Dusk has long spent time with its toes in the Western genre- From the saturated scenery to the gentlemen thieves to the frequent shootouts, they’re not strangers to the ideas or ideals of it. Tonight’s episode, “Mantanzas,” takes the show’s love of Westerns and turns it into a full-on tribute; With a Dusk twist, of course.
The gang’s all here tonight- Fan favorite Brasa (Maurice Compte) makes a darkly hilarious last stand, jaguar warrior Zolo (Marko Zaror) proves to be Richie’s (Zane Holtz) one-uppance, and did someone call for Amaru’s true form (Natalie Martinez)? Meanwhile, Carlos (Wilmer Valderama) and Kisa (Eiza Gonzalez) fill the missing piece the show has had, mostly in Kisa’s absence. It’s over the top all episode long- But the cast plays their part with flying colors.
Special recognition should go to Venganza (Ana de la Reguera) who plays her last episode with just the right mix of defiance and wit. As Amaru (Madison Davenport) reveals to the audience that she had what she believed was a deep love with Venganza- To have Venganza spitefully throw Amaru’s affections back at her is deeply satisfying. Davenport is given a chance to show Amaru with some very rare vulnerability and yes, sadness- And the result is one of the episode’s exchanges.
The real Western action happens with the Geckos, naturally- Richie and Seth (DJ Cotrona) spend most of the episode making references, shooting zombie pistoleras, and fighting their literal butts off. While Richie’s fight scene with Zolo is, as always, excellently choreographed (love you, Marko), Seth’s last stand against Brasa also bears mentioning, in no small part because it brings out some excellent characterization for Seth. I’ve never seen someone continue to be so contrary after such a thorough ass-kicking- But Cotrona sells it. Compte’s Brasa plays his perfect counterbalance- deadpan and smug throughout their fight. Gently tapping out what remains of his human arm before reassuring Seth that it’s “Just human flesh?” Classic Brasa. He will be missed, and I’m already thinking of ways for Compte to come back next season.
And while I mentioned already the brilliant exchange between Venganza and Amaru, what really tied the episode together was the exchange between the Gecoks- As Richie and Seth have what I guess constitutes as the Gecko version of a heart to heart before Seth’s faceoff with Brasa. Season three is the longest we have the audience have ever seen the brothers on the same side- And so when that love is threatened, that brotherly love that the show is built on, it’s a heartbreaking moment for the audience, and a reminder that these characters care about each other. A lot. More than the characters in the horror/action genre usually care about each other. And reminding the audience of that is exactly what the show has needed to do this entire season.
While I’m not sold on Kisa having any sort of trust in Carlos- Valderama plays him well, but he’s done a bit too much to really not be considered a villain- Kisa’s parallels this episode to Amaru, in that she must take her place as Culebra queen, and she must lead the young culebras to justice. Watching Kisa grow on her own terms is something we, unfortunately, have not been able to see this season- Gonzalez had filming constraints. But hopefully, new queen Kisa is something we will be able to see in season four.
And of course, no review is complete without me complimenting Scott Fuller (Brandon Soo Hoo)- Without his love for Kate, his honest, sibling love, this season would not have been half as strong. The arc of season 3 has really been carried on his shoulders- And while I’m sad to see Burt (Tom Savini) go, watching Seth protect Kate from Burt’s sword is the lowkey standout moment of the episode.
Now, we come to the precipice of the finale- Amaru has gained her body, Kate’s low on blood, Kisa is leading her culebras, Richie and Zolo are out in the desert- And Seth’s all out of bullets. Will Kate survive the exchange? Will Kisa rightfully tell Carlos to get bent? Will the Geckos ever get it together?
We’ve got 1 episode left to find out.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series airs Tuesdays, 9/8c, on the El Rey Network.