MONEY HEIST – SEASON 3 & 4 (2019-2020)

  • Original Air Date: 19/07/2019
  • Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Itziar Ituño, Álvaro Morte, Pedro Alonso, Alba Flores, Miguel Herrán, Jaime Lorente, Rodrigo de la Serna, Najwa Nimri, José Manuel Poga, Esther Acebo, Enrique Arce, María Pedraza
  • Creator: Álex Pina

Dark, brutal and dense… Season 2 of this epic Heist drama betters its predecessor in every department

After the events of the first season, our gang of thieves have settled into their respective lives and are having a great time contrary to the belief of Arturo Roman who has somehow made a hero out of himself sighting and documenting his non-existent bravery during the events of the first season. However, a telling mistake on the part of Rio and Tokyo lands Rio into police custody. The Professor, before they parted ways, had already shared with every member a backup plan in the case of any of them getting caught. This helps Tokyo contact the man and then he assembles the rest of the team to figure out a way to save Rio whose arrest hasn’t been made public and is, in all probabilities, getting tortured by the authorities. Months pass without any information of Rio and the Professor is left with no option but to strike again at the heart of the Spanish government and unsettle the status quo. This time he decides to rob the Bank of Spain which holds the country’s largest gold reserve. The rest of the series is about how he goes about doing it and how he uses it as a means to save Rio.

The second season of Money Heist is a lot darker and brutal than what we were prepared for by the first season. To start with, The Professor hasn’t had the time to work on his plan of the Heist for as long as he would have liked and that leads to the plan faltering on multiple occasions. He just didn’t get enough time to take all the variables into consideration and think of ways to negate them in case they went south like he did in the first season. This is something that is made clear in the very beginning and that leads to a lot of tension. We know that our hero may not have answers to everything like he did in the first season and that makes the situations even more grim.

As was the case with the first season, every character in the series has some issues or the other that they are dealing with and that makes them extremely volatile. Tokyo is more rebellious than she was before and she goes against the plan yet again to relieve yet another man of his leadership which this time creates a much bigger ruckus. Denver and Monica (now called Stockholm) get into a fight before the beginning of the heist and the matter keeps blowing out of proportion with every passing day. Arturo forces himself into the heist for reasons known only to him and then he forces himself on Stockholm which further deteriorates Denver’s already troubled relationship with her.

Tokyo and Rio get into an issue of their own which makes Tokyo take to the bottle and that makes her even more unpredictable. Nairobi falls in love with Bogota, a new character added to the team. She is also horribly manipulated by a police officer which puts her in grave danger. The biggest problem of them all is a character called Palermo, who was one of the architects of the plan that the Professor is executing. Palermo is a narcissist and would do anything to remain in power. He would happily risk the lives of the team if it meant him getting back his position of power. If that was not enough, Palermo lets loose one of the hostages who turns out to be special ops commando and who starts taking out the robbers one by one in the most brutal fashion.

As you might have realized from the above, the plot here is thick and literally jostling with different individual pieces running parallel to each other. This gives the series the kind of pace that doesn’t let the viewers breathe. One of my complaints with the first season was that it dragged in certain portions where we are taken back into the past of some of the supporting cast members. I was also of the opinion that many of the subplots and the things that we were shown were not integral to the narrative. The makers have taken care of these two issues in this season. Whatever we are shown here has something or the other to do with the plot. Even the flashbacks involving Berlin and his marriage to a girl, which the Professor is not a fan of, is peppered with discussions about the plan to rob the bank and the various challenges and aspects of it.

Alex Pina used the flashbacks beautifully in the first season where he used it not only to give us a better idea about the characters and their backgrounds but also helped us to understand a portion of the plan and how it was executed. In this season he goes a step forward. As and when any major character’s life is at risk, he shows us a flashback involving that character and some other character that is personal and sweet. What it does is make the current scenario even worse as we now have the excess baggage of the emotions that we have just associated with the character, through the flashback, weighing in on our senses. It also becomes easier for us to understand the agony of the troubled character’s compatriot who is either shown grieving or trying to save his/her life against surmounting odds.of

Once again, the action is stupendous. There are a lot of gunfights and almost all of them are done with such physicality and panache that even the most hardcore action junkie will be satisfied. But the problem that the action sequences had in the first season remains. The villains are never able to hit anything. They spray the heroes with bullets but no is even grazed. As was the case with the first season, the good guys never run out of bullets even though they spray bullets as if their lives depended on it. These things will eventually spoil the fun of the action but for now, I am able to forgive these discrepancies since these sequences are done with such panache and gusto. The Heist in this series is very technical and one must pay a lot of attention to understand exactly what the robbers are doing and unless you are paying attention, you will never understand the risks involved and hence miss out on the excitement. I liked that aspect of the action and the heist as intelligence almost invariably enhances content.

The basic cast of characters remains the same even though they are rendered with some difference. Álvaro Morte (The Professor) and Itziar Ituño (Raquel aka Lisbon) are on the same side for the first time. They both think highly of themselves and that leads to some interesting frictions between them especially when things don’t go according to plan. There comes a time when Itziar Ituño is on the verge of getting executed and Álvaro Morte’s expressions in this situation are just heartbreaking. Itziar Ituño is put under a lot of duress when she must choose between her love and her family, and one can feel her conflicts in her expressions. Álvaro Morte and Itziar Ituño are emoting and giving performances that are way better than what these characters deserved. Nevertheless, that elevates the characters to a whole new level.

The rest of the supporting cast members are equally good. They have all grown up with these characters and they know every beat of them. For me, Miguel Herrán as Rio was interesting in this series because evidently, he is hiding something important which will dawn itself in the next season. Esther Acebo as Mónica nearly started asking him the right questions, but he silenced her with his tears. Why he treats Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) the way he did was also a big surprise for me. I like Úrsula Corberó in her current avatar more than I did in the previous season. She just got a little more badass than what she was in the first season. I didn’t believe that was even possible but, evidently, it was. Jaime Lorente as Denver is getting boring which is alarming considering that he was one of the best characters in the first season. Alba Flores as Nairobi was by far the most affecting of the cast from the first season. Towards the end of the series, her character is subjected to some horrifying tortures by the commando I already mentioned. These scenes were difficult to watch. A lot of that has to do with how well Flores renders these parts. One look at her and you know what immense pain she is in and that is enough to send shivers down your spine.

There are some interesting new additions to the cast. Rodrigo de la Serna as Palermo shines bright among them. He is supposed to lead the robbery and you wouldn’t be surprised that he is almost as crazy as Berlin. He was one of the architects of the plan and was in love with Berlin. Ever since Berlin’s death, he has been left without a reason to live on. When the professor brings him on the heist, his dedication to the plan overtakes his care for the safety and security of the men involved and that leads to some interesting situations. Rodrigo de la Serna looks sufficiently crazy for the part that he is playing, and you take him for the man that he is shown to be. I must also add that his comic timing is impeccable.

Najwa Nimri as the pregnant inspector Alicia Sierra is terrific. She is the embodiment of evil and every time she gets the better of the protagonists, you feel like pummeling her. There is also some drama involving her past which I believe will be revealed in the next season. Fernando Cayo as Colonel Luis Tamayo is better than what Juan Fernández achieved as Colonel Luis Prieto in the first season. He is a lot more animated and that helps his character to a great extent. Hovik Keuchkerian as Bogotá, a new member of the team is a lukewarm character that has an important part to play in the plan. José Manuel Poga as César Gandía, the commando who takes on the thieves single-handedly will be loathed the most among the antagonists. He is fearsome and hateful at the same time.

Considering all the flaws, believability issues, and the many conducive coincidences that this series is synonymous with, Money Heist Season 2 is still an improvement over the first season. As mentioned before, this season pits our protagonists against a much bigger threat than what they had to put up with before. The professor himself lands up in dire circumstances more than once. The other members of the cast are a lot more volatile and the bad guys this time are not afraid to shoot them down or even torture them going against the law. Major characters are killed and some big twists and turns leave you gasping for breath. The series ends on a cliffhanger and leaves us waiting with bated breath for what is to come next.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)


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