Kids Don’t Come With Instructions
Episode 1 of Dom Season 1 begins in Rio de Janeiro 1999. We’re at the Tabajaras Favela in Copacabana where pulsating music and dancing erupt in the streets. Pedro Dom snorts lines before telling a girl they match. As he pours cocaine on her chest, he begins snorting it.
We then cut across to Pedro’s Father, Victor Dantas, who tries desperately to find Pedro. He immediately heads down to the favela, demanding to see his son. When he eventually finds him, Pedro is not in a good way.
He begrudgingly joins Victor though as he takes his son home. Pedro’s drug addiction causes him to lash out against his Father. Victor is desperate to end this spiral of addiction though, handcuffing his son to the bed and taking his stash and money. He’s going cold turkey and that’s going to cause some serious headaches further on down the line. Realizing what this means, Pedro’s sister Laura decides to stay at their Mum’s place for the time being.
We then jump back to Rio in 1970, seeing what’s led up to this point in time. Victor goes diving but while there, finds a dead body in the water. When this reaches the shore, Victor is brought in for questioning.
The body in question belongs to Captain Magalhaes, and the Colonel soon arrives to question Victor on what he knows. Given this is the 70’s, military dictatorship rules Brazil and Victor is labeled a terrorist. Thankfully the Colonel doesn’t see it this way, especially when Victor begins to show his knowledge.
Realizing Victor could be useful, he hands over his details and allows the boy to head home. The Colonel has plans to hire Victor for recon work, heading underwater and feeding back intel about various different packages. He’s then told to hand the details over to the Colonel ho’s going by the alias of Arcanjo.
Interestingly that estranged Father/son relationship is echoed here too, as Victor and his Father Paulo come to blows over his decision to become a diver. This eventually leads to Victor walking out.
When he does, Victor gets talking to a waitress down by the shore called Paloma. While she seems like a nice girl, it turns out she’s actually working for Interpol undercover. She’s his next point of contact, and about to give him instructions.
There’s another shipment of cocaine being brought in that night and with little time for a diving team to be set up, it’s up to Victor to be their point of call to intercept the transaction.
So off Victor goes, diving underwater and sending a signal via a torch to confirm when the transaction has been made. It’s dangerous work and soon gunshots whizz through the air. Victor dives underwater though, evading bullets as he makes his way back to shore.
Back in the present, Victor receives a message on his computer asking to meet down by the docks at 10am the following day. It’s the Colonel, but Victor reminds him that he’s out of this line of business. However, with 6 officers captured he needs someone undercover to help go deep behind enemy lines.
Drugs are being smuggled in from Colombia and with Major Haia being held for questioning, it doesn’t look good. In fact, the Colonel eventually tasks Victor with fronting this operation himself, leaving for Cuiaba in the early morning. They need to find out who’s receiving these drugs and unfortunately Victor can’t trust anyone else for this.
When Victor returns home, he finds Pedro gone. With no money, he’s sold his laptop in order to score some drugs. That same laptop Victor has been using an outlet for his writing all this time. A note lies in its stead, apologizing, but it’s a hollow sorry given how far Pedro has fallen.
And fall he has. Pedro is deep in the favela and he’s beaten down by a man named Amario after dancing with the wrong girl. As his friend Lico pleads with the big man to stop, the scene cuts as a gunshot ricochets through the air.
The Episode Review
The sins of a father come back to haunt Victor as episode 1 of Dom gets of to a pretty decent start. The juxtaposing timelines are a nice touch and the episode does well to show off the horrors of drug addiction and what it can do to a family. In that respect, Dom does a lot right and the fresh setting of Rio for this drug-fueled thriller is another welcome addition.
On top of that, the series manages to keep a pretty tight ensemble of characters and bounce the focus back and forth between Pedro and Victor well. The gunshot at the end of the episode is certainly a shocking moment though, and it leaves the door wide open for where this one may go next.