Friday, October 22, 2021

‘The Tax Collector’ On Hulu Ending Explained: Who Survives The Final Bloodbath?

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The Tax Collector

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Klaxon horn: The following will be helpful for anyone who watched The Tax Collector on Hulu and is wondering just what was going down in the film’s final bloody minutes. That said, if you still plan to stream it, and want to go in blind, this piece is not for you.

The Setup: What is the plot of The Tax Collector on Hulu?

In The Tax Collector, David (Bobby Soto) and Creeper (Shia LaBeouf) are enforcers for a gangland kingpin called The Wizard, who wields his power over the streets of Los Angeles from within the walls of the state penitentiary.

“The Wizard’s the king, no matter what,” David tells the key holder of one gang. And if you don’t pay the king, the tax penalty is your life.

The Wizard might be the king, but he’s not unassailable. The Mexican drug cartels are making a play for more power on the LA streets, and the fallout from a string of jailhouse killings comes to the Los Angeles criminal underworld in the form of Conejo, a villainous cartel captain who tells David and Creeper with a serious lack of subtlety that he’s the new tax collecting poobah in town.

David, David’s extended criminal fam like his gruff tio Louis (an against-type George Lopez), and his trigger-happy partner Creeper aren’t going to take this play for their territory lightly, even if it means playing World War II in the streets with Conejo and his minions, and even if that static threatens David’s beloved wife Alexis and their young children. It’s a matter of honor, see, and this aggression will not stand. That sentiment is tested when the violence finally explodes, and David must decide if the criminal life is worth the heavy cost in blood to whom he holds most dear.

The Payoff: What is going on with the ending of The Tax Collector?

We know David and Creeper as no strangers to evil.

“I heard you’re the devil,” the guy says, and Creeper sucks a tooth before responding “I might be.” The two enforcers are in that mindset when they first encounter Conejo, and engage in a boastful dick-measuring contest before they depart and huddle with tio Louis to decide how to handle this interloper. Louis laughs off Conejo as a threat. “He’s a straight-up street terrorist,” the old timer says; nothing to worry about. But then tio’s severed head shows up in a beer cooler, and David’s meeting to mount a retaliation plan erupts when Conejo and his kill squad attack, wielding M-4’s and lobbing homemade nail bombs. Creeper is captured, but David escapes, and he immediately collects his family, knowing they’re now targets. Conejo FaceTimes him as he brains a bloodied Creeper with his boot, and David screams epithets through the phone. “Don’t curse me,” Conejo spits. “This your truth. I was sent here by the real jefes to flip the whole fucking game over.”

It only gets worse. Conejo manages to infiltrate the safe house where David stashed his wife and children. He murders Alexis, and holds the kids hostage, provoking David over the phone to give in, or face him in a final showdown.

Bone (Cle Shaheed Sloan) is the leader of an LA Blood set, and despite the traditional unease between Black and Chicano gang cultures, he believes in David, and agrees to help him. David, Bone, and a few Blood gunmen shoot up a cartel drug house and brutally torture a thug until he gives them the address of where the kids are being held. It turns out it’s Conejo’s mother’s house, and she’s alone there with the children. When David shows her mercy (“I’m not going down to his level. Family is sacred”), Conejo’s mom tells them where her son is holed up.

Bone and David assault Conejo’s house and take out the perimeter guards. David then bursts into Conejo’s boudoir, guns blazing, and a firefight ensues before the two men lock into physical combat in the close quarters of a bathroom. Conejo gets the upper hand before David, thinking of his murdered wife, turns the tables on his enemy and crushes his skull with a chunk of porcelain sink. As they’re fleeing the scene, David stops to make a call. It’s the Wizard on the other end of the line, who is revealed to be David’s father. (He’s also revealed to be Jimmy Smits.) Wizard tells David that the pain he feels will go away — “Mijo, I love you” — and tells him he’s ready to make his son a gangland king.

In prison, his father gazes at a crucifix, and asks for forgiveness.

Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living at large in Chicagoland. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media, and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges

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