Synopsis of 4×05: A cannibal attack in a suburban neighborhood forces Seth to bring his makeshift team together to save innocent civilians.
God, do I love small town horror. “Shady Glen” brings it back to the good old days of small town horror movies, mixing Twilight Zone and Alien and The Fog, it had just the right amount of practical effects and team bickering to keep it within the reality of From Dusk Till Dawn while also throwing in some inspiration callouts.
The episode started with Brasa setting free the locusts and Tanner and Burt getting into a fight. It almost immediately felt like we were dropping in on the middle of an episode or even that we skipped one, but once we got to Shady Glen, everything took a turn for the better.
When a Xibalban water creature infects the water supply of the suburban neighborhood of Shady Glen, who do you call? Seth and Company, apparently. Yep, Ximena thought it’d be a good idea to throw the Geckos, Freddie, Scott, Tanner all together to deal with this problem. And since this is literally a day after Richie’s encounter with Dakota, this eventually leads Dakota straight to Shady Glen to confront Freddie and Richie.
Since the water turns people to cannibalism, it’s a darkly hilarious turn of events to watch as Richie reveals his true identity to Dakota seconds before she is attacked by one of the civilians in Shady Glen. She reluctantly joins in their rag tag group after some coaxing from Freddie and seeing the state of the people in the neighborhood who seem to be affected.
It’s immensely entertaining to watch Seth and Richie work together, sweeping the houses in the neighborhoods. “We are from uhh… The CDC.” “FBI.” “Joint task force.” You’d think for lifelong con men they’d manage to get their stories straight once in a while.
I’d also like to thank the writers at El Rey for gifting me with more Ximena and Freddie banter, culminating in a kiss when Ximena scolds his impulsiveness. Seriously, thank you writers’ room.
Since obviously Amaru is behind all of this, Burt reveals that the water creature is actually there to test the people and find out who is pure of heart. Only someone who has drank the contaminated water and does not want to consume human flesh is someone who is pure of heart, and obviously that someone has to be a child in this case. We also see the amulet that Amaru wears is one that turns blue every time Kate tries to surface. She seems to resurface every time she sees the Seth and Scott.
The team breaks up under some tough love from Seth, as he sends Burt, Tanner, and Scott to the water source to take out the creature, Richie and Freddie to go seek out Amaru, and he guards the neighborhood with Dakota. It’s seconds later that he falls under the affects of the contamination and tries to attack Dakota. Even though Richie saves her life, and later she spares Seth’s life, she makes it clear that there’s no love between her and the Geckos. She’s not at the same place Freddie is, who seems to have put aside his thirst for vengeance and come to an accord with the brothers.
The episode also does a good job in going into the team dynamics when it comes to the characters. Freddie and Richie argue over Dakota; Richie is bitter that Freddie is angry when clearly Dakota is the one who seduced and shot Richie, while Freddie’s reminded of old wounds in regards to Earl and the Geckos and his protectiveness over Dakota. We see Burt come back to life after presumably getting blown up at the beginning of the episode, only to make up with Tanner and Scott after they kill the creature together.
All of this culminates to the end of the episode, which shows Amaru capturing the child who is pure of heart and his mom. She’s stopped by Freddie and Richie. While Freddie fights off sunglasses-at-night Brasa, Richie confronts Amaru but is unable to shoot her. Instead he distracts her and sacrifices himself in order to save the mom and kid. There’s some moments when as the audience, I’m kind of worried that Richie’s falling off the deep end. But then moments like this and when he almost lets slip that he wants control of his inhibitions, they show that he’s just a messed up kid who got even more messed up when he became a culebra.