From Dusk Till Dawn 2×05 ‘Bondage’ recap and review

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By Jes Vu

THE GECKO BROTHERS ARE BACK.

After nearly half a season, Richie and Seth are reunited, and I’m sure you missed their brotherly banter as much as I do. Yet despite the big reunion, the award definitely goes to Santanico and the Fuller siblings. I don’t know about the rest of the viewers, but my heart broke and it’s getting really hard to be super snarky in these reviews and recaps because of it.

Last episode ended with one of Nathan Blanchard’s men holding a gun to Seth and Sonja’s head. He wants revenge against Richie for killing his brother. It doesn’t take long for Seth (with the help of Uncle Eddie) to take them down.

Seth discovers Uncle Eddie has been tracking the illegal underground Mexican trades and that somewhere in the state of Texas is the score of the century: a stash house holding 33 million dollars.

Damn. But we’ll get back to that in a bit.

The Tale of Two Siblings

I’m so happy that Scott is getting a moment to shine. Last season had foreshadowed a lot of darkness for Scott, but his development was dominated by the development of other characters. I really hope he survives this season because he seems like prime meat to die.

We were last left off when Scott attempts to turn Kate, but in the knick of time, Freddie saves the day. Scott may be a culebra, but his combat experience is nowhere near Freddie’s, who easily kicks his ass and detains him to the staircase post.

But Freddie isn’t here just for Kate; he’s here for business. He interrogates Scott, but the boy offers little information resorting Freddie to forcibly share blood with Scott (similar to how The Regular ate people’s eyeballs and ears I would figure). Freddie soon knows as much as Scott, including knowledge about Malvado and the ominous prophecy.

While it’s nice to get a further expansion into the mythology, my favorite part is delving into the Fuller siblings and their family dynamic. We learn as a child, Kate held resentment towards Scott for being in their family. As an only child, she didn’t see the need for him when their family was already normal and happy. There’s an overt racial layer to that as she openly admits to rejecting him for being different. In fact, she was the reason why they called him Scott instead of his birth name, Jian Jun; she couldn’t (and didn’t want to learn how to) pronounce his name.

Every teenager desires to be accepted. Yet Scott’s story isn’t one that’s often shown in mainstream media. It’s nuanced and unique. Being adopted at age 7 (which is actually quite old to be adopted), there’s no doubt he felt those feelings of rejection. There’s such a strong correlation between Scott being non-white in their family to being a culebra as we see when Kate tells him she loves him. It’s genuine and earnest because she’s confronting the rift between them and owning up to it. She loves him no matter who or what he is (she helped him bury and hide her friend’s body after all.)

Names have power and they’re tied strongly to our identity, so it’s almost metaphorical when she refers to him by his birth name. It’s if she’s giving back what she stripped of him: his identity. And that’s utterly heartbreaking.

Scott seems touched and asks if she could forgive him.

“I’m not the one who has to forgive you.”

I don’t think my heart could break anymore.

She unchains his hands, but behind Freddie and Kate’s back, he escapes. The former returns to the party hut to find the lacrosse team devoured and hung up on the wall like ornaments. Heartbroken and horrified, Kate vows to hunt Scott down.

But I don’t think Scott necessarily killed those boys. We never actually see Scott murder them. After all the build up, this should be a defining moment for Scott’s story.

We also haven’t seen Sex Machine in a while either. Hmm.

Goddess of Vengeance

It’s been a long time coming that ex-lovers Carlos and Santanico are reunited. Carlos is still obsessively in love with her and shows that she has literally become a goddess to both culebras and humans alike. In an attempt to further break her, he shows her what he experienced in the Labyrinth: he was forced to watch Santanico and Richie live a life of love and fulfillment in the sun over and over again. (Remember, it was to the point that he ripped his fangs out.)

But Santanico is not so easily broken.

“But remember, there are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them.” – David Wong (Jason Pargin), writer.

Wong’s quote so accurately describes Santanico’s narrative. I really have to give kudos to the writers and how well they’ve handled it. Santanico has been placed on a pedestal and dehumanized even to the point of becoming a myth and a goddess to the outside world. Her name and her identity were literally stripped from her by Malvado (it parallels a lot in a way to Scott’s story), and in turn, an innocent girl became a queen.

But despite Carlos’s attempt to emotionally break her, Santanico still stands tall. She’s abused and has nothing left to lose that her defiant speech to Carlos is absolute perfection. She may be trapped in a prison of vengeance, but it’s her prison and it’s one of the rare moments in her life that it’s a choice she made for herself. It’s both tragic, and it’s powerful.

Santanico and Carlos culebra out and fight. Santanico almost kills Carlos, but the Regulator shows up. However, she manages to escape him. Carlos —not so much.

The Gecko Brothers Are Back!

This episode has been an emotional roller coaster that everything about the Gecko brothers here was the lightest part about it—but it helps balances it out.

Sex trafficker Nathan Blanchard detains Richie after all the chaos that happened. Seth makes a surprise appearance and kills Nathan (while Richie eats his goons).

The reunion is not all candy and flowers. Richie is mad at Seth for killing Nathan as he was trying to get more info on Malvado’s headquarters (via a vision, Santanico urged Richie to continue with their original plan). Seth’s recklessness and stubbornness forces Richie to let Seth lead as they track the truck. Despite the seriousness, I realized I did miss their brotherly banter.

Eventually, they find the truck with the girls, and Seth stakes the culebra driver. The sheriff they bribed earlier to locate the truck arrives and turns on them, wanting the money for himself. The brothers are handcuffed and thrown in the back of the car as the sheriff drives the truck to Malvado’s headquarters. It’s all a ploy though. Richie is a culebra after all, and he easily breaks out of the handcuffs, allowing them to follow the sheriff. Similar to the first midseason’s reveal of the Titty Twister, we are introduced to the Texan bar Jacknife Jeds a.k.a. Malvado’s hideout.

Mission completed.

The sheriff arrives at Malvado’s office to collect a reward. He gets his money, but only before Malvado’s cuts his face off. Mostly likely, it’s to add to his collection of human faced-trench coats. Gross.

Other Notes.

  • Carlos is such a foodie isn’t he?
  • We saw Richie take the girls out of the truck as Seth confronts the sheriff. So did the girls willingly go with them or did they put them back in? By the end of the episode, we see them following the Gecko brothers as they look on at Jacknife Jeds. The sheriff did mention he didn’t actually look inside the truck, so I’m hoping that’s cleared up. I’m curious to see what roles these girls will play now that they’ve found Malvado’s headquarters. After all Paloma went through, especially with Carlos and Santanico, I do hope she survives the season and gets her happy ending.
  • The women in Seth’s life always call him out on his attitude toward them, and I love it. But Sonja still feels flat as a character. Hopefully, she’ll be further integrated into the story beyond just a love interest. I still remember she gave them weird suspicious look a few episodes ago. Girl, what’s your deal?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

Catch the next episode of From Dusk Till Dawn Tuesday at 9pm ET /8pm CT on El Rey Network and Wednesdays on Netflix internationally.

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