Who is Isela? Is Charlie Adopted?

Who is Isela? Is Charlie Adopted?

TV Explainers

Apple TV+’s ‘The Mosquito Coast’ follows the Fox family’s gritty adventure through Latin America after their lives in America are uprooted by their intrepid inventor father, Allie. The adventure drama series, which takes inspiration from Paul Theroux’s novel of the same name, is a breathless sequence of capers that the family narrowly survives, all the while heading to Allie’s much-touted but as of yet unknown, off-grid paradise.

In addition to being chased by gangsters and law enforcement, they also grapple with their murky past that is tantalizingly revealed. A show that enjoys holding on to its plot secrets whilst pitting its central family against increasingly ominous foes, ‘The Mosquito Coast’ season 1 seems to be the prologue to a long and grimy saga. Let’s see what we know so far and make sure we have picked up all we could from the season 1 finale. SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Mosquito Coast Season 1 Recap

‘The Mosquito Coast’ season 1 opens with Allie showing off his prized invention to his son — a contraption that uses fire to create ice. The son, Charlie, is suitably impressed, as he is with almost everything his borderline genius, scrappy inventor father does. The Fox family’s unconventional life, with them living in the outskirts of town and staying away from all kinds of phones, is something their older daughter Dina finds increasingly unfair. We soon see why, as after a brief call to her parents by Allie’s wife Margot, the family home is ambushed by the police, forcing the family to go on the run.

While Margot and Allie remain tight-lipped about what they are on the run for, we find out that they have changed identities and addresses multiple times in the last decade. Allie soon convinces the family to treat it as an adventure and decides that the best course of action would be to live in an off-grid paradise in Latin America. After stealing a large amount of money from Allie’s employer, the family attempts to illegally cross the border into Mexico. After surviving a gun battle between the Mexican immigrants helping them cross the border and the American border militia, the family finds themself rescued and taken to a cartel safe house in Mexico.

Realizing that the Mexican cartel plans on exchanging Allie for one of their men who is imprisoned in the US, the family escapes from the compound. However, they now find themselves hunted by the vengeful mob boss known as “Aunt” Lucrecia. Hiding out in a small Mexican town, they are soon tracked down by Lucrecia’s assassin. However, the American agents Estelle and Don, who have been secretly following the family, intervene and are killed in the ensuing gun battle, allowing the Fox family to once again narrowly escape.

The Mosquito Coast Season 1 Ending: Where is the Fox Family Heading?

Realizing they need help, Allie attempts to contact his associate Isela who lives in what he describes as a beautiful hideout. However, he and Margot end up getting kidnapped by her colleague, who then interrogates Allie whilst holding a gun to his wife’s head. The inventor manages to gain their trust, but not before Margot is almost shot, visibly traumatizing her. Their son Charlie, meanwhile, in an attempt to scare away a cartel spy following the family, shoots him with his stolen gun and is subsequently arrested and imprisoned in Mexico.

Allie then hatches a plan to break Charlie out of prison. With the cartel assassin close on their heels, Margot and Dina cause a distraction which allows Allie to break into the prison and get Charlie out. The family then boards a rusty boat that Allie previously purchased from a local and are seen heading out to sea in the wee hours of the morning. Whilst the rest of the family looks shaken and disturbed, Allie looks euphoric. However, in the closing scenes of the season finale, we see Allie’s smile crack with fear and sadness as the boat speeds away into the horizon.

The fitting end to the season puts the ever lingering question about the family’s destination front and center. Their escape, having been on land this whole time, has now transcended to the water, opening up the scope of where the family can go. After earning the trust of Isela and her colleague Calaca, Allie hints that their idealistic hideout is in Guatemala. However, when he tells Margot about possibly heading there, she, still reeling from almost being shot, puts her foot down and flatly refuses. However, considering they have no other option at the moment and are being closely followed by the Mexican police and cartel, she might change her mind.

It is also possible that the family is not heading anywhere at all. Allie’s long-time vision for them living off the grid on a boat, which leaves Dina aghast at her father, seems to be at play here. His euphoria at the end of the season is partly because he now finds himself on a boat, with the open water and the potential freedom it offers ahead of him. However, we see the crushing reality of being on a small, rusty boat in the middle of the sea soon hit Allie as his face becomes a cloud of sadness and fear.

The boat, which has long been the epitome of Allie’s getaway plans, finally makes an appearance at a time when the family is close to breaking apart. The fact that they are all on a boat together, unable to get away, is as much symbolic as it is a plot point. Allie has essentially (and rather forcefully) united the family on a boat so that they stick together on their dangerous adventure.

This means that despite Margot and Dina’s dissidence, they are forced to go wherever Allie takes them, for now. Hence, the Fox family is most likely headed to Guatemala to meet Allie’s contact Isela. In the meantime, the manic patriarch is sure to use the boat to hold his family together and stop them from abandoning him.

Are Dina and Margot Planning to Leave Allie?

Near the end of the season, we finally see Margot, so far a silent and willing participant to her husband’s plans, put her foot down. Largely because of her brush with death during the interrogation and Allie’s lack of empathy about what she went through, Margot refuses to go to Guatemala and even plans to abandon Allie once she has both Dina and Charlie with her. Though Charlie’s subsequent arrest foils her plot, we can see that she is at her wit’s end and is seriously considering ending the escapade. When she shares her plan with Dina, the latter does not protest either.

It’s not unsurprising that Dina is onboard with Margot’s plan of abandoning Allie. The seemingly selfish plans that he makes without consulting his family have irked Dina ever since the start of the show, and she has attempted to leave the family on two occasions previously. Most recently, she tells the two American agents about their whereabouts after learning that Allie and Margot are wanted kidnappers, which turns out to be a lie. Dina has always been Allie’s most vocal critic, and after seeing the trail of death and destruction the family is leaving in its wake under Allie’s leadership, she seems to be close to leaving the family again.

The one thing that generally brings Dina back into the family fold, and this works with Margot as well, is when the family is in physical danger. Earlier in the show, despite her frustration at her father, Dina rams a truck into a cop car to help him escape custody. This time around, Charlie’s kidnapping reunites the family as both Dina and Margot come together to help Allie break the young boy out of prison. The mother and daughter coolly set fire to cars outside the Mexican police station, showing that despite their misgivings, they are willing to live as dangerously as Allie when it comes to protecting their family.

Therefore, both Margot and Dina continue to be on the brink of leaving Allie but are united by the danger the family faces. Things are further complicated by Charlie, who remains loyal to his father, and it seems he would never leave him, making it difficult for Margot to convince him to go along with her if she does abandon Allie.

Is Charlie Adopted?

We get a glimpse of Allie and Margot’s supposed criminal history when Dina finds an article online about the two being wanted child kidnappers. The piece turns out to be fake, put there as bait by Agent Estelle in an attempt to catch the Fox family members. However, it puts into Dina’s mind the possibility that Charlie might be the child that her parents kidnapped many years ago. Once the article about the kidnapping is deemed fake, there would be no reason to dwell on this point except for the fact that Dina mentions not remembering ever seeing Margot pregnant with Charlie.

According to her childhood memories, Charlie just appeared one day. Though mentioned in passing, the thought weighs heavily on Dina as she is unable to discuss it with anyone and also feels guilty about thinking her brother is not related to her. No further clues are given at this point, but there is a possibility that Charlie is a crucial piece of the Fox family’s mysterious past. His shooting of the gangster is also a nod towards the fact that a lot is simmering under the surface of the quiet young boy.

Who is Isela?

The only beacon of hope for the Fox family in Latin America is Allie’s contact Isela, who he has never met. Confirmed as much by a skeptical Margot, we also find out that Allie has no backup plan (as usual), which means that all his chances are pinned on the mysterious character. From what we know, Isela was involved in high-profile crimes involving genetically modified crops, which resulted in her having to go into hiding many years ago. Now, she seems to have made herself a well-protected, beautiful hideout where Allie hopes to get shelter for himself and his family.

We are not told much about Isela, but her crimes and hideout make her sound like a more accomplished and criminal version of Allie. This could also be why the Fox patriarch looks up to her and lets himself and Margot get kidnapped and threatened to earn her trust. Isela’s contact with the outside world, Calaca, also mentions the beautiful hideout where she lives, as well as her high level of paranoia, which is explained by the harsh interrogation. Allie later mentions Guatemala to Margot, hinting at the fact that Isela’s hideout is most likely there. At the end of season 1, having earned her trust, the Fox family is most likely heading to meet Isela.

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