This week on Death Valley, a high stakes blood drive turns deadly when the vampire underground rises to steal a claim of their own. This episode has a lot of great action in it at the end, but is very slow to start. The makeup is, once again, fantastic and the show seems to have figured out real early what it wants to be. It is an offbeat horror/drama with flourishes of comedy.
As always, we'll sink this recap below the jump to keep you away from the gory zom/were/vamp action if you aren't up to it or can't view it right now.
In the dry opener, a news reporter shows up to promote the bloodmobile taking donations for the severely under-stocked San Fernando Valley. She agrees to donate herself live on camera to raise awareness.
Everyone except for Officer Kirsten Landry is sent to secure the bloodmobile at night for public confidence. Officer Landry is sent to Captain Frank Dashell's niece's mysterious Facebook party called "GBGB." When she questions why she's on the undead task force if she's just going to babysit, she's told that she's a rookie and should deal with it.
Brand new TV reporter Hillary Bidwell--also a pretty young blonde woman in a pink suit--interviews the officers outside of the bloodmobile. Officer Billy Pierce puts on his oblivious mating signals and begins to compliment Hillary as if she was the reporter ripped to shreds in the first scene of the episode.
Captain Dashell receives a cellphone call (not standard police protocol) telling him they found the hijacked bloodmobiles. The officers are dispatched immediately, despite Officer Pierce's insistence that it's not safe to do strenuous activity for six to eight hours.
Officers Carla Rinaldi and John "John John" Johnson drive to the hijacked bloodmobiles. Johnson proves he's a self-absorbed jerk with no sense of duty to others. This is an unexpected nosedive into Officer Pierce territory. Rinaldi forces Johnson to put down the baseball bat for once and grab a UV gun because the threat is vampires, not zombies.
Meanwhile, this caravan of bloodmobiles looks ominous.
What do you know? Zombie for Officers Rinaldi and Johnson. No need for a bat, huh?
And a vampire for Officers Pierce and Joe Stubeck.
How great is that makeup design for the emaciated vampire? Love it.
Stubeck and Pierce wind up in a high speed chase with a vampire until Stubeck calls for a "time out." Like that's going to stop anything. Pierce and Stubeck bond over their mutual tiredness from giving blood (sure, Stubeck, giving blood) when this lumbers up behind them.
Stubeck and Pierce are called in to backup Rinaldi and Johnson and have to walk back to the bloodmobile caravan. Thank goodness the zombie behind them is a slow walker. They could walk faster, but Pierce decides to shoot the poor thing at point blank range. Where's the fun in that?
Meanwhile, Rinaldi and Johnson really do need backup. The bloodmobiles are swarming with zombies and wouldn't you know that they've run out of ammo. They are stranded in the van, completely surrounded by zombies, until Stubeck and Pierce stroll on back to the scene of the crime.
Officer Landry stumbles into a den of vampire activity disguised as a party. She meets Deshell's niece and pauses when she hears who owns the house: Rico. Rico is the name of the vampire pimp that Officers Stubeck and Pierce killed in the first episode. Unless we're dealing with exceptionally lazy writers, it can't be a coincidence. That name is too recognizable to not be used for the same character.
Of course it's a different vampire named Rico. "GBGB" stands for "Give Blood, Get Buzzed." Vampires in this series apparently have certain chemicals in their bloodstream that produce black saliva on demand. This "black kiss" is highly intoxicating to humans who receive it. Rico then comes over to introduce himself. He insists that Landry and Deshell's niece "officially join the party." This is an odd turn of events for Death Valley: the Landry subplot is more interesting and better conceived than everyone else's storyline.
Meanwhile, Rinaldi, Johnson, and our trusty long-running sound guy Jamie are still stuck in a bloodmobile. Stubeck and Pierce are nowhere in sight and the zombies have completely surrounded the van. However, Johnson spots the keys in the ignition. If he just drives hard enough, they might get out of this alive.
After a brief interlude with Landry gets on Rico's good side, Pierce and Stubeck finally show up. They fight over who should throw ammo to the van. Pierce doesn't even get close, but Landry shoots it straight into the open window. They demand cookies from the bloodmobile before delivering more ammo. It's a really cute and funny scene that finally lifts the main plot up a few notches. Plus, Stubeck and Pierce briefly transform into Statler and Waldorf as they mock the zombie slaying in front of them.
Officer Landry returns to the precinct and is pulled into Captain Deshell's office. He insists that if his niece is actually in trouble, a more experienced officer needs to take the case. Landry isn't having it. She downplays the experience as "normal teenage stuff" so she can take control of this beat. She offers to find out more information for Deshell and he agrees.
With a final sight gag of finding out Deshell has never given blood before, we learn the vampire's real plan. They have taken over the bloodmobiles so they can feed as they want in full shade during the day. Genius.
This episode started out real slow and picked up in a great way toward the end of it. More importantly, it shows that this series is trying to build some dramatic arcs with recurring characters and multi-episode storylines. I'm so glad I decided to follow the show now.
What did you think of the episode? Sound off below.