Jorge loses all his remaining money in Argentina and returns to Barcelona ten years later almost a beggar. He tries to track down Carax but instead meets Javier Fumero, who has risen from his humble origins to be an army officer and then killer for hire, “said to be death itself.” Fumero is “nauseated” by Jorge’s weakness but takes him home, knowing he can take advantage of him. Meanwhile, Fumero joins the Crime Squad, arranging for his superiors to die so he can take their places. He is considered an exemplary officer.
It’s important that while Fumero is the novel’s most unequivocally evil character, he’s equated with “death”—something inevitable but not necessarily evil—while other characters who are equated with devils or demons tend to have both positive and negative qualities. Fumero’s rapid rise as a police officer mirrors Jorge’s fall from grace; but whereas Jorge’s fate seems well-deserved, Fumero’s increasing power is unmerited and frightening.
Jorge considers Fumero a friend and apologizes for mistreating him when they were children. Fumero wants to use Jorge to track down Carax, whom he also hates. He has been to Carax’s publisher to obtain his address, and has even followed Nuria home a few times, both attracted to her body and enraged by her defense of Carax, desiring to control her himself instead.
Jealous and possessive without even knowing Nuria, Fumero’s behavior towards her is deeply disturbing. However, it’s an amplified version of the romantic behavior of many of the novel’s men. Even positive characters like Carax and Daniel form obsessions with women they barely know and feel entitled to possess them romantically.
Fumero considers that his passion for Penélope was completely pure, “like the ones you see in movies.” He decides to use Jorge just like villains use stooges in the movies, in order to lead him to Carax.
Fumero completely misinterprets his feelings, mistaking self-interested obsession for real love. His predication of his beliefs on movies again suggests the idea that while literature leads readers to greater insight or understanding, cinema can actively inhibit that kind of truth-seeking.