From Dusk Till Dawn 3×06 “StraightJacket” recap/review

straightjacket

Welcome back to the weekly recap and review of From Dusk Till Dawn, Ramblers! Is it just me or did it almost feel a little bit like a horror video game? Creepy hospital building—check! Power outages—check! Locked doors—check! And this episode’s monster-of-the-week is someone we’re all too familiar with…

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Beginning of the End

Flashback to a half a year prior at Nicotero State Hospital: After killing the doctor, Amaru possesses a security guard (cue eyes turning red) who immediately massacres everyone in the hospital. Is there anything Amaru can’t do?!

The Search for Richard Gecko

Meanwhile, our heroes have failed to find Richie, Burt being particularly pessimistic. Richie calls Seth and informs him that Amaru had taken him to Nicotero State Hospital. He cuts off the conversation before he could tell Seth more. Seth begins to assemble the team for the rescue as Richie hunts for Amaru.

Freddie wakes up to Seth’s call. To no one’s surprise, Freddie and Ximena spend the night and slept together (that was quick!). As they’re getting ready, Ximena regret sleeping with him after seeing a photo of Freddie’s wife and child—she doesn’t want to be the reason he doesn’t go back to them.

Horror Hospital Escape

After following her voice, Richie finds Amaru who notions Richie to open the drawer in the room. There, he finds his long missing Azetec obsidian spirit knife. He suddenly experiences flashes of visions: Amaru’s minions beating him up, Amaru taking his hand (with his third eye) to a gate (possibly Xibalba)—it’s not 100 percent clear what Amaru has in mind, but Richie is key to it. Taking his hand, she possess Richie and his third eye (like the security guard from earlier) turns red, and she orders him to kill Seth and the others.

By dawn, our heroes arrive at the hospital (and it’s a pretty badass entrance with the evening sky.) Seth finds Richie immediately and brings him to the others. Sex Machine doesn’t trust Richie state while Ximena deducts that Amaru has plans for Richie. They scout the location before leaving: Seth maintains a post in the control room, Richie and Sex Machine pair up to move the cars to the back of the building while the rest of the group investigates the hospital. Sex Machine’s deduction ends up correct when Richie drives a car into him before stabbing him (and if you remember, culebras heal like humans with obsidian.)

Now under Amaru’s influence, Richie shuts down the main power, turning the lights off and trapping everyone else in their respective locations. Seth is locked in the control room. Richie tells him not to leave and that he has “a plan”—Not like he can leave and not like Seth will listen.

While Ximena and Freddie try to look for a way to escape, Freddie continues their conversation from earlier and he tells her his wife left him, not the other way around while they both made a choice to have sex together. They are interrupted by Pablo, a human who has been crawling through the ceiling vents. After a small altercation, they quickly ally with him and use the vents to bypass the locked doors. They find Burt, having been injured by Richie and his Aztec knife. Making contact with Seth via the intercoms, he tells him that Amaru has woken Richie’s “shadow self” who is loyal to her. Burt tries to eat Pablo to heal, which drives Pablo running. Annoyed at her ex, Ximena searches for the human as Freddie stays with Burt.

Burt and Freddie find Amaru’s old, quickly deducting that she was responsible for the massacre at the hospital. From his own knowledge, Burt tells Freddie the only way to lift Amaru’s possession on Richie is to immolate him and that being a culebra, he’ll heal.

Pablo finds himself outside Seth’s doors, dropping in from the vents. After convincing Pablo he isn’t a culebra, Pablo tries to unlock the door. Richie arrives and violently stabs and feeds on Pablo in front of Seth before telling his brother to stay. When Richie leaves, Seth forces the door open by setting an explosion with the supplies he has in the room before crawling through the vents.

During her search for Pablo, Ximena is ambushed by Richie. While initially getting the upper hand, Richie manages to knock her out before locking her in a rooms next to Sex Machine and Scott whom he had already captured. Amaru appears and  for a lack of better words, is pissed. She demands to know why Richie is keeping them alive. Richie, however, says he has another plan and will only go to Xibalba if Seth goes with him too. Amaru demands he do what she says and to kill Ximena first. Through the others’ perspectives, only Richie can see Amaru and that she’s communicating with him from a remote location.

Seth manages to turn the power back on, unlocking most of the doors and turning the lights back on. Burt and Freddie split up, but Burt is ambushed by Richie who ends up locking him up with the others. Seth immediately ambushes Richie in turn, however, Richie, being a culebra gets the upper hand and tells Seth his plan—he’s going to have Seth kill their friends.

After Richie ties him up, Seth tries to convince his brother that Amaru’s manipulating him. Richie claims she’s shown him Xibalba and that they can succeed there. But as Seth notes, Xibalba is not El Rey—it’s Hell. He pleas to Richie, reminds him who they are—who they really are and that they have each other’s back. But it’s all to no avail.

After tying up Ximena, he tries to force Seth to kill her. Freddie arrives in time and threatens to kill Seth (while Richie threatens Ximena’s life in turn) before telling Seth they need to immolate Richie to save him. Being outnumbered, they tie Richie up and prepare to burn him. Richie takes advantage of Seth’s hesitation and with Amaru’s influence, he breaks free of his reigns. With his third eye, he mind controls Freddie (whose eyes turn white) to kill Ximena as he goes after Seth.

Seth lures Richie into a trail of gasoline before finally burning him. Flames engulf Richie, but he heals, finally free of Amaru’s influence.

Meanwhile, as Ximena defends herself from Freddie, she tries to communicate with him. She tells him she loves the goodness in him. Her words initially seem to touch Freddie and his eyes return to normal. They kiss, however, his eyes turn white again and he stakes her; only her ashes and necklace remain. Her death breaks him out of Richie’s mind control.

Seth releases everyone from their rooms before they find Freddie, mourning over Ximena’s ashes and are shocked. Having had a history with Ximena, Burt is clearly saddened while Freddie, while heartbroken, directs his sadness and anger at Richie.

Final Thoughts

Let me by start by saying that this episode is by far from the strongest episode of the season. It feels a lot more like how the series was in the previous season, and it helps that the monster-of-the-week was a character that we know—Richie. In turn, the stakes were higher being both plot and character-driven.

Richie and Seth: The show has always centered on these two brothers, and their screwed up, co-dependent bond. Richie’s bond with Seth held through stronger than Amaru’s influence despite how warped it become. It showed the power of their love for one another regardless of the fact that Seth was unable to completely break through to Richie. He’s already lost his brother so many times, and here he is, at it again after all. DJ Cotrona absolutely killed it with a heartbreaking performance.

Ximena: The biggest disappointment has been the treatment of Ximena. She’s a great character, strengthened by her performance by Emily Rios. She’s strong, has her own motives, her own story, but the last few episodes, she’s been defined by her relationship with Freddie and that’s been solidified by her death.

Don’t get me wrong, the chemistry between Emily Rios and Jesse Garcia is great, and it was apparent that they were working toward a relationship between Ximena and Freddie. However, it’s hard to feel for her death when the romantic nature of their relationship was barely built up. And for her death to be reduced for Freddie’s manpain feels like a disservice to her character and is even more disappointing with how great Kate’s “death” was handled in relationship to Richie and Scott last season. Which goes into my next point…

Amaru: Madison Davenport is a talented young actor—there’s no denying that. She’s so much fun to watch playing evil, but Amaru has a lot to be desired, especially since we’re over half way through the season.

This season should be about Kate and her relationships with Seth, Richie and Scott. Amaru knows everything about Kate and her bonds, and Kate died with a lot of hate and anger toward these guys. Both Richie and Seth feel responsible and guilty for Kate’s death and possession despite the fact they’re dealing with it in different ways; Seth has repeatedly stated retribution is coming for them—yet all this emotional retribution and self-guilt has barely been built up. Also, Scott’s been sidelined in this story aside from one episode and Kate’s his sister, the person who was fighting to save him for 10 episodes last season.

But most importantly, Kate’s sidelined from her own story. There’s potential of exploring Amaru’s deep violation of Kate’s physical agency. We know she’s in there and she’s even taken control before; it would have been great to see more of that.

Other Notes:

  • Scott and his Fanglorious t-shirt—what other Fanglorious merchandise is there? And can we buy it?
  • Is there any importance to Ximena’s necklace? It was only thing that didn’t blow up into ashes.
  • “She’s the most human person I know.” — How far Richie has come with Ximena…We could have had it all.
  • Despite Amaru’s influence, Richie’s personality still strongly leaks through—particularly him flipping off Scott as he drags Burt’s body.

What have you thought of the season so far, Ramblers? Let us know in the comments below. Otherwise, tune in for new episodes of From Dusk Till Dawn Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT on El Rey Network.

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