If the main antagonist of “Sky Rojo,” Romeo, was to be described in two words, they would be “entrepreneurial pervert.” We don’t doubt that he was born with a knack for business. He knew how to keep the wheel spinning, how to stay creative, and how to use power. What made him stand out was that, as a man, he did not just possess the “male gaze.” He recognized it as a separate entity within him and every man out there. He knew the power it held over the world, and using that, he created one of his own. The male gaze is really just a fantasy that tries to fit women into neat little subservient boxes to maintain a power dynamic. Romeo saw it for what it was and expanded upon it as a business opportunity. He says multiple times that prostitution is the oldest profession in the world. Obviously, he sees nothing wrong with it. To be honest, neither do we, as long as it remains a matter of choice every step of the way. But that is hardly the case, at least in Romeo’s club. He brought girls from impoverished backgrounds, ones who would see this job as a way of getting out of a worse one. The women he chose were the ones whose situations were dire enough for them to not disagree with the work at the club. Poverty doesn’t leave much room for dignity, and Romeo’s club was designed to humiliate the women past their limits. If they ever decided to risk it, they were threatened with dire consequences for their family.
The women were trapped in Las Naivos through a cycle of debt and desperation, as we say throughout “Sky Rojo.” Romeo knew that, as much as he treated the women as objects, he was not on moral high ground if he resorted to blackmail, deception, and kidnapping. But he just didn’t care because life was working out for him. For him, heaven and hell were manufactured concepts, like the ones he created in his club, all in pursuit of selling something. We are taught that there is a price to be paid for our sins. But Romeo was only reaping the benefits. Not only did he make lots of money, but he also had friends and family who loved him unconditionally. There were people who were supporting him, not just by compulsion but by choice. Is it really a surprise that he felt so invincible—that is until he met Coral? She was the one thing he could not have, and that drove him crazy. It was mentioned that Romeo had two rules. One was to spend a night with every new woman at the club, and the second was to never get involved with them. He followed neither of these rules with Coral. She had walked into the club by her own choice, and that was unfathomable to Romeo. He was used to thinking of women as the “Madonna” or the “Mistress.” It sounds sexist, as does a lot of what you will be reading in this article, but please know that we are writing from Romeo’s point of view.
Coming back to the Madonna-Mistress complex, the latter was a tool of business to be used unabashedly without permitting them any agency of their own because they were of no other use to mankind. The former was the woman you took home, the one you had children and a family with. Romeo had been in love with his wife and children, and her being diagnosed with cancer was the first big blow he probably ever had to deal with in life, as we witnessed in Season 1 of “Sky Rojo.” It was during that time that he really fell in love with Coral. He was used to thinking of the women in his club as just “bodies,” but he had long recognized that Coral had a brain. A prostitute with brains was a mystery to him, and that attracted Romeo to Coral more and more. When he asked her to teach his kids, he also saw a domestic side of her, which made him fall deeper in love. To be honest, Romeo was looking at just another woman, but his way of thinking about them in binaries made him feel as if he was witnessing something novel.
When Romeo buries Coral under the quick-drying concrete and thinks her to be dead, he has lost the two most important women in his life—his wife and his love. Additionally, it was Coral’s blow to his head that had left him partially incapacitated. These would be the kind of tragedies that take a lifetime to recover from, especially if the person you loved so dearly was the cause of them. At a time like this, the only people Romeo could turn to were Christian and Moises. They were the final pillars that supported him and his establishment. However, if we consider this objectively, had Romeo just let the girls go and let the brothers start a new life as they had wanted, things would still have been fine for him. But Romeo had never understood the other side of power, which was responsibility. Very few people understand that power is a burden that can only be shared collectively through love, compassion, and honesty. Romeo had neither of the three. When the girls left, he chased them because he could not tolerate somebody who could get the better of him. It was never about the money. He had already recovered much more than he would ever pay them. He enjoyed that the girls were bound to him and his club, and their breaking their shackles caused his ego to shatter, which is the pain he sought to soothe with their deaths.
As for Moises, when Romeo helped him bury his father all those years ago, we do not believe his motives were completely altruistic. Romeo was creating another debt, one that Moises would have to pay with lifelong loyalty, which is what he did. His and Christian seeking to leave Romeo behind was another way in which Romeo became aware that he did not have the kind of control over their lives that he had thought he did. Letting Christian die was not that hard a decision for Romeo to make, in Season 2 of “Sky Rojo.” He was volatile, and one never knew what he could do. In fact, Christian was the only thing that was capable of taking Moises away from Romeo, so he needed to go. Killing their mother was also a no-brainer for Romeo because once she was out of the picture, Romeo would be the sole family left for Moises, one that he would never be able to leave behind. But his lies and deceit were stacked so high that he was always paranoid of everything falling apart. Romeo was not used to being so out of control. It made him realize that there were forces greater than himself that he could not control. That was probably why he decided to stop the chase in the middle of the ocean, because he could feel the fight slipping away from him. He had done too much evil, and he could feel it getting the better of him.
Moises was losing everyone close to him. When his daughter told him that she did not want to live with him anymore, Romeo realized that the perfect facade he had tried to present them with was slipping, and they did not like what they saw. What does a man do when everything he loves starts to hate him? That is probably what drove him into the arms of Rubi so that he had someone by his side who knew everything about him yet accepted and loved him. When Romeo believed that Moises had discovered the truth, he knew there would be no forgiveness. He had lost every relationship that was dear to him, and he knew that he might not have long left to live.
Seeking God was a desperate act for Romeo. As he started suspecting that death was close, his beliefs about the manufactured truth of heaven and hell took a backseat to the biblical one. No matter how self-aware a person is of their sins and depravity in life, they want to be treated well in the afterlife. Especially for a person like Romeo who thrived on control, the fear of the unknown was deep, and asking God for forgiveness was one way of insuring himself against the punishments of hell. Not to sound like an atheist, but God probably did not bother with Las Naivos. If he did, the women there would not be in such dire conditions. Romeo should have tried confessing in a church. That might have made God pay attention to him. Or maybe God did listen to the depraved club and was just operating in one of his many mysterious ways. We can all make our pleas to God, but he obviously picks and chooses which ones interest him or are for the greater good. Maybe God decided that Romeo had lived a good life. Now, it was time for him to die a horrific death. It really doesn’t make it even because his life was at the cost of many others. But we are humans, and we find it better to move on than to fester in the anger of the leftover injustice. This is what the women do, as they hopefully take Romeo’s money and move on in their lives with their freedom, with the blessings of God that were denied to Romeo at the tail-end of his life.