The Mess You Leave Behind – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

They Know

Episode 2 of The Mess You Leave Behind begins in the past as a drunk Mauro antagonizes the police following Viruca’s suicide. Unfortunately his antics cause him to be arrested. Thankfully he’s released without charges but on his way out, learns that the police may have suspected this to be a murder at one point. The officer eventually tells him to head home.

In the present, Raquel heads to school and immediately starts doubting her students after the ominous warning she received. She gets into her class but Nerea and Roi immediately bring up Viruca and how good she was compared to Raquel. They want Raquel to reveal something personal about herself like Viruca did.

In a flashback later on in the episode we see that Viruca admitted to the kids that she had an abortion and a previous addiction to alcohol. The only people who know this secret other than herself are Mauro and now all the kids in class.

Roi immediately starts analyzing Raquel when she refuses to do the same as Viruca in the present, going on to reveal that Raquel is stuck in a hopeless marriage.

This certainly rattles her as Raquel heads out during lunch and contemplates how Roi would have known this information. It turns out everything he mentioned in class was on an email she originally wanted to send to German but changed her mind.

Afterward, Raquel speaks to Mauro briefly at the bar but he doesn’t give much up. Concha, the barmaid, reveals a little more about how Viruca’s enthusiasm for learning soon diminished and turned into something far more disconcerting.

Raquel is determined to discover the truth though and as she starts sifting through Viruca’s old work, Marga asks about German and how he’s getting on. It turns out he knew about Viruca’s death all this time and didn’t say anything to her. That certainly looks suspect but later on when Raquel confronts him about it, he simply brushes it aside as something he didn’t want to scare her with.

Raquel remains determined to find Viruca’s work though, believing it may hold clues to what happened in the past. After searching around for the culprit of the letter, Marga eventually finds out what Raquel is up to and wants to confront her class. Raquel instead decides to handle this herself.

She confronts the kids about her death note and challenges the kids, threatening to raise the difficulty of the exam if she doesn’t find out who sent the note. She goes on to make each of the students write their name on an anonymous sheet of paper with who they think threatened her. Afterwards, Iago, Roi and Nerea all question each other over who it could be.

When Raquel checks the notes afterwards, she sees both Iago and Roi as the two names repeatedly constantly. In a further flashback with Viruca, we see that Roi fancied Iago and told Viruca about this in an essay. Unfortunately Viruca’s advice comes back to bite Roi, as Iago laughs at him and starts making fun of the boy after suggesting to take his photos.

Back home, German’s Mother drops a bombshell as she reveals that she’s selling the restaurant in 2 weeks. With time of the essence, German contemplates whether he should buy it out or not. Raquel tries to talk him out of it, especially given his passion for writing, but German refuses to listen. He’s clearly erratic but could this be the drugs or something darker?

On the back of Raquel’s bold statement about failing the kids, the teachers admire her guts but warn that this could backfire. Mauro approaches though and invites her along to the burial.

They’re not the only ones there, as Iago, Roi and Nerea all show up too. They’re not dressed for the occasion and worse, antagonize Mauro to the point that he punches the kid across the face. Raquel watches all of this take place silently from afar.

Afterwards, Mauro decides to help Raquel and wants her to reveal the truth if she finds anything out the ordinary in Viruca’s school documents. However, they’re interrupted by Iago’s Father Tomas showing up, claiming that his son has been beaten. He wants Mauro to be fired and threatens to go to the papers.

In class, Raquel receives several text messages from an unknown number asking how she could be so nasty to her husband. This is accompanied by a video of her engaging in intercourse with German’s old friend Simon. Who could have sent this? Is it a student? Or someone else?

The Episode Review

The Mess You Leave Behind slows down slightly to deliver another episode of juxtapositions and similarities between Raquel and Viruca’s teaching styles. It’s obvious that both are far from perfect but Viruca’s murder/suicide remains a very real and problematic situation for Raquel to deal with.

There’s an air of Spanish Original Elite bleeding through in this series, as the kids become more integral to the story. Could one of them have been responsible for what happened to Viruca?

Given German’s erratic behaviour as of late, it seems like he too has some part in all this but whether this holds weight or not remains to be seen.  It could always be his drug addiction too.

One thing’s for sure though, the kids are clearly hiding something and the trio at the centre of all this are more involved than we know.


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