Rafael is an integral part of Jess’s story as a treasure hunter and also how she’s going to get her hands on it. The presumed dead character recently came back into Jess’s life, but who is he really?
All her life, the talented pattern-solving 21-year-old DACA recipient, Jess Valenzuela has always believed that her treasure-hunting father had died when she was a baby.
At the start of National Treasure: Edge of History, Jess’s father is shown to have been the victim of cruel and feared treasure hunter Salazar’s fury, dying in the process of saving his family and getting burned to death in the fire.
Jess grew up learning from her mother how her father was a reckless good-for-nothing. All Jess has ever had to remember her father by is the necklace he gave her during his last moments with her before his eventual death.
However, the latest episode throws a real shocker Jess’s way, when she confronts Salazar at a Mexico penitentiary, only to find out that it’s not him but her own father, who’s been alive all this time.
The past & presumed death
Rafael was a spy working for the FBI and the Freemasons while pretending to be a treasure hunter working under Salazar.
However, after he had pried information on the hunt and chase for the relics, and compromised it, Salazar’s men caught up to him before he could steal another relic.
Later, the men would come for his life again, but he stalled them for a time long enough so that his wife and his baby girl could get away safely. As they drove away to safety, Rafael would fight the guys and a fire would erupt at his place, with him seemingly dying.
Billie’s claims & revelations
When Billie finds out Jess’s real identity, she puts two and two together and realizes that she’s the daughter of Rafael, a person she’s familiar with.
Later on, she tries to get Jess on her side and uses her skills to get closer to the treasure. She even shows Jess a picture of her father, with another man she claims was her brother, Sebastian.
She then tells her that she, Rafael, and Sebastian were all acquaintances in the quest to protect the treasure, but that they were stopped in their tracks by Salazar, who took Rafael and Sebastian’s lives.
The present & the future
It’s in episode 7 where Jess finally confronts Salazar, who’s a prisoner at Santiago Apostol Penitentiary, locked up after he was arrested for breaking into a bank.
However, Jess sees the rug beneath her pulled away when this Salazar, the man who killed her father, actually turns out to be her father himself.
Initially disbelieving, Jess realizes that the man speaks the truth and that he’s indeed her father when he sings the lullaby her mother used to sing to her.
Rafael then tells her that he was breaking into the bank when he was arrested, presumed by the authorities to be Salazar. He’s been locked up there for years but his quest for getting to the treasure and protecting it from the hunters still burns.
Jess later learns that Billie has come to meet her father as well and that she’ll definitely try to kill him. So Jess decides to save Rafael and break him out of the prison.
The future of Montezuma’s treasure hunt relies on Refael now, for he’s the only one who knows what the symbols on the boxes mean, and anyone trying to decode them would need him.
Also Read: Who is Riley Poole in National Treasure: Edge of History?