Race Day Two-Arizona
At the Pixie Swallow Motel & Diner, the blonde waitress is sassy and beautiful, the customers are hungry and the short order cook is chopping up people meat in the kitchen.
On the road, Arthur and Grace bicker about the race, his morals and her nearly empty blood tank and how best to fill it. We learn that Grace’s sister is trapped in an insane asylum and will be for life unless Grace takes home the cash. Both racers are starving, leading to this exchange after Bailey examines the GPS monitor:
Arthur: “It says the finish line is up ahead in a town called Pixie Swallow.”
Grace: “Thank God. I’m so hungry I could eat a dick.”
Such an innocent lass of respectable manners.
The diner parking lot is packed with the other racers and their glaring psychological issues. Rib Bone is busy trying to fill his tank, and as Arthur attempts to stop him, Grace points out cameras watching them from surrounding cars. From a cold and futuristic conference room at Heart Enterprises, we see a man in a white suit watching the pair from a license plate camera. His face is never shown.
Rib Bone gazes at Arthur, grinning as he feeds his victim into the truck’s thirsty engine. Curiously absent in the usual macabre fanfare that accompanies finish lines. Where’s Julian Slink and the fires and crazed partying?
At Heart Enterprises corporate headquarters, Julian Slink exits an elevator into a swanky and vast lobby. He looks utterly out-of-place in such an upscale location, as if a Goth version of Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp had somehow been invited to glitzy Park Avenue. When Slink isn’t surrounded by screaming punk barbarians and bloody murder, it’s never more apparent how odd he really is. At the reception desk, he offers a humorously lengthy introduction to an unimpressed secretary.
“Allow me to introduce myself. Julian Slink. Tamer of beasts, connoisseur of fine wines, amateur swordsman, professional killer and creator of the Blood Drive.”
He is unable to say the last two words of that sentence without psychotic flair.
She looks bored and advises him to take a seat, which makes you wonder how many others looking like Julian come in on a daily basis. He opens his briefcase while waiting, and it contains weapons of every sort. And bubble gum.
A nervous middle management type attempts to befriend Slink in the waiting room, and you know this poor sap is headed for a bad end. He tells Julian that he’s been brought in to replace some Heart employee who really screwed up, which gives the usually confident Blood Drive ringmaster pause.
In the diner back in Arizona, Grace and Arthur order burgers. Under the pretense of using the men’s room, the cop makes a beeline for the pay phones to contact Chris Carpenter, his partner. He leaves a voicemail message exposing Heart Enterprises. As he finishes, the most menacing human on Earth appears in the corridor. He’s the diner’s cook, Carl Cox, and he’s holding an industrial-sized bloody meat cleaver while absolutely drenched in crimson. At this point, all you can do is look at Arthur and wonder how he can’t know. Cox tells him that while other meat companies have closed down because the drought affected the way cattle are raised, the diner has become one of the top suppliers in Central Arizona.
Officer Christopher Carpenter wakes up a day after being knocked out by Dominatrix Aki. He’s strapped to a gurney in a glass paneled laboratory. Aki tells him that she was designed to pleasure the company’s executives, and that there are many versions of her running around. A glitch in her programming matrix made her capable of scientific research and other feats far beyond the simple operations of a sex bot.
She forces him to watch a recruitment training video that explains the origin of Heart Enterprises. After a massive earthquake caused a continent-splitting crack nicknamed The Scar in North America, researchers from newborn tech company Heart discovered wonders there that birthed scientific revolutions. We learn from an onscreen scientist (who is also Aki) that unknown glowing goo and strange minerals were mined from The Scar, along with alternative fuel sources. The video ends with the attractive android making a heart shape with her hands and saying:
“Now we are able to share the fruits of our labor. We HEART you.”
Carpenter is told he can freely explore the facility, and he does. As he leaves the lab chamber, Dominatrix Aki’s eyes flash as she enters Sleep Mode.
At Pixie Swallows, Grace gobbles up her burger while her partner stares skeptically at his.
“There’s something off about this place. I just can’t put my finger on it.”
He shakes it off and takes a delicious bite at Grace’s urging, and is outraged when Fat Elvis suddenly rips the burger out of his hands.
“I hate cops.” Elvis says, and then catches a vicious punch to the balls from Grace.
He slams face forward into their table and she casually brushes him onto the floor, then holds up the motel room key she just pickpocketed from Elvis.
“Mama needs a shower.”
To go into further detail about the fairly huge spoiler that happens immediately after would be wrong, and I’ll keep it mostly spoiler free while glossing over some plot points.
Episode Two is huge for several reasons:
We see our first Blood Drive racer die. The death involves the swinging door of a kitchen, and each time the door swings back, the victim is more and more gruesome. Brilliantly shot.
Despite thinking of them as a bunch of nutjobs, Arthur has a moment of emotional connection with a racer who isn’t Grace. By simply being there and listening, he finds a way to help someone.
We get a better sense of what’s going on at Heart, and learn where all the Aki androids came from.
We learn something VERY interesting about The Gentleman and The Scholar during one of the most surprising televised moments I’ve seen in years. It makes perfect sense and is handled in a very frank, up front sorta way, but it isn’t something most shows have the guts to do.
We find out something quite amusing about Rib Bone, who makes a friend with an amazing name. It might be my favorite moment of the entire first two episodes. Great use of freeze frame.
There’s a funny scene involving horrified vomiting after the cannibalism is discovered, and this priceless line from Arthur:
“Do you think that corn dog was a dong?”
We get to see Julian out of his comfort zone, which affects both him and the Blood Drivers. It’s almost like he’s a father figure to the race contestants, and when Daddy’s away, they get in more trouble than ever.
What’s wrong with an army of redneck cannibals brutally fighting a pack of bloodthirsty racers? NOTHING!
It unfolds in a gloriously trashy, throat slitting parking lot brawl. Both Clown Dick and Rib Bone do quite well at slaying opponents when the carnage begins.
Julian faces a kind of challenge and succeeds. He meets a different version of the Aki android, one more suited to a corporate environment, and learns about the future of Blood Drive.
We learn Grace’s last name, which is D’Argento, and her sister’s first. It’s Carmen, and she is quite an important topic of conversation as the truth about her incarceration is hinted at.
Combining elements of “Blood Diner,” “Motel Hell” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” the second episode is gorier and more uproarious than the first. It’s nice to see the traditionally hostile contestants work together to achieve a common goal, and the cannibal employees of Pixie Swallows are memorable.