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Hotel Cocaine - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - A High-Stakes Symphony of Betrayal and Survival

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Episode 4 of MGM's "Hotel Cocaine" takes viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions, weaving an intricate web of power plays, betrayal, and moral dilemmas. With rich character development and high-stakes drama, this episode is a standout in the series. 

The episode opens with Valeria, devastated by the congressman’s son cancelling their date, while Roman is secretly relieved. He disapproves of her dating a politician’s son, especially one that is part of a corrupt family. Marisol lightens the somber mood by suggesting they decorate for Christmas, but the festive spirit is interrupted by news of the cartel-related shootings on TV, prompting Roman to rush off. This dynamic sets the emotional tone for the episode, showcasing Roman’s protective nature and deep-rooted anxiety about their family’s safety. 

In a gripping twist, viewers meet Yolanda Guerra, the powerful Colombian woman that has been controlling Alvaro Gomez. Unhappy with Gomez’s failure to eliminate Nestor, Yolanda takes matters into her own hands. In a brutal scene, she stabs Gomez, vowing to find out for herself who tipped Nestor off about the assassination attempt. Yolanda Guerra's introduction adds a formidable new antagonist. Her brutal slaying of Gomez signals her uncompromising and violent approach to power. 

Meanwhile, Roman, unaware of the looming threats, bumps into Zulio while shopping for Christmas lights. Zulio demands answers about the failed assassination, but Roman deflects blame onto the now-deceased Gomez. Zulio, dissatisfied with the intelligence gathered from a bug in Nestor’s office, pressures Roman to provoke Nestor into revealing more. 

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – HOTEL COCAINE. Pictured: Michael Chiklis as Agent Zulio. Photo MGM ©2024 MGM Plus Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Roman’s visit to Nestor is monitored by the FBI, where Nestor casually mentions that Pablo Escobar has tipped him off to a new player from Buenaventura, who wants to take over power of Dade county. Janice confronts Roman, knowing he warned Nestor, but Roman justifies his actions, believing the FBI now has enough to take Nestor down. Yolanda’s introduction to Roman, seeking access to the Mutiny club, adds another layer of tension, especially when she seductively dances with him, leaving Roman suspicious of her intentions. 

Roman’s internal conflict is the episode’s emotional core. His visit to Nestor, under FBI surveillance, reveals his torn loyalties. He seeks to protect his family and uphold his duty to the FBI while grappling with the guilt of betraying his brother. Roman’s actions, though seemingly justified, definitely weigh heavily on his conscience. The next day, Roman and Marisol’s attempt at decorating the Christmas tree is interrupted when the lights don’t work, thanks to Zulio pulling one of the lights off the string the night prior in an attempt to prove a point to Roman. This provokes Roman even further. Roman’s guilt over betraying Nestor is palpable, even as Marisol tries to comfort him. 

Unbeknownst to Roman, Valeria visits Nestor and tells him about her cancelled date with the congressman’s son, which angers Nestor. No one rejects a member of his family. 

The episode’s tension escalates as Zulio finds out from his superior that Nestor’s admission wasn’t sufficient. Feeling remorseful for manipulating Roman, Zulio faces pressure from his superior to keep using Roman. This episode enabled viewers to see a different side of Zulio. He is not just a cold hearted DEA agent, he is actually caught between duty and empathy. His regret over using Valeria to manipulate Roman reveals his humane side. Zulio's confrontation with Roman, ending in a physical struggle, underscores the intense pressure both men are under, highlighting the human cost of their dangerous game. 

Meanwhile, Don Henoa, head of the Colombian cartel, is revealed to be Yolanda’s lover. He expresses frustration over Nestor’s survival, but Yolanda reassures him that she will take care of it. This leads to Yolanda and her henchmen torturing Marty Owens for information, suspecting him of warning Nestor about the assassination. When he reveals that Roman beat him, demanding details of the plan, Yolanda kills Owens and sets her sights on getting rid of Roman and his family. 

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – HOTEL COCAINE. Pictured: Juan Pablo Raba as Don Henoa. Photo MGM ©2024 MGM Plus Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. 

As this is going on around him, an oblivious Nestor is focused on confronting the congressman about his son rejecting Valeria. After a heated discussion complete with threats, the congressman agrees to rectify things with his son and Valeria. Valeria is shocked when Andrew takes her out and questions him about it. This leads to Andrew revealing the truth about her uncle’s business, that he is the biggest Cocaine dealer in Miami. 

Burton Greenberg's arc in this episode is particularly poignant. Desperate to save the hotel, he turns to bank owner Ray Dorado for a loan. Despite knowing Greenberg’s financial instability, Ray offers him $3 million if the hotel is put up as collateral. However, Greenberg's sister, Constance, reveals that the bank is under investigation for money laundering, complicating his plan. In desperation, Greenberg drugs Constance, ignoring Janice’s warnings. When Constance is impaired, she admits she’s hard on him because she loves him and wants the best for him. He offers her a partnership at the Mutiny, and she agrees. Just as they begin to reconcile, Burton receives a call from the police and rushes to a car garage, where he finds Constance and her driver both shot in the head. The guilt of his actions leading to his sister’s death will surely weigh heavily on Burton as he struggles to move forward. 

The episode’s climax is a masterclass in tension and action. The assassination attempt at Roman’s home, thwarted by a cleverly placed rope and Roman’s quick thinking, is a dramatic turning point. Roman’s ability to kill the attackers without hesitation marks his definitive descent into the dark world he’s been skirting around. His relief mixed with fear as he calls Nestor for help, solidifies his transformation – he is now fully entrenched in the violent, perilous life he once tried to escape. The episode ends with Roman and Nestor solidifying their dangerous partnership, as Roman accepts his new, violent path.

“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – HOTEL COCAINE. Pictured: Danny Pino as Roman Compte and Mayra Hermosillo as Yolanda Guerra. Photo MGM ©2024 MGM Plus Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

This episode was a masterful blend of suspense, character development, and high-stakes drama. Each character's journey is meticulously crafted, revealing deep emotional layers and complex motivations. As Roman grapples with guilt and loyalty, and Burton faces the devastating consequences of his desperation, the episode paints a vivid picture of a world where power and survival are constantly at odds. With its compelling narrative and intense climaxes, this episode not only captivates but also sets the stage for even greater turmoil ahead, leaving viewers eagerly anticipating the next chapter in this thrilling saga. Over to you, Hotel Cocaine fans - what did you think of the episode? Has your opinion of Roman changed, now that he has committed to going all in with Nestor? Do you think he has what it takes to keep his family safe? Share your thoughts below and engage with me on Twitter/X at @middleofcanada.
CRISTINA ALMEIDA
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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