From Dusk Till Dawn 3×01 ‘Head Games’ & 3×02 La Reina recap & review (Part 1)

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, for El Rey Network and Miramax

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, for El Rey Network and Miramax

By Jes Vu

Welcome back, Ramblers! Summer may have ended but season three of From Dusk Till Dawn begins with not only one, but two action-packed episodes for the season three premiere. Remember when Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama) blew up the Titty Twister last season? Turns out it was also a prison, housing countless Xibalban demons. They’re free now with Brasa (in Narcos’ Maurice Compte’s From Dusk Till Dawn debut) leading the Xibalban warriors! Let the monster-of-the-week bloodbath begin!

 

The Seven (Remaining) Lords

Unlike last season’s build up to Lord Malvado, the Nine (now Seven) Lords are immediately brought into the fray. Lord Venganza Verdugo (Ana de la Reguera), Ximena’s (Emily Rios returning from last season’s finale) boss, is among them. As it turns out, the brothers won’t be taking Mavaldo’s place in the pantheon, despite helping Santanico (Eiza Gonzalez) kill him at the end of last season. Instead, they are relegated to being the Lords’ “collectors,” which are essentially “bagmen,” much to Seth’s (DJ Cotrona) dismay. Luckily, Richie’s (Zane Holtz) there to accept it gracefully on both of their behalves. The Lords celebrate their decision with a feast—one with blood, human parts and organs. They may be classy dressers, but they sure are not clean eaters. Lord Venganza encourages Seth to join them while offering him a human heart. Trolling much?

 

The Skull Keeper

The real story really begins six months after the events of season two as the Geckos continue in their work as the Lords’ collectors. While Richie seems fine with his life as a culebra, Seth is worn down, with Kate’s death still on his mind. The contrasting dynamic between the two is what makes them balance each other—it’s what makes them interesting. Richie’s in denial about his guilt, claiming he didn’t kill Kate. But that wasn’t Seth’s accusation—so Richie, who are you really trying to convince?

Like Seth, Ranger Freddie Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia) also didn’t quite get the happy ending he had strived for. His position as the culebras’ Peacekeeper has estranged him from his family and has him spiraling down to random motels and alcohol.

Not everyone is happy with how the Geckos are handling the Lords’ collection deals. A culebra boss requests an audience with Lord Venganza with Ximena, Freddie and the Geckos present—but it’s a trap. The culebra is being controlled by the Skull Keeper—a Xibalban demon who broke free following the collapse of the Twister. He attempts to kill Venganza with the stake guns (how True Blood) planted beneath his chair. Ximena manages to protect her boss before Freddie tackles him. The Geckos shoot the culebra’s head and it explodes. To keep up with the current mythos, culebras can be shot in the head and recover (think Wolverine in X2), so an exploding skull is kind of a big deal…

Venganza is scared—and when a culebra Lord is scared, that means trouble. They know who’s responsible—Calavera aka the Skull Keeper aka a Xibalban demon who infiltrates his enemies by feasting on their skulls and controlling their minds. Freddie deducts there are more moles as the stake guns were previously planted. Venganza orders the brothers to deal with Calavera while she gathers with the other Lords with Ximena, Freddie and her bodyguards.

As usual, Richie tries to convince Seth to get involved, the latter remaining unconvinced they’ve been infiltrated (he’s a stubborn one isn’t he?) until he realizes someone’s tampered with his safe. Remembering Richie’s words that culebras could survive a regular bullet, he shoots Richie in a hilariously dark moment. When Richie heals and wakes up, he’s not too pleased (can’t blame him), but Seth’s point stands.

Gathering the culebras in their ranks, they try to weed out the mole. Culebra Cris, who’s already possessed by Calavera, shoots another possessed culebra when she attempts to attack Seth. They found the mole and it seems the Geckos have fallen for the deception for now. Meanwhile, one of their culebras catches a blonde culebra breaking into their safe and stealing an amulet.

Calavera hasn’t given the Geckos enough credit though—it was all a ruse. The brothers knew about the moles. They communicate with Calavera through Cris, questioning the demon about why he would put in all the effort to steal a necklace and kill one Lord. Calavera doesn’t answer and instead tells Seth, “Go back to your needles, Mr. Gecko. You may not be a snake, but you have your own venom.” It clearly gets under Seth’s skin, as it’s a clear throwback to what Kate told him at the beginning of last season.

Following the explosion of Cris’ actual skull, and then another, bigger explosion, the Geckos meet up with their own culebra and track down the blonde culebra who has made it to Calavera’s base. After handing over the amulet, Calavera crushes the skull in his hands and she dies immediately as a result. From the skulls around the Xibalban warrior, Richie deducts that the remaining skulls are Venganza’s bod guards and that her assassination attempt was a ruse to find and gather the Lords in one location. Richie tries to call and warn Freddie, but is shot by their own culebra who is discovered to have been taken by Calavera. Seth kills the possessed culebra as Richie calls Freddie. However, they’re too late.

 

Party Crashers

Brasa (Maurice Compte), who was working alongside Calavera, crashes the Lords’ meetings and with Venganza’s possessed bodyguards massacres the remaining Lords. Freddie, Ximena and Venganza are nearly overpowered until Richie destroys the skulls in Calavera’s base, allowing them to escape. Brasa, for whatever reason, doesn’t chase after them.

Face/Off: The Geckos versus Calavera. Seth runs out of bullets and Richie nearly loses his skull before Seth quickly burns Calavera’s head with the burning logs from the campfire. The two eventually shoot Calavera in the head, killing him.

The remaining survivors return to the Gecko’s hideout to plan the next step. Seth, an unwilling participant until this point, cuts a deal: He will help Richard stop the Xibalbans, but in exchange, he wants a free ticket to El Rey (culebra heaven in other words). Venganza accepts Seth’s request, but warns him of the difficulties, as this was now the beginning of war.

The Comeback Kid

The next day back at Calavera’s base, Brasa retrieves up the amulet (the one stolen from the Geckos’ safe) as Kate (Madison Davenport) makes her first appearance in the season. But it’s not really Kate exactly…dyed red hair, badass black outfit—it’s not the sweet girl from last season.

Brasa gives her the amulet and once she puts it on, the blue stone turns black. Brasa is enamored; Kate—or whoever she is—reprimands him for staring. For all his antagonistic ways, Brasa turns away apprehensive. Clearly, she’s not one to mess with.

Other Notes

  • “Feed-bag…that’s a microaggression!” Seth, how did you even learn this word?
  • “I intend to live a full life and die in peace and comfort on a beautiful beach.” Repeatedly Seth (and Richie) have said they wanted to live a long life before ending up on a beach and dying in the arms of a beautiful woman. It’s interesting to note he’s retracted the latter. Failed relationships and his guilt over Kate’s death have really worn him down it seems.
  • I like how Brasa had to pause momentarily to put on his sunglasses before he continued cackling. Which begs the question of where did he get them? If the Lords imprisoned him centuries ago, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have modern sunglasses in his pocket. But who needs logic when you’re a Xibalban warrior?
  • Also, I find it totally cool that a woman can have the title as a Lord and that title isn’t changed simply because of her gender. Plus, Lord Venganza sounds badass.
  • What’s up with the amulet? Why is it so important to retrieve it?

For an overall review of the premiere and recap of the second half of the From Dusk Till Dawn season three premiere, continue here

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