Thursday, October 13, 2016

From Dusk Till Dawn, Season 3 Episode 5: Shady Glen

This episode brings us everyone bickering with everyone else. Endless endless bickering. And I actually like it. I like it because, sadly, this is humanity. This is what we do. We’re petty, we’re silly, we’re all too often utterly incapable of putting our petty nonsense aside because of the bigger picture

So we have Dakota hating the Geckos. We have Freddie and Richie striking up sparkes as Freddie is reminded he hates the Geckos too. We have Burt and Aiden sniping at each other. We have Scott whining about being given orders. There’s lots of bickering

I also like the role that Seth plays in this. Rather than making him a fighter on par with the other supernaturals (though I do appreciate his work out scene, though it should have been shirtless) which was always ridiculous, they make him more of a leader. He is the one who repeatedly steps in and demands everyone focus. He is the one who silences the arguments, who reminds people what they’re facing who gets everyone on track. Seth the combat monster alongside Richie, Ximena, Aiden and Freddie doesn’t work. Seth the tactician and leader who keeps his eyes on the bigger picture and doesn’t let current issues cloud matters? That works. That’s a role he can fill. And to a lesser extent he has for a while – I mean, Richie was reluctant to seek out Santanico but it was Seth who cut through the emotion and pointed out it was necessary. Seth is the pragmatist, possibly because he is the outsider.

So the demon this week is Cipactli, an Azetc primeval monster – and it comes with a swarm of insects as well. It heads into the sewers and pollutes the water (thankfully this town has its own limited isolated water supply) which makes people who drink it into cannibals who insatiably attack their nearest and dearest like they’re made of Baileys Truffles

I would also note now that if something makes my family taste like Baileys truffles they are all dead. And they understand this.

All of this is explained by the research guys: Aiden and Burt (who has seen this before) who both snipe at each other constantly

This is a shift from Amarra’s usual tactics of targeting the Culebras and leaving humans out of it. And that’s one of the reasons they manage to get Dakota onside. Yes, Dakota went to Freddie to tell him that Richie is still alive and survived a shotgun blast and Freddie quickly tried to distract her and get her out of the way. That obviously didn’t work so instead she followed Freddie and found out he’s working with Richie. The man who claims to have been raised by her father is now working with the man who killed her father.

Dakota was not amused

Thankfully a flash of culebra fangs and a small town full of cannibals seemed to be enough to get her to put her antipathy to one side and try and get in with the gang for the time being. Oh she intends to catch up with the murdering later but she’s willing to put it to one side while dealing with a cannibal plague. I respect a character who has priorities like that even if it takes, as I said before, Seth to try and keep them focused.

That leaves Ximena who is there to… bring disposable minions and have a scene where Freddie kisses her when she briefly criticises him for being impetuous and not planning. Yes, this has been on the cards for a while – but I’m irritated that Ximena one of the very few female character this show has. Kate has been possessed by a demon and now team!bad guy in a way that also completely removes her agency. Santanico is… is… I have no freaking clue where she is but she’s gone from primary almost-co-protagonist last season to being put on the bus this season. Dakota is late arriving and going to be peripheral simply because she is the utterly clueless human with no history, no knowledge, no special abilities and no real reason to co-operate with anyone else: she can bring nothing to the group and if she could she still has no motive to do so. Ximena needs to be more important. She is powerful, she has the contacts and access and resources… can we treat her as more than a love interest?

So, with the gang all gathered and Seth herding them into their various places (barring the odd fist fight), before he gets infected by the cannibal plague and tries to eat Dakota we learn why Amarra is doing this. She has her terrible-special-effects-my-gods-where’s-the-CGI-budget monster making people into cannibals because the “pure of heart” will resist the urge to chow down on their nearest and dearest. Yes, there is one household where “family dinner” didn’t get a terrifying new meaning and Amarra and Brasa moves in to kidnap this woman and her child.

Richie and Freddie intervene, thankfully Brasa forgets he has his sun-burny-hand power until extras appear otherwise Freddie and Richie would be ashes by now. The innocent pure hearted one (is anyone going to explain why Amarra wants the vegetarian?) escapes – and Richie is kidnapped in his place because Amarra and/or possibly Kate is a little obsessed with him

Meanwhile Scott with his swords and martial arts skills that have come from nowhere and I’m trying really really really hard to resist theimplication that he has these skills because he’s Asian since he didn’t have them in season 1, Aiden with a flame thrower and Burt with… with… a piece of rebar? Damn Burt, you need a better budget – like the special effects department. They all go down to the sewers/water tunnels find out little monster and kill him with moderate ease. So much for a primordial terror. Flamethrowers=not effective. Rebar in the stomach = deadly. Update your notes folks.

I’m glad that this show is drawing on actual Aztec mythology but I’m not sure they’re doing more than actually use just the words without much development. Still, we very very rarely see meso-American mythology in Urban Fantasy (beyond Aztecs = all the sacrifices ever!). As I said, I really want some women to actually be important this season while at the same time I kind of think Dakota is a completely unnecessary distraction

Above all, I want Santanico back and in charge. Hey, remember when Amarra was hunting Santanico? Did she get bored?