“The Snow Girl,” or “La Chica de Nieve” in native Spanish, is a crime mystery thriller that is enjoyably dark and mature with enough intrigue in its presentation. Dealing with a journalist investigating the mysterious disappearance and possible kidnapping of a young five-year-old girl, there are often moments that might make the series seem like an adaptation of some true-crime event. However, that is not the case, and the show is instead adapted from a novel by the same name by Javier Castillo. Although the initial intrigue does wane off a bit towards the end, “The Snow Girl” is thoroughly enjoyable as a crime thriller.
‘The Snow Girl’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?
In January 2010, a young woman named Miren Rojo works as an intern at a regional newspaper in Malaga, Diario Sur. A case that immediately catches her eye is the one that the series centers around—the disappearance of a five-year-old girl named Anya. On the 5th of January, during the Twelfth Night festivity parade through the main streets of Malaga, Ana and Alvaro take their young daughter to watch the show. Little Anya asks her father to buy her a balloon, and despite the immense crowds all around, Alvaro decides to grant his daughter’s wish. He and the girl go together to a balloon seller while Ana keeps their spot to watch the parade. Alvaro has to spend some more time conversing with the balloon seller as there is some confusion regarding money, and in the meantime, he loses track of Anya. The little girl notices a toy has fallen on the floor and goes to pick it up; she is not seen by anyone after this.
A frantic search by the parents and the authorities present at the place follows, with Anya’s yellow raincoat jacket as the most identifiable detail. But no trace of her can be found, and the Malaga police are soon involved in the matter. From a security camera near the place, Anya is seen leaving with an adult pulling her away, and the raincoat jacket is also found in an apartment block near the scene. By this time, the media is also aware of these internal details, and Miren is very drawn to the incident. Even though her boss specifically assigns her to some meager desk job, Miren makes her way to the crime scene with a senior journalist from Diario Sur, Eduardo. A few days pass and the parents, Ana and Alvaro also make a tearful appearance on news TV, requesting the kidnapper of their child to return her. But neither do they get any calls for ransom, nor are there any incriminating evidence found by the police. The only immediate suspect, the balloon seller, is found to be clean in this matter, and little Anya is nowhere to be found.
Six years pass, and it is now 2016 when most people seem to have forgotten about the kidnapping of the young girl, other than her parents and Miren. Now an editor at the same newspaper, Miren is still searching for any clues about the girl, but without any luck. Finally, a major lead is found when a videotape is sent to Miren’s office addressed to her. This evidence, a VCR tape, shows Anya, now twelve years old, living inside a room somewhere and seemingly doing okay. This proof of the girl still being alive while most believed her to be dead now stirs up more action both by the police and the media.
What Are Other Dark Crimes Uncovered Through The Investigation Looking For Anya?
Along with the issue of the girl’s kidnapping, the character of Miren is also extremely important for “The Snow Girl,” as it is she who pursues and uncovers the whole matter. From the very beginning, it is quite clear that Miren has some sort of dark past of her own that keeps clawing at her every time the girl is by herself. This is gradually revealed as a tragic event that the woman had to experience a few years ago, and the series makes no secret of its grim nature. While at a beach party, Miren was drugged and raped by a group of men, who left her to die on the spot. Miren hardly had any memory of the night due to the effect of the drug, but the excruciating pain, both bodily as well as internal, lived on in her. She regularly attended help group meetings, even at present, but nothing seemed to ease her discomfort. Even at present, Miren is visibly upset and alert whenever she is alone in any situation where there are unknown men around. This is the reason why she had immediately picked into the kidnapping case of Anya, for to her, this was something that was about violence against women, irrespective of age.
“The Snow Girl” also makes a note of rising cases of domestic violence or assault against women in the passing through radio shows or news clippings throughout its eight episodes. While Miren’s past could have very well been just a part of her character, it is also very literally tied in with the kidnapping case as well. During the police investigation in 2010, a major suspect was found to be the best friend of the girl’s father. This man, David Luque, was charged with sexual assault against a minor in his past, and this immediately drew the police’s attention to him. While being investigated, an empty apartment in Luque’s wife’s name was investigated from where horrible secrets were found. The man had been running a criminal racket in which he would pick up women, mostly minors, with the help of his teenage son Samuel and bring them to the apartment. Here, Luque would drug and rape the women while also making videos of the whole act. He would then sell these videos online and do extensive business out of them.
As this evidence of sextortion was found against Luque, the man was immediately arrested. Realizing that their secret was out, their son Samuel committed suicide, and the mother and their daughter, who had no idea about any of this, had to leave the country. While Luque was put in jail for this horrifying act, no evidence of Anya could be found at his place. His and Samuel’s alibis during the time of the kidnapping were also checked out to be perfect, so the disappearance of the girl still remained a mystery. While the police made extensive efforts to find out who had sent the video cassette or even the man who had dropped off the package at the Diario Sur office, no serious clues could be found. Miren and Eduardo also tried their own links and resources to try and find out about this person, but nothing turned up. Eduardo was also a professor of journalism at a college, and this was how he had met Miren, who had been his student, and then helped her get the job at Diario Sur. While the man had now, in 2016, left his work at the newspaper to concentrate on his duties at the college, Eduardo was very much still in touch with Miren, and a scene also suggests that they are romantically involved. After some time, the video of Anya that Miren had received is put up on the internet and telecast on news TV to try and get some help from the public, and this time it works in favor of the authorities. Within some time, a caller informs them about an online chat portal in which a man had been asking for the specific VCR model that had been used to shoot Anya’s video. The authorities also get the name of this man to look for—someone named James Foster. The police quickly take the help of Interpol and find a significant criminal history of the specific Foster. With multiple charges of sexual assault and harassment against minor women in his past, James Foster was a confirmed pedophile, and he was soon tracked down running a tattoo parlor in Malaga.
Once Foster is picked up, he makes no denial about his past and just claims that he was once into such criminal acts but has now changed for the better. But there is something suspicious about Foster, too, for his home had been very recently bleached meticulously by himself. As he claims, he had guessed the police would come after him based on the news about the case, and therefore he had made sure nothing out of the ordinary could be found in his house. Although the police have to let Foster walk free, Miren approaches him for an interview. The man, once again, does not hide his past and seems rather passive-aggressive in his conversation with Miren. Once Miren sits down with him to talk, Foster explains that he had business ties with David Luque in the past before the man’s arrest.
The obscene videos of children that Luque would shoot would be put up on a closed online website by the name of Slide, and Foster was a regular user of the site. He was even made a “middleman” of sorts, who would arrange for videos to be distributed to clients who paid heavy money for the same. Foster admits that the video of Miren being violated on the beach was also put up on the Slide website, and he had watched it too. This meant that Luque knew Miren’s assaulters, and he, too, might have been directly involved in it. Although this still has no direct connection with Anya’s kidnapping, Miren acquires from Foster a list of the names of all the clients of the website. In exchange, she has to let the pervert man take pictures of her, which are not really vulgar but would most definitely be used by Foster in the vilest of ways. Miren approaches Luque in jail with the list of clients, wanting more information about them and possibly Anya too, but the man refuses to talk.
“The Snow Girl” moves ahead in time, to the year 2019, when a second video cassette arrives on the scene through an email sent to Miren’s personal address. Following a picture of a place in Malaga, Miren finds a similar package to the one from 2016, and it contains a similar VCR cassette. While this cassette once more becomes a focus for the authorities, another major event takes place when the caravan in which Foster used to live burns down in a fire, killing the man and one more victim inside. This victim is found to be none other than David Luque, who was out of prison by now and was apparently making a new deal with Foster. It is clear that Luque was thinking of restarting his child kidnapping racket, and it was for this that he approached Foster. The police start investigating this accidental fire as well, and the photographs of Miren (that Foster had taken in 2016 in return for giving out the names of Slide clients) were found inside a locker in the caravan. This immediately puts the journalist under suspicion, but no hard evidence against her can be found. It is only towards the end that her professor and close acquaintance Eduardo finds a camera inside the woman’s car. This camera belonged to Miren and contained photographs of Luque and Foster meeting at the latter’s caravan, making it evident that Miren had been secretly tracking the two. While Luque had been given a prison sentence that was not harsh enough for his crimes, Foster could not be charged at all. This had enraged Miren, who had been personally affected by both of these men, and she did not want to give them any second chance to repeat their vile acts. It is quite evident from the photographs on her camera that it was Miren who had killed the two men.
Who Had Actually Kidnapped Young Anya?
The video cassette of 2019 once again shows Anya inside a room somewhere, with the girl now having grown up some more. As this meant that the girl was still alive and well, the police started their widespread search once more. Helped by one of Eduardo’s students, Miren understands that the VCR machine used to record the video had been repaired after its use in 2016, and she decides to track this repair down. Since the use of a VCR recorder is so rare and the places that still service them are very few in number, Miren is able to track down the shop that the perpetrator had used and get hold of the register of its recent users. From here, she gets the name of a certain Iris Molina, who had serviced a VCR model only a few weeks ago. Miren decides to track this woman down and visits her house, which is in an area far from the city and any nearby locality. It is ultimately revealed to be Iris who had taken the young girl away on the day of the parade and for reasons quite different from the ones being thought of. Iris and her husband Santiago had been trying to have a child for quite some time, way back in 2010.
Farmers and beekeepers living in the outskirts, the couple had driven the long distance to the city of Malaga to consult a leading gynecologist, who happened to be Ana Martin, Anya’s mother. While no medical assistance could help the couple, Iris developed a sense of self-doubt as well as a twisted obsession to become a mother. Driven by this latter obsession, she decided to take Anya away when she saw the young girl standing by herself among the thronging crowds at the parade. Although Santiago was not supportive of such a plan, Iris did not care about what was morally and legally right or wrong anymore. It was her only chance to become a mother, she felt, and she grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Anya initially did not feel comfortable at the place for obvious reasons, but the young girl was gradually groomed and trained for life with the Molinas. Iris changed her name to Julia and raised the girl to believe that she was indeed her mother, and she always kept the girl away from any other human contact. Anya had been made to believe that she could not go anywhere away from their house because there were bad men who wanted to hurt her, and the girl obviously had no recollection of her actual parents or the events from her childhood.
Although Iris had established herself as Anya’s mother, she was also not pleased with the fact that Ana and Alvaro thought their daughter had been killed. There might be a possibility that Iris felt a bit guilty for her actions too, and for all this, she decided to send the first VCR recording of Anya. It was her husband who had dropped off the tape at the Diario Sur office, and by now, the man had no option but to go ahead with his wife’s plan. Around the same time, in 2016, the Molinas also narrowly escaped being caught by committing a second, and perhaps graver, crime. Santiago Molina had a lot of debt from a bank, and the agent sent to remind him of this loan got an inkling that there was some young girl in the house. The agent was close enough to know that the couple struggled to have any children of their own, and the news of Anya’s disappearance was once again all over the media. He had probably added it all up and was about to leave the house in a hurry when Iris shot and killed him. The body was possibly disposed of on their grounds itself; the series makes no mention of it.
By 2019, Iris and Anya, or Julia, were extremely close with each other, much like any mother and daughter, but tragedy struck when the family could no longer live with the debt. Santiago visited Malaga and was killed in a freakish road accident in which he walked onto incoming traffic. Again, there is no direct mention in the series of such a possibility, but it can be thought that Santiago did this on purpose. After all, the insurance received by his wife from his death paid off all their bank loans, and Iris was free to go wherever she wanted. But the woman was also heavily affected by this loss, for she was now completely alone. While she did have Anya, the girl was more of a responsibility that she had to hide from the external world forever. Grieved but determined to give her daughter everything, Iris decided to return to her native village in Bordeaux with Anya. Despite her mental struggles, Iris wanted to stay compassionate enough on her end and let Anya’s real parents know of her well-being for one last time. It was for this reason that she had sent the second VCR tape, with a note reading “adios,” or goodbye, along with it.
‘The Snow Girl’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Anya And Miren In The End?
As fate would have it, Iris’s final goodbye message to the parents of Anya led to her being found out. Miren got hold of her name and address and decided to visit her house. She does so alone, despite Eduardo wanting to accompany her, and Miren has not informed the police about it yet. It is felt that Miren did not have much trust in the police, especially since they could never identify her attackers, and the officer leading her case, Belen Millan, was also heading the investigation of Anya’s disappearance. Therefore, the woman decides to visit Iris alone, and she goes around the house carefully whenever she finds an opportunity. Posing as a journalist working on the lives of people in rural Malaga, she manages to get Iris talking about herself. It is also clear that Iris does intend to attack Miren if she feels threatened, but the woman is also mentally disturbed enough not to have her usual guard or quick thinking. By the time Miren leaves the house unharmed, she has enough evidence to prove that Anya has been kept hostage inside this same house, and she informs detective Millan of the same. She also identifies the headband Iris was wearing as being the same as the one worn by Anya in the videos. But Miren does not want to return to the city or wait for the police to arrive, and instead, she keeps track of Iris. The woman soon leaves the house with Anya in an almost hysterical manner since she understands that she is about to be caught. Miren follows their car, driving behind, and Iris loses her composure even more. Unwilling to be caught by the law, she drives the car off a cliff, remembering to apologize to Anya before doing so. While Anya miraculously survives the accident, Iris dies from the on-spot impact. Miren now approaches Anya carefully, as the young girl has armed herself with her mother’s gun, and then she even shoots Miren. Even though her shoulder is hurt by the bullet, Miren jumps onto Anya and comforts the girl.
After Anya is taken to a hospital and recovers from her injuries, the police decide to keep her at a shelter for some days before gradually revealing to her the identities of her real parents. This is needed because the girl has already faced two massive shocks in her young life, and was made to believe a different identity. It would damage her psyche even more if such an intense truth was given to her instantly, and Anna and Alvaro also support this decision. They visit Anya at the shelter at the end, where the young girl still claims herself to be Julia, and Anna seems to accept her in this identity too. Although much had changed between the parents in these nine years, as the two had separated and Alvaro had also remarried, their daughter’s return seemed to bring them closer as friends, at least, even if no romantic reunion was possible.
On the other side, nobody other than Eduardo knows of Miren’s crime of having killed the two pedophiles. After Iris’s death on the cliffside, the police find Miren’s car at the spot too, and detective Millan’s assistant decides to take a look. Although he does find a camera inside it, the memory card holding all the photographs is missing. Back in Malaga, Eduardo meets with Miren and admits to her that he knows the truth. Although Miren does look surprised, she does not look shocked, and perhaps she, too, believes that Eduardo would not tell anyone about this. Understanding her reasons and act of vengeance against the two criminals, Eduardo does exactly the same and hands over the memory card to Miren. He had removed the card from the camera after he had seen the photos on it, and Miren now destroys the evidence. With only her and her trusted friend Eduardo knowing the real truth, Miren walks away without any punishment for her actions.
Two years later, Miren published a book on her life and contribution to this case. On the day of its launch, she receives a package from an unknown sender with a clear message scribbled over it. In a teasing manner, it asks Miren to play a grander game. Inside the package is a photograph of a young woman with her hands and eyes tied and a piece of cloth gagged around her mouth. This woman, a hostage, is apparently named Laura Valdivia, and the photograph was taken in 2012, as suggested by the writing under it. Miren and Eduardo understand that this is a challenge to save more girls kept hostage and used by vicious men, and this must have been sent by the one owning the whole child kidnapping racket. As “The Snow Girl” ends with this scene, it is clear that this is a suspenseful hook left behind for a possible second season. The fact that Luque alone owned the kidnapping racket now seems doubtful, and there must have been perpetrators above him as well who got away. If a second season of “The Snow Girl” does ever arrive, who this greater perpetrator is, and how Miren involves herself in saving more girls and victims, would be interesting to watch.
“The Snow Girl” is a 2023 Drama Thriller series streaming on Netflix.