From Dusk Till Dawn 3×05 ‘Shady Glen’ Recap/Review

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Welcome back, Ramblers! We’re already halfway through the season and finally with the gang officially back together (minus Kate who’s possessed by Amaru and Santanico who’s MIA), the plot is really moving forward towards Dooms Day.

 Recap

Brasa (Maurice Compte) drives a truck and stops in the middle of nowhere. Pulling a lever, he releases a hoard of insects into the sky—swarms of bugs are never good.

The Sex Machine Dream Team

Sex Machine Burt (Tom Savini) and Sex Machine Jr. (Jake Busey) team up to investigate a ranch for clues on Amaru. After discovering a door into the floor, Burt goes down. However, he triggers a trap and the bomb explodes, destroying the tunnel—and Burt along with it? He’s this legendary culebra warrior—I doubt one bomb could stop him.

The Plagues of Egypt

Dakota (Nicky Whelan), who we discovered last episode to be Earl McGraw’s daughter and also a law enforcement officer, arrives at Ranger Freddie Gonzalez’s (Jesse Garcia) station. Dakota, convinced the Gecko brothers are still alive, tracked down Richie (Zane Holtz) and informs Freddie who tries to unsuccessfully cover for the brothers.

Meanwhile, after having been shot by Dakota, Richie returns home to tells Seth (DJ Cotrona), concerned she knows where they live; the latter reprimands him for trying to get with women during this time. Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo), who’s on lookout, interrupts them when trouble arrives—a swarm of black insects (the same ones Brasa released in the beginning of the episode) are flying through the sky. Both Sex Machine and Freddie see it from their respective locations too.

The swarm of bugs infest a peaceful suburban cul-de-sac of Shady Glen forcing the innocent residents to fortify themselves in their homes. But where the insects go, Brasa and Amaru arrive releasing a muck into the sewers beneath the neighborhood.

Night of the Living Cannibals

The Gecko brothers and Scott track the insects to Shady Glen; Richie notes they need to inform Freddie, especially now that Amaru is involving human civilians. The damage, however, has begun. A mother attacks her husband and tries to eat him, but is stopped when the Gecko’s break in and Freddie arrives to help them.

Scott discovers the insects in one of the backyards; Sex Machine appears (without Burt) as the insects all fly into the vents next to the pool. He informs that the insects were a flying supernatural Xibalban vinegaroon (a scorpion-like insect), whose plagues have been known to destroy villages and decimate their food supply that drove them into cannibalism. The two are interrupted by the homeowner who wants them to “offer their flesh” to him. Sex Machine deducts he’s become a cannibal and it’s proven right when the man attacks and bites him. Scott is about to attack, but Sex Machine stops him as the man is only a victim.

Freddie and Richie are tense—Freddie warns him to stay away from Dakota though Richie defends that Dakota tracked him and not the other way around. Seth, frustrated, reminds them they have bigger problems—cannibals, and so they agree to stop. Freddie’s back up arrives in the form of Ximena and her gang of culebras. She’s manipulated the media and has contained the situation as much as she can, but it’s up to Freddie and the Gecko’s to eliminate the source.

The group is alerted by screams as residents try to eat each other; they all split up to stop it. Only one home remains unaffected—a mother with her young son. Richie’s suspicious though—in every home, at least one person’s been infected.

The remaining house left belongs to a gun-toting, apocalypse-believing man. Having heard no screams and heeding the warnings from one of the locals, they decide not to look into the man’s home. Unbeknownst to them, Amaru (having sucked the man’s soul of course) and Brasa are watching them from inside. Amaru, still in control, notes Kate’s “fixation” toward the brothers, but feels Richie is dangerous. Brasa offers to kill Richie, but Amaru believes he may be useful. Brasa wants to test Richie when the door to Xibalba opens, but quickly apologizes; Amaru starts to suspect where his loyalties lie.

Reunions

Freddie tries to buy time with the Shady Glen residents, blaming the situation on the consumption of bath salts—it seems like bath salts are always to blame in every show. Only this time, bath sales turn people into cannibals. Fun!

Meanwhile, Dakota, having followed Freddie, discovers he’s working with the Geckos. When Ximena’s ambulance arrives, Freddie’s muses on the fact that culebras and humans are working together and that Ximena and him were being civil for once; Ximena notes that he’d be surprised on what she and the other culebras were capable of. You know what’s not surprising? Freddie, despite his prejudices towards culebras, is flirting with Ximena. Does someone have a crush? How cute.

With the assistance of one of the local cops present in the neighborhood, Dakota confronts Richie. Freddie tries to calm the situation down to no avail. Richie tries to deescalate the situation, tells her why he was alive despite being shot point-black and reveals his culebra form (not really a way to deescalate  a situation, Richard, but okay…) However, the officer with Dakota suddenly attacks her, becoming a cannibal, but is stopped by Freddie and Richie.

Afterwards, Freddie tells her he isn’t happy working with Earl McGraw’s murderers, but convinces her that there’s a bigger danger they’re all facing and that the people in Shady Glen need their help now.

So Much for Team Work

The residents-turned cannibals are restrained in one of the garages. Sex Machine tells Seth what he knows about the insects and Scott tells them that Burt is dead though Sex Machine defends it wasn’t his fault. Either way, it leaves Seth with no solution.

Through questioning, Dakota is the first to suspect the source of the cannibalism—the local water supply and informs the others. However, the team is unable to cooperate—Scott doesn’t want to play Sex Machine’s research assistant, Dakota’s uncomfortable working with her father’s killers (understandable) and Freddie’s made at Richie for getting Dakota involved. Seth silences everyone with a gunshot to the roof, orders Scott to help Sex Machine, has everyone else watch over the other residents to make sure they avoid the tap water while he and Dakota station themselves to watch over the cannibal-turned locals much to Dakota’s dismay. Seth starts to become sickly, having forgotten he had drank the tap water earlier.

Richie and Freddie investigate underground, however are still unable to get along. Their fight becomes physical when Richie threatens to turn her. Meanwhile, the effects of the infected water take hold of Seth, and he attacks Dakota. She manages to hide from him momentarily, however he finds her. Richie saves Dakota in the nick of time and restrains him in the garage with the other cannibals.

With the remaining team, Sex Machine informs them the source of the insects and water contamination: an ancient Xibalban sea monster called the Xipotle (or how Scott mispronounces it, “Chipotle”—which is a lot closer than my awful spelling of this monster), which whom they must kill. Burt arrives—alive—having tracked them down through the local news. He states the contamination is only a test to find someone with a “pure of heart” who was unaffected by the water.

Freddie and Ximena arrive to the house of the mother-son pair from earlier, but are too late—Amaru and Brasa have kidnapped them. Freddie rushes out, but Ximena stops him as they need to gather backup, questioning him on his impulsiveness. He kisses her noting some things are an impulse, which leaves her speechless.

The Hunt for the Xipotle

Meanwhile, Scott, Sex Machine and Burt hunt for the Xipotle underground. Scott’s caught by the monster’s tentacles, and Sex Machine and Burt follow and save Scott. Sex Machine uses his flamethrower, but only angers it.

Seth, despite being a zombie-like cannibal, retains part of his intelligence—the part where he’s able to break from his handcuffs. He unties one of the other cannibals and goes after Dakota and the cannibal’s son. Scott, Sex Machine, and Burt kill the Xipotle and in turn, Seth and the rest of the cannibalistic residents return to normal.

Freddie and Richie track Amaru and Brasa. Freddie fights Brasa as Richie goes after Amaru, however, he’s out of bullets. Amaru threatens their human captives; Richie pulls her away, allowing the mother and son to run, but is indadvertedly has his soul partially drained by Amaru. Brasa kills remaining culebras (minus Ximena) and with Amaru, takes Richie and escapes leaving Freddie and Ximena in the dust. As they drive off, Amaru pulls a photo of Freddie’s wife and daughter Billie and smiles.

Final Thoughts

Dakota: If you’re a fan of Robert Rodriguez’s other works like Grindhouse and Planet Terror, you’ll realize Dakota isn’t simply a series original character, but Earl’s daughter in Robert’s other films where she’s played by Marley Shelton. It’s a nice nod to the Rodriguez film world, however she doesn’t feel so integrated into the series unlike Sonja and Paloma was last season.

Having appeared almost halfway into the series, her characters feels kind of…random. She may have had more an effective presence had she been brought in earlier and her relationship with Freddie more established. However, at the same time, she’s voice of reason that’s been missing—she’s our reminder that the characters we root for aren’t exactly the “good guys” even if they are the ones we’re rooting for.

Ranger Gonzalez and Ximena: Jesse Garcia and Emily Rios’ chemistry is fantastic as is the dynamic between their characters, Freddie and Ximena. However when Ranger Gonzalez kisses Ximena, it’s…anti-climatic. Their relationship was definitely moving toward that direction with Freddie’s flirting/teasing, however there wasn’t enough built up to move into a more romantic stage. It’s especially the case since since a large focus in Freddie’s story has been his estranged wife and child.

The Gates to Xibalba: To be honest, I’m not exactly sure where this season is going aside from Amaru wanting to open the gates of Xibalba and saving Kate. The monster-of-the-week is a fun format, but the serialization of the story in the past has always made these characters so much more compelling.

While Madison Davenport has been fantastic in her new role, Amaru herself is two-dimensional and not compelling as a villain. Already half way through the third season, and all we know about her is that she’s the Queen of Xibalba, and she’s evil. What’s really driving her? But there’s been nothing beyond her personality beyond that, but perhaps we’ll see more in the next episode now that Richie is in her captivity. And how long do we have to wait until we see Kisa/Santanico again?

Other Notes:

  • Notice on the dead neighbor’s shirt “BUCK OFAMA.” I guess we know exactly what type of person he is.
  • It is amusing that despite Sex Machine’s transformation over the past two seasons, he’s still a huge nerd.
  • “3333 F-cking Cannibal Lane” – Favorite line of the episode. Should be a movie.

What are your thoughts on the episode? What do you think Amaru has planned for Freddie’s wife and Billie? What do you think of Ximena and Freddie? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Otherwise, stay tuned for the next episode of From Dusk Till Dawn, Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT on El Rey Network!

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