Where the Tracks End is a Spanish-language film about a young boy named Ikal who learns and grows along with his friends in a rural town with a dedicated teacher. The film is streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
A young boy named Ikal is leaving on a train looking forlorn as a girl and a dog chase after him calling out his name. Months earlier, Ikal is walking along with a few other children to investigate a dead body.
They confirm that the person is dead but a growl from a nearby bush as the other children scramble. Ikal stays behind and finds out that the growl came from a dog just looking for a friend.
The other children return with the school teacher Miss Georgina, worried that the new kid might have been eaten by the monster. Once they see him walk back with a dog in tow, they calm down.
Miss Georgina tells Ikal that there is a school in this new town and all children must attend and so should he. Ikal is the son of Lucero and Tomas. Tomas is a railroad worker so Ikal has moved around a lot in his young life and never got the chance to attend school.
Miss Georgina insists that he go to school and learn and his parents agree to send him. His new school is an abandoned rail car and over there Ikal makes some new friends, Chico, Valeria, and Tuerto.
Chico is older and constantly gets into scraps with people including Ikal, Valeria is a smart girl who Ikal seems to develop a crush on, and Tuerto is a smart young boy who dreams of working in railways as a train conductor.
For the first time in his life, Ikal feels at home as he spends time with his new friends and also learns to read and write thanks to Miss Georgina. She takes extra lessons to help him and inspires him to give back.
Meanwhile, a man named Hugo Valenzuela who works for the Department of Education is tasked with traveling the country and telling smaller public schools that they will be shut down due to new federal reforms.
It is a tough job that breaks many hearts but Hugo goes along with it because no one else will.
Ikal names the dog Quetzal and it follows him everywhere. He and his friends sneak into the local boss’s house and steal food, they attend the circus together and see a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat.
Chico gets into trouble and is beaten up but Ikal visits him and gives him food because he cares about him even though they fight often. In school, Ikal learns about his country and nature.
He finds out that Georgina had a husband and a son a long time ago but they died in an accident. She tells him that he reminds her of her son because he’s very inquisitive and persistent.
She also tells him that she’s got cataracts and soon will not be able to see so Ikal promises to read to her when that happens. She inspires him and he says that he would like to be a teacher in the future.
Where the Tracks End ending explained in detail:
What do Ikal’s parents decide?
Tomas was worried about having to move again due to work and Lucero was struggling with her health which didn’t allow her to work. They constantly worried about their future and Ikal was somewhat aware of this.
Finally, his parents tell him that Tomas is quitting his job at the railway and they will be finding a place to stay within the town so that Ikal can continue his studies and live with his friends.
Ikal runs around town sharing the news that he’s staying and meets Chico along the way. Chico is completely beaten up and he says he’s glad that Ikal is staying but he wishes he could move to the city because he’s always getting into trouble here.
What happens to Ikal’s father?
Tomas is working his final days for the company and one day while it is raining, the foreman insists that they continue working to meet their deadline. Tomas and the other workers complain that it is not safe due to the lightning but have no choice.
Ikal is at school when he notices that Georgina is struggling to read the day’s lesson and offers to do it himself. While he’s reading, some people approach the school to talk to Georgina.
Soon after, she tells Ikal to go along with those people who take him to his mother who along with other family members, are mourning the railway workers who were likely electrocuted on the tracks.
With his father dead, Ikal’s mother says that he’ll be moving with his cousins to the city as all the workers leave that town on their train.
Who is Hugo Valenzuela?
Hugo goes to multiple schools to let them know that they will be closing down only for them to plead with him to not let it happen. His boss commends him for carrying out such a task but he tells his colleagues that it is weighing on him.
One day, Hugo sees the name Malinalli Tepenepatl Public School and a picture of its teacher and students with Ikal sitting in the middle. Hugo rushes into his boss’s office and tells him that he cannot shut that school down because of the look on the faces of the students.
His boss tells him that it is all for a better future thanks to the federal reforms. Hugo goes to the school and meets the head teacher over there.
She tells him that the school is run down and in need of resources ever since the passing away of the headmistress seven years ago. Hugo shows her the notice that the school is shutting down and she also sees the school photo.
She immediately recognizes the person who has come there, while he knew who she was. The teacher is a grown-up Valeria while Hugo is actually a grown-up Ikal.
She tells him what happened to their friends while he tells her why he changed his name and that he doesn’t want to shut the school down.
Valeria takes Ikal to Georgina’s old home where she left behind a gift for him and he ends up staying there to become a teacher and keep the school running.