San Andreas: Cesar & Kendl Is Grand Theft Auto’s Best Relationship
The Grand Theft Auto franchise is full of memorable characters, particularly with its protagonists. Rockstar Games almost always uses those characters to build up relationships that show real growth during the course of the story. However, many times these relationships are mostly negative for one or both parties, but San Andreas‘ Cesar and Kendl may have the best out of any characters in a GTA game.
The relationship players see in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is deeper than others. In that game, protagonist Carl Johnson certainly shows more depth and nuance than any of the GTA protagonists that came before him. His relationship with Catalina, on the other hand, is mostly negative. Instead, the relationship that players experience between Carl’s sister Kendl and her boyfriend Cesar Vialpando is the one players should pay attention to.
Kendl and Cesar probably shouldn’t have ended up together. Cesar is the leader of the Varrios Los Aztecas gang, which, before CJ comes back to Los Santos, is in direct competition with the Grove Street Family. Considering her brothers are the leaders of Grove Street in San Andreas, it’s quite surprising that Kendl would end up with the VLA’s leader.
The news certainly doesn’t go over well with her brother Sweet. He immediately makes it clear that he does not approve of the relationship. Carl distrusts Cesar at first, too, but eventually comes to regard him as a friend and one of his closest allies. In large part, it’s how genuine Kendl and Cesar’s relationship is that convinces Carl he can rely on Cesar when times get tough.
That feeling of the pair’s love being genuine is what makes Kendl and Cesar’s relationship so successful. Rockstar chose two characters that probably shouldn’t be together and uses that to show Carl and the players how valuable real relationships can be. While CJ nearly loses everything after his former friends Ryder and Big Smoke betray Grove Street, Cesar sticks around.
It shows that Cesar truly cares for Kendl and her family. He isn’t just in the relationship for personal gain, which is something that’s tough to say about many other relationships in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. In this series, most interactions are transactional. Two people are only working together because they’re both getting something tangible from it. Cesar and Kendl feel more like a real-life relationship because the only thing they’re getting is more time spent with each other. These two will stick together through thick and thin, and it shows when they move with CJ to San Fierro and help rebuild Grove Street.