Gang Related has an uncanny ability to create situations where I feel for appalling people.
Heartstrings were pulled for the worst of the worst on Gang Related Season 1 Episode 3. Despite the horrors perpetuated by the gangs and drug cartels, they are comprised of human beings and families.
Did I feel bad about my sadness over despicable individuals? Not really.
I appreciate that the writers are showing the real cost of the gang wars and drug cartels on both sides of the law. Carlos is a terrible person, but that didn't diminish his pain and suffering over being paralyzed. In the bathroom scene, Rey Gallegos portrayed a broken man, who felt death was the answer, not a criminal. It was heartbreaking to hear Javier ask to take care of his son.
The love of family supersedes all.
Just as Javier's family came first, the same was true for Diego Dias. He agreed to turn on his boss, Salazar, in order to protect his family. After the convoy to the courthouse was ambushed, Diego begged to be turned over to protect his wife and daughter from Salazar's men.
In the end, the sacrifice wasn't necessary. Cassius hated Diego for his part in killing DEA agents, including his friend, but he was willing to let him live with his family to take down an even worse man in Salazar. Sometimes the enemy of your enemy really does have to be your friend in order to do what's best.
Ryan's loyalty to Javier and the Acostas only goes so far. He wasn't willing to risk everything to let Javier get Diego. He drew the line between what he'd do for his family and what he believed was right. It's tough to see Ryan pulled in two directions. He wants to be a good man and risks his life to protect others every day.
His interactions with Natalia and the lengths he was willing to go to protect her were precious. It's moments like those where Ryan shines and his true self comes out. He loves his job with the task force and helping people. It's when he's with Javier that he's most conflicted and in pain.
Javier claims that the fishscale deal will provide enough funding for the family to go clean and legit, but how much is enough? How many lives have to be lost or crippled before the cost becomes too high? After doing all he could to protect Diego and his family, Ryan gave in to Javier and Diego was killed. The cost: Salazar remained free for more people to die.
I hope that Ryan recognizes the high cost of this decision. He's already under suspicion by Internal Affairs and if he was one of the few people who could expose Diego, it will only get worse for him. It will be interesting to see if Chapel pulls Ryan's file out of the trash given what happened to Diego. No matter how Ryan tries to justify it in his head, Javier's not a good man. The gang leader ordered the killing of 12 Lords and almost tortured an innocent college student to get vengeance.
On the task force, Vee's secret about her potential HIV+ status came out after she was shot. Her partner didn't care and helped stop the flow of blood. I'm intrigued by where this story is headed. With everything else going on, it's almost a side note at this point.
Gang Related has effectively turned the traditional police tale around by presenting viewers with a different way of looking at the criminal world. An undercover gang member working as a cop was just the beginning. In this episode, we were given a look at the emotional personal cost of the criminal life through Carlos, Diego, and Levar's son.
Javier decided that the cost is worth it to continue for another 18 months, while Ryan's resolve appears to be waning. How much more can the conflicted cop take on his conscience before he breaks?
What was Ryan's slickest move?