HBO’s new comedy series Los Espookys is in its fourth episode and things are getting weird. “El Espejo Maldito” (The Cursed Mirror) is the most supernatural Espookys we’ve seen yet and it crosses that supernatural bridge while also expanding the characters. The last episode ended with Andrés talking with a mythical creature and Úrsula quitting her job only to come home to an apartment filled with Hierbalite, the show’s satirical counterpart to Herbalife.
At the start of the episode, we learn more about Andrés who must make two choices, satisfy his inner demon to get answers and decide if he will marry Juan Carlos to appease his parents. Los Espookys has done a great job of expanding on Andrés as a character, building out his relationship, his priorities, and giving him an amazing wardrobe – less of a character trait but more so making him a scene-stealer.
In addition to Andrés, we’ve been able to see Úrsula emerge as the leader, even though Renaldo is the face of the group. She’s logical, strong, and ultimately having to pay for her sister Tati’s inability to understand the world. It’s through Úrsula that we finally get to see some of the behind the scenes action that goes into pulling off a scare after the group is commissioned by Melanie, an ambassador from the United States, to help her extend her vacation. We see Úrsula’s sketching and she confronts the others about always being the one in charge and ultimately accountable for everything.
We also see the expansion of Renaldo as a possibly asexual character as he refuses to sleep with the very enthusiastic Carmencita regardless of his mother’s pushing her on him. He explains that horror is passion and that the piece of him that wanted sex doesn’t exist. Even with some unnecessary cuts to Los Angeles to see Fred Armisen’s tío Tico, “El Espejo Maldito” offers up more character-building than we’ve seen previously. But to top this episode off, we also get to see the world that the characters live which is one where spooky is real and they aren’t the only ones causing scares.
Without ruining the central plot to this “El Espejo Maldito,” I have to say that it is easily my favorite episode of Los Espookys so far. It is funny, it is loud, and it pulls no punches in satirizing Herbalife, a pyramid scheme that actively preys on Latinx in the United States and abroad. This episode also highlights the fact that this series isn’t only meant for a Spanish-speaking audience. While the show is primarily in Spanish and provides subtitling of the English dialogue in that language, the jumps between Los Angeles and the Latin country (which I’m just going to assume is Mexico inspired given Renaldo’s use guey in every sentence) and shows how the Espooky crew interact with Melanie, the Legally Blonde type American Ambassador responsible for expediting their visas for their trip to Los Angeles to work Renaldo’s idol Bianca Nova.
The more fantastical elements of “El Espejo Maldito” are all well executed. With b-horror effects that are charming and makeup that is flawless. The world of Los Espookys seems like a magical realist story, lifting the veil to showcase magic as mundane as the episode progresses. Which, for many Latinx, that’s what our families believe the world to be. Whether fueled by established religion or folk tale, the world of our parents or at least of mine is one where the supernatural is very real with only a curandera mediating it.
As the characters grow and their identities are explored, I am drawn to Úrsula. Dressed all in black most of the time with rockabilly hair and an attitude that shows that she’s done being screwed over, I would have pulled a Carmencita myself if I lived next to her.
Overall, with “El Espejo Maldito,” Los Espookys remains the perfect mix of comedy and the supernatural.
Los Espookys airs every Friday night on HBO at 8pm PT/10pm CT/11pm ET.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.