Juan Felipe Cano and Mateo Stivelberg’s latest Amazon offering, Los Billis, introduced us to a group of upper-middle-class teenagers called the Billis who lived in the city of Bogota. They were deemed cool and confident, and they were seen as role models for those living in the suburbs. Los Billis took place in a time before the Columbian and American governments waged war against drugs and its biggest kingpin in the world, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaveria. It was the time when the world was still living under the fear of the Cold War, and teenagers were on the lookout for ways to appear cool by donning Levi jeans, picking unnecessary fights, and listening to American rock music on the Walkman. The Billis were a nightmare to parents and police, and becoming one was practically impossible. The story is mainly told from the perspective of two teenagers, Indio and David, who are different yet alike in their own unique ways.
Who Are Indio And David? Why Was Indio Selling Weed?
Indio (Santiago Rodríguez) was the charming leader of the Billis. Unlike the other members of the group, Indio wasn’t wealthy but was a brilliant dancer, a BMX rider, and popular among girls. Joining the Billis was very challenging for other teens. They’d have to have money or something that makes them stand out from others. Indio was different; even though his wallet was as light as a bird’s feather, he was ambitious and popular. Indio’s entourage included the likes of Lady Dani (Mayppel), Yor (Camilo Amores), Leo (Nicolás Santa), Maria (Angela Rodriguez), Andrea (Francisca Estevez), and Deigo (Sergio Herrera).
Indio was about to join the military after he was deemed fit for service. Indio hated it but had no choice since he didn’t have enough money to buy his way out of the military. This was where he came up with a genius idea and decided to try his luck with something that was readily available in his country: drugs and weed. Indio used his last remaining savings to buy a couple of ounces of weed to earn enough money to pay for his military exemption. His supplier tried to rob him, but thanks to Indio’s smart wit, they struck a deal that could hopefully benefit them both.
David (Julian Zuluaga), on the other hand, was a regular teenager who wanted to buy sneakers to impress girls at school. He desperately wanted to be a part of the Billis, but unlike the members, he came from a very humble family. His father was left unemployed after losing his job, leaving his mother to shoulder the financial responsibility of his family. David made friends with Leo, one of the members of the Billis, who had returned to Bogota after living in the States with his family. To join Billis, David pretended to be cool but was bullied by Yor and the others and ended up losing the sneakers his mother had just bought for him. David figured that the only way he could join the Billis was by becoming tough or at least appearing tough. Yor, one of the Billis, challenged David to punch him if he wanted his shoes back. David complied and beat him to a pulp. This helped David earn the respect of Billis and their leader, Indio. As a result, David became the talk of the town from being an invisible kid. Once he joined the group, David had his eye on Andrea and wanted to make her his girlfriend.
How Does Being A Billis Affect David’s Relationship With His Friends?
David’s interest in Andrea and the Billis distanced him from his best friend, Carlos. Earlier, they cared about the same thing: video games, comics, and watching their favorite movies. But after David became a Billis, all he wanted to do was hang around with cool teens, impress girls, and lose his virginity. David began ignoring Carlos and skipping classes to hang out with Leo and the others. Carlos advised him against it, but his advice fell on deaf ears. David had a huge crush on Andrea, but the latter was head over heels for some college student working at a music store named Juan. Andrea was also the lead singer of her three-member band and wanted to become Bogota’s very own Cyndi Lauper. Her band included Silvana (Camila Jurado) and Maria.
Why Did David Start Selling Drugs? How Did Indio’s Business Bloom?
American high school films tend to star a nerd, a mystery, and a jock man who’s popular among cheerleaders and girls. In a similar vein, Bogota had the Billis, the Preppies, and the Thugs. Preppies were the kids with important last names that mainly belonged to the families who sat in high places. They spend their afternoons in a posh country club and talk about government politics, and discuss the harmful effects of drug usage. Thugs, on the other hand, were locked in a constant beef with the Billis. One of the thugs, Conejo, was the ex-lover of Maria. One day, Conejo infiltrated Leo’s party and challenged the Billis to a brawl. They agreed to meet on the basketball court and began throwing punches. The cops arrived, leading Indio to ask David to hide his weed, and the latter delivered.
Indio recognized David’s potential and offered him a part-time job. Indio asked for his help in selling his drugs, and in return, he’d earn a 20% commission. At first, David was filled with doubts, fearing what would happen if he got caught. On the one hand, he desperately wanted to remain a part of the Billis and hang out with them at their parties, while on the other hand, he wanted to keep out of trouble. However, David eventually agreed and began marketing his drugs at school and in the neighborhood. He even advised Indio to sell his drugs where rich people were, at parties, clubs, and hotels. Soon, Indio extended his business and hired a couple of delivery men to sell his weed more easily in return for a good commission. Indio was earning like a businessman, so much so that he started having trouble storing the cash. Soon, he was approached by a drug dealer named El Ruso (Oscar Rodrigo Hernandez), who offered him the chance to expand his business and start selling cocaine, something that was a hundred times more valuable than weed.
Why Did Andrea Sleep With David?
Andrea was dating Juan, and both of them were looking forward to getting intimate. However, Maria suggested she sleep with someone else before she sleeps with Juan. Even though it was an outrageous idea, Andrea agreed. She got the chance when she and her entourage were kicked out of Mariana’s birthday party. After leaving the party, Andrea invited David to her house to show him the new song she’d written and ended up having sex with him. David was practically in love with Andrea, but the latter slept with him just so she could perform with Juan, her real boyfriend. She actually harbored no feelings for David and always saw him as a friend, nothing more. In Maria’s words, Andrea was riding the small waves before tackling the big ones. But things were different for David. The following day, he penned a heartfelt letter, confessing his feelings, but was heartbroken after seeing Andrea step into a car with Juan. To get even, David decided to date Mariana, who, unlike Andrea, harbored real feelings for him.
However, Andrea quickly learned that Juan wasn’t quite as kind as she’d first assumed. Juan didn’t love Andrea and was just dating her to take advantage of her innocence. He invited Andrea to his house to listen to some songs and watch movies, but he instead tried to rape her. Fortunately, she somehow managed to escape and later thrashed his car. With time, she realized that David was the one for her. She confessed her feelings to him on the day of her band performance. Unfortunately, Mariana caught wind of this and broke up with him.
What Led To Indio’s Downfall?
Money, and the ego, and the vanity that came with it got the better of Indio. Indio felt he was untouchable and superior to those who surrounded him. He kicked Diego, one of his oldest friends, out of the group when he called Andrea a bi**h. Plus, he was breaking laws on a daily basis, like having sex in public places and dealing drugs with minors. This landed him behind bars for a couple of days. The cops knew he was supplying drugs in the area but couldn’t do anything since they had no proof. During one such visit, Indio insulted Major Chavez (Edgar Durán Jr.) and was immediately knocked unconscious. On the day of the battle of the bands, Indio got into a fight with Roque, the man responsible for selling drugs in the northern part of the town. The normal confrontation soon escalated into a gang war, with scores of people throwing punches on either side. The situation escalated when Indio fired the gun he stole from Yor’s house into the crowd. The cops arrived, but Indio managed to escape. Unfortunately, nobody ever saw Indio again. So, what happened?
Indio went to meet El Ruso but never returned. Things turned complicated when a guerrilla group took the Supreme Court hostage, sending the city into a curfew, with armed guards sniffing every street and suspicious people for hostile activity. Soon, the news of Indio’s disappearance spread, leading the Billis to hold a meeting. Some believed Indio was picked up by the army on suspicion of being in cahoots with the guerrillas, whereas others suspected that he was kidnapped by rival gangs he got into fights with. Roque hinted to the Billis that Major Chavez might have a role to play in Indio’s disappearances. Lady Dani learned from one of her neighbors that she’d seen some people throwing a beat-up kid into a van and heading toward the woods. The group launched a rescue mission and found Indio’s dead body lying in the middle of the woods.
The news of Indio’s death broke Carlota’s heart, and she cried restlessly, blaming herself for kicking Indio out of the house. So, who killed Indio? It could have been anyone—Roque, El Ruso, Major Chavez, or Yor’s father—who was angry at Indio for stealing his gun. Indio earned a ton of cash selling drugs to rich people. His stint made him famous among rival gangs and dealers, who feared that Indio would one day steal their clients and business opportunities.
What Can We Expect Next?
The first season of Los Billis concluded with the Billis organizing a funeral for Indio. But the story was far from over. In the next season, the Billis would choose a new leader to lead their group, possibly David, who, despite being a hothead, is rational and thinks before throwing a punch, unlike Indio. Or it could be Leo, Andrea’s brother, who was the coolest and never backed down from a battle. In the next season, we would also see the Billis picking up a beef with Chavez, who seemed to have played a role in Indio’s death, as he had bragged multiple times about teaching a lesson to the Billis, especially their leader, Indio.
The first season of Los Billis was a real hit and offered us a window into life in Colombia. Everything, from the well-chosen soundtracks to the locations and outfits, oozed that ’90s vibe. The show also sheds light on how ambition and the pursuit of wealth through drug dealing can ultimately lead to one’s downfall. Los Billis really drove home the point that trying to get rich through illegal means comes at a high cost. It’s not just about the people involved; it affects society in a big way. Indio didn’t want to join the army and was on the hunt for a way to make enough money to buy his way out. However, instead of seeking honest work, he chose to dabble in the drug business. The more money he made, the more self-centered and oblivious he became, convinced that he was a major-league drug dealer with friends in high places. In reality, he was just a local teenager with a small group of customers.