While drinking at the Night Club Rumba, Michiko encounters the exotic dancer Pepe Lima. The next morning, the kids Michiko chased away return and bring her to their boss and owner of the night club, Rico, also Pepe’s lover. Rico makes her pay for one of his kid’s medical bills, and she acquieses. Later, Pepe visits Hatchin’s restaurant and invites her to come to her birthday party at the club, where she’ll tell her about Hiroshi.
As Hatchin gets drunk on juice and Michiko listens skeptically, Pepe tells them about her riches to rags story, and how she’s the only one left to take care of her sister, Lulu, and how she has a plan to escape their plight. After drinking her under the table, Machiko goes home with Hatchin. Pepe and Lulu steal Rico’s money and go on the run, but Lulu goes back for a photo Pepe wants. When she doesn’t return, she begs Michiko for help; Michiko refuses. Pepe’s cab is blocked by Rico’s kids, who open fire on her.
Brazil is massive: 200 million souls and more expansive than the lower 48 states, so there are many other duos like Michiko and Hatchin living within her ample borders, and it was only a matter of time before they ran into one. While they’ll both deny it outwardly, Michiko and Pepe really are alike, though the latter says she’ll trust people while Pepe is originally from money we’re guessing Michiko never saw in her youth. Notably, they also have younger girls to take care of. Pepe and Lulu are a mirror for our heroines, but Michiko ends up breaking that mirror, literally and figuratively.
We were as disappointed with Michiko’s decision as she seemed to be – but if when it comes to survival in the harsh, cruel world, staying out of it was the right choice. Hatchin gets drunk off orange juice, for crying out loud, and while she has a stout heart and will (trying to rescue Michiko was adorable, if foolhardy), a stiff breeze will blow her away. The kids Rico employs may not have great lives, but they have each other and his protection. Hatchin had her awful family, but it was still security, which Michiko took away. As she demonstrates when she pays Rico without a fuss, Michiko’s motto of “keeping things simple” has kept her alive so far; she can’t risk going against it for Pepe, lest Hatchin pay the price.
Rating: 9 (Superior)