Episode 9 of Daybreak sees us return to California Love again as the familiar opening segment returns. This time Principal Burr takes to the loud-speakers in the post-apocalyptic world, prompting Turbo to charge into the office, intent on taking him out. Despite slamming an axe into his chest, Principal Burr thwarts Turbo’s threat and knocks him to the ground. His reign now over, Mona tells Turbo he’s done as he lies on the ground; our maniacal Principal is now in control of the jocks and ragtag students accompanying them.
We return to Josh as the “epic conclusion” to this tale begins. He speaks to Eli about the exiled group while Wesley himself snatches Turbo up from the trash whence he’s thrown and saves him from his fate.
After a clean shave and brightening up the school, Principal Burr returns to school duties as the kids clean his office and the ensuing school grounds. On the loudspeaker he calls Sam to meet him in one of the classrooms where he discusses next steps and what to do about the school.
Meanwhile, the misfits at the mall deliberate over what to call themselves until KJ steps up and suggests “The Daybreakers”. With the rest of the group on-board with this idea, Josh asks Eli if he can borrow his Triumph costume. However, he refuses and after an Eli-flashback segment we see Josh spray-painting a tag for the Daybreakers – a sunrise symbolizing a new era rising. Armed with a sunflower bracelet, he heads out for the “real” epic conclusion after some more delays. Eli decides to tag along too, partly thanks to his cards, and agrees to dress up as Baron Triumph.
While they head out for their epic adventure, Wes, Angelica and Ms. Crumble tend to Turbo’s wounds at Josh’s apartment. As he begins to heal, Wes tells him that the path they have to take will end with them engaging in a fight to the death together.
Unfortunately Josh’s plan takes a turn for the worst as Hoyle jumps on Eli while in disguise. However, as he realizes it’s Eli and hurries off, he’s attacked by a rabid feral dog and dies. In the ensuing chaos, Eli gets hit and begins bleeding out. This bleeding leads to his death and as Josh weeps for his friend, the plan itself hits a serious roadblock.
Meanwhile at the school, Principal Burr turns his back on the students as Sam sees that he’s been eating Barry and keeping him in the closet. The smoothies he’s been drinking have actually been Barry all along. As Josh finally makes it to the school dressed as Triumph, he hands her the sunflower bracelet in the classroom and removes his helmet, revealing who he really is. Unfortunately, an explosion outside causes both of them to fly across the room.
The unexpected cliffhanger ending is likely to be the biggest talking point here along with Eli’s death which are certainly decent twists to the tale. The interesting juxtaposition to the first episode is a nice touch though – especially as these are essentially part 1 and 2 of the same storyline. Beyond this, Daybreak does well to set the foundations for a dramatic finale to come but whether it’ll live up to expectations remains to be seen. There’s a real Buffy Season 3 finale feel to proceedings here, especially with the school threat and maniacal Principal running a tight ship. There’s a lot of different influences dotted throughout the season though but so far, Daybreak has done well to hide a lot of this. All eyes turn to the finale now where hopefully Daybreak can end things with a roar rather than a whimper.
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