Once upon a time in … Santa
On a construction dock
A man named Falcon
(Diego Olivera, as handsome as always, although I could do without the slicked
back hair) is on the dock, carrying a clipboard and rushing to a bridge, when
he’s told by an unseen voice that the boss wants to see him in his office.
Before that happens, though, he gets a call and the cell screen says it’s from Joaquin:
“Que hiciste, imbecil? Estan a punto de
descubrirnos!” (What have you done, you moron? They are about
to discover us/ they’re on to us!) – Joaquin is obviously not happy, someone
blew the whistle on them and their shady business, so Falcon has to disappear
Falcon is scared but
he can’t just leave, he has to make sure that his family will be alright,
first. “Lo siento, Joaquin,” he says
and hangs up, no matter how much Joaquin insists that if he’s caught, they’re all
Night time, pretty house near the ocean
The first thing we see
inside the house is a family portrait of Falcon with a woman and a little girl.
As the camera pans to several other pictures that show a happy, loving family,
someone puts a bottle of wine on the table behind the photos, lights up some
candles and then leaves.
The little girl from
the photos, Alina, is in her room, saying her prayer, when her mom comes in and
gives her a good night kiss. Alina would like to wait for her dad, but the mom
is firm (although loving) – she coddles the little girl a while, tells her she
loves her, gives the bendicion
lets her go to sleep.
Back in the living
room, the mom is all smiles. She takes off her silky pink robe, to reveal a
silky, pink and very sexy nighty; she covers the lighted lamp with the robe, to
create a more romantic atmosphere, rushes to pour some wine in the glasses…and
hears a noise, must be the person she’s been waiting for.
And there he is,
Falcon, dressed in his white uniform. He has no eyes for what his wife, Oriana
(Mayrin Villanueva) prepared for them, though, he asks her to go pack a bag for
her and Alina because they have to leave the country – they need to be on the
first flight outside of Colombia. Their destination? Mexico, the couples’ native country.
Oriana demands to know
what is going on, he looks very pale, has he done something indebido (improper)? There is no time
for this now, he refuses to give more details, but promises to explain
everything on the way to the airport.
Oriana won’t move until
he tells her what is going on, though.
Ok, then! The police suspect
him of gold smuggling, which he totally did, taking advantage of his Customs Inspector
How could you? Oriana
is shocked to hear the truth. What is done, is done, Falcon says, now she needs
to take their daughter and leave. Why them, Oriana wants to know, she’s
Well, yes, but the
money he got from the smuggling was placed in an account he set up on HER name.
Oriana can’t believe
her ears but she doesn’t put up any more fight, because next we see them at the
airport. She asks Alina to wait in the car, while she and hubby dearest have it
out on the sidewalk.
“Come te atreviste a involucrarnos en eso?”(How dare you involve us in this?) she screams,
while desperately hitting him.
He tries to reassure
her that everything will turn out fine because his associates will help him get
out of Colombia, while she and Alina go ask for help from
Raquel, Oriana’s friend in Mexico. Apparently Raquel is the only one who can
help them – Oriana tries to call her, but she forgot her cell back home.
Another series of punches follow, but finally Oriana accepts the money her
husband gives her and takes Alina out of the car.
The poor girl is
completely confused by the whole situation, wants to know where they’re going
and why isn’t her papi coming with them, too. He promises they’ll see each
other soon and they hug – he’s crying, Oriana is crying – the whole thing is
quite sad – stupid men and their stuuupid ambitions!
He hugs Oriana, too,
but she’s not as understanding as Alina. She tells him she never wants to see
him again – “Para mi
estas muerto!” (For me, you’re
a dead man!)
This hits him very
hard, but what is he supposed to do? Go to the police and confess the whole
thing? Then we wouldn’t have a telenovela anymore.
He’s left crying on
the sidewalk, while his family gets inside the airport.
San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
We are at the airport.
Two women, a blond and a brunette seen from the back, are talking about Oriana.
It’s been years since the blond hasn’t seen her friend, the daughter, Alina,
was just a baby when she last visited them in Colombia. Who could have imagined that her husband
would turn out to be a delinquent?
The brunette wonders
if maybe having Oriana in their hotel is dangerous, she thinks it’s impossible
that she had no clue about her husband’s smuggling.
But the blond doesn’t
think Oriana knew anything and even if she did, she asked for her help and
they’ve been friends their whole lives, they’ve been almost like sisters, she
can’t abandon her. The brunette is still not happy about the situation, but
here comes Oriana and Alina, so they have to interrupt their talk and welcome
The blond, Raquel (Altair
Jarabo) hugs Oriana, then Oriana gets acquainted to Lucina (Cecilia Gabriela), the
brunette, Raquel’s associate. Alina isn’t very talkative, the poor child must
be really disconcerted by all this change.
Oriana apologizes for
causing them so much trouble, but Lucina reassures her – one look at Oriana’s
face is all she needed to be sure that she didn’t do anything bad. She tries to
talk to Alina, too, but the girl hides behind her mother’s back, like any child
her age would do in such circumstances. Eventually, she does agree to take
Lucina’s hand, leaving Oriana and Raquel alone. They hug once again, Oriana
promises she only needs help for a little while, before she can go to Mexico City and find a job. But Raquel tells her to take
her time, she’s there to help, no matter what.
Brief fashion exposition:
Oriana had the time to
change in the plane or during their layover, apparently, because now she’s
wearing a flowery, above the knee dress – nice to know that even while on the
run from the Colombian police, one can still look fashionable and pretty.
Raquel is wearing a
pink, high waist top and a low cut, flared legs pair of pants, the kind of
outfit you’d expect an odalisque to wear. And Lucina has a yellow and white
dress, the perfect fit for her fuller, Christina Hendricks-type, figure.
They all wear similar
outfits all through the episode.
Next, the location
changes to a hills scenery – the little hotel that Lucina and Raquel own is
farther away from San Carlos and it only has a few rooms, nothing fancy, Lucina
explains, as they pass by a sign that says Villa el Descanso – and their guests
are mostly retired gringos.
The beach is close
enough, too, the hotel is right next to it, looking more like the place where
the protagonistas would have their first encontro amoroso in capitulo 50: a
white, two stories high medium sized house, with a large terrace.
We are introduced to
some of the staff of the Villa – we see a guy called Felipe, who is supposed to
take care of the girls’ bags and there is also a Chucho, off screen for now.
The interior looks
somewhat hippy, not what I imagined after seeing the outside, but I guess it
works with Lucina’s temperament. We find out they don’t have that much staff
now, because it’s the off season.
Oriana and Alina check
into a pretty, twin room. Raquel tries to cheer them up, but Oriana is,
rightfully, not in a great mood. Alina is afraid to go to the bathroom alone,
she doesn’t want her mom to leave, so Oriana promises she will be right there
waiting for her.
Once alone, Raquel
asks if Alina is usually so shy. No, Oriana explains with tears falling down
her cheeks, normally she’s a very happy, extroverted girl, but being taken away
from her house in the middle of the night, the plane flight, the terrible change,
all these things are really affecting her. Besides, she herself is very
frightened and Alina is picking up on that.
Raquel asks her why
she doesn’t stay there instead of going to Mexico City. Well, Jose Luis (the husband) gave her some
money, but Oriana has to work; besides, she could cause them troubles, since
the police might be looking for her.
They are shortly interrupted
by Felipe coming in with the luggage.
Then Raquel advices
Oriana to take a bath, try to relax a little. Alina comes out of the bathroom,
but doesn’t want to accompany Raquel to the beach.
Oriana one more time of her help and then leaves.
Alina wants to know if
her mom had been crying, but Oriana tells her she was only excited to see her
friend. Then Alina asks when her dad will join them. “Muy pronto!’ (Very soon!), Oriana painfully lies and they start
unpacking their bags.
On the terrace that
has an exquisite view of the ocean, Lucina is sitting on a bench when Raquel
comes to join her.
Lucina hopes the
husband won’t think about coming to the villa, Raquel is sure he won’t. They
both decide they should help Oriana, Lucina says she has cara de buena jente (the face of a good person).
It’s the next day and Alina
is still desperately holding on to her mom, while Oriana talks to Lucina and
Raquel about how peaceful the place is. Yes, it’s true, mostly because they’re
off season, they only have two couples and an old lady as guests.
Oriana is surprised
that Raquel chose such a reclusive place to live, so Raquel explains that when
they decided to start the business together she and Lucina realized they didn’t
have money for a more central location. But she likes it all the same, all that
is missing from her life is a galan, milionario
if it’s possible. Lucina already has hers, although she’s reluctant to accept him
– marriage is the last thing on her mind, she used to go out with the guy years
before and now he showed up again. He used to be married, then he became a
widow and remarried to a younger woman who cheated on him. Raquel thinks that one of these days the guy
will get a divorce and come to live with Lucina at the villa. Maybe, but Lucina
doesn’t want to be anybody’s noviecita.
Knowing more than she
needs to know about the romantic chismes
of the owners, Oriana and Alina go to the beach and Raquel scolds Lucina for
talking about stuff like that in front of Alina. Lucina has the same reaction
I’d have, she doesn’t think it’s a big deal. But I do understand Oriana’s need
to protect Alina, now more than ever.
Back in the villa, an
old, stuck up witch complains to Felipe about the mugre servicio (deplorable service) of the place and leaves for the
beach. Lucina and Raquel are obviously fed up with the guest’s attitude, but
Raquel goes to change her towels, to avoid a new conflict.
Lucina notices that
the business is going worse then ever and Felipe asks how long Oriana will stay
and if her husband will join her, too. Lucina promptly lies, saying Oriana is a
Just then the phone
rings, it’s Jose Luis calling from a payphone, asking to talk to Oriana, but
saying that he’s just a friend.
Lucina takes the phone
from Felipe and says they have no Oriana living there. Jose Luis explains that
he is her husband and thinks that maybe he’s talking with Raquel, but Lucina
insists they have nobody named Oriana staying with them and if he ever bothers
to call, they’ll make a complaint at the police.
Jose Luis, wearing a
cap to disguise his hair and nothing else, is left holding the phone, not
knowing what to do. Oh, well, I’m sure he’ll think of something.
Lucina tells Felipe
that if someone ever calls for Oriana again, to say he doesn’t know her.
Raquel gets back,
upset over the way their business is going, but Lucina drags her outside and
tells her about the talk she just had with Jose Luis – they can’t allow for
that man to reach them and get them into trouble – what if the police is
listening his calls? Lucina thinks Oriana should tell everybody that she’s a
widow. Raquel is slightly opposed to the idea at first, she thinks that maybe
Jose Luis had good intentions, but Lucina is sure that’s not the case. They
have to take care of their business first and foremost – she’s not sorry that
she agreed to help Oriana, but she won’t cover for a delinquent, too. So Raquel
has to convince Oriana to pretend to be a widow, which is the exact version of
the facts that Felipe also has.
On the beach with
Oriana, Alina is sad, she misses her home and her dad.
Tommassi, a new guest at the Villa. He’s happy to be there, by the way he acts,
it’s not his first time; he goes straight to the terrace, taking in the breeze
and the sun, just as Oriana and Alina are returning from the beach.
He chats with a very
reluctant Oriana – he hasn’t seen them around before. He introduces himself as
Gabriel Sanchez Fernandez, while Oriana only gives her first name.
Lucina interrupts the
awkward introductions, this Gabriel guy is obviously her lover – friend.
Once his room, he
tells Lucina that he’s decided to get a divorce, he can’t stand his wife and
her brother anymore. He’s all set to meet with the lawyer once he goes back to Tijuana. Checking his wallet, he realizes that he
forgot all his credit cards, so he decides to call his wife.
She lives in Tijuana, Baja California, in a fancy mansion. She’s outside the house, on the steps, when
Gabriel calls and she’s not exactly happy to hear his voice, but she lets him
know she found the credit cards on his desk and put them away in a drawer. She
knows he’s with his querida from San Carlos and Gabriel doesn’t make the effort to deny it.
He hangs up the phone,
which only infuriates her more. A bearded man from inside the house, Berto, her
brother, comes to talk to her: she’s worried that Gabriel is going to ask for a
divorce –apparently they have a pre-nup and she’s afraid she’ll be left with
nothing. Ojala he suffered a heart
attack and died, she wishes, as Bert asks if by any chance she knows if Gabriel
has a will. Hm…
Back in San Carlos, it’s night time at the Villa and Oriana is trying
to read a book, but she obviously can’t concentrate. Alina is asleep, so when
Raquel comes in she suggests they go outside to have a drink and talk. But
Oriana can’t leave Alina alone, especially under the circumstances, so Raquel
agrees to talk in the room.
She tells Oriana that
Jose Luis called. Oriana looks slightly enthused, but then Raquel explains that
they hid her presence, because they’re afraid Jose Luis will come, and the
police will soon join, too. They agreed to help her, but they don’t want
trouble with the officials. It wouldn’t be fair if they suffered any kind of
harm just for helping her, right? Is Raquel starting to show some claws? Me
Oriana can’t argue
with this, besides she already told Jose Luis that she never wants to see him
again. That’s very good, Raquel agrees and Alina needs to be told that her dad
is dead. We don’t get to see much reaction from Oriana, yet, but she can’t be
that cruel to her daughter, right?
It’s the next morning,
and Alina is more talkative now. She chats with Felipe, telling him she’s going
to the beach, to gather shells. Felipe gives Alina a snack and then Oriana
joins them and asks Felipe to let Raquel know about their whereabouts in case
The old stuck-up witch
comes behind them and asks if that woman (Oriana) is Raquel’s friend – Felipe
Now on the beach,
Oriana suggests Alina a walk, when Gabriel comes to join them. He’s very
friendly, invites them to go to town together, buy ice cream and Alina happily
agrees, forcing Oriana to agree, too. They leave the beach, Alina holding hands
with the two grown-ups, while the Stuck-Up Witch watches them from the terrace.
When night comes,
Gabriel is telling Lucina how he spent his day with Alina, who is very chatty.
Lucina is happy to hear this, especially since at first Alina was very quiet.
Gabriel thinks that was because of her dad’s death and asks to know why he
died. Lucina gives an approximate answer, pretends not to know the details.
They are interrupted by some noise coming from the beach, some good-for-nothing
guys (vagos) listening to loud music
and breaking the peace. Gabriel thinks there is nothing they can do since they
are on a public beach, but Lucina is upset because of the late hour.
Oriana and Alina hear
the noise, too. And so does the Stuck-Up Witch, who meets Lucina in the lobby
and complains about the intolerable, outrageous conditions.
Lucina, followed by
Gabriel, goes to confront the loud people on the beach. They get into a fight
and one of the guys takes out a gun and points it at Lucina and Gabriel (gulp!)
Inside, Oriana tries
to reassure Alina that they’ll be able to sleep, noise and all. But they are
both frightened by two gun shots!
Apparently, the guy
with the gun shot twice in the air, to assert his manliness. Lucina threatens
to call the police and one of the other guys from the party takes the gun from
his friend and throws it on the beach, farther away (we see the exact spot
where the gun lands – this is not the last we’ll see of this arm!). Then they
get into their car and leave.
Raquel comes out, too,
Lucina is upset the quarrelers left a mess behind – Chucho and Felipe will have
to clean it up (the gun, take the gun!)
It’s a new day and
Oriana is on the beach. Gabriel joins her, asks about Alina – the little girl is
in town with Raquel, she was a little afraid last night, but Oriana told her
the gun shots were fireworks.
Gabriel says teenagers
are sometimes a hand full, he knows this from experience, since he has a 17
year old at home – not that he has to struggle too much with him, though, since
they don’t live together, but his older brother (hero alert!) is having a
difficult time controlling his teenage outbursts (quite the involved father,
How about her, does
she ever intend to go back to Colombia? Does she have a profession?
Yes, she actually
does, she has a Math degree and she’d like to teach, that’s why she plans to go
search for a job. Well, Gabriel’s older son (ahem…) has a lot of connection in Hermosillo, maybe he could help.
Stuck-Up Witch comes
by to let them know she intends to take a walk on the beach, and hopefully
there will be nobody to bother her this time, like it happened last night with
that noisy party. Gabriel tries to reason with her, but she is such a …you
know, stuck-up witch, that they end up laughing once she goes away, all righteous
indignation. Gabriel likes Oriana’s
smile, it’s good to see her laugh, he tells her with affection.
The next day Oriana
and Alina are on the beach and Oriana is telling Alina they’ll soon move out of
the villa. Alina wants to know about her dad, but Oriana has no answers for her.
They join Lucina and
Raquel and Lucina takes a photo of the other three. Then Raquel takes Alina
inside and Lucina asks Oriana if she told her daughter that her father is dead.
Oriana doesn’t dare to tell such a lie, cause Alina so much pain. Lucina
insists that she has to do it, though, everybody has been told that Oriana is a
widow, what if Alina starts to talk about her dad? No, Alina knows that she’s not
aloud to talk about him or Colombia.
Still, something might
come up, Lucina insists. At first she thought Oriana was guilty, too, but now
she trusts her and considers her a friend.
At night, Alina,
holding a picture of Jose Luis in his Inspector uniform, is praying for Gabriel
and for her dad to come for them quick. Oriana once again asks Alina not to
talk about him and promises to tell her about her dad’s problems one of these
After Alina goes to
sleep, Oriana goes to the bathroom – she’s very worried, wonders how she will
ever be able to tell her daughter ….
After a few days …
Gabriel is reading the
newspaper on the terrace, while Alina is alone, playing on the beach and Oriana
is in the kitchen, cutting some oranges.
Oriana is preparing an
Gabriel dozes off on a
Alina finds something
on the beach…
Oriana pours juice in
Alina grabs a gun from
Gabriel is now fully
asleep on the terrace.
In slow motion we see
Alina run up the stairs of the terrace, holding the gun and calling for
Gabriel. He wakes up just in time to see Alina point the gun at him. In the
kitchen, Oriana hears the gun shot, as the juice spills all over the floor.
Gabriel falls into the
pool, we see that he was shot in the chest. Oriana runs outside to find a
bloodied pool, a man face down in the water and Alina holding a gun.
She runs to her
daughter, asks what happened. Alina swears she didn’t do anything, but there is
nobody else around. (Or is there? We haven’t seen the actual shot.)
Stuck-Up Witch appears
at the balcony and screams “Asesina!”,
while Oriana cries that it was an accident.
Raquel and Lucina show
up on the terrace, too. Lucina sees Gabriel in the pool and thinks fast: she
tells Raquel to take the gun and hide it and takes Alina and Oriana inside, not
before urging Raquel to tell everyone that Gabriel was killed by a stray
Lucina takes Oriana
and Alina to a car, she wants them to leave, hide for the moment. Oriana wants
to tell the truth to the police, but Lucina is afraid they’ll start to
investigate and find out the truth about her husband, too. She pushes Oriana in
the car, just in time for Felipe to show up. Lucina asks him to take Oriana and
Alina to her apartment in town and then come back quickly – he’s not to tell
anyone what he heard, if anybody asks, he went grocery shopping.
Alone, Lucina sits on
the steps, she is very shaken up about the whole situation, too, and I think
she’s mostly upset because Gabriel lost his life.
The guests at the
villa talk about the gun shot they all heard, while Stuck-Up Witch is on the
phone with the police, telling them the owner’s friend is the shooter, she saw
her with the gun in her hand. So, are they coming to Villa El Descanso (“que de descanso no tiene nada” –hahaha, well said).
Lucina and Raquel walk
in and she lets them know she called the police and told them Oriana was the shooter.
Raquel fights with her, tells her it was a stray shot coming from the outside,
the other guests have no clue about what actually happened.
Lucina goes to
Oriana’s room, Jose Luis’ picture is still on the nightstand. She finds
Oriana’s passport – her full name is Oriana Caligaris Vega – and calls a guy named
Martinez, asks him for a big favor.
Oriana and Alina
arrive at Lucina’s apartment in San Carlos. Felipe leaves them alone, Alina says that she
found the gun on the beach, but she didn’t do anything. The little actress is
quite good at showing her desperation in the scenes, I wonder if maybe there
was another shooter.
Oriana wants Alina to calm
down, she’s obviously sure the girl did it.
Back at the Villa,
Stuck-Up Witch is giving her declaration in the lobby, loud enough for everyone
to hear it, she’s sure Oriana shot Gabriel. Lucina asks to talk to the police
man who came, they know one another; she swears it was an accident, a stray
bullet coming from outside the terrace. But he doesn’t quite believe this
story, and besides the Stuck-Up Witch insists it was Raquel’s friend who killed
that poor man, surely out of jealousy – she’s seen them together several times.
Another cop shows up
and takes Stuck-Up Witch out to give a proper declaration. When asked, Raquel
says she doesn’t know where her friend is.
In San Carlos, Alina is asleep on the couch, in her mom’s
lap, while Oriana is crying, probably wondering how her life turned into such a
mess all of a sudden. There is a knock at the door, a guy named Armando
Martinez, sent by Lucina. Oriana opens for him and finds out the man has
instructions from Lucina to take them to Guaymas. But Oriana doesn’t want to
run again, she wants to fix things. He has clear orders to take them away as
fast as possible, but if she doesn’t want to... One look at Alina, still asleep
on the sofa and I think Oriana will leave.
Sure enough, next we
see her and Alina with Martinez, in his huge truck, leaving San Carlos.
At the police station
Lucina and Raquel are talking with the police man, they told him Alina was the
shooter, but he doesn’t believe them, he thinks they are covering for Raquel’s
friend and they’ll be accused of complicity. Lucina wants to call her lawyer,
the police man asks why did Oriana leave, taking the gun and her passport if
she’s innocent. Raquel keeps saying that she doesn’t know. He goes to see if
the victim’s family has been notified, leaving the twp women alone.
Raquel is afraid for
Oriana, the police guy knows that Lucina has an apartment in town. Yes, but by
now they are surely far away, Lucina is sure of that. She’s sadder about poor
Gabriel, her friend.
Night time - The outside of a huge mansion – slow, piano notes in the background
A car stops right in
front of the big entrance and a dashing, elegant man gets out. He leans his
forehead against the car roof for a moment and we only see him from the back for
now. Who could he be, who could he be?
He’s obviously upset
about something, another man shows up asking if he should park the car or not.
As he refuses the offer, saying he’ll shortly go out again, we find out more
about the mysterious man: he’s an engineer, he has a rather sexy walk, from the back he looks great in a
vest and he has no problems wearing sport shoes with elegant suit pants.
Once inside the house,
we get acquainted with the inhabitants the same way we did at the beginning of
the episode, by seeing some family pictures of Alejandro Tommasi with David
Zepeda and another guy that I don’t know – these are our dearly departed
Gabriel and his two sons.
For a brief moment the
camera observes our mysterious man from above, but then we get to see his face
– it is David Zepeda, indeed, wearing a black and white man scarf around his
neck, trying his hardest to appear grief
stricken and cry in a convincing way (and, in my opinion, failing to do so).
I was looking forward
to his appearance, in this women filled episode the presence of a man,
especially the leading man, was painfully needed, but so far I'm not smitten. Can't wait to see more of that sexy walk tomorrow, though.
- A new guest arrives at the Villa, asking
for shelter – a woman named Ines Valdivia (Laisha Wilkins), dressed in
short shorts and a baggy shirt and looking like a drugged hot mess.
- David Zepeda’s character already shows ganas de venganza against the woman
who killed his father. Here we go…
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