Brujos Episodes 1-4 // American Web Series Review

Welcome to Queer Fudanshi. Let’s Talk! In this post we’re going to talk about Brujos Episodes 1-4.

Brujos is a new American web series about a coven of warlocks. Specifically, the official premise goes:

Brujos is a Queer-of-Color, radically politicized web series following four Gay Latino doctoral candidates— that are also witches. They navigate magic, sexuality, and surviving a witch-hunt led by a secret society of white hetereonormative male descendants of the first new world colonizers.

The Trailer:

My Thoughts Before Watching

I’m a little worried honestly. I’m a huge wuss. I don’t like scary movies or tv shows. In fact, I wholeheartedly avoid them. (No shame).

I have a feeling that Brujos will be a little on the horror side. It’s giving off a The Craft vibe to me (which is a movie I tried to watch, skimmed a little after the first 5-10 mintues, and then stopped watching). That said, this is for QF, so I’ll brave through it. I know, I’m a real martyr.

This is Brujos Episodes 1-4.

*Warning: The show contains sexual scenes in it’s second and fourth episodes.

Where to Watch:

The OpenTV Website

The Talk (Non-Spoilers):

My non-spoiler thoughts after watching the first four episodes of this web series are that it has a lot of promise, a terrible beginning, and a kind of “okay” later half.

The exposition for this web series is confusing and lacking in detail. That said, I kept watching and I found that I liked aspects and characters in the story. Also, while the web series tries to be skillful with usuing metaphor to talk politically about race, it ultimately goes too far and ends up being racist itself.

That said, I still think the show has promise and it’s last few episodes were much better than its first. I just hope that the following 8 episodes, which aren’t released yet, will keep getting better.

The Talk (Spoilers):

I have a lot to say about this show, and that’s not a good thing.

Episode 1

I take it back, I take it all back. This isn’t scary at all. For a moment it looked like it would at least have an eerie vibe, but the floating knife stab looked so wonky that I laughed.

The effects in general are low quality, but besides saying that once I won’t think badly of the show for it. After all, they can’t have the budget that The Magicians has.

Also, instead of The Craft the first episode of this web series is more like the gay thrillers that the Logo Channel used to run. I specifically remember a queer bait film about high school swimmers being attacked by giant leeches. It was corny and the only noteworthy part of it was the shirtless guys.

This series could be interesting, at least to me, with the whole coven aspect. Plus, the aspect that they’re queer men of color living in a city. The show could be eclectic and fun or edgy. Right now, it just falls flat.

Also, the first episode just throws you straight into the story. That’s not always a bad thing, but I felt disoriented while watching it here. The show was like, “They’re witches. Here’s some of their personalities. Now demonic stuff is happening.”

When I was watching I had the feeling of, “What am I watching?” And now that the episode’s over I still don’t know.

Episode 2

I’m trying to figure out what the problem is with this show and why I’m feeling disconnected to it. I think the problem is that there’s nt exposition. Instead, in the first episode I had to get an idea of the story by a few spot scenes. It’s like I had to connect the dots myself, and not in a fun and engaging way.

Then in the second episode, the first five minutes or so were terrible. Episode 1 left me feeling whiplashed and the start to episode 2 decided to spin me around some more. That said, the show did eventually slow down a bit and let me ease into the story. Thank god for that.

The Characters

Part of why that’s great is that I actually had time to get to know the characters a bit. For instance, Johnathon, Brian and Detective Sam. Speaking of the latter, I could see the detective flirting in order to get the scoop, but he literally dated the boy a couple times and had sex with him.

Part of me wants to be overly critical and call it a weird writing choice, but I ultimately think it was a valid way to go with the character.

That said, I thought the chihuahua line was too much. And then the murder and the lines that followed were pretty cringe-worthy. Plus, if he was stabbed in the back there should have been a trail of blood as the body slid away.

Also, I hate what they did with the Brian character. They essentially reversed what white media has been doing to people of color for years. They made Brian a caricature of white people by constantly say racist things. Plus, he’s also the butt of every scene’s joke. I don’t know if they tried to make him an endearing goof or a political statement, but he just comes off as offensive.

Ironically though, I actually kind of like Brian (when he’s not saying something racist). I like his friendship with Johnathon, I like his confidence, and I like his fashion sense too. Perhaps that’s why I took it to such an offense that the writing is focused on making him a racist joke.

Lastly, I wish I could know more about their backstories. How did these guys become a coven? They’re all pretty different, especially Edwin. So, how’d they end up together? Hopefully a future episode will focus on that.

Episode 3

When I read the premise of this story, I thought the idea that the witch hunters were a secret society of white men was an inspired way of tackling the topic of white supremacy. It could have been an analogy for the Ku Klux Klan or the Illuminati for example.

Sadly, I feel like this show comes off to me more as a racist way of attacking racism. The chihuahua line and what I said about Brian are examples of this. But, the idea that the witch hunters attack the boys under the disguise of a gay conversion program is very well done. That was creative and political. What I thought the rest of this show was going to be.

Though to even it out again, the death of the biker was just merely to prove that these guys are villains and honestly a weak attempt at it.

Adding to that, the show’s bad exposition strikes again, because I thought the location was New York City this entire time. But in this episode I found out they’re in Chicago. (Funny, that’s the same location as Brown Girls).

Lastly, my favorite thing about this show so far is the Brian/Johnathon relationship, and Edwin’s conversation with his grandmother. I need more character bonding moments like these. (That said, the grandmother’s acting was a little rough).

Episode 4

And now the final episode in the bunch. At first I was confused by what was happening at the start of this episode. I didn’t realize that it was a totally separate person getting tortured until a couple minutes in.

While that was mainly on me, so not a problem for the show, I do think it’s a little convenient that the witch hunters were torturing another Gay Latino warlock. Are those the only kind of witches they hunt?

As for the other story events, the binding spell got me. I audibly gasped. I’m happy that the show took the time to explain that you shouldn’t use a binding spell except when in danger, and then later followed up on that. It felt more powerful that way.

Also the idea that Panfilo doesn’t know why the hit and run happened is pretty dramatic and interesting. I only hope that he finds out later and goes through the motions (for me to watch as the viewer).

In general, there were great choices being made in this episode. The fact that Edwin is always there for Panfilo (I ship it), the fact that his father is the driver for the witch hunters, and the main witch hunters’s dandy characterization. I love it all.

In Conclusion

This show had a terrible start that made me lose a little respect for it. That said, in the second half of Brujos Episodes 1-4, the story picked itself up and dusted itself off.

With 8 unreleased episodes left to the story, I’m hopping the quality of Brujo’s storytelling will continue to go up from here.

My rating of Brujos Episodes 1-4 is 2 stars out of 5. What’s Yours?

Extra Thoughts

  • I like the font choice for the “witch mentor’s” voice over scenes.
  • By the way, who is that woman? The show absolutely never explained it.
  • Did Johnathon pay for those Cheetos in Episode 2?
  • What did they do with Detective Sam’s body?