Mr. 5ft and I sat down to watch the premiere episode of Ruta 35 tonight and…well…we’re pretty darn impressed. We’ve decided we needed to give you a summary of the episode in case maybe you have a fondness for violent, over-the-top, so-bad-it’s-hilarious television shows. Is this a telenovela? Really, I have no idea.
Yeah, when I said “impressed” I didn’t mean in a good way.
So, we start off with three semi-intersecting stories tonight: Conchita, Sofia, and Mercurio.
Conchita gets busted on her very first try at drug-running. She’s a sweet old lady with a couple of grandkids, living in Miami, and working for a courier service. She gets busted by DEA Agent Tomás Ortiz, who gives her the line he spends much of the episode giving to everyone else he busts…squeal and you’ll stay out of jail. Later, he has her go undercover to befriend the mom of a narco, and she’s really good at pumping the other poor little old lady for information, even going so far as to encourage her to go to confession just so she can search through her purse. Yeah. Conchita’s hardcore. At least until her new BFF’s son comes to town, Conchita tells the cops he’s there, he gets into a shootout, and he dies. I think that’s probably going to put a damper on their friendship.
Sofia, played by the gorgeous Danna Garcia, lives in Mexico and is married to Rogelio, sneaking around with Domingo, and has an 18-year-old son. I love Danna, but she does not look old enough to have an 18-year-old son. Just go with it. Domingo and Rogelio are both narcos and they work for Rafael, who seems to be this show’s pez gordo (big fish). At Rafael’s birthday party, I learn several valuable lessons:
- When it comes to dressing up, narcos are not afraid of print.
- Nobody over the age of 4 looks good in a onesie. Not even Danna Garcia. Not even if it’s a black velvet-burnout zebra stripe onesie with black lace trim and a generous v-neck amply decorated with…something neither Mr. 5ft nor I can identify, even after watching every season of Project Runway ever aired–and that’s including All Stars and the new Juniors.
- If you’re going to bring a gun to a fancy party, make sure it’s gold-plated.
At said birthday party DEA Tomás tries to bust in with his guys and capture Rafael. After much shooting and chaos, Rafael ends up fairly calmly flying away in a helicopter, while Sofia is stuck hiding out with her husband, her son, her lover, her lover’s son, and her lover’s bodyguard El Gavilán (played by Mauricio Aspe, famous in the 5ft household for playing a guy whose shirt buttons served as a sanity meter on Dos Caras de Ana…the farther they were unbuttoned, the more unhinged he was) in a tunnel until the incompetent cops go away.
The narcos spend the rest of the episode also fairly incompetently trying to figure out who the mole is in their midst while Sofia keeps walking around wearing scandalous outfits and snogging Domingo every chance she gets. For those who actually care about the plot, the mole is the guy who supplied Conchita’s supplier, and he’s on the verge of getting killed by the end of the episode so, probably, who cares!
As for Mercurio…poor stupid Mercurio…he gets a really raw deal. Some money laundering counterfeiting dude wants him to take a load of cash to the US. He doesn’t really want to, his sweet pregnant wife doesn’t really want him to, and his coworker at the garage thinks he should turn his would-be employer over to the US authorities. So he tries…and he gets recruited to make the trip as planned, and hand the fake cash over to “Secret Service” agent Marina. (Marina happens to be sleeping with Tomas, for those keeping score at home.) Too bad Marina was in a car accident on the way to meet Mercurio so this poor guy gets busted and there is apparently NOTHING she can do to keep him from getting thrown in jail. She does get him out on bail and sends him back to Mexico…without the money! He’s afraid he’s going to get killed, but he only gets a gun held to his head by the money laundering dude’s MOM. So there’s another lesson I learned today…do not mess with sweet looking little old ladies! He survives that encounter, but later two guys on a motorcycle do a drive-by on the garage and kill his coworker instead of Mercurio. Marina’s nice enough to get him and his pregnant wife to the US…where they can have a place to stay for a few days, but then they’re on their own. He manages to get himself a job, in a garage, but he’s STILL facing charges for transporting fake cash. I have no sense of how much time has passed, but either Marina has chronic fatigue or she’s still recovering from her car accident ’cause she looks absolutely beat as she tells him she can make the charges go away…if he works for her as an informant. Survey says…0 people in this household think that’s a good idea.
And what about ICE agent Dylan Wilkins, who is supposed to be at the center of all this? As far as we can tell, he only did a brief cameo. We learned that he’s a little bitter about Tomás’ progress getting to Rafael and Dylan and his partner want to be the ones to bust him.
Will we watch this again? Probably. It’s really not feeling like the quality is very high. The characters are pretty flat. Some of the scenery is gorgeous–Rafael’s party pad, in particular was jutted out over some water and had lots of lush green stuff around it (yeah, too bad they shot that all up). The actors are nice to look at, and some of them are doing really well with this QTH material. The camera work is at times unexpectedly comical…like the scene where Tomas starts a call on speakerphone and the camera inadvertently lingers on his crotch in the process of showing us the phone. Or maybe it wasn’t inadvertent…what the hell do I know. We’re giving it two zebra-striped, gold-plated guns up. No idea when we’ll watch the next installment, but I doubt anyone’s going to be overly confused if they don’t have a summary to refer back to. We’re still wondering how many episodes of this we’re supposed to be getting, at 2 hours a night.