Who said this was a show about vampires? In the second episode of Netflix’s From Dusk Till Dawn TV series, Richie Gecko (Holtz) is still suffering from the supernatural voices in his head but the actual physical vampire action is reduced to one scene (which is still one more than the first episode).
This week, the Fuller family are introduced and the bank robbery that forced Richie and Seth to go on the run is told through flashback. While the pilot created intensity, that’s now been lost and outside of any scenes featuring Zane Holtz, the story feels forced. That gives the series a chance to develop the characters from Rodriguez’s original movie, but unless you’re a die-hard fan, you might ask why bother?
There is more meat added to the bones of the former Reverend Fuller (Patrick), his reason for losing faith is revealed and thus why he has taken his children, including daughter Katie (Davenport), on a road trip. But what’s evident here, so much more than from the pilot, is that we are not watching Harvey Keitel or Juliette Lewis. Try as they might, Robert Patrick and Madison Davenport fall flat in their roles and appear rather bland, especially when interspersed with the far more interesting heist scenes. The only excitement comes when Don Carlos (Wilmer Valderrama) bumps into the Fullers, having revealed himself as a cherry-lime soul sucker.
Carlos as a character appears to be taking a different direction to that of his movie counterpart – he already has more screen time. Although Valderrama appears to be unable to shake his camp ‘That 70s Show’ persona Fez, his lisp and mannerisms play to his advantage.
Episode 2 of From Dusk Till Dawn doesn’t hit as hard as its predecessor, giving the viewer a chance to catch their breath. The supernatural elements are certainly there – well, in Richie’s head. The whispers continue to tell Richie what needs to be done, and this time his visions are of much more attractive demons than the twisted tree like beasts from the pilot. (Continuing the ugly beauty once again, Richie unknowingly paints a symbol on the sandy floor with blood from a freshly deceased dog.) But they are a mere undercurrent to the otherwise dramatic crime story.
We’re on a slow burner of a journey. The robbery doesn’t satisfy as much as Episode 1’s liquor store standoff but reaches a pleasant, bloody crescendo. Episode 3 needs to draw more blood.