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Hotel Cocaine - Dia de los Muertos - Review: Loyalties Shift as an Impending Drug War Looms

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The third installment of "Hotel Cocaine," delivered a gripping continuation of Roman's increasingly perilous journey through Miami's drug scene. Right from Nestor's arrival at the Mutiny, the tone was set for an episode filled with tension and high stakes. Nestor's promise to make Roman rich enough to leave the Mutiny was met with Roman's reluctance, citing his inexperience in the drug business. Nestor, ever the persuasive figure, dismissed Roman's concerns, emphasizing that smuggling is smuggling, and tasked Roman with investigating a Colombian named Alvaro Gomez, who’s staying at the hotel. This setup immediately hooked viewers in, creating anticipation for the unfolding drama. 

Gomez's enigmatic nature and his refusal to reveal his boss, identified only by a cobra symbol, added to the episode’s intrigue. Roman’s confrontation with Janice about Chucho’s death and his new unwanted position as Nestor's right-hand man escalated his anxiety. Agent Zulio’s refusal to let Roman out of their deal, highlighted by the ominous reveal of Valeria’s driver’s license, intensified the pressure on Roman, showing the inescapable grip of his circumstances. 

As Roman once again turned to Janice for help, her obvious flirtation made it clear that she has feelings for him, even though Roman is in a committed relationship. This added a layer of personal conflict to the already tense action surrounding Roman. Meanwhile, Roman’s attempt to deliver gifts to Gomez from Nestor was met with Gomez's insistence on a face-to-face meeting. 

“Dia de los Muertos” – HOTEL COCAINE, Pictured: Danny Pino as Roman Compte. Photo MGM ©2024 MGM Plus Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. 

The contrast between Roman’s tense professional life and his loving family life is striking. His role as a family man, seen cooking pancakes, offered a refreshing glimpse into his character's softer side. This duality enriched the narrative, making Roman a more relatable and complex character. Roman is a good man with a strong conscience who doesn’t want to be involved with the drug cartel. However, as he gets deeper into his brother’s business, it’s clear that he’s starting to enjoy it, at least a little. 

Burton's subplot provides much-needed levity amidst the tension. His drug-fueled antics and the confrontation with his sister over a $2.1 million debt are both amusing and pitiful. His sister’s brutal honesty about his failures added a sobering touch. Mark Feuerstein’s portrayal of the kooky, free-spirited Burton is spot-on, delivering a comedic yet tragic performance. 

Roman's meeting with Nestor and his wife Alejandra, and the subsequent invitation to the Dia de los Muertos party, revealed a surprising softness in Roman towards his brother as they reminisced about their childhood. His eventual agreement to bring Valeria to the party, despite the risks, hinted at a growing trust and a longing for familial connection. This nuanced development added emotional depth to Roman’s character. 

Roman’s proposition to Zulio about delivering Gomez instead of Nestor in exchange for his freedom added another layer of suspense. Zulio’s suspicion and the requirement for Roman to wear a wire to Nestor’s party, amplified the episode’s tension. Roman is desperate to be rid of Zulio, but he is becoming reluctant to turn on his brother. The high stakes of his double life are starting to wear on him. 

“Dia de los Muertos” – HOTEL COCAINE, Pictured: Danny Pino as Roman Compte and Yul Vazquez as Nestor Cabal. Photo MGM ©2024 MGM Plus Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Burton’s comedic relief continued with his bizarre interactions and his desperate plea to the Guru Maharishi for advice. The LSD-fueled scene where he was about to sign away the hotel to his sister, only to end up sabotaging himself, was both hilarious and tragic, epitomizing his chaotic existence. 

The climax of the episode, with Janice’s daring move to gather intel from Gomez and Roman’s subsequent discovery about Gomez’s true operations, shifted the narrative towards an impending drug war. Janice’s willingness to relive her trauma for Roman’s sake is poignant, highlighting her deep loyalty and love for Roman. Roman’s internal conflict about warning Nestor and the violent montage of Gomez’s men attacking cartel competitors culminated in a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat ending. The narrow escape of Nestor, thanks to Roman's warning, cemented the dangerous loyalty and trust between the brothers. 

The final confrontation between Roman and Nestor, where Roman laid down a deadly ultimatum about involving Valeria, set the stage for the escalating drug war and Roman's deeper entanglement in the chaos. This intense conclusion left viewers eagerly anticipating the next episode. 

“Dia de los Muertos” – HOTEL COCAINE, Pictured: Danny Pino as Roman Compte and Laura Gordon as Janice Nichols. Photo MGM ©2024 MGM Plus Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Tonight’s episode expertly weaved tension, family dynamics, and impending violence into a narrative that showcased the danger surrounding Roman's double life. The stakes are higher than ever, promising even more drama and intrigue as the series progresses. The blend of personal conflict, suspense, and dark comedy makes this episode a standout, keeping viewers hooked from start to finish. Your turn, Hotel Cocaine fans, what did you think of the episode? Do you think Roman is starting to enjoy being Nestor’s right-hand man? What will the drug war mean for Roman? Will Janice act on her feelings? Share your thoughts in the comments below and follow me on X at @middleofcanada.

Cristina manages the site and reviews several shows. She is an Elementary School Counsellor by day and avid TV buff by night. True Crime, thrillers, dramas and dramedy's are her favourite genres. When she is not at work or managing SpoilerTV, she loves spending time with her two dogs, a Chihuahua Pug mix named Holly and Terrier mix named Penny. She also loves Travelling to visit family.

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