I love when The Resort gets weird. Well, let me couch that: Not super–“time is a flat circle” weird or “talk about space and physics and shit” weird, but when it turns into a sort of amped-up soap opera full of absurd characters, surprising twists, and maybe even a little light violence.
That’s why I hold a soft spot for episode six, “Huncb Fo Llub Seeth.” It opens with a very cute Rushmore-like scene of young Balthasar Frias reading a terrible detective novel that ends on page 68 with no resolution. He decides to reach out to the author, one Mr. Illan Iberra, and a typewritten flame war begins with Iberra urging Frias to reread the book to find the answers if he thinks he’s so smart. After Frias’s tenth read, he tells Iberra that calling the book “a pamphlet was too generous a word,” saying it’s “toilet paper with a binding” instead. Zing!
Unfortunately for both Balthasar and Iberra, the kid’s mom catches wind of their correspondence and intercepts a letter that includes a threat from Iberra set off with some bloody fingerprints, and she sends her henchmen out to fuck him up. They didn’t murder him, Balthasar tells Noah. They just had him removed from his job at a university and ruined his reputation, which, in some ways for some people, might be even worse.
Meanwhile, Emma is uncharacteristically quiet, still shaken from her experience in the jungle. Noah’s noticed this, but she sort of shrugs it off and keeps eating cotton candy while Balthasar and Luna try and figure out what to do with the information that Sam and Violet went to Iberra’s house. Luna opts out of the adventure, saying she’s got a kid, which exempts her from cockamamie schemes, while Balthasar, Noah, and Emma push forward.
In the car on the way to Frias HQ, Balthasar and Noah talk about what he told Luna in the woods regarding the loss of their child. Balthasar offers condolences, then it turns into a conversation about how our past and our memories are really all we have in the end. Balthasar believes that when we recognize darker pieces of our past that we’ve maybe pushed aside, all our seemingly random memories snap into place, kind of like Tetris. Noah scoffs at that, but it’s a solid visual.
The gang arrives at Frias HQ in Izamal. It’s called El Caracol — “the snail” — which seems semi-significant considering the end of the episode has Emma tracing parks in a spiral. Balthasar tells the couple to stay in the car while he goes to grab the letters because his brother is home and he’s been “trying to kill me since he discovered I’m better than him at everything in life.”
It turns out his brother is the guy from the Frias store, and he is indeed trying to kill him, which we find out as the two careen off a balcony in a spectacular fight scene. Balthasar pitches keys at the pair, they run to the car, and Balthasar jumps in as it drives away (literally jumps). A knife is thrown, but Balthasar says his brother will never follow them because he only knows how to drive literally that specific car, which is very weird but what isn’t on this show?
Fast-forward a little bit and we’re at Iberra’s house in the sticks. Balthasar calls his house “as horrible as his book,” which is fun, and the trio knock at the door. A curly-haired girl, who I initially thought was a grown-up Violet but probably isn’t, answers. Illan’s not available, she says. Then she inquires within. Emma spies through a window. Iberra doesn’t want to see them and tells her to make them go away. The girl runs back to the door and — bam! — shrieks and clanks. It seems Emma’s snuck in through the side entrance in what she says is an attempt to get some answers.
This is where we learn that the amazing Luis Guzmán is playing Iberra, and this is a good thing because he is a joy in everything he’s in. He’s funny here, weird, and charismatic, and I enjoyed every second he was onscreen.
Although Iberra is apparently ill, he seems amped up by the presentation of the photo of the youngsters. Yeah, they came here, he says. He tells the story of their questions about his book, and relays that he took them to pasaje, though he left them there. The hurricane came and (oops!) he just forgot to tell anyone they were there in the first place, and that was the last time he seems to have ever thought about them.
The scenes of Sam and Violet at Iberra’s house are kind of fun with Sam somehow dislodging a murmuring lump from the sink, after which Iberra identifies it as “the filth of time.” We get to see Violet try to say “Huncb fo llub seeth” a bunch of times, which … we can all recognize as a bastardized, semi-reversed version of “bunch of bull shit,” right? Is there even a pasaje, or is Iberra just fucking with everyone?
It’s honestly hard to tell, and that’s something Guzmán really excels at. He tells the young duo that he maybe went to pasaje with some guy named Alejandro, whom he lost there and who never came out? (This is Alex, yes?) He calls English “the language of your president, Jimmy Carter.” He denigrates Violet’s mom in a way that’s both funny and selfish, and then he (in modern time) leads the group on a fierce and frantic search for a pen in an attempt to long-windedly explain what his bullshit (literally) language means.
That pen, tho. Balthasar ends up handing him his fountain pen, which is Frias branded. Iberra marvels over the smoothness of the writing, then sees the logo. He puts it all together and realizes Balthasar is who he once exchanged letters with, a correspondence that ruined him. He attacks, and the two scuffle. Iberra puts the pen clear through Balthasar’s hand and starts to choke him out on the ground before clutching at his chest, saying, “How disappointing,” and keeling over dead. R.I.P. Illan Iberra.
Should Iberra really have tried to kill Balthasar? I mean, I’m sure he’d been harboring some resentments, and he was a loose cannon to begin with, but it wasn’t the kid’s fault, really. He didn’t want his mom to fuck with his fun pen pal. He didn’t like her, either, and he doesn’t much like his family. Then again, he never got to tell Iberra that, so he’ll never know.
Because Iberra died, he never got to reveal the location of pasaje to the group. Back at the hotel, while they all drink their faces off, Balthasar leaves angrily. Emma says she’s going to stick with the quest to find pasaje, which Noah balks at. “This shit is over,” he tells her. “You’ve got to move on.” She then stomps off, telling him she’s going to the room and not to follow. There, she continues Violet’s work and figures out the spiral-map shit, landing on a location she thinks is pasaje. We see Sam and Violet walk into the forest, and that’s where we’ll kick off next week. We’ll probably get less Luis Guzmán, but hopefully we’ll get just as much camp.
• I love that Iberra’s books sell for “10 cents on Amazon.” A very specific reference that really tells a story.
• Iberra asks Emma, “Do you really want to find the kids, or do you want to find pasaje?” It’s the latter, for sure. Was this quest ever not selfish for her, like, at all?
• Next week’s episode is called “La Pubertad Matrimonio,” which basically translates to “puberty marriage” according to Google, which, ew. Let’s just assume it’s about young Sam and Violet’s time in pasaje, assuming they made it. I picture something very Blue Lagoon.