinks some tequila then bites him. Freddie apparently has a special blood line. Proved by him throwing a stick and impaling Carlos before stabbing both his hands to the chair – Carlos laughs.

Santanico continues to try and seduce Richie and convince him she’s a nice vampire and he stabs her. She doesn’t give up and we get a flashback when she was a mortal among the Inca. She ran rather than let people be sacrificed in her name; since she refused to spill blood, she was cursed (as we saw in the pilot) to have an insatiable need for blood. The hunger drew her to the temple where she would be enslaved (presumably to the Lords of the Night). He’s still not overly sold on her plea to free her.

Meanwhile, Professor Sex Machine expositions the fact the vampires have visions (Seth objects – he’s with them on Temple of Doom but draws the line at Crystal Skull. Seth, all right thinking people draw the line at Crystal Skull). Also underworld may be mentioned. Meanwhile Katie takes comfort in the belief that if she dies she will go to Heaven with her mother. To which Jacob basically prepares to spill some big terrible secret about the dead mother and, presumably, why she isn’t in heaven. This causes something to growl. I’m with you unseen monster, bad mouthing the girl’s mother when she’s desperately using the memory to be brave is totally not cool Jacob. Never mind losing his faith, this man is a monumentally shitty pastor. Can you imagine going to see him for comfort? “I take comfort knowing my mother’s in heaven!” “What? Your mother? Hah. Well you can take comfort that she ain’t cold at least!”

Anyway, I digress, they run from the angry vampires, Katie and Jacob falling behind because Jacob has a bad leg. But Seth can’t leave them behind and helps them behind the door they found just before the vampires get them. Professor Sex Machine was willing to leave them behind and Katie gives him a very appropriate kick.

Their little sanctuary is full of all the various cargo the vampires have stolen over the years. And they find a very agitated man with a shotgun who has been hiding down there for a rather long time – though he’s not sure how long. However he’s, perhaps, a little affected by his experiences and demands they spin the “wheel of misfortune”, a little cardboard game of life or death he’s set up. Which Seth wins, earning a shopping spree! And the revelation that the man has been to the very centre of the temple and seen bad bad things.

Scott isn’t dead, he’s in some uber scary catacombs full of scary noises and glowing green eyes. So, not in a good place either – he comes out in Santanico’s lair, watching her trying to convince Richie to trust her

Freddie wants Carlos to tell him why Santanico needs Richie and Carlos responds with a flashback – he was one of the Conquistadors. Hearing of the killing and abuse of the Incans – and the forcible conversion of them; Carlos isn’t so interested in the latter, wanting gold more than anything. So his commander decides the best way to do both is find their gods – which are probably gold statues. The Incans took him to a temple, a step pyramid with the Eye Serpent symbol with lots of gold – and a chained Santanico. She starts to bite him – and he cuts off her chains

Becoming her servant (and creation) which he has been ever since; keeping the deathlords happy and both of them alive. He lured his fellow conquistadors to the temple and killed them.

See, kill your villains, don’t wait for them to exposition!

Santanico tells roughly the same thing to Richie only says Carlos doesn’t love her – he worships her. He’s also greedy, always has been – and makes a profit from working for the lords which means she doesn’t think he can pass the “trials” needed to free her.

Carlos continues his exposition with the news that Richie has only killed one person at their behest, the bank teller (we’re ignoring the police he shot, apparently) the other serial killer victims were not his. He also dismisses the people who regularly die in the Titty Twister because he doesn’t consider them “innocents”. He adds more talk about who Freddie is, a white hat, the price he’ll pay and how he’ll never see his family again – before a vampire sneaks up behind Freddie and knocks him aside.

The vampire is Scott, bitten by Carlos. Carlos is freed but Freddie escapes down the trap door. Carlos again assumes Freddie is dead. And Scott, who was spying on Santanico, tells Carlos she chose Richie over him.

Back in the catacombs, the team gets their 10 minute shopping spree to load up on weapons. Katie makes another attempt to recruit the man as well. The man, Sergeant Frost, is a soldier – and the last time he went inside the mind messing powers of the place made him flashback to horrors he saw in Iraq. He warns them what’s in your head is the main enemy. He closes the door behind them.

As they go on, Kate has a vision, she sees her mother, in despair, committing suicide, coming back to reality screaming. She backs away from the group in shock – and is grabbed by a vampire and pulled up into the catacombs.

She wakes tied to a slab with an eye symbol on it – but the other three arrive before the vampires sacrifice her and kill the vampires. The professor is all impressed that they’re maintaining the old rituals. But many more vampires arrive – but so does Sergeant Frost, with explosives. He helps them – then gets mobbed by vampires

Back to Richie and Santanico – and Richie can’t agree to her because he can’t leave Seth and Seth will never be a follower, he’ll insist on leading. She offers to free him and he asks what will happen to him – and she bites him.

I like the exposition – the show has pretty much reached the ends of where the film could take them – so now it has to branch out on its own. We need more than “oooh vampires”, we need origin story, we need history, we need lore and legacy and plotting and motives and agendas – and we’re beginning to see all of that

We’re beginning to see all of that through a vast amount of exposition info dump. A fair bit of it delivered by Santanico who, at some point, really does need to be given some clothes.

Not sold on even the hint that the Mayan vampires communicated with aliens. I know it’s a minor thing in the whole show, but there are still a lot of ongoing conspiracy/fool theories about the Egyptians/Mayans/Aztec being visited by aliens basically because of the disbelief that these “savage brown cultures” could have achieved what they achieved.

Also not impressed by Sergeant Frost being introduced to be killed off so quickly. And they need to be planning on making something out of Scott’s transformation.