From Dusk Till Dawn Season 1 Review “Place of Dead Roads”

From Dusk Till Dawn

In the latest episode of “From Dusk Till Dawn,” we finally got our long-awaited look inside the infamous bar known as- ahem- the Titty Twister, or, as the late, great Earl would call it, the “Place of Dead Roads,” aka the “Last Stop Before Hell.” Or was that the little café Freddie stopped by before it? Either way, the road ends at the Double T, at least for the foreseeable future.

On the plus side, we got our first real-world look at the also infamous Santanico Pandemonium (the delectable Eiza González), who Ritchie heretofore was under the impression might have been more of a hallucination than an actual person. Of course, she might not be, and probably isn’t a person at all, when you get down to it. I’ll take mythical snake vampire goddess for $200, Alex! Or something like that.

Truth be told I’m not sure what these beings are. In the movie they were pretty much vampires, but on the show they seem to be a hybrid of people, vampires, snakes, mind-readers and shape-shifters. As one reader pointed out, they also seem immune to sunlight, which should change the game at the end of the show’s first season, or at least change the show’s ending from the movie one, given that it was sunlight that did the trick in the end. Of course, in the movie, Carlos wasn’t what he is here, so that part was already different, anyway.

Also different was the carnival barker-type guy played in the original movie by Cheech Marin (who also played Carlos and a border patrol agent, you’ll recall). I’m not 100% on what all they can get away with on the El Rey network, and I haven’t watched a movie with, say, nudity or extreme language as of yet, but they definitely toned that initial signature scene way down. Perhaps understandably, as who could compete with freaking Cheech? But it may possibly be for more obvious reasons, though they don’t seem to have much problem with violence, that’s for sure.

Anyway, in this case, he was posited as more of a foe for Seth, who punched the character when he made salacious remarks about Katie. That came back to haunt him big time, as not-Cheech jumped Seth in the parking lot when he went to hide the money elsewhere. In a massively entertaining scene, Seth ably fought off a whole gang of thugs before getting captured and chained to two vehicles to be ad-hoc drawn-and-quartered, which reminded me of a similar scene in the old-school version of “The Hitcher,” which is likely not a coincidence.

Good thing for Seth he was saved by the mysterious Narciso, who turned out to be an associate- and foe- or Carlos himself, who according to a vision of Freddie, was plotting against him. In said vision, he saw that “nine houses” were coming to the bar for a “snake statue” and that one would betray him- none other than Narciso, who just so happened to be buddying up to Seth, telling him that Carlos was known for backstabbing his associates, and that El Rey- the place, not the network- was a mythological place that didn’t actually exist.

There were definitely some great scenes scattered throughout this episode. In addition to the Seth showdown, you had that bizarre opening sequence with a bearded Ritchie, who already had the mysterious knife that we later discovered was given to him by Carlos himself; an even crazier bit with severed heads on a signpost, one of which talked to Freddie; the fantastic scene where Freddie fought two of Carlos’ henchmen, shooting out one’s eyes and decapitating him and stabbing and getting the other shot by his own associate; the creepy bit with the trucker type and Jacob and Scott; and the knife throwing contests. All in all, it was a great start to arguably the most memorable scene in the movie, and the one in which everything turns on a dime.

I was a bit thrown by the fact that Professor Tanner, aka Jake Busey, turned out to be the man known as “Sex Machine,” so memorably played by FX genius Tom Savini in the original; and we’ve addressed the absence of Cheech, but otherwise, this was right on the money. (Points for keeping the crotch gun, though!) Yes, some things were toned down a bit, but the action was not and was genuinely intense and fun in a warped way, just like the movie, albeit in its own unique version.

So- so good, so far. I really like this interpretation of “From Dusk Till Dawn” thus far, and overall, my complaints about the series as a whole are minimal. Yes, they’ve padded it out a fair amount here and there, but it basically captures the spirit of the original without being a complete retread, and that’s half the battle. Definitely an “A” for effort at this point.

What did you think about “From Dusk Till Dawn” this week? Like the new directions the plot is going in? What did you make of the scene with Ritchie and Kate where they kissed? How about the whole exchanged visions thing with Carlos and Freddie? Or the wacky intro scene? How about Freddie’s escape? Let me know below, and I’ll see you for Santanico’s big number next week!