Monday, January 30, 2017

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - Dark Side of the Sun

The third season of the vampire series reaches its conclusion.

Having exited the body of Kate Fuller (Madison Davenport) at the end of the previous episode, Queen of Hell Amaru has taken her own form and is now played by Natalie Martinez while she puts her endgame in motion. Amaru is starting to open the gate to Hell, planning to unleash Hell on Earth so she can become the Queen of our world as well. The fact that Amaru left Kate clinging to life rather than finishing her off when she was done with her body might turn out to be her biggest misake, because Kate has come out of the ordeal with an intense determination to stop the woman who possessed her.

While that's understandable, Kate could try to show a little appreciation as well, because if Amaru hadn't taken over her body at the end of season two, there would be no Kate. She was dead when Amaru's essence entered her body. This possession saved her life!

But regardless, we can't have Hell on Earth, and it's up to our established band of heroes to stop Amaru from making that happen. The majority of this episode is made up of the battle between Seth Gecko (D.J. Cotrona), his brother Richie (Zane Holtz), Kate, Kate's brother Scott (Brandon Soo Hoo), Sex Machine (Jake Busey), and Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez) and the forces of evil in the desert ghost town of Matanzas.

In addition to releasing demonic creatures from Hell, Amaru also has the ability to control people and vampires from afar. To loosen her control over the vampires in Matanzas, Santanico has to embrace something that she's been trying to distance herself from for a long time - the fact that other vampires see her as a goddess.

Unfortunately, Amaru's power has also taken over a lot of people inside the hospital where Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia) has taken his wife Margaret (Jamie Tisdale) after rescuing her and their young child from Amaru's clutches. This is the same hospital where Dr. Dakota McGraw/Block (Nicky Whelan) works, and Dakota and the Gonzalez family have to try to survive the massacre that ensues within the hospital.

Although this series is based on the Robert Rodriguez-directed, Quentin Tarantino-scripted 1996 film From Dusk Till Dawn, the Dakota Block character comes from the 2007 Rodriguez/Tarantino collaboration Grindhouse, and a hospital overrun with bloodthirsty maniacs is a familiar scenario to see her in - the same thing happened in the Planet Terror segment of Grindhouse, except there the killers filling the halls were zombies.

'Dark Side of the Sun' came from a creative team with plenty of From Dusk Till Dawn experience. It was directed by Joe Menendez, who previously helmed the episodes 'Self-Contained', 'The Best Little Horror House in Texas', 'Bondage', 'There Will Be Blood', and 'Mantanzas', working from a script by the same writers several of his episodes were written by, Ian Sobel and Matt Morgan. Menendez, Sobel, and Morgan worked together on 'Self-Contained', 'Horror House', and 'There Will Be Blood'. In addition to those, Sobel and Morgan wrote the episodes 'Boxman' and 'Protect and Serve'.

That trio takes the season out in a solid but somewhat underwhelming way, a way that leaves some questions unanswered and some threads dangling. Although there were some sloppy jumps in the storytelling over the course of the season, overall I enjoyed this season a great deal - probably more than season two, but not quite as much as season one. As the finale comes to a close, there are story elements and characters that still need resolution, and while El Rey Network has yet to decide exactly how they're going to proceed with From Dusk Till Dawn (they let the actors' options lapse so they could go off to different projects while the network brainstorms the possibilities), here's hoping they'll be continuing this story soon. I need more From Dusk Till Dawn.

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