Netflix teen mysteries are straight forward and high stakes — they’re obsessed with federal crimes. Some wonder, “Who killed Marina?!” Others question, “Who kidnapped Baby Phume?!” Mexican series Control Z is no different. Within the first 25 minutes of the Netflix high school drama, it's desperately asking, “Who is The Hacker?”
As fans learn in Control Z’s premiere, “Birthday Girl,” a hacker is terrorising the most popular students of the series’ central setting, National School. Heroine Sofia (Ana Valeria Becerril), a genius loner, is also contacted by The Hacker, who uses the alias @_allyoursecrets_ to manipulate National’s students into spilling their friends’ most personal information. Over the first two episodes of Control Z it is revealed that political son Raúl (Yankel Stevan) is sitting on a criminal amount of family wealth, booed up Pablo (Andres Baida) is a cheater, and supposedly prim mean girl Natalia (Macarena García) is a thief. In the darkest turn, Pablo’s girlfriend Isabela (Gossip Girl reboot star Zión Moreno) is outed as trans.
It’s impossible not to wonder who at National School is capable of such darkness. As the final two episodes of Control Z season 1 confirm, there is only one answer: Raúl is The Hacker, thanks to some help from Bruno the IT guy (Mauro Sanchez Navarro). However, the breadcrumbs suggesting Raúl’s villainy begin with Control Z's very first episode.
In any detective show, it is important to immediately suspect the person most interested in having a crime “solved.” Ask Riverdale's Cliff Blossom (Barclay Hope), father to the murdered Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) — and murderer of Jason Blossom. In “Birthday Girl,” it is Raúl who asks Sofia to solve the mystery of The Hacker. Then, in second episode “Victims,” Raúl further inserts himself into the investigation and Sofia’s life. He offers to help Sofia find The Hacker himself and fixates on her outside of the principal’s office. When Sofia goes to listen to her music as they wait for a disciplinary meeting, Raúl becomes visibly desperate to get her attention. He makes insistent small talk before getting up, sitting uncomfortably close to Sofia, and grabbing one of her headphones to listen to her music.
It’s bizarre behaviour for someone who is not friends with Sofia and has seemingly never had a conversation with her before the events of Control Z.
However, the final few chapters of season 1 explain Raúl’s unwarranted interest in Sofia — and why he became The Hacker in the first place. In flashback episode “Control Z,” Raúl throws a post-school party with his friends (who later become his hacking victims). During the boozy hang, Raúl reveals his father's secret room, which is filled with expensive antiques and stacks of cash. The National School teens promptly start taking selfies with their expensive new props. Then, Raúl’s father, the former governor, finds the group and shuts the scene down because it is evidence of his corruption.
National School employee Bruno is able to access these photos because, as we learn in second episode “Victims,” there is no security protection for anyone connected to the high school's WiFi. Bruno tries to covertly blackmail Raúl over the images, but he is found out. Raúl doesn't turn Bruno in for extorting a student because of a recent by-chance conversation with Sofia on the National School roof. During the chat, Sofia asks, “Wouldn’t it be easier if everybody stopped lying? If we didn’t have secrets?” Raúl is instantly smitten.
Desperate to impress Sofia — and “free” his friends from the prison of their own skeltons — Raúl sets out to enact his hacker plan with Bruno as his technology savvy sidekick. “Control Z” confirms Raúl already possessed all of the information The Hacker forced people to supply over the course of the series (see: Nati swiping Isabela’s phone for her childhood photos). Raúl simply forced his friends to play his macabre gossip games as an extra form of torture.
In finale “Public Enemy,” Raúl admits all of these disturbing misdeeds to Sofia, saying she was his “inspiration” and everyone got what they “deserved.” Notably, even the “secret” that came out about Raúl hurt his father, whom he already had a terrible relationship with — not Raúl. It’s no wonder that, when National School secretary Lulu (Renata del Castillo) asks Raúl how he has been behaving at the beginning of Control Z, he responds with a smirk, “Badly.”