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A series like Money Heist has to bow in style. There are no two options. The stake is sky high and everyone is locked on their screens to see how the Red Gangs make of this dazzling bank robbery organized over the past two seasons. The creators managed to pass this test and produce some surprising performances. While the final will satisfy most fans, the path to get there isn’t perfect either.
The first volume of last season ended with Tokyo’s (Ursula Corbero) death, and the second volume ties in directly – it shows how Professor (Alvaro Morte) and the team deal with the disaster. It’s great how the writing in these scenes, especially the dialogues, even though we have plenty of time to process the tragedy and move on, pulls us right back into the tension that the fifth episode left us with.
At the same time, Alicia Sierra (played by a brilliant Najwa Nimri) in Professor’s hiding place uses this opportunity to escape. A chase ensues, and again the writers have used a well-known creative tool to keep the tension going. Just as Alicia is racing out of hiding, we cut to a flashback with Berlin (Pedro Alonso) – a continuation of the subplot from the first volume. At the end of the scene we see the professor and Marsella (Luka Peros) leaving the hiding place to catch Alicia. The juxtaposition of the sequence is intended to convey the psychological feeling that a lot of time has passed since Alicia’s departure. However, we know this is not the case. The chase, supplemented with scenes from the bank, keeps the tension going.
Tokyo’s voice-over now begins, but how does a dead character continue the story? The makers don’t explain it through their voice-over. However, there is a scene where Rio (Miguel Herran) visits the place where Tokyo died, and the voice-over suggests that when a person dies, their mind lingers in place for some time. In fact, it suggests that even Rio can sense their presence. So maybe you can assume that there is a cosmic reason for the voiceover?
The first three episodes of the second volume move at a hectic pace and focus on three big narratives: A soldier from the special troop becomes a “Trojan horse”, the gang has to concentrate on extracting the gold, while Colonel Tamayo and his troops do it are on high alert, and the third concerns the Professor Alicia situation. Amidst all of this, we also get flashback sequences – however, unlike those in previous seasons, each flashback scene seems too important to the narrative. This also extends to the scenes that concretize the interpersonal dynamics between team members.
For example, the scenes with Manila (Belén Cuesta), Denver (Jaime Lorente), and Monicas (Esther Acebo) don’t interfere with the narrative as we are aware that these scenes lead to the end of their character arcs. In addition, the second volume continues to explore the mental and emotional makeup of Manila and Monica. The writers also seem to be aware of when to get us back in the middle of the action – something the previous band couldn’t.
Meanwhile, the Berlin conspiracy is throwing one revelation after another and is already increasing expectations of the upcoming Berlin spin-off series. In a bar in particular, there was a brilliant scene when Berlin discovered that his son had betrayed him. He’s losing the cool demeanor he’s popularly known for, and actor Pedro Alonso comes out of the park with his brilliant performance.
As expected, the Berlin subplot merges with the main narrative in the most amazing way. This scene happens when Tamayo’s squad reaches a location where the team has planned to extract the gold. That feels like the final checkmate. Just as you’re wondering what’s going to happen, we’re being hurled from one subversion after another.
The most impressive sequence of the season, however, does not include any of the action. Eventually, the creators reveal the professor’s original story. While not original, these sequences pull the strings of the heart.
The final episode of the series is, as expected, a thoroughly professorial show. It has some great scenes for the fan-favorite character, but I would like other members of the gang to get signed in style too. There isn’t one big action set piece with bullets raining down and grenades flying down the aisle of the bank. The twists and turns are gripping nonetheless. While I can’t think of a better way to end the show, a sense of incompleteness is also strongly felt. Perhaps it is the overwhelming disappointment to know that this will be the last time we will see the gang sing “Bella Ciao” or because nothing can satisfy the extraordinary hype the series has generated. Or maybe, as Professor says about the gold in the bank, it’s just an illusion.
Money Heist Season 5 Vol 2
Throw: Alvaro Morte, Ursula Corbero, Itziar Ituno, Pedro Alonso
Direction: Alex Pina
Valuation: 3.5 / 5