‘Iron Reign’ Ending Explained: Did Nestor Steal The Czar’s Mail? Is Joaquin Alive?


Let’s start with the obvious. Netflix’s Iron Reign series is all over the place. There is so much happening, yet everything is about just one single thing: the stolen drugs, also called Czar’s Mail in the series. For eight long episodes, Lluis Quilez introduces a plethora of characters and then tries to tell their backstory with a sepia-toned filter, making the entire thing tedious. And to say the least, Iron Reign‘s ending is no different. I expected it to be a miniseries, but Season 1 ends on a cliffhanger, which obviously doesn’t explain a lot of things. So, let’s break down the events of Iron Reign and speculate on what to expect next.

Spoiler Alert

Who was Joaquin Manchado?

In 1981, the Manchado family arrived in Barcelona, Spain, looking for a stable livelihood. The two brothers, Joaquin and Roman, started doing odd jobs, but an ambitious Joaquin wanted more. He envied a local gangster named Salazar, who ruled the ports of Barcelona with an iron fist. It was obvious that Joaquin wanted to be like him and was willing to go to any lengths to achieve it. As Joaquin grew in power, he rose up in rebellion against Salazar and burned the man alive in his own stronghold in order to put an end to his iron reign and give the people of the port a new leader. Among the masses, Joaquin got a new nickname and was hailed as the “Armless.” In the struggle against Salazar, Joaquin lost his arm while trying to save his brother. However, in doing so, he earned his brother’s loyalty forever. It was just the beginning of the Manchado empire.

At present, Joaquin is seen as the director of Terminal A of Barcelona Port. The opening text of Iron Reign established the importance of such a strategic post because the aforementioned port is one of the main European gateways for the drug-trafficking business, and our Manchado bro knows how to play his cards well.

Who were the key players?

Iron Reign established an intricate network of drug-trafficking businesses, which is extremely important to understand in order to make the series less confusing. Starting from the point of inception, we have a cartel boss named Rafael Ramirez Pereira, who sent his children, Ariel and Lucia, to deliver a shipment to the port of Barcelona. It was where Joaquin came in. His job was to receive the shipment, pass it through customs, and cook the final product before delivering it to the Italian mafia’s Massimo Carfora. The Italians ran a vast network of drug peddlers all across Europe who would sell high-quality drugs on the street without raising any suspicion. There had been numerous warrants against Carfora, which was the reason why he was hiding in the basement of an isolated house. It was his trusted right hand, the Frenchman (who was an Italian too), who dealt with Pereiras and Manchados.

So, after the shipment arrived in Barcelona, the Pereiras had to wait until the final product was delivered to the Frenchman. In the meantime, the Frenchman would arrange for money to be sent to Mexico to complete the transaction. However, when Czar’s Mail got stolen in Joaquin’s absence, everything went haywire, and there was widespread chaos. The Mexicans blamed Manchados for losing the drugs, and Carfora’s money got stuck in the center as the authorities froze all the accounts due to suspicious activities. There was no way out of this mess, especially for the Manchados.

Why did Nestor steal the drugs?

Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself from exploring this part as soon as possible. I mean, the Iron Reign series did reveal that it was Nestor who planned everything with the corrupt cop Miki, but what I want to explore is his reason for doing so. So Nestor came from a humble background and was the son of a barmaid, or just a “port rat,” as addressed by his own mother. It was obvious that she was content with her life, but Nestor wasn’t. He wanted to do something big, which was the reason why he dared to go against the rules of the Manchado empire and sell stuff in their territory, for which he was even humiliated by Joaquin. I don’t know; humiliation can be a factor in seeking revenge against the kingpin, but Nestor seemed smarter than that.

A young Nestor, Victor, and Joaquin’s daughter, Rocio, were friends in their teenage years. Both Nestor and Victor had a crush on Rocio and wanted her to choose one of them to date. It was a hard decision to make, as Rocio didn’t want to lose the friendships, but she ultimately chose Nestor, even though it was Victor who won a race to win her. The series didn’t reveal the reason why Rocio made such a decision, but what is important to note here is the fact that both of these boys used Rocio to take revenge on Joaquin, hence making Iron Reign a revenge thriller, a fact that wasn’t revealed until the very end. Now, Victor had a solid reason to seek revenge, as Joaquin had killed his father in cold blood, but why Nestor? I believe he was just greedy, or maybe there is more to his backstory, which will be revealed in Iron Reign season 2.

How Did Nestor Steal the Drugs?

Joaquin’s son, Ricardo, who had been yearning for his father’s validation since childhood, eventually became a gambling addict and lost millions in the process. In short, Joaquin didn’t trust him anymore, which gave Nestor an opportunity to get into Joaquin’s good books and earn his loyalty. But even though Nestor became an important part of the family, Joaquin only trusted his own blood, which makes me believe that in the end, Joaquin would have given the business to his daughter, Rocio, making Nestor forever tied to her. Nestor, on the other hand, didn’t love his wife and had an affair with an MMA boxer, Alex, with whom he wanted to  settle down eventually. But it wouldn’t have been possible as long as Joaquin was alive, which might be the reason why Nestor planned a conspiracy with Miki to get Joaquin out of the picture and steal the drugs for himself.

With Joaquin gone, there were only two players remaining with whom Nestor had to deal. The first was the addict son, Ricardo, and the second was the alcoholic brother, Roman. Nestor knew that both of them didn’t like each other very much. He stole the drugs using Ricardo’s truck and planted them on a third-party farm called Lasagra. Ricardo’s truck at the spot made Roman believe that it was his nephew who had stolen the Czar’s Mail, though that wasn’t the case. Nestor turned Ricardo and Roman against each other, who eventually took each other’s lives, clearing Nestor’s path towards glory. Now, he just wanted to get rid of his wife, but before he could plan it, the Mexicans kidnapped his daughter, Sandra. Yes, not his daughter exactly, but Victor’s daughter. That was a massive revelation for the undercover cop, who might have a change of heart in the next season.

What Happened to Czar’s Mail?

So, things didn’t go as planned. In order to save his daughter, Nestor had to return the Czar’s Mail, which was why he sent Miki to Navil Cotrans, a shipping company, where he had hidden the Russian dolls. In the meantime, his boyfriend, Alex, had been keeping a close watch on Nestor’s activities and somehow found out about the drugs that he planned to steal. If nothing, at least all the characters in Iron Reign were ambitious enough to spill blood to get rich. And it was the same thing with Alex, who wanted to go to LA and fight against the big players but didn’t have the means to do so. Nevertheless, he not only stole the drugs but also shot down Miki during the robbery. In the end, he hid the Czar’s Mail in the gym garage (most likely) with the help of his trainer. The fate of the drugs will be further revealed in the upcoming season 2, but we all know that Alex isn’t smart enough to sell such a huge consignment all by himself, and therefore, he will eventually end up dead. The question is: who will pull the trigger? If it turns out to be Nestor, I would love to watch that.

How is it all going to end?

Iron Reign‘s ending was all about three people: Nestor, Victor, and Rocio. As Victor finds out that Sandra is his daughter, he gets a flashback about his father being mercilessly killed by Joaquin in front of his eyes, which was when the young kid decided to seek revenge from the Manchado family and make them pay for his crimes. But with Sandra being his daughter, the dynamics would change completely. Victor was now part of the same family that shed his father’s blood, and therefore, he would do anything to save Sandra from the Mexicans. Eventually, he might persuade Rocio to leave her father’s legacy behind and settle down somewhere quiet where they could start a family. Or maybe the law enforcer himself would become a part of the syndicate, as Victor has already seen the true face of the corrupt legal system. 

As far as Nestor is concerned, bro eventually realizes that his truth has been exposed to the world. I don’t think he knows that it is his own wife who knows it. Nevertheless, to tie up loose ends before it strikes him back, Nestor loads his gun and arrives at a building (most likely the hospital) to finish the job. My guess is that Nestor would try to shoot Joaquin and then kill Rocio so that he could take over the business. But he needs to do everything quickly, as he has only a few hours left to save his daughter, even though saving her seems like the least of his concerns. The massive revelation that Iron Reign‘s ending makes is the fact that Joaquin finally wakes up from his coma. It is possible he may be able to dodge an attack on him and, therefore, return to the scene to sort the mess out. If that happens, Nestor, bro, you are gone. I feel sorry for you, but Joaquin, doesn’t take betrayals lightly. We all know what happened with Lucio Navarro, who was found stealing from Joaquin. Sorry, I had to do that name-drop just to clarify that I followed the series very attentively.

So, if Joaquin is back in business, he is going to murder a number of people, starting with Alex and Nestor. He may even unleash his wrath upon Ariel and Lucia and murder them brutally for laying his hands on his granddaughter. And if Victor doesn’t switch sides, then he is most likely going to help the authorities arrest Joaquin, therefore ending the cycle of revenge. Maybe it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest a happy ending for Victor and Rocio in the end; only if the Iron Reign doesn’t get canceled, which is quite in fashion these days. So, in case it gets canceled, I hope my article helps tie up the loose ends.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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