‘Where The Tracks End’ (2023) Ending, Explained: Why Did Ikal Leave The Town? What Happens To Hugo?

Coming-of-age films are the most endearing of all the genres across the spectrum. It allows the viewers to see a person transform into a better person, not just for society but for themselves. Their personal growth is their biggest victory. Where the Tracks end, directed by Ernesto Contreras, is a Mexican Netflix original about a boy who is keen on learning and reading, and he finally gets someone to help him with it. Will the boy succeed in reaching his goal, or will he give up because of the obstacles? Released on May 27, 2023, the movie is an endearing tale of growth and compassion.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘Where The Tracks End’ Film?

Where the Tracks end begins with Ikal getting familiar with his new surroundings. The boy is not used to making friends because his father’s job involves his family having to live like nomads. This new town somehow makes Ikal want to stay back because he likes the new friends he’s made there. The boy feels at home, probably for the first time in many years, around Valeria, Tuerto, and Chico. His attachment may come from the fact that he is reaching his early teens and is finally able to understand what is right for him and what is not. It is safe to conclude that Ikal easily assimilates into a new group, and the bunch of kids doesn’t seem to mind hanging out with him.


His sense of familiarity increases when the local elderly woman named Miss Georgina tries to help Ikal. The lady, who has been running her school for many years, finds something special in the kid and wants to further encourage the boy to pick up reading and attend school. She understands his family’s constant movement hampered Ikal’s education, but she wants to take over from here on because she believes no kid should be deprived of education. We believe the treatment Ikal received from Miss Georgina would not be any different for any other kid from the same background. Her concerns push Ikal’s father to allow him to attend school.

Ikal only wanted a normal life because he was tired of moving around all his life. The boy’s concerns are genuine because any kid of his age would want a steady life surrounded by friends and a school to attend. The boy is not demanding, but he knows his father and mother would hear his concerns, and they do. Their decision is a sound one because a boy as young as ten must be with children his age. It is also easy to conclude that Ikal’s interest in learning can be treated as a sign that influenced his parents’ decision to start his education.


The school run by Miss Georgina is inside an abandoned railcar, but it gives out all the joyful vibes that are required to run a school which would keep the kids interested. Ikal and his friends love attending school because they get to hang out and learn about various subjects from Miss Georgina. She is the most respected person in the town for the work she does. It is obvious from her mannerisms that she adores kids and loves imparting knowledge to them. Her command over her subjects and her methods of teaching make parents and children have immense trust in her. She knows young kids’ minds need to be sharpened, and it can only be done through proper schooling and teaching.

The story now takes us to the life of Hugo Valenzuela, who works as an education inspector with the Department of Education. It is not clear how long Hugo has worked with this department, but it is easily implied that right now, his job involves the inspection of schools and reporting back to his bosses about it. Hugo comes across as a simple-minded man who is just doing his job, but from the looks of it, he is reluctant to carry out some of the orders given to him. His work does not give him the leverage to make decisions as per his ideas.


Why Did Ikal Leave The Town?

Ikal and his friends’ conversations are innocent, and it is endearing to hear them talk about the dreams they have for themselves once they grow old. This shows that, as kids, the sky’s the limit. Ikal struggles with reading, and Miss Georgina takes charge of teaching him how to read, believing the boy can pick it up only if he gives it time and patience. As mentioned above, her methods of teaching come across as different and approachable, which allows Ikal to lean towards learning, which is again a positive sign.

Miss Georgina reveals her struggles with reading because of increasing cataracts in her eyes. The kid feels sad, and it again motivates him to improve his reading ability. Ikal’s yearning to gain more knowledge here stems from the fact that he sees Miss Georgina struggling, but she keeps going on doing what she loves. This allows the boy to be more definite about his passion to learn, read, and write. Her struggles also make him decide that he wants to be a teacher when he gets older.


Ikal’s liking for Valeria, his friend and classmate, takes the viewer in the direction of young, innocent first love when kids would do anything for the one person they dearly care for and love. Ikal is keen on taking Valeria to the circus, but again, he is short of the money required for the tickets. Valeria’s understanding of Ikal’s state helps the viewers get to the mindset that the kids have at this young age. If only adults were this optimistic and not cynical about love.

Their friend Chico is a dark horse who is always looking for trouble. It can be understood from his sarcastic words that the boy comes from a very poor background, and to sustain himself, Chico ends up stealing. The reason Chico reacts the way he does is because he does not have any balancing figure in his life that would educate him to not indulge in wrongful and unlawful activities. Ikal especially tries to be honest with him, but Chico does what he feels so that he doesn’t sleep hungry.


Chico manages to get the tickets for the circus that his friends cannot get their hands on. It can be assumed that the boy procured the money for the tickets by selling something he stole. Though he did it as a gesture of generosity, Chico ended up getting caught for the crime. The young boy’s nonchalant behavior gives way to a painful conclusion: Chico seems to have given up on his life in this town, and his only dream remains to enter America illegally and become a millionaire.

Coming back to Hugo’s life so far, he is given the task of going from town to town and enforcing the new laws that would end up closing plenty of schools, which would mean the kids would end up missing out on education. Outbursts from the existing school authorities can come across as a genuine pain they feel for letting the kids down who love coming to school. Hugo is not keen on doing this, but his job demands that he do the dirty work.


Ikal’s father one day announces that he will stay back in town and leave his job for the sake of his son’s stability. This decision comes at a time when the father realizes Ikal’s life cannot be disrupted frequently, and rightly so. It comes across as a surprise to Ikal because he had made up his mind about having to move at some point. As a viewer, it is endearing to see Ikal happy over getting what he wants: a stable life and friends he will not have to move away from. His father’s sudden passing comes as a shock even for the viewers because Ikal’s happiness was contagious, and one would hope there would be nothing that would stop Ikal from moving away. This tragic event forces the boy and his mother to consider moving back to the city, for they lost their only source of livelihood.

The boy’s deep sorrow at having lost his father, followed by the big move to the city, is not easy to comprehend. There is no way his mother would be able to give Ikal the life he wants in this town. As a viewer, it can be implied that the boy’s chance of having a happy life in this town is short-lived because, as a family, it would be selfish of Ikal to expect his mother to stay back in town just for him. To bid goodbye to her favorite student, Georgina takes one final class picture with Ikal and Chico in the frame.


Hugo is assigned the job of closing this school run by Miss Georgina, and he also has the class picture in the file. Hugo is somehow reluctant to do this job, which means there is a strong connection between Hugo, this picture in hand, and the school he is about to visit. The picture in Hugo’s file can be speculative about whether Hugo is related to anyone in the picture or Miss Georgina herself.

Hugo finally reaches the school to witness Valeria running the school, and Miss Georgina has passed away. It was rather easy to deduce that Hugo is Ikal, and he is back here to assess the condition of this school, hoping that, in some way, the department could help sustain the school. But his boss’s order includes telling him otherwise.


Hugo is not keen on closing the school because the foundation of his education and learning began at this school. Hugo had studied to become a teacher because, as a young kid, he understood how important it is to impart knowledge and how much it benefits young kids. It can be understood from Hugo’s actions that Miss Georgina’s influence on him was immense, and keeping the school open would be a way to keep her legacy alive. Valeria also gives Hugo a gift left by Miss Georgina for him in case he ever returns. Her assumption came true only a  bit too late. She left him a box full of comics on superhero Kaliman, a book that began reading journey. With Miss Georgina gone he feels as if a part of his childhood died but hopefully her gift would help him keep her memories alive. 

The ending of Where the Tracks end reveals that Hugo is living the life as a teacher, something he has always wanted to do. It is not clear if Hugo was able to stop the Department of Education from closing Miss Georgina’s school. From the sense of contentment and happiness on his face, it can be assumed that he was probably able to open another school for the kids in his town. Ikal looks at the horizon with a sense of satisfaction; he did what he always wanted to do. Ikal grew up understanding the importance of learning all kinds of subjects, and his school, which we assume he has begun, will impart his sentiment that kids should go to school, and as teachers, they should encourage kids to not quit on education.


Hugo is living his dream, and through his life so far, he would be able to push the next generation to be more aware of the fact that education and teaching are valuable lessons that would have lifelong impacts on all of them.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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