I’m back again for another dose of Dusking Til Dawning, and this week the series really starts to come into its own. In the first two episodes, I both bemoaned the fact that it was adhering so closely to the film while skimping on the expanded story-line to flesh out the tale. With this week’s episode, “Mistress”, the series strikes out on its own, and it begins to build a world familiar to fans of Tarantino and Rodriguez’s work while plying a mythos original to the series. Plus, this week we get a spin on the “I could do that for you” scene, a mess of freaky visions, and Jake Busey.
This week finds Seth and Richie holed up in a cheap motel with their kidnapped bank teller slash insurance policy. When Seth takes a breather from His brother’s strange behavior to go have a tryst with his ex-wife, Richie ramps up the weird as his hallucinations worsen with the voices in his head giving way to more disturbing, and slightly Cronenbergian, visions. Meanwhile, Jacob and family find themselves stranded in a small town when their RV springs a leak, and Kate begins to unravel more secrets to her father’s past. Ranger Gonzalez meets with an expert who lays out the connection to the serial killer he’s tracking, ancient rituals, and perhaps Richie Gecko.
The Quentin speak is on fully display again in this episode with Richie dropping a reference to a “Brunel movie” and the kidnapped bank teller recounting a sexual liaison her husband wanted based on a scene in Sharky’s Machine. The Quentin-ing doesn’t stop there. There are some moments of the Tarantino-verse on display here. The Big Kahuna Burger is brought to full tacky life, and it took me a moment to realize their Special Agent Utah Meal was a sidelong reference to Point Break. I’m still a waiting on Red Apple cigarettes to show up at some pout, but with the rules about smoking on TV, they may not make an appearance.
This week the supernatural elements really ramp up, and Richie’s connection to the vampires starts to really play out. During part of this, this infamous “I could do that for you” line spoken by a Tarantino to Juliette Lewis in the movie is re-purposed for TV’s Richie to use it on the bank teller. While what follows surely isn’t appropriate, it is far more tasteful than when the line was aimed at Jacob’s underage daughter. We also get a little more back story on the cult of vampires as Jake Busey steps in as an expert who is helping Ranger Gonzalez, and finally the Ranter seems to be coming into his own and becoming a more rounded character. Sure, he’s no Mexi-Clooney, as a friend of mind dubbed George’s replacement D.C. Cortona, but I still don’t see how, or if, he will become the series’ heroic character, but it is nice.
This third episode is a relief from the slavish retelling of the film, and that’s where the series could really gain momentum. What they need to do is stray from the story arc even more wildly. While it was certainly a good idea to get people who were comfortable with the film hooked by giving them something familiar as a jumping off point, it is certainly good to see the production swing wider in its scope. If this trend continues, while I feel like it may still encounter many stumbling blocks, the From Dusk Til Dawn series has a good chance to sink its teeth into something a little more fresh as the episodes continue to roll on.