From Dusk Till Dawn 2×09 ‘There Will Be Blood’ Recap/Review

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By Jes Vu

Once Upon 1912

In 1912, an oilwell digger (Gary Busey) discovers oil; however, the liquid absorbs into his open wound. Outside, the well bursts and the other diggers celebrate their discovery only to learn it’s not oil—it’s blood. The main digger appears behind them with his face mutilated before killing them all.

At the same spot in present time, Carlos, Sex Machine and Scott locate and unlock the blood well—the infamous Santa Sangre.

High School Reunions

Malvado convinces Richie to accept his offer and encourages him to take down Carlos. Malvado wants the souls in the Santa Sangre released as his offering to his gods in order to enter El Rey.

To locate Carlos and the Santa Sangre’s location, Malvado brings out Kate, reuniting Kate and Richie after almost a full season. Kate refuses to reveal anything, but Malvado assures her she doesn’t have to: through sharing their blood, he’ll retrieve the location. Richie convinces Malvado to allow him to do it instead. Not only does Richie discover the location, he sees into Kate’s soul and everything that has happened to her thus far from Seth’s heroin addiction to having to bury her friend’s body. Afterwards, Malvado intends to turn Kate into a culebra, however, Richie insists he’ll do it. Malvado lets him take Kate with him to find Carlos.

In the car, Kate asks if Richie is going to actually turn her, but he assures her he isn’t; he never did. Stopping the car, he kicks Kate out, but Kate closes the car door and stays. Paralleling to her car scene with Seth, Kate lashes out at Richie and tells him she’s going with him—he gives in. During their drive, Kate learns that Richie and Seth are working together and happily deducts there is a bigger plan for everyone to get what they want. She isn’t exactly right. When they arrive at the Santa Sangre, they plan for their attack. But Kate realizes Richie’s true intentions—in order to achieve his goals to take Malvado’s throne, Richie had planned to sacrifice other lives in the process, including Scott’s. They argue before Kate escapes to warn her brother.

It’s such a short season that it’s hard to believe that it took nine episodes for Richie and Kate to reunite. I almost forgot how well Zane Holtz and Madison Davenport worked together and reminded me how much good Kate brings out in both brothers, not just Seth. But despite their recognition of Kate as an equal, I do wonder how much they forget that Kate isn’t an adult, she’s still a teenager.

Santanico vs Paloma

After having her connection with Richie severed, Santanico discovers Paloma chained up within the dungeons. Paloma reveals she actively sought out Malvado wanting all that Santanico was offered. Santanico assures she shouldn’t and frees her. Unwilling to allow Paloma further harm, she tells her to escape. However, Paloma wants to go with her and reveals Malvado was planning to take Santanico to El Rey tonight. Realizing Paloma knows Malvado’s location, she asks her to take her to him.

Paloma takes Santanico to Malvado’s office, but it’s empty. Santanico soon deducts Malvado turned her into a culebra—the cuts where the cuffs were on her ankle have completely healed. She calls her naive, but Paloma says that Malvado has seen into her soul—Paloma wants to be la Diosa (the Goddess.) Paloma transforms into her culebra form, tells Santanico her rape and abuse by Malvado was deserved. She attempts to stake the older culebra, however, Santanico easily overpowers her. On a heartbreaking note, Santanico stakes Paloma knowing she was the reason Paloma got to this point. Malvado reveals himself to Santanico, pleased.

Malvado wants to take Santanico to El Rey with him, however, Santanico reaffirms she’s not going and that her name is Kisa. However, Malvado bites and pumps venom into throat, disabling her. He then gets into her head, showing her visions of El Rey—it’s an opportunity to be happy and to walk into the sun. When he asks what he name is again, she tells him it’s Santanico before willing leaving with him.

Unlike Sonja, I actually liked Paloma. Yet, very much like Sonja, I felt there was a lot of injustice to how her character was handled in her overall arc. First, Paloma’s return felt random and the 180-switch in her personality didn’t seem believable. It seemed it was more used for shock value. Was she already corrupted or was this the work of Malvado as well? Could it be a mix of both? It’s not exactly clear, and while I’m aware Paloma is only a side character, her sudden change in personality and her death only solidified her position as a prop in Santanico’s story and served as a way to tie up loose ends. The development of Paloma’s character and her relationship to Santanico prior were both so fascinating that her death wasn’t powerful enough to make my heart break for Santanico’s situation–it simply gave a bad taste to my mouth.

Kisa’s Vengeance

While trying to escape with Malvado’s money, Seth finds himself outnumbered and captured by the Arbiter. When he wakes up, he finds himself chained up next to Greely in the Arbiter’s torture chamber on queue to be skinned alive. It is there that the Arbiter tells him Richie has accepted Malvado’s offer. Noticing the keys on the Arbiter, he knocks the Arbiter backwards against the cage. The culebra prisoners grab the Arbiter through the bars and tear him apart.

Having escaped, Greely and Seth plan to leave with Malvado’s money. But, right before they can, Santanico overwhelms Seth with visions, pleading for his help. Unable to wait, Greely bails on Seth. Goodbye, 33 million dollars.

Malvado and Santanico greet the man that will take them to El Rey. However, the man says they must wait until all the blood is released from the well. Santanico’s obedience thus far has been an act as she tells Seth to retrieve the suitcase Richie left in Malvado’s office. Once it seems the Santa Sangre has emptied, the man guides the pair to the car. A seemingly affectionate moment between Malvado and Santanico turns violent when Santanico tells him her name is Kisa, stabs him with his claw-ring before ripping part of his face off. You go girl!

Seth arrives and from the briefcase, tosses her weapons—two obsidian two-pronged blades. Malvado and Santanico both transform into their culebra state and fight. Malvado stabs Santanico and threatens to take her by force again. On Santanico’s cue, Seth shoots Malvado before Malvado knocks Seth by throwing a box at him. In that moment, Santanico stabs Malvado with her weapon. Seth grabs the other obsidian weapon she dropped earlier and stabs Malvado in the back. Santanico then gouges his guts out before grabbing the snake from his body. Malvado pleas for his life and tries to tell Santanico that he has always cherished her. Unconvinced, she cuts the snake’s head off before he calls out her true name—Kisa—as he incinerates to death.

First off, it’s great to see Santanico and Seth fighting together instead of with each other. They actually work well together (despite him losing millions of dollars), and there’s a bit of irony that it is Seth and not Richie who helps her kill Malvado.

But more importantly, Santanico’s overall narrative thus far has been such a ride. There’s a huge theme in regards to the power and importance of names in From Dusk Till Dawn. Kisa becoming Santanico was a metaphorical transformation that signaled her loss of innocence. Writer Erica Jong once said that “when we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual.” Through the name ‘Santanico,’ Malvado dehumanized her and stripped away true identity; it was a way to imprison her just like the temple itself. So when Malvado calls her by her true name, Kisa, in his death, it was his recognition of her as an individual; it was a symbolic act that returned her power.

It’s also incredible how the main antagonist in season 1 became the main protagonist in season 2. Think about it—she’s leading the A-plot line. The Gecko brothers may be the backbone of the series, but Santanico is definitely the hero in this story. Not Seth or Richie, but Santanico. The writers and filmmakers obviously gave a lot of care in handling a narrative that touches on rape and sexual abuse that seeing Santanico take back her name and power and achieving her vengeance is empowering for a female audience or anyone that is a victim of abuse or sexual assault.

Sacrifices

Kate informs Carlos and his team that Malvado is manipulating them all and using Richie to do so. Richie arrives and kills multiple members of Carlos team, but is stopped by Carlos’s new girlfriend, Maia (Demi Lovato) who holds a gun behind his head.

Carlos threatens Kate’s life when he interrogates Richie who assures him that Malvado gave him this position. Both Richie and Scott urge Carlos to let Kate go, however, are unsuccessful. Kate manages to knock herself out of Carlos’s grip and tries to run, but Carlos shoots her. Richie tries to reach out to Kate but is restrained while Scott stares in shock as his sister falls.

HOLY CRAP. Cue me screaming for the finale. Kate has to survive, right? RIGHT?!

Other Notes

  • Fun fact: Gary Busey (the oil digger in the flashback) is Jake Busey’s father!
  • “No one messes with my man.” It sure doesn’t beat Freddie’s wife’s words (“Send them to Hell, baby.”) Nonetheless, I am easily amused by all the romantic campiness and even more so when Maia is being played by Demi Lovato who is actually the real life girlfriend of Wilmer Valderrama.
  • Is there a term for the blood-sharing-seeing-into-your-soul thing?

Were you cheering when Santanico destroyed Malvado? Do you think Kate will die? Can you believe the finale is only next week? Tell us in the comments below.

Be sure to tune in for the From Dusk Till Dawn season finale next week on El Rey Network at 9pm ET/8pm CT or Netflix internationally.

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