Roman in ‘Iron Reign’ Explained: Is Joaquin’s Brother Dead Or Alive?

Iron Reign shows the complexities of being part of a crime family. The ‘family’ part of Roman Manchados’ business makes it even more complicated because he didn’t choose the family he was born into. It can be debated if Roman really wanted to be a part of this in the first place, but now that he was, he couldn’t run away from it. They say blood is thicker than water, and there have been numerous movies and shows out there that depict the importance of these familial bonds among criminals. His brother, Joaquin, had a crucial impact on his life. Even on his path to adulthood, Roman and Joaquin assumed specific roles. While Joaquin was the brains, Roman was the brawn of their operation. In Joaquin’s own words, Roman’s strength was worth three men, whereas Joaquin’s brain was worth three men. The future crime lord did say that for a reason, though. Joaquin was a ruthless man; he didn’t hold back from making the right decisions to ensure the efficient working of his organization. Roman, on the other hand, was a man with a heart. Despite being short-tempered, he had in him the emotions that his brother seemed to actively avoid in order to climb the ladders of their cutthroat world. Perhaps, if Joaquin could indeed outthink three men, Roman made up for the emotions his brother lacked. One might even say that, in the end, his emotions got the best of him. He did what he did because he was an emotional man, and he refrained from making the logical decision when it was needed.


Spoilers Ahead

Who is Roman Manchados?

Roman Manchados is the brother of Joaquin, the leader of the Manchados crime family. As the second-in-command, he looks after their operation along with his brother and his children. He has developed a drinking habit for which he gets an earful from his brother, but still goes back to it. Another thing he is notorious for is that he often visits sex workers. Roman wouldn’t ideally be the kind of man who would indulge in these habits, yet he does, which says a lot about the issues that he struggles with on a personal level. He cannot contain his emotions the way his brother does, and it is often indicated that he has wanted an escape from this life. 


What is his relationship with Christina?

Roman Manchados never raised a family of his own, and his brother had some role to play in that as well. It wasn’t entirely Joaquin’s fault that Roman ended up falling for Gloria, the daughter of their rival, Salazar. Back in 1989, they had been new in the business and were often underestimated by their rival families. Roman had even planned to marry Gloria and leave this life of crime behind, but to do so, he needed money, and he was only in this business with his brother until he could earn enough wealth to achieve his dream. His brother Joaquin was strictly against him dating Gloria because of her family background, yet Roman was insistent. After a deal between Salazar and Manchados goes sideways, he tries to kill Roman for being involved with his daughter. In an attempt to save his brother’s life, Joaquin ends up losing his arm in the process. To avenge the attempt on Roman’s life, Joaquin leads an attack on Salazar’s gang, burning him alive and killing all his men. It is unknown what happened to Gloria in the aftermath, but Roman has dealt with the grief of losing his lover ever since. 

To escape from this grief, he found company in alcohol, eventually becoming a compulsive alcohol and sex addict. In his later years, he meets Christina, a sex worker whom he frequently visits and ends up falling for again. However, he wanted a monogamous relationship with her, for which she was not prepared. Christina liked the independent life that she led of her own accord and had little to care about the kind of life Roman was offering her. On moral grounds, people associated her with derogatory slurs, but to Christina, she controlled her own life. She did have feelings for Roman as well, but not the same as what he felt for her. This disparity in their emotions causes a conflict when Roman proposes to her, but she turns him down. 


Why did Roman and Ricardo have a feud?

Roman was not just Ricardo’s uncle but also his godfather. He had practically raised his nephew, but as they grew older, their relationship grew strained. Roman had not only seen the struggles and hardships that Joaquin went through but had himself lived those experiences shoulder-to-shoulder with his brother. This might just be why Roman sees his nephew as a spoiled brat who has no respect for the empire his father built for them. In a way, Ricardo did grow up with privilege, but again, their battle was one of their individual perspectives. Ricardo had his own demons to deal with, and gambling was his escape. Ricardo never liked the unnecessary meddling from his uncle, which made Roman a hypocrite for not seeing beyond the lens of his own entitlement. 

This kind of animosity between family members is very common. There will always be a sense of entitlement and an emotional gap between the members of two different generations in a family. In a collectivistic society like Spain, older people are often likely to disregard the individuality of the younger generation. One can’t just point fingers, however, because a generation gap will always exist, the way it exists between Millennials, Gen Z’s, and Gen Alpha. Perhaps it’s an endless cycle. 


Why does Ricardo scheme against Roman?

Roman and Ricardo’s relationship reaches a new low after Roman and Nestor find the Czar’s mail and realize that it was Ricardo’s truck that was carrying the shipment. Without a doubt, they conclude that Ricardo was behind the missing shipment. For Roman, it was easy to believe so, given Ricardo’s past of gambling and risky financial behavior. When Ricardo comes to know that he is being accused of theft, he also concludes that his uncle is responsible for the attack on Joaquin and that he stole the shipment to run away with his girlfriend. Ricardo, therefore, schemes against his uncle with Jatri, the man he owed money to.

How does Roman die?

Ricardo was left with no other choice. On one end, his uncle was presumably framing him for stealing the Czar’s mail; on the other end, Jatri was going to kill him if he didn’t return the money he owed. Fueled by his own animosity against Roman, Ricardo makes an elaborate plan with Jatri to isolate Roman and make him reveal where he hid the shipment. Firstly, on Jatri’s orders, Ricardo proves himself by ruthlessly beating up Christina. 

Roman is infuriated by Ricardo hurting his lover, which forces him to find Ricardo with the intention of killing his own nephew. Following the clues intentionally left by Ricardo, he arrives at the warehouse, where Ricardo and Jatri are prepared to ambush Roman. During the violent confrontation, Roman overpowers and kills Jatri and his men, but before he can face his nephew, Ricardo makes a run for it. After a short chase, they finally engage in violent combat and end up killing each other. 

Roman’s death was the result of a very tragic misconception. He was an emotional man, but like his nephew, he was not the kind of person who would think before acting. In hindsight, through his death, Iron Reign shows the gritting nature of their world. Additionally, it shows the irony that family was supposed to be everything to the Manchados. Blood should have protected its kin. Yet, Roman had to kill his nephew and be killed by him at the same time. Such is the destiny that laughs at Roman and Ricardo. 


Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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