Sunday, January 8, 2017

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - Protect and Serve

How to castrate a vampire.

Directed by Juan of the Dead's Alejandro Brugués, 'Protect and Serve' is essentially the season three sequel to his season two episode 'Attack of the 50-ft. Sex Machine', in which the vampire Sex Machine (Jake Busey) invaded the home of Freddie Gonzalez (Jesse Garcia), a Texas Ranger who has since been appointed Peacekeeper in the Culebra vampire world. Sex Machine's actions ruined Gonzalez's marriage. His wife is now keeping her distance from him and won't even let him visit their infant child - a fact that has Gonzalez, understandably, pretty upset, but also makes sense. If your husband was constantly surrounded by vampires, would you want to risk your child's safety by letting him come around?

With the Culebra ruling class having been wiped out by this season's main villain, the vampire world is going out of control, which is how Gonzalez and Sex Machine end up crossing paths again. Yes, Gonzalez is reunited with Sex Machine before he's reunited with his family. That is a pretty sad state of affairs.

The vampire/pervy professor, who is known to his students as Professor Aiden Tanner, has been luring college kids into a lifestyle of hedonism and bloodsucking. And yet the fact that Tanner/Sex Machine is creating an army of hormonal vampire youths isn't the primary issue the Peacekeeper has to deal with here. There's another threat out there, another Xibalban demon that was being held captive in the vampire den/strip club Titty Twister and was released when the place was destroyed last season, the event that has set up a monster-of-the-week approach to this season. An approach that I am really liking, it's nice to get a fresh monstrous villain in each episode.

This particular villain, though, I have to say I'm kind of on his side. Played by Micah Fitzgerald, he is called El Caporal and appears to be a regular ranch hand until you see the hideous bottom half of his face and the scorpion-like stinger tail he has. Long ago, the Culebras were servants in Xibalba / Hell and were treated like cattle. Like bulls are castrated, vampires got similar treatment from the higher-ups - the vampire version of being castrated is to have their venom glands removed so they can't turn others into vampires. El Caporal has been carrying on the tradition, capturing vampires and removing their venom glands.

Although our heroes on this show have been working more closely with the Culebras lately, I still haven't been won over enough by the vampires to think that this is a bad idea. These are among the most troublesome monsters in the horror genre, so sure, remove those glands and stop the spread of vampirism. That's exactly the sort of thing that needs to be done to Sex Machine. Why try to stop El Caporal?

I don't know why he does, but Gonzalez teams up with Sex Machine to bring El Caporal's "vampire castration" spree to an end.

Meanwhile, Busey isn't the only Sex Machine in this episode. Brugués was also given the honor of being the director tasked with introducing horror genre legend Tom Savini into the show. The master special artist played the original iteration of Sex Machine that was featured in the 1996 film that this series was based on, and now he has been added to the cast of the series as legendary Culebra demon hunter Ilhuicamina, the One Who Shoots Arrows at the Sky. He's the one who captured most of the Xibalbans who were imprisoned at the Titty Twister. Now he's retired, going by the name Burt and running a gas station / marijuana dispensary. Twenty years after getting turned into a vampire in the movie, Savini puts the fangs back in for the TV show, and it's great to see him interacting with these characters. Here's hoping that Burt is a whole lot of ass-kicking ahead of him. He's already proving quite helpful, spurring on the revelation of the back story on the entity that has taken over the body of former heroine now villainess Kate Fuller (Madison Davenport) and her connection to the Xibalbans.

'Protect and Serve' was written by Ian Sobel and Matt Morgan, a duo that previously wrote multiple season one and two episodes - 'Self-Contained', 'Boxman', 'The Best Little Horror House in Texas', and 'There Will Be Blood'. It's a fun episode, even though it presents a villain that I didn't really see as a villain, so that was sort of a waste of time... Regardless, I enjoyed it and it brought in Burt, so I remain positive while moving on to the next episode.

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