It’s a cliché to make the investigating officer in a police procedural a tormented soul. This allows the character to get a redemptive curve while solving crime. While many a cop has been subjected to this idea, is there anyone who has been more tortured than the FBI-trained inspector Amaia Salazar? It is torture that occurs over three films of the Baztan trilogy, which has reached its peak in a way with Offering to the Storm, like the first two films, The Invisible Guardian and The Legacy of the Bones.
Based on the best-selling Spanish novels by Dolores Redondo, the films draw from their environment and the reimagining of the land’s legends. If the first film had Salazar finding skeletons in her closet, the second saw a chain of suicides. Offering to the Storm sticks to this pattern as Salazar’s investigation into dead babies missing from their coffins leads her to all-consuming revelations about her personal equations from the past, the present, and in all likelihood, her future as well.
The previous two films told us about her rough equation with an abusive mother. We were briefly introduced to the presence of an occult in Salazar’s hometown that threatened many lives. In this film, we dive into the epicenter of this crazed-up school of witchcraft.
Towards the end of ‘The Legacy of the Bones,’ Amaia Salazar’s mother goes missing. Her coat is found in the river. While others believe that she’s dead, Amaia is sure that she’s still out there somewhere. Meanwhile, in Pamplona, the Navarra capital, a man is speculated of killing his newborn daughter. Amaia takes on the case with her investigators’ team and soon realizes that it has strong similarities with the Baztan Valley child sacrifices.
Amaia learns that he kept talking about performing an offering when he killed his daughter. She also gets to know about a sacred ritual in which people enact the evil deeds of a mythological figure called Inguma. Inguma was known for killing people in their sleep. The father did similar to his daughter. While Amaia digs deeper into the puzzles of this case, back at Baztan, Dr Berasategui mysteriously dies in the prison cell. All these events tie up together and mess up. Amaia tries to understand the origins of the child sacrifices that gripped the Baztan Valley.Marta Etura and Itziar Aizpuru in Ofrenda a la tormenta (2020)
After learning about the connections between the new case and the Baztan murders, Amaia revisits her mother’s friend. She asks her about the rituals they practiced in their cult. This friend still holds to her past words and says that she did everything a leading figure asked them to do. However, when their leader made them perform sacrifices, some withdrew from the cult, while others still obeyed him.
Later on in the film, Amaia meets a man who was once a part of the cult. He claims that their leader’s name was Xabier Tabese, and he made them perform rude sacrifices with the promise of grand rewards in return. He further adds that almost everyone who religiously obeyed Xabier’s rituals later became very successful in life. So clearly, a supernatural force is at play here.Marta Etura and Imanol Arias in Offering to the Storm
According to all the clues dropped in the series, Xabier was probably the follower of Tartallo and Inguma, who are both evil mythological deities. Through his cult audience, he made child sacrifices to these supernatural beings, and in return, he and his followers received whatever they wanted from life.
Amaia’s mother, Dr. Berasategui, and several other Xabier followers got so lost in their occult practices that they were never satisfied with their lives. Their greed and shared psychosis made them living embodiments of the devils they worshipped and sucked even the most basic morals out of them.
Where are the Missing Babies?
As Amaia and her team further investigate the case, they learn that the sacrifices were performed in a so-called “magical place.” In the movie’s final moments, one of her team members does some background research surrounding the name Xabier Tabese. He discovers that a man with the same name ran a clinic in Las Rozas, known as the Tabese Clinic, between the 70s and 90s. Moreover, he also reveals that Xabier Tabese’s real name was Xabier Markina, and he is Judge Markina’s father. The team also discovers Xabier Markina’s grave in the town’s cemetery and even find flowers on his grave. They contact the local florist but get no leads on who could have possibly left those flowers there.
After learning about all Xabier’s real name, Amaia confronts Judge Markina and asks him to tell her everything he knows about his father. The Judge claims that his father abandoned him as a child, so he knows nothing about his father’s occult practices. In the closing moments of the series, Amaia gets to know that Yolanda, the murdered baby’s mother, knows about Xabier Markina’s grave in the local cemetery and is now heading there to blow it up with explosives. In the nick of time, Amia reaches there to stop her from breaking into the gravesite.Image: Netflix
However, Yolanda, who is determined to know what happened to her baby, tries to kill Amaia to get one look inside the grave. In the end, Judge Markina shows up and shoots Yolanda while Amaia decides to look inside the tomb. That’s where she discovers the dead bodies of all the sacrificed children. This discovery makes her realize that after Xabier Markina’s death, his son, Judge Markina, carried on his legacy of occult practices and made people kill their babies. Amaia, who had just started dating the Judge, feels deceived by him. The Judge realizes that Amaia could disclose his secrets to the world, so he tries to kill her. But Amaia shoots him dead before he can do so and finally solves the mystery of the Baztan killings.
The movie’s ending also serves as Amaia’s redemption as she is finally able to understand her mother’s motives instead of blaming her. She realizes that anyone could become a victim of the occult beliefs imposed on her mother and all the others who belonged to Xabier’s commune. Ultimately, Amaia finds her way back to her family, and it seems like she’ll now be able to give full attention to her daughter instead of obsessing over crimes that are related to her troubled past.
Offering to the Storm is streaming currently on Netflix, with a rating 6.1/10 on IMDb and 40% Rotten Tomatoes. The Invisible Guardian and The Legacy of the Bones are also available on Netflix.