‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ Ending Explained: Did Yolcaut Reunite With Tochtli?

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Based on Juan Pablo Villalobos’ novel, Manolo Caro’s Netflix film, Down the Rabbit Hole, tells the story of Tochtli, who lives in a secluded palace in Mexico that was built by his gangster father, Yolcaut. In addition to the father-son duo, there’s Chichilkuali, Miztli, Itzpapalotl, and Azcatl, who live on the estate, which doubles as a zoo filled with exotic animals from all over the world. Tochtli is home-schooled by Mazatzin. Other than him, the only outsiders allowed to step foot into Yolcaut’s kingdom are his girlfriends. Tochtli isn’t allowed to step outside; hence, his perception of the world is created through Yolcaut’s opulence, Mazatzin’s education, and the movies and shows that he gets to watch on TV. But, very often, Tochtli’s understanding of reality clashes with the reality that everyone else lives in, thereby causing him to question everything and grow up in the process. That creates a riff between Tochtli and Yolcaut. Do they bury the hatchet by the end of the film? Let’s find out.

Spoiler Alert


What Does Tochtli Learn as the Prince of Mexico?

Each chapter of Down the Rabbit Hole is denoted by the headgear that Tochtli wears from his huge collection of hats, caps, and sombreros. These chapters give us a peek into the kind of life that Tochtli leads. The narrative in each of these chapters is pretty loose in nature. So, it meanders a lot. But as it reaches its concluding point, you can sense the plot shifting towards its sordid end. For starters, in the first chapter, Tochtli wears a tricorne hat for his birthday. It’s meant to reflect the life of luxury he is living and how it’s becoming all the more audacious with each passing birthday. Tochtli gets a bunch of incredibly expensive gifts, and he seems to appreciate all of them. 

However, given how his eyes are set on the pygmy hippopotamus, it’s apparent that he isn’t satisfied with what he has. Mazaztin tries to teach about what happens to the affluent when the poor and the downtrodden revolt against the wealthy by talking about the French Revolution, but Tochtli doesn’t really get it. That doesn’t mean he can totally ignore the rising inequality and corruption that his father is contributing to as the governor shows up at Yolcaut’s doorstep, asking for his help. However, Yolcaut’s ego clouds his senses, and he evidently sours his dynamic with the governor. So, the major takeaway here is that gangsters like Yolcaut have a quid pro quo system with the government. It’s all well and good when they are scratching each other’s backs. But as soon as one of them tries to strongarm the other, things tend to go wrong.


What Does Tochtli Learn as a Detective?

The revelation that Yolcaut isn’t the invincible powerhouse that he claims to be piques Tochtli’s curiosity. So, in the second chapter, he takes on the role of a detective by wearing the deerstalker hat that was made famous by Sherlock Holmes. Tochtli learns that other than the people on the premises of the palace, there’s one other person that Yolcaut trusts, and that person is Paula. She is his advisor, and, even though it’s not very clear, she probably acts as the bridge between Mexico and the United States of America, thereby allowing Yolcaut to conduct his business smoothly. 

Tochtli’s little excursion into the dark side of Yolcaut’s life (it’s all dark, by the way, and Tochtli is just learning about it in real-time) takes him to his gang’s armory, and he gets his hands on a revolver, which marks his first step towards a violent lifestyle. He notices Yolcaut bringing a prostitute named Quecholli to his home, and it probably disturbs him quite a lot. Mazatzin tries to offer an alternative by asking him to step out of the palace. Mazatzin even dares to argue with Yolcaut on the topic of machismo. By giving educational books to Chichilkuali, Mazatzin shows that reformation is always an option. However, all those lessons go down the drain after Tochtli witnesses his father torturing an individual. On top of that, when Yolcaut takes Tochtli to Namibia to get a pygmy hippo, the kid becomes all the more detached from reality.


What Does Tochtli Learn as an Explorer?

In Namibia, Tochtli dons the hat and khaki getup of an explorer. But with each passing second in the wilderness, it becomes apparent that fulfilling Tochtli’s wishes is just another excuse for Yolcaut to show how powerful and influential he is. The gangster gets a reality check when Tochtli pulls out a gun right before his eyes to kill an innocent wild dog. Yolcaut could’ve used that opportunity to teach Tochtli that he shouldn’t pick up a gun. Instead, he should focus on his studies because that’s something that Yolcaut didn’t get as a child. However, Yolcaut doesn’t reprimand Tochtli at all and makes some vague insinuations about prematurely developing a taste for bloodshed. 

This bland message goes on the back burner as soon as the Namibian guide manages to neutralize pygmy hippos so that they can be shipped to Mexico. Yolcaut and Tochtli get yet another chance to face reality when the hippos fall sick, thereby rendering them incapable of being shipped. Yolcaut kills them in front of Tochtli instead of reasoning with him and talking to him about the kind of pain the animals are experiencing because of their greed, and he scars the kid for life. Inadvertently, Yolcaut ends up teaching Tochtli that he isn’t in the best hands when it comes to learning about compassion and empathy for living beings. Yolcaut believes in either caging beautiful animals or killing them. Although Tochtli’s instinct tells him that he doesn’t like that, he doesn’t have an alternative to choose from.


What Does Tochtli Learn as a Samurai?

Despite having everything at his beck and call, Tochtli doesn’t have a lot of options when it comes to choosing what his father wants him to do versus what he wants to do. But the kid realizes that the act of protesting doesn’t have any age restrictions. So, he puts on the not-so-traditional attire of a samurai and vows to not communicate with Yolcaut until the gangster admits that he is in the wrong. The collapse of his empire and the death of Quecholli don’t make things easy for Yolcaut. Mazatzin tries to make things easy by giving Tochtli a book about the samurai and telling him how much he cares about him. Meanwhile, Yolcaut simply replaces Quecholli with a woman named Cuazalotl and moves on. 

Things begin to reach some form of normalcy, but that’s when it’s revealed that Mazatzin has been spying on Yolcaut on behalf of the authorities. He publishes a detailed document of what goes on in the palace, but he doesn’t mention Tochtli to save him from the legal ramifications of the war between the government and Yolcaut. At the end of Down the Rabbit Hole, Yolcaut’s downfall is marked by the severed head of the governor. The Mexican police launch a full-scale attack on the palace (something that is foreshadowed by Tochtli when he plays with his toys on a replica of the palace). Yolcaut manages to get Tochtli out of there with Cuazalotl, with the promise that he is going to get in touch with him when the situation improves.


Did Yolcaut reunite with Tochtli?

Down the Rabbit Hole’s ending suggest that, after being whisked away by the family (the kid who gave Tochtli a He-Man toy belongs to this family) living on the outskirts of the palace, Tochtli has been adopted by a white American family. It seems like his Mexican roots have been completely cut off, as he proudly dons a coonskin cap since he is unaware of its racist and violent connotations. However, even though he isn’t around for Tochtli, Yolcaut manages to remind his son of where he comes from by sending him the taxidermied heads of two pygmy hippos as a birthday gift. That means that Yolcaut has somehow survived the attack on the palace and is probably living in Namibia. How else could he have had access to pygmy hippos? Additionally, the epilogue suggests that Tochtli’s past hasn’t been completely erased because Yolcaut is keeping tabs on him. I am not sure if living with white Americans would’ve made him a well-rounded human being. But I am sure that the alternative (which is his inevitable reunion with Yolcaut) isn’t a good option. The movie leaves the audience on this cliffhanger, thereby forcing us to wonder what lies in Tochtli’s future. Well, I hope that instead of staying with the white Americans or reuniting with his father, Tochtli gets in touch with Mazatzin because he is the only person who can influence the kid to discard his violent impulses and become a sane human being.


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Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit Chatterjee
Pramit loves to write about movies, television shows, short films, and basically anything that emerges from the world of entertainment. He occasionally talks to people, and judges them on the basis of their love for Edgar Wright, Ryan Gosling, Keanu Reeves, and the best television series ever made, Dark.

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