In the name of doing "right," everyone ended up crossing the line by the end of Gang Related Season 1.
Javier's plans to get his family out of the gang world fell apart with each decision he made, while Chapel crossed the line time and time again to try and clean up the street. They were on opposite sides of the law, yet both ended up doing horrific things in the name of protecting their family, the city, or for revenge.
Ryan was caught in the middle trying to do right by his family, while constantly seeing the errors of that lifestyle. On the other side, he saw Chapel set up Daniel and destroy the innocent man's life and for what? It didn't make the city or world a better place for anyone, rather Chapel created a new El Hefe.
On the season finale (let's hope it wasn't the series finale!), Gang Related Season 1 Episode 13, the two sides collided as Chapel and Ryan attempted to get revenge for Jessica's death. They were convinced that El Mozo ordered her killed, but they were wrong. Very wrong. Jessica didn't get killed because she was Chapel's daughter. No, she was killed because she was Ryan's lover and found out the truth about him.
Chapel response to Jessica's death proved that he's really not better than the criminals he goes after each week. It was painful to watch him attack El Mozo as the man proclaimed his innocence. I found his claims immediately creditable, though I could have been biased since I believed after Gang Related Season 1 Episode 12 that her death was orchestrated by Javier and/or Ellis.
That was only the beginning. Chapel lost it. His decision to take Monica proved that he's not a better man than the gangster he despises. When he left his badge behind, he also forgot any smidgen of integrity and moral code he had. If taking her wasn't bad enough, he cut her with a knife!
It was Ryan who was able to contain his anger and save the situation from getting out of control. He's been the most conflicted out of everyone on the show and he's the one that's been playing both sides. It's amazing how he's been able to keep his head about him after all that he's been through.
Ryan's grief was palpable from the opening scene, to finding out Javier ordered Jessica's death, to returning home and letting his rage out, to confronting Javier and making him pay. Ramon Rodriguez broke my heart into a million pieces in each of those scenes. Ryan was a broken child, was lead astray by Javier, but in the end he found himself. Now, what will he do with it?
For starters, Ryan punished Javier by having him moved to the prison wing controlled by the Metas. Javier's not going to be walking for a while if he survived that attack. He could be dead, but I doubt it. Death would be too easy a punishment for what he did. If he's alive, Ryan won't be looking out for him going forward that's guaranteed.
Though ... that doesn't mean he's done with Los Angelicos entirely. Javier may no longer be Ryan's father, but Daniel's still his brother. Will Ryan look out for the new head of Los Angelicos? I'm not sure. He's seen what damage the gang can do and it likely depends on whether Daniel was aware of the hit on Jessica.
Either way, Daniel's biggest threat now isn't from Ryan, the Metas, or another gang. He needs to watch out for his brother. Carlos was embarrassed by his father and brother and he's not going to take that sitting down. Literally! Did you see his foot move? The little brother better watch out.
There's been no official word on whether Gang Related has been renewed for season 2 or not, though the finale set up for an even more intense and complex story to be told. Daniel has seat of power, a new wife, an angry brother, an imprisoned or dead father and an even bigger target on his organization. Chapel will go after Los Angelicos with no holds barred, unless of course DA Ellis finds a way a stop him.
Ryan's allegiance to Javier is over and he's unlikely to pick up and run like counseled to do. Given Chapel's tactics, will Ryan want to keep working for him? And, will he even be able to return to work or be effective on the job given Carter's renewed interest in him? It's unlikely Ellis will be helping Ryan out at all.
If Gang Related isn't renewed, I'm okay with the way it ended. The finale was an action-packed and emotional wild ride from start to finish filled with tears and resolutions reached. That said, I hope we get more! Want to know more about the season? Check out my interview with Executive Producer Scott Rosenbaum.
Do you want to see a Gang Related Season 2?