Synopsis of 3×07: The team catches a lucky break against Amaru. But nothing is what it seems, as our heroes fall victim to the seductions – and horrors – of a female Xibalban demon.
Let’s rename this episode Guilt Central. Also known as the best episode of From Dusk till Dawn to date. First off, let’s talk horror tropes. Rodriguez and company have got horror tropes down like nobody’s business. La Llorona is the basically the Mexican version of the weeping woman or woman in white trope, basically a scorned woman who turns against those who scorned her — usually men. It’s one of the best, then combine that with the exorcism trope, throw it all into an old middle-of-nowhere shop and you’ve got yourself a winning setting for an entertaining story.
We learn from Tanner than the Xibalba loyal culebras are scalping other culebras in service of Itzpa aka La Llorona. I know, the double names really throws me off, but let’s just call her Itzpa for now. Anyways, through his intel, Seth, Scott, and Tanner ambush one of these gatherings and it just so happens that Amaru is there that night. Taking the chance that they’re getting the three of them capture her and bring her to the car shackled. It seems a little too easy for Richie’s liking, especially since she didn’t bring Brava, but they take her anyways and bring her to Burt’s shop, where he’s got a cage specifically for Xibalbans.
Deciding to exorcise Kate of Amaru ends up being their best bet, even if it seems like the most dangerous one. While Tanner and Seth struggle with Amaru’s exorcism Itzpa comes to attack the team. She goes after Scott, Freddie, and Burt, pinpointing their guilt and pain. Scott suffers from the memory of killing his bandmate, but most overwhelmingly from what he did to Kate. Freddie fights the memory of endangering his family along with the fresh wound of killing Ximena after being under the control of Richie. And Burt’s got a lifetime’s worth of bad decisions and war that he’s had to live with.
But while everyone is faced with their guilt because of Itzpa, Seth doesn’t need anything but Amaru’s manipulation to cripple him. Amaru not only recognizes the guilt that Seth feels for leaving Kate behind, but she capitalizes on it. She uses Kate’s memories against Seth, and she knows it’s the most effective. It makes him an easy target even when he’s putting up a strong front. Even when he knows what he has to do, he struggles with it because it’s Kate. When Tanner brings in the exorcism device, he again refers to her as a teenage girl, even though we know Amaru is no such thing. He isn’t able to separate her from Kate because of the body she inhabits.
That is why this episode was basically a one stop shop for angst and guilt.
Seth spars with Amaru, continuously championing Kate — “Kate, she’s in there and you know she’s stronger than you are.” — but it also leaves his weak points wide open. Amaru can read him like a book. She knows he can’t simply kill her, because Seth can’t bear to kill Kate, especially when he knows she’s in there. She casts so much doubt on him that when Kate finally does come through, her words are like daggers and they do just what Amaru wants them to do.
When Kate surfaces after she vomits a shit ton of blood, Seth frees her without question from her bonds. But there are no thank yous, she’s felt the same pain Amaru has through the excruciating exorcism and she confirms Richie’s hunch that this was all a set-up, and Seth has fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. It was all to get to Maggie and Billie for a ritual for Amaru to get back her original body. And what’s worse is that Kate coming back brings few glad tidings. She doesn’t forgive any of them, especially not Seth. Why would she? She’s been there for Seth and Scott, only for them to toss her aside when it wasn’t convenient for them. She couldn’t even find peace in death because she’s been subjected to housing the literal queen of hell.
So, does she forgive Seth just because he’s trying to help her? No. Should she forgive them? Hell no. They’re the reason she’s here and that’s what makes this episode so great. After all that struggling, after each move to try and keep Kate safe and alive and to bring her back, she isn’t going to be thanking them. They put her in this situation, and now they’re just trying to undo their wrongs.
God, what a great episode. And to make it all worse, the team barely manage to get to Maggie before she’s also taken by Amaru’s goons. The deck is definitely stacked against them.