Before I get into this show, I want to point out a few triggers. Sky Rojo might not be something everyone can watch right now. (And that is okay.) If rape, violence against women, and drug abuse are triggers for you, please prioritize your boundaries and skip this show for now.
From the creators of Money Heist, Netflix’s Sky Rojo takes place off the coast of Spain where three women escape their sex club debt by killing the owner, Romeo, in self-defense — or did they? As our main heroines try to escape the sex traffic ring, it’s conflict after obstacle, after holy-shit moment that keeps you wanting more. Sounds amazing, right? I have to warn you though, this show is not a happy tale. Yes, there’s lots of sex (it might not be the show to watch con Mamá) but it’s also filled with tragedy, character flaws, violent acts, bad decisions, and glimmers of hope with comic relief sprinkled in. Let’s just say the creators of this show know how to keep you hooked.
Why This Show Works
Ever since Latinas have been on screen, we have been overly sexualized. This show gives that power over to our three main characters: Coral, Gina, and Wendy. As shared narrators, they remind viewers how women feel when men think they’re actually enjoying themselves, surrounded by their imposed fantasies. Our fearless Latinas have one goal—freedom. All three deserve every ounce they want and (almost) get.
This show does one of my favorite things really well—it breaks the fourth wall. Coral guides you through the sex club and narrates the backstories that give you instant empathy for all characters – even the worst ones. Weaving you through past and present, you never feel lost.
The sound mixing and action scenes are amazing too. It’s a screenwriter’s case study for a chain of what-if scenarios, giving an opportunity to play with every writer’s favorite question: What happens now? Action after action, you think maybe this time they’ll get away. Mistake after mistake, you think they have to be dead.
One of the amazing things about this show is how short the timeline is—everything happens in the span of a few days. And each episode is just 25 minutes, leaving you at the edge of your seat. You will definitely have to tell Netflix you’re still watching.
Las Tres Tías aka the Cast
One killed someone, one was sold into the sex traffic ring by her own mother (I told you this was a tragic show), another fled her country in fear of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. These are not happy beginnings. Their lives are a tally of tragedies. Their wrong decisions lead them further away from freedom.
Molded by Romeo, these women become fantasies for the customers of the club. While they might look the same to someone who hasn’t seen the show, the most interesting angle Sky Rojo takes is giving each woman an opportunity to show you who they are by the decisions they make to survive—not by the sexy outfits or acts they are forced to perform at work. Together, they become their own family.
Fleeing Argentina to not be persecuted for who she loves, Wendy has the worst luck. Played by Argentinian singer and actress, Lali Espósito, Wendy is the sex worker who was looking for a better life. If it’s hard to understand that concept and see where she ended up, just know her previous situation was that bad. This character represents mercy. Even after all the horrible, unforgivable things that Wendy goes through, given the opportunity to kill one of her abusers, she never does. To be honest, I don’t know if I would have as much mercy as Wendy. There’s a difficult scene in season two where she is presented with the opportunity to end her life. You probably would too if you were in that situation. Nevertheless, mercy prevails there too, thanks to Gina.
Played by Cuban actress, Yany Prado, Gina is a hopeless romantic. Seeing the good in everyone, she brings balance to the group. As an opportunity to flee Cuba to help her family, Gina thinks she’s being handed a golden ticket to Spain. Many of the women who get brought into the sex traffic ring are promised a job that will help their families but that promise soon turns into a lie. After saving money to buy herself out, she is denied freedom. Her bravery in the first episode is what brings the three women together. After her near-death experience with Romeo, Gina’s life is saved by Coral.
Played by Spanish actress, Verónica Sánchez, Coral is an addict and professional dissociator. She actually applied to work at Romeo’s sex club, resume and all. She is the character that is running from her past, hiding from a murderous mistake. She believes that no one will come looking for her in a sex club, and uses its hidden world to her advantage. Her recklessness makes the show and the escape for survival, messy and unpredictable. Without her impulsive bad decisions, Sky Rojo wouldn’t be as good. The flawed character with baggage who can’t seem to leave in peace, she decides she wants revenge in season two. Elevating the risk of freedom for all three of our tías. By the end of season two, it’s Wendy and Gina who save Coral.
Sky Rojo’s Main Villain
The villain in this show is toxic masculinity. Almost every male character has a role to play in this painfully uncomfortable story. Although I must confess, I’ve been sitting here trying to write about a serious topic this show addresses and I spent the last hour drooling over Miguel Angel Silvestre’s Instagram. Alas, I’m human too.
In all seriousness, I hope the men who watch this show really see these characters. I hope they watch how Gina reminds Wendy that any variation of no, still means no. I hope they watch Fermín in season two and cringe when he turns a blind eye to Wendy being drugged and nearly raped in that hotel room. If I was uncomfortable during these scenes, I can only hope that the men watching this show are too.
Interestingly enough, throughout both seasons, our heroines constantly try to save these men—even their abusers. When given the opportunity to end things once and for all, our tías spare the lives of these men. Not wanting blood on their hands, and only wanting to get out of this life alive, it’s a drastic parallel to their counterparts. The male characters in this show always choose violence.
I will say, there is one redeemable male character. (No, it’s not Moisés.) Back in season one, this character has a change of heart and goes back to the club to buy Gina’s freedom. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go too well for him. (May he rest…in pieces.)
Devuelven A Las Chicas
There’s a scene in season one where Coral admits to using music as another form of escape. The song that brightens her day? Devuélveme mi chica by Hombres G. After watching season one, I washed the dishes to Hombres G for weeks. When season two came out, I obviously played the song again. Suddenly, it hit me—the perfect song for this show’s brilliant subliminal message.
I don’t doubt that Sky Rojo will be your next binge. My hope is that while you watch (and maybe sing along to Hombres G), you change the words and think about all the women that go missing. The violence against these women isn’t a fantasy. There are real women that experience this kind of abuse every day. Our Latina sisters, daughters, friends. Hold men accountable for every fantasy they abuse and pay for. Stick together like our three tías and boldly cry—devuelven a las chicas.