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Netflix’s ‘Irmandade’ Ending, Explained

October 26, 2019
7 min read

‘Irmandade’ casts an interminable look on life inside a prison through the lens of an impeccable crime drama; a tale of a family of all three siblings eventually caught in a life of crime, and multiple intertwining story arcs of well fleshed out characters. Following a glowing review, this is a discussion into the various aspects of the show, the story arcs that were led to a sense of completion, and the very anti-climactic finale, rendering all but three of the most important arcs on the show, unfulfilled, at least until the show is renewed for a second season.

In order to get to the ending, we will rewind our clocks specifically to the somewhat underwhelming finale, wherein after interrogating Marcel, Darlene is finally able to uncover the truth behind Cristina being the snitch all along, and a full-blown war between the two rival factions led by Scavenger and Edson is simmering. That’s just the tip of it, but there are multiple arcs that are led to a completion, or at least a sense of it in the finale, as I mentioned. Therefore, along the way of describing the sequence of events that conspire in the finale, we will look at what closure we are able to derive in these characters, well worthy of investment.

Season Finale: My Word is My Bond

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The final episode begins right where the last one left off, with Cristina finally chopping off Lidia’s finger in a major turning point for the character. I’d say the makers chose a very valid point for her to turn to the other side: the death of Viola’s initially innocent son who recently joined the Brotherhood, at the hands of the police.

The finale begins with the finger arriving at the office of the news channel whose reporter the Brotherhood kidnapped to coerce her into reading the Brotherhood’s revelation of police brutality inside the penitentiary to the world. It works in the way Cristina and the others wanted it to, and the video is telecast just as public gains knowledge of the faction, swaying their opinion and sympathy in favour of the inmates. This sends a wave of victory around the prison, just when everybody thought the Brotherhood was dead. I was particularly impressed by the push it gave Ivan during that moment, playing a major part in him finally settling for a faction.

The Revolution

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The developments at the prison enrage both the prison authorities and Scavenger, who is now ordered to kill Edson within the prison to curb the oncoming revolution. He tasks Ivan with the same, ensuring him a faction-less, trouble-less term at the prison if he succeeded. As foreshadowed, he instead helps Edson escape from his medical confinement, while Edson challenges Scavenger to a one on one knife battle in the prison yard to settle scores once and for all. He overcomes Scavenger, slitting his throat in front of his supporters, enraging them.

While the now in-power faction Brotherhood easily curbs them, him killing Scavenger publically unites the prisoners against the authorities, and the revolution begins. The prisoners all revolt against the authorities, all of whom are captured, while the Brotherhood, vandalising prison property and displaying Scavenger’s severed head demands to speak with the Secretary of State of São Paulo, threatening to kill more orderlies if their demands weren’t met.

The Secretary appears at the prison to negotiate, and the Brotherhood demands equal rights for the prisoners, and the voluntary resignation of the tyrannical prison warden, to which the Secretary agrees, even if reluctantly so. The Brotherhood erupts in celebrations, as Edson finally emerges victorious, with Ivan joining him in celebrating the fulfilment of the Brotherhood’s mission. Marcel watches this on television with Juliana and his daughter, injured from the beating he received from Darlene’s henchman to coerce a confession out of him, and disenchanted with the ways of the Brotherhood and Edson, switches the TV off, reconciling with and being thankful for his family, decidedly pursuing the life devoid of crime their father had expected them to.

The Snitch

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Meanwhile, Darlene confronts Cristina about her betrayal of the Brotherhood and her being a snitch from the beginning. Just as she is about to execute her, Cristina puts forth another offer she can’t refuse: to give her a chance to recover the tape of her anonymous tip from Andrade, and kill him. She concedes, and the two set up a meeting with him in his office, where they destroy all of his findings and evidence against the Brotherhood.

Cristina is able to swindle the tape from his office without Darlene noticing, and just as she is about to kill Cristina for her betrayal after she deems her no longer useful, Andrade arrives earlier than expected, and a gunfight ensues between the two giving Cristina a window to escape. Darlene shoots and injures Andrade, who then hides and ambushes her, choking her and presumably killing her. Cristina eyes this from afar and contemplates shooting Andrade, or not, finally choosing the latter and fleeing. Just when Andrade breathes a sigh of relief on having presumably killed Darlene, Cristina appears and shoots him fatally in the head, leaving thereafter assuming both of them to be dead. Shortly after, Darlene wheezes and wakes up, as the screen cuts to black and the credits roll.

Why Does Cristina Kill Andrade?

While this is the final segment of the show, this is also an overarching-ly important pivoting point for Cristina, regardless of whether her story continues further or not. Firstly, her killing Andrade is finally symbolic of her transition over to the Brotherhood, encompassing her journey and the transformation she goes through during the show. It is remotely as Andrade himself states in his final words before being suddenly shot by Cristina, believing firmly that Cristina wouldn’t shoot him.

Throughout the show, Cristina repeatedly chose non-violent methods and her own way of negotiations to get out of tough situations. The Brotherhood’s violent methods too disturbed her, and naturally for a character as seemingly innocent as her, murder, that too of a police officer would seem strictly off the charts.

While I strictly believe that also has a lot to do with how spiteful Andrade was as a character, even unfairly treating her at several points in the season, it is more about how the Brotherhood felt more humane to her than the Police who slaughtered criminals in cold blood. Sure, it is a very, very thin morally ambiguous line to toe, for you and me, but for Cristina, it is not hard to see why she transitioned to the other side, Family being the key word her.

On the contrary, it is also quite possible that her killing of Andrade was purely driven by her desire to escape from it all, and her life of crime that has inadvertently caught up to her. With Darlene presumably dead and no one aware of her betrayal, she severs the last loose end that could lead up to the revelation of her betrayal of the Brotherhood. She has been a survivor amid tough conditions as the show displayed over multiple occasions, and this very well could be her final attempt at escaping the mess that was created in her wake.

To add to that, in her estimation, she indirectly let Darlene “die” at the hands of Andrade, deeming her to be too dangerous with her knowledge of Cristina’s betrayal when she had a shot at Andrade and could clearly save her. This should surely add up to interesting things for when (and more importantly, if) there is going to be a second season, wherein we could see these two going against each other again. However, this time, Cristina too would be armed with the tape of Darlene’s anonymous confession to the police about Scavenger, somehow evening the scales.

Read More: Brotherhood Review

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