El Camino de la Muerte is the 19th episode in the series. It translates to "The Road of Death."
Captured by narco-cult leader El Santo, Teresa embarks on a spiritual journey with real-world consequences.
Held captive by a twisted cult led by El Santo, Teresa is forced to make a terrible choice that leads her to lose her mental grasp on reality.
Teresa has flashbacks of her almost-drowning.
Prison cell in El Santo's compound, Bolivia
A masked girl tells Teresa to wake up, and she unlocks her chains, telling her that she's in a place of worship and devotion. The girl tells her that Teresa must come with her and she leads the way out of the prison cell.
Teresa kneels in front of the little girl and pushes up the horned demon mask to see her face. With tears in her eyes, Teresa asks the girl who she is. The girl tells her that she's her protection, and as long as she holds her hand, she'll be invisible.
Hand in hand, Teresa follows the girl past more prison cells. She notes workers creating cocaine with ether. Outside, a group of men are playing an Incan ball game with a stone hoop while a crowd looks on. Teresa is led down stairs and into the crowd. Across the courtyard are Guero and James, who are also holding hands with masked girls. A bell tolls, and the people kneel and immediately go silent. Teresa lets go of the girl's hand and makes a run for it, along with Guero and James , as the crowd notices that she's no longer invisible and begins to chase her. James fends off people with a lead pipe, but they are all pressed in against a fence with no way out. As Teresa is being choked to death, a girl offers her her hand, and she takes it, making her invisible once more. The crowd goes back to what they were doing.
The girl tells Teresa to follow her to go repent.
Epifaño's house in Mexico
Isabela Vargas is sitting with Kique and Pedro Jimenez when Olivia comes in holding a bottle of an expensive alcohol. Olivia asks her if they should open the $3000 bottle, and they fall silent as they hear the sound of a woman's laughter. They had believed that Epifaño wasn't home, but now there's a woman in her bedroom. The teens quickly attempt to hide their contraband as the door opens and the woman leaves, fixing her skirt. Isabela clears her throat and asks her what she's doing. The woman is uncomfortable and says that she came for her father's itinerary, picking it up off the counter and leaving.
Pedro is very amused by all of this and closes the door before leading Olivia out of the room. Kique moves to sit next to Isabela and tells her that her dad is just being stupid and she shouldn't have to see shit like that. Isabela says that she doesn't want to be there right now. When Kique asks her where she wants to go, she says Dallas. Kique says okay and asks Pedro if they should grab the jet and head to Dallas. The teens are all down to go.
The three are led into a cell with El Santo. He asks her why she's there. James interjects that they represent Camila Vargas, and asks why they're being held as prisoners. El Santo doesn't bother to look at James as he says that he wasn't addressing him, and prompts Teresa to continue. Teresa says that she was hoping to start a relationship with him, and that the quality of his product is known everywhere. He says that the people who would be talking about his product have any concept of the true nature of quality, and so what. Teresa says that he's washing his product with ether, an old, dangerous technique. El Santo says that he knows something more dangerous: mediocrity. El Santo prompts Guero to tell him where the evil is in the process of cocaine. Guero says that it's when grown men sell to children. El Santo says no, when cocaine is treated with the reverence it deserves, it can make even children smile. Teresa says that the evil's in the wash. El Santo asks her why. Teresa says that most people leave cocaine impure because the impurities make it heavier, which means more profit, and ether makes it even more pure. He asks her where she learned this and she says the streets of Culiacán. He hums and asks her how much she seeks. She wants 100 kilos to start, but he says that he only deals in metric tons. James says that it's too much and there must be another deal they can make. El Santo says that he doesn't sell to Americans because of deals.
Teresa tells him that they'll take the ton, despite Guero's warnings. El Santo leans in close and whispers to Teresa that they have a Judas among them. He says that he will consider their request, but first, atonement is required. His people died when they were trying to escape, so a blood sacrifice is demanded. He offers Teresa the choice of choosing who among them will die; one dies or all of them die.
Kique puffs smoke rings as Pedro drinks with Olivia on his lap. Isabela denies their offer of cocaine. Kique tells Isabela that he likes her because she manages to see through all this, gesturing at the rest of them. He asks her if she knows where she's going when they land. She tells him somewhere safe and rejects his offer to join her because she needs to do it herself.
James and Guero argue and blame each other for putting them into this mess. Guero calls James a coward and James calls him a rat and says that he's the Judas. Guero says that he's trying to steal 'his woman' and James scoffs and calls him a fucking child. Guero punches James and they struggle, with James getting the upper hand almost instantly as he pushes Guero's face against the bars of the cell. Teresa jumps in and tells them to stop because this is exactly what El Santo wants.
The door opens and the girl asks her who she gives to the knife. Teresa says me, and leaves the cell as guards hold back a struggling Guero, who begs them to take him instead.
Safe house in Texas
Isabela is waved into the safe house compound and rings the doorbell of the house. Camila is surprised to see her daughter and takes a second to compose herself before answering it. Isabela says that she wants to talk and hugs her mom.
Camila sends her cooks away and tells them that the staff has the rest of the night off.
El Santo's church
Teresa is led into the sanctuary and in front of the altar. Two men hang upside down from the ceiling, dripping blood into bowls, as El Santo preaches in Spanish. He pauses and removes his mask when he feels Teresa arrive.
Teresa says that his bible calls his heart is a place of sanctuary, even for his enemies, and she kneels and claims sanctuary. He asks her if she thinks that she can come into his chapel and kneel before his god and use his words against him. He says that atonement cannot be derailed.
El Santo draws a knife and presses it to her chest, before sheathing it and saying that she has already given her heart. He asks her if she knows the word "moyocoyotzin," which means "she who creates herself," and tells her that she might just be pure of heart. He tells her to stand and dips a cup into the bowl of blood, telling her to come toward him. He makes a cross on her forehead with the blood, then offers her a beetle, asking her if she'll wrestle with God. Teresa opens her mouth and accepts the beetle.
El Santo's truck
Teresa wakes in between James and Guero in the front seat of the truck full of product. James reports that there's still not signal on their phones and asks Guero how long they have until Chile.
Guero reports that they're on El Camino de la Muerte, the most dangerous road in Bolivia.
Up ahead of them is a roadblock manned by soldiers. They've already seen them, and Teresa tells them to pull up to the roadblock.
Teresa gets out and tells them to stay there. Teresa greets the soldiers warmly and asks why they can't pass, saying that they're transporting food to the alpaca farm where her cousin works. James waves and she calls him a slacker. She bums a cigarette and asks if they can pass again. Over the radio, La Capitana orders them to bring the three to her. Teresa turns and runs back to the truck as the soldiers fire. Guero runs up to meet her and gets between her and a bullet, dying as James takes down the soldiers. Teresa sits in the mud and cries as she realizes that he's dead.
They put Guero's body in the back of the truck on top of the product. James tells her that they'll take him back with them. Teresa blames herself for not turning around like Guero wanted to. He tells her that his soldiers in Afghanistan used to say that there's a different god for soldiers, one that judges hearts instead of deeds, and that he loved her. James tells Teresa to get some sleep.
The Queen appears to Teresa holding the black beetle that she ate and tells her to get up.
El Santo's truck
Teresa wakes in El Santo's truck as she had before, between Guero and James, who say the same things as before. When they turn onto El Camino de la Muerte and spot the roadblock, Teresa tells Guero to turn around. He says that they can't outrun them in that truck and stops it near the roadblock. Teresa tells them that they're La Capitana's men and they're waiting for them.
One soldier approaches the driver's side and opens the door, but it's empty. The three are hiding in the jungle. Guero comes up behind one of the soldiers and takes his gun. James chases after another soldier, hoping to take him down before he can call for reinforcements. Teresa tries to chase after him, before getting dizzy and realizing that there was something in the beetle she ate.
There is a flash of the masked girls, La Capitana saying that it's done, and The Queen shushing her.
Teresa startles back to herself, putting up her gun. It's James, and he pushes her gun out of the way, reassuring her that it's okay and he took care of it. He places his hands on her neck and in her hair, telling her that she's safe. He pulls her in for a brief hug and when they separate, he kisses her.
Two gunshots ring out. James has been shot by Guero. Teresa asks Guero what he's done, and Guero says that it was either him or me.
The Queen appears to Teresa again and tells her to choose.
El Santo's chapel
Teresa is lying on her back on the floor of the chapel. She comes back to herself and breaths deeply, gasping as Guero runs over to her and holds her. She asks where James is and he says that he's here. She stares at him before turning to El Santo, who is clapping. El Santo tells her that it was a good death and that she had to die to be reborn into his family. She notes that the beetle was poison, but he says that it isn't for the pure of heart.
El Santo removes his necklace and gives it to Teresa, telling her that she is now one of them and it is time for her to create herself. He expects the payment within the week. El Santo tells her to be careful on the death road and reminds her that there is still a Judas among them.
The three masked girls hand back the trio their phones and guns.
Outside, the truck is loaded with cocaine.
Camila's safe house
Camila and Isabela are eating chilaquiles together. The last time Camila made chilaquiles was the night that Nana died; Isabela was ten.
Camila plays with Isabela's hair and tells her that she's so glad that she's here and she misses her so much. Isabela cries and asks her to come home. Camila says that she can't and Isabela tells her that he's cheating on her. Camila says that he isn't, before realizing that Epifaño didn't tell her about the divorce. Isabela refuses to believe it and is upset because no one told her.
Isabela stands and leaves, even though Camila asks her to stay the night.
James tells George that they'll be there in a few hours. George tells him that he gave him a deadline and they didn't keep it, so he's leaving. Teresa takes the phone from James and tells George that they've got a metric ton of Bolivian flake, and that's just the start. George is surprised and tells her that it's a death sentence if she doesn't get back to Dallas tout suite, especially with a time frame of a week. George says that if they aren't at the border by sundown, he'll leave them to rot there. She says thank you and he tells his men to turn around.
El Camino de la Muerte
Teresa realizes that they are in exactly the same situation that she was in her dreams, warning him to be careful around the next bend. The roadblock isn't there, but up ahead, a truck crashed and there is fruit and crates all over the road.
The three get out to wait and James and Guero fight again. Guero asks him if he'd kill Teresa if Camila asked him to and James tells him that he has no idea what loyalty is. Guero spits that that sounds like a yes to him. Teresa tells them that she's tired of their bullshit and walks away. Teresa makes eye contact with a child, who shakes his head, before walking into the jungle.
James stares after her as a man radioes to tell La Capitana that they're there. James casually tells Guero that that guy has a radio and it look like he led them into another ambush. Guero realizes that he's a lookout and goes off looking for Teresa.
Teresa is walking through the rainforest when she is attacked from behind by La Capitana, who is wielding a knife. Teresa shoots her, and the noise inspires the soldiers hiding near the overturned truck to come out. They fire at Guero and James, who take cover in the jungle.
Teresa and La Capitana struggle on the ground, and Teresa shoots her again, but she chases after her as she runs for her life.
Hiding in the forest, James puts his gun to Guero's head, telling him that Guero is going to get her killed, and that he doesn't deserve her. A soldier interrupts them as he shoots James. Guero kills the soldier before he can kill James. James asks Guero why he saved him and Guero says that he kept her alive when he couldn't. James tells him that Teresa kept herself alive.
La Capitana tackles Teresa and chokes her. Her blood spatters onto Teresa's face as she speaks, telling her that if she's going to die, she's taking Teresa with her. Good death, you poor thing.
Teresa has flashbacks of being a child and taking communion, shooting at Epifaño after the car accident in Piloto, hiding the book in the bathroom, breaking into El Limpiador's tunnel with Brenda and seeing the bodies, throwing up afterward, shooting her rapist in the face and killing him, the girl's mask, pressing the button and watching the tunnel blow up, and accepting the beetle from El Santo. Her face is shown again in between faster flashes of dancing with Leo, drowning in the pool, seeing Guero's dead body in her beetle dream, watching James die in her dream, and El Santo telling her that it's time for her to create herself.
Teresa hits La Capitana over the head with a rock, finally gaining the upper hand. She sits on top of La Capitana and bashes her skull in with a rock.
Covered in mud and blood, Teresa gets back to the road and yells for Guero and James. She stoops to pick up a gun next to a dead soldier and when she stands, Guero and James are back, staring at her. No one says anything, and the boys watch as she makes her way back to the truck.
Camila is visited by Cole, and she kisses him. She tells him that she needs him to make her feel good. He picks her up and they have sex on Camila's desk.
Olivia offers Isabela some pills. Kique tells her hold up, but Isabela takes them and downs them with a shot. Pedro comes over and offers her a line, which she does, as Kique tries to get her to slow down. Isabela straddles Kique and makes out with him. He responds enthusiastically as Olivia yells out encouragements.
Teresa's eyes fill with tears as they make their way to King George.
- Teresa Mendoza
- James Valdez
- Guero Davilas
- El Santo
- La Capitana
- King George
- Camila Vargas
- Isabela Vargas
- Kique Jimenez
- Olivia Gutierrez
- Pedro Jimenez
- Cole Van Awken
- Nuestra Canción (Play n Skillz Remix) by Snow Tha Product
- Give it to Ya feat. Louy Fierce by The Trak Kartel
- What I Got by The Trak Kartel
- Isabela: I don't want to be here right now.
- Kique: Where do you want to go?
- Isabela: Dallas.
- Guero, about Teresa: Hey, I will gladly trade my life for hers. How about you?
- James: You're an idiot. He's not going to let any of us live.
- Teresa, quietly: Stop it.
- James: I'm a coward. You're a rat. Trading other peoples' lives for your own. You're the Judas.
- Guero: Yeah, who's the one trying to steal another man's woman?
- James: You fucking child. This is business. But I guess if you were a real man, she wouldn't have to beg to keep you alive.
- El Santo: Oh mi'ja. You have already given your heart. Haven't you? Teresa? Teresa? Are you aware of the word "Moyocoyotzin?" It means "she who creates herself." I suspect that... You might just be pure of heart.
- El Santo: It is time for you to create yourself, Teresa Mendoza.
- Camila: I'm so glad that you're here. I miss you so much.
- Isabela. Mamí, please come home.
- George, to Teresa: Every time I turn my back, you're doused in gasoline and juggling fire!
- George, to his men: Turn around. Don't give me that look. You ain't never seen a hero before?
- Guero: Camila's backed into a corner. She's paranoid. She's out there just swinging in the dark. I mean, how long you think it's gonna be till it's Teresa who's not supposed to come back from a mission? You gonna take her out if Camila tells you to, James?
- Teresa: Stop it
- Guero: No, no, no hold up, babe. I wanna hear what his answer is.
- James: You have no idea what loyalty is.
- Guero: Sounds like a yes to me.
- Teresa: I'm tired of your bullshit.
- James: You're gonna get her killed. She doesn't know who you really are, but I do. You don't deserve her.
- Guero: Do you?
- James: I've been around people like you my whole life. Selfish. No loyalty.
- James: You saved me. Why?
- Guero: You kept her alive when I couldn't.
- James: She kept herself alive.
- Guero: Hey, I'm not saying I'm not gonna kill you. I just-- I ain't gonna kill you right now.
- La Capitana, to Teresa: If I'm going to die, I'm going to pull you out by the root and drag you down into hell with me.
- Ryan O'Nan: Thanks!! TV is always a team effort. @dailynrod came up with the idea of El Santo in the first place, and @BenjaminDLobato pitched me one of my favorite lines in the episode. When the little angel says “Take my hand and you will be invisible” Remember that Ben? 
Notes & trivia
- In Teresa's poison-induced dreamscape, Guero dies while using his body as a human shield to protect her. In the second dreamscape, she kisses James and he is killed by Guero.
- Teresa beats La Capitana with a rock and crushes her skull. She walks away from the body covered in mud and blood. James and Guero emerge from the forest wary of her.
- El Santo’s belt buckle is a silver ouroboros. He has a sheath on his belt for a knife.
- The truck in the dream has the Bolivian license plate 3104PBN.
- Ryan O'Nan named the episode after the road in Bolivia. "That’s why the episode’s called “El Camino de la Muerte”, named after that road. When I was writing that episode I did tons of research on La Paz, and that road really fascinated me. There’s some crazy footage of busses going over the side and stuff. That road looks nuts/awesome!"
Parallels (contains spoilers)
|Guero: You kept her alive when I couldn't.
James: She kept herself alive.
|James: You're only alive because of me.
Teresa: No, I'm alive because of me.
|James: We represent Camila Vargas. Why are we being held as prisoners?
El Santo: I was not addressing you, James.
|James: El Santo gave us no choice.
Camila: I don't remember asking you a damn thing.
|Teresa eats a poisoned bug, which causes her to hallucinate about Guero and James.||Teresa drinks poison, which causes her to hallucinate about Guero and James.|
|El Santo, to Teresa: You had to die to be reborn into my family.||El Santo, to Teresa: My child, you have been reborn. Go in peace.|