‘The Big Cigar’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Did Huey Reach Mexico?


AppleTV+’s biographical drama series The Big Cigar continues with its action in this week’s episode 4, as political activist Huey P. Newton still faces the threat of arrest from the FBI for a murder that he seemingly did not commit. While his friends, film producer Bert Schneider and his professional partner Steve Blauner, had originally planned to fly Huey to Cuba with the help of a pilot named Tajo, the latter had actually duped them. In The Big Cigar episode 4, Bert and Steve make another attempt to help out their dear friend in the face of unjust harassment from the authorities. 

Spoiler Alert

How does Bert Schneider mess up the plan?

The Big Cigar episode 4 begins with Bert Schneider rushing to the restaurant where a violent shooting incident had just taken place, as he can be technically held responsible for the whole ordeal. It was Bert who had arranged a meeting between the Cuban pilot, Tajo, and his representative in the form of his dear friend Steve Blauner. Bert’s idea was to have Steve confront Tajo in this meeting and have him return the money that the producers had already paid for the job of secretly flying out Huey P. Newton. However, he was not aware that Tajo was involved with a dangerous cartel, and just to ensure his friend’s safety, a few Black Panther gunmen were also sent along with him. All this worked out terribly when it was revealed that Tajo had also brought two gunmen with him, as the cartel wanted to get their hands on Huey and use him as leverage against the authorities. Thus, when the two men confronted each other, total chaos ensued as the four gunmen opened fire on each other. 

Last week’s episode ended with Tajo firing his gun twice at Steve from point-blank range, and it seemed very likely that the latter would die from the incident. However, it is now revealed that Tajo somehow missed both his shots by some miracle, and he was shot down and killed by the Black Panther members instead. Surprisingly, Steve Blauner survived the shootout and was left relatively unharmed, other than with some blood on his hands and face and serious trauma from the experience. When Bert learned about Tajo’s affiliations from his friend Paula, he immediately rushed to the restaurant to help his friend out. At present, he walks into the restaurant, hoping to find his friend alive, and is evidently relieved to see that the only dead body lying at the place is Tajo. As he drives his car through the streets in search of Steve, Bert does find his friend and reunite with him, and he helps Steve deal with the severe shock.

Soon after, the two men pick up Huey from near a film theater where he had been in order to work on their current plan of transporting the activist to Cuba safely. While the initial mission of flying him out of the country had failed, Bert had then thought of using a boat from Miami to reach Cuba. In order to succeed in this mission, the men needed to go to Miami from their home in Los Angeles, but the extra heat on the streets after the shootout at the restaurant made it quite a difficult affair. As soon as the restaurant incident took place, the presence of the two Black Panther Party members at the scene ensured that the authorities pinned the entire blame on the activist group. The FBI was already cracking down on the Black Panther Party, and this incident gave them enough reason to make their search for Huey even stronger. Moreover, the FBI agent overseeing the operation, Sydney Clark, had already found out that Bert Schneider had been to the restaurant after the shootout and so realized that the matter was somehow linked with Huey P. Newton. Clark’s associate also informed him that Bert was preparing for a private plane to be flown from LA to Miami, and they figured out that their target would definitely be on this plane. 

In such a troubled time, Bert decides not to go ahead with the plan to fly out of Los Angeles, as the authorities would surely be monitoring the airspace. Instead, he comes up with the idea of driving to Tijuana, Mexico, at first, from where they could continue towards their destination of Cuba. As they would cross over the border to a different country, the FBI or the American police forces would have no jurisdiction or power over them, and so this plan is finalized. However, a car is needed to make the drive, and it is too risky for Bert to use any of their own vehicles. Therefore, he goes to his contacts in search of a car that he could lend for a couple of days, starting with his own elder brother, Stanley. The brother is absolutely furious with the FBI having raided his house because of the actions of Bert, and he turns down the request for a car. 

Bert has to visit an old acquaintance of his, Jessica, instead, and she agrees to lend him a car for the getaway, although she does not obviously know what it will be used for. With the intense threat that the three men faced from the authorities at the time, it had been decided that Bert would immediately come over as soon as he got hold of a car and would drive Huey away to Mexico. However, as Huey and Steve desperately wait for their friend to return, Bert gets involved in a different matter altogether, as he is drawn to a party being held at Jessica’s house. Here, he drinks and takes cocaine as well, all of which lead to him falling asleep without any sense of time or space. As a result, Bert Schneider completely messes up the plan that he had been so invested in till now, and he rushes back to his house after waking up and realizing his mistake.

Can Steve successfully manage to help Huey reach Mexico?

After waiting for Bert for quite some time, Steve Blauner eventually decides that he will take Huey to Mexico by himself, as they cannot wait any longer. The two men set out on the adventure, with Steve driving the car and Huey being prepared to hide if any danger came their way. Although Huey did not want to trouble Steve any more with his intrusive presence in his life, the experience at the restaurant shootout had definitely changed the latter’s perspective. Steve Blauner had always been a bit apprehensive of Bert’s extreme love and support for Huey, especially since his personal life was also greatly affected by him, along with his business. But after the shootout, Steve is seen to be more interested in further heroics, as he suddenly gets a boost in self-confidence, and the man simply wants to be in more such dangerous situations. 

Thus, Steve completely ignores Huey’s decision to try to cross over the border all alone, and he drives the car towards Tijuana. As Bert had earlier mentioned, his friend Paula Feinberg had contacts in the border area, and she is possibly the one who now arranges for a safe passage for Huey and his friends into Mexico. Although the car ride goes quite smoothly for the most part, trouble arises when the men stop for a quick rest and call up their respective partners. Steve calls his partner, Roz, and informs her about where he is at the moment and what exactly he is up to. Roz obviously tries to stop him from this almost suicidal mission, for the authorities could arrest him for helping a fugitive, but Steve disagrees. He describes, almost in an emphatic manner, how miraculously surviving a shootout at a restaurant had made him question his life choices and how the moment was almost epiphanic for him. He states that he wants to do the right thing for himself and for his family, so that history will remember him for siding with the right person against the oppressive FBI and US government. Steve very categorically mentions how he and Huey will take a flight from the Tijuana airport and head towards their main destination, Cuba.

However, unbeknownst to Steve, his partner Roz had already had enough of his involvement with Huey, particularly with the man living in their house and disrupting their privacy for a long time, and so she had already partnered with the FBI. As the FBI agents must have pressured her to let them listen to her phone calls, Clark and his men are seen in Roz’s house, having just heard everything that Steve had just told her. Therefore, a search for the two men is immediately organized at the Mexican border, and Huey and Steve’s car is stopped in traffic a little distance away from the border checkpoint. Fortunately, the protagonists manage to spot Clark and his men conducting a search by checking every car in the area, and they immediately run out of their vehicle.

Ultimately, at the end of the episode, Huey and Steve are able to enter Mexico by bribing the guard at the border gate, while Clark is not allowed to follow them. The two men triumphantly celebrate this victory, although Huey is very well aware of the fact that his escape from the law is only halfway complete, for he still needs to reach the safe haven of Cuba. The FBI agent, Sydney Clark, has an absolute meltdown because of this turn of events, and he frustratedly leaves his post as an FBI agent, only to ensure that he still follows Huey and Steve into Mexico. But he is still unable to catch them before their plane takes off from Tijuana airport.

Why does Huey agree to bring Gwen along?

While Huey had initially been on the run with his partner, Gwen Fontaine, he now decides against taking her along because of the extreme heat he is facing from the authorities. This change of heart actually leads to a disagreement between the two as well, since Huey seems to genuinely care for the well-being of his partner, while she argues that her decision should also be considered. At the height of this argument, Gwen mentions how Huey always has a tendency to push those who love him away from his life and even mentions the name of Bobby Seale in this context. While the protagonist is angered by this at first, he eventually comes to think of how Gwen might be quite right in her assessment after all. 

As incidents from a year ago are shown, it is revealed that Huey was also on the brink of falling out with his best friend, Bobby Seale. While Bobby had started to believe that the Black Panther Party needed to take on a more direct and administrative role for the betterment of society, like participating in elections, Huey was still of the opinion that they were meant to be activists and not politicians. Bobby eventually decided to run in the mayoral elections in Oakland, which he lost in the end, but then this caused a rift between the two men as well. Bobby learned that the presence of Black Panther Party goons and armed henchmen, who were controlled by Huey, was the reason behind his loss in the election, as the common people feared them more than being able to put trust in them. 

Bobby believed that Huey had intentionally increased the presence of these men on the streets only to ensure that his friend would not succeed in doing something that he did not want. Although Huey disagreed with this assessment and fought with his friend over it at the time, his final change of opinion at present seems to suggest that he did genuinely work to make Bobby lose. He realizes that there is indeed a tendency in him to push away his loved ones, and so in order to undo this habit, he calls up Gwen on his way to Mexico and asks her to take a flight down to Tijuana. It is clear that Huey now wants his partner to be by his side no matter what, and Gwen is more than happy to follow. Gwen is already present on the private plane when Huey and Steve reach the Tijuana airport, and the couple finally reunite to fly off toward their exile in Cuba. 

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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