Here we are, readers: our penultimate. It’s time to get all our eggs into one basket so that we can properly smash them in the finale.
There’s no proper way to really pre-summarize this episode. It’s intense, dramatic, extremely satisfying in some places and very frustrating in others. Gary Busey guests stars in the opening five minutes as a prospector that accidentally finds the blood well and goes mad.
He delivers an opening message. “To get what you want, you have to turn your back on everything to get it.”
This, naturally, will be the theme of the next two episodes.
Now let’s get covered in blood rain for this week’s From Dusk Till Dawn!
Major spoilers ahead!
We’ve got a few plots to tie up this week: Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama) finding the blood well, Richie (Zane Holtz) taking over for Malvado (Esai Morales,) and Santanico (Eiza Gonzalez) getting her revenge.
This episode takes all the strings of the previous episodes and ties them together in a bunch of complex, scary-looking knots.
So let’s start with Santanico.
This week, Santanico gets what she wants: revenge on Malvado. But the price, as we learn this episode, is very, very steep.
This season, Santanico took on a new prodigy, the young Paloma (Alicia Sanz.) This week, we get a rather… unsatisfying end to that story.
Paloma was our metaphor for Santanico’s innocence, so to speak. Santanico needed to use her to get to Malvado, but in the process, had to whore out Paloma to a lot of dangerous people. And although she never let anyone touch Paloma physically, the prostitution element was very real and very dangerous.
Eiza Gonzalez told us that we should consider Paloma to be an extension of Santanico. When she tells Paloma in an earlier episode, “They won’t touch you,” she was also talking to herself.
So for Paloma to fall prey to Malvado spells one very clear thing for Santanico: she has failed in protecting her own innocence. Worse than that, she may have never had a hold on it to begin with.
What she needs, more than anything, is to get her agency back. My issue is that I don’t think Paloma had to die for it.
On the one hand, I understand it. It shows what Santanico considers mercy. It shows how she regards herself. Santanico sees herself as a monster. As something that should’ve been granted a similar mercy, when she was changed. Add in the fact that Paloma was essentially brainwashed by Malvado against Santanico (and other women, assumedly) and she becomes seventeen kinds of motif.
And so in that instance, it’s justified. And it makes sense.
On the other hand, I think that Paloma had a lot more to give as a character, and I would’ve liked to see her as Santanico’s right hand instead of as a metaphor that needed to die. This show is pretty excellent about fleshing out characters, so when one falls short, we fell it. Paloma didn’t need to fall short, and yet she did. And that’s a huge let down.
However. The rest of Santanico’s story this episode was absolutely fantastic. Because she’s given up her key: Paloma. So she may now have what she wants, which is to kill her abuser. And not only does she kill him, she gets him to call him by her true name: Kisa. He stripped her of her identity, and she got to take it back.
Also worth noting is that she killed Malvado in front of Seth Gecko (DJ Cotrona.) We’ll recall that Richard killed their father when they were boys, and that when Seth found out last season, he didn’t take it so well.
This is a major change for Seth, because Seth himself is in a completely different place than where he was last season. At this point, Seth’s come to a different understanding of abuse, abusers, and where he stands with all of it. And again, Malvado wasn’t his father, so the circumstances are different. But watching Seth be a part of this solidifies not just a change in his character, but the solidification of his bond with Santanico.
Winning quote: “My name is Kisa.”
Speaking of bonds, let’s discuss Richard Gecko and Kate Fuller (Madison Davenport.)
Richie and Kate got fairly close in season one, though the bond was overshadowed by her bond with Seth at the end of season and and the beginning of season two.
Here’s the thing, though: this episode unequivocally tells us that both Gecko brothers are in love with Kate Fuller. And because of that, they’re a lot less likely to see her as her actual age. Which, incidentally, is a really dangerous thing to do.
And it’s definitely why we end up where we ended up.
There’s a bit more to the last scene then just the Geckos, of course. Scott Fuller (Brandon Soo Hoo) is a part of it as well. And we’ll address that in a second, but first, let’s look at Richie.
Last season, Santanico told us that she saw a purity in Richard.
But was she right? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, Richard, through less than golden means, is attempting to double cross Carlos. If he succeeds, Seth gets the money, Santanico gets her freedom, and Richard gets to be the next Lord.
But he doesn’t succeed. Because Kate, and Richard’s feelings for Kate, threw a spoke into his plans.
Last season, Seth and Scott formed a sort of parallel between characters. Scott was growing into Seth, and that was something that made Seth… well, pretty unhappy.
And this season, we see the parallel form between Scott and Richard. Both are the underdog sibling, both are newly minted culebras, and both have made what some would call a plethora of bad choices this season.
The funny thing is, it almost worked. They almost both got what they wanted.
But the cost of that is Kate. And that’s a price that neither is willing to pay, but was forced to.
All three actors (Davenport, Soo Hoo, Holtz) delivered stunning performances through out the episode. But it was the bond between Kate and Richie through the episode that called back to season one and showed us that the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.
Keep in mind that in early season two, Seth almost got Kate killed. Richard just had the poor luck to let it happen a second time.
And it also seems to be showing us that you should never love or be loved by a Gecko brother. But that’s a dumb lesson, because the Gecko brothers are GORGEOUS. What else am I supposed to do? Everyone’s got baggage.
So here we are: Santanico and Seth are friends now, bonded in the idea that Richard has betrayed them. Malvado is dead, and the throne will go to either Richie or Carlos. And Kate Fuller is dying in front of two out of the three people that love her. Trust me: you are going to want to stick around for ALL of next’s week’s episode. It’s one hell of a finale.