A series like Money Heist has to bow out in style. There are no two ways about it. The stakes are sky-high, and everybody is glued to their screens to see how the gang-in-red make out of this scintillating bank heist, that has been set up over the last two seasons. The makers have managed to pass through this test, pulling off some surprising feats. That said, though the finale is something that will satisfy most fans, the road to it isn’t a perfect one either.
The first volume of the final season ended with Tokyo’s (Ursula Corbero) death, and the second volume picks up right from there - showing how Professor (Alvaro Morte) and the team come to terms with the calamity. It’s great how even if ample time has passed for us to process and move on from the tragedy, the writing in these scenes, the dialogues especially, pull us right back into the tension that the fifth episode left us with.
Parallelly, in Professor’s hideout, Alicia Sierra (played by a brilliant Najwa Nimri) uses this window of opportunity to escape. A car chase ensues, and once again, the writers have used a familiar creative tool to keep up the tension. Just as Alicia races out of the hideout, we cut to a flashback involving Berlin (Pedro Alonso)—a continuation of the subplot from the first volume. When the scene ends, we see the Professor and Marsella (Luka Peros) leaving the hideout to catch Alicia. The juxtaposition of the sequence is intended to psychologically give the feeling that a lot of time has passed since Alicia left. However, we realise that this isn’t the case. The chase, juxtaposed with scenes from the bank, keep up the tension.
Now, Tokyo’s voiceover begins, but how does a dead character continue to narrate the story? The makers do not explain it through her voiceover. However, there is a scene in which Rio (Miguel Herran) visits the place where Tokyo died, and the voiceover hints at the idea that when a person dies, their spirit lingers on the spot for some time. In fact, it suggests that even Rio can feel her presence. So, maybe one can assume that there is a cosmic reason for the voiceover?
The first three episodes of the second volume move at a hectic pace, focussing on three major narratives: A soldier from the special squad becomes a ‘Trojan Horse’, the gang has to focus on getting the gold out while Colonel Tamayo and his forces are on high alert, and the third involves the Professor-Alicia situation. Amidst all of this, we also get flashback sequences - however, unlike the ones in the previous seasons, every flashback scene seems too vital to the narrative. This also extends to the scenes that flesh out the interpersonal dynamics between the team members.
For example, the scenes involving Manila (Belén Cuesta), Denver (Jaime Lorente), and Monica’s (Esther Acebo) do not disturb the narrative given we are well aware that these scenes will lead to the end of their character arcs. Moreover, the second volume continues exploring the mental and emotional make-up of Manila and Monica. The writers also seem to be aware as to when to reel us back to the thick of the action—something that the previous volume failed to do.
Meanwhile, the Berlin plot keeps throwing one revelation after the other, and it already amps up the expectations for the upcoming Berlin spin-off series. In particular, there is a brilliant scene set in a bar when Berlin realises that his son has betrayed him. He loses the cool demeanour that he is popularly known for, and actor Pedro Alonso hits it off the park with his brilliant performance.
As expected, the Berlin subplot merges with the main narrative, and it does so in the most astonishing way. This scene happens when Tamayo’s squad reaches a place where the team planned to extract the gold. This feels like the final checkmate. Just as you are wondering how things will pan out, we are hurled with one subversion after the other.
The most impressive sequence of the season, however, doesn’t involve any of the action. Finally, the makers reveal the original story of the Professor. Though it is unoriginal, these sequences do pull the strings of the heart.
The final episode of the series is, as expected, an out-and-out Professor show. It has some great scenes for the fan-favourite character, but I wish other members of the gang signed off in style as well. There isn’t a big action set piece involving bullets raining and grenades flying down the bank’s corridor. The twists and turns are gripping, nevertheless. While I can’t think of a better way for the show to end, a sense of incompleteness can also be strongly felt. Perhaps, it is the surmounting disappointment of knowing that this is the last time we would have seen the gang sing ‘Bella Ciao’, or because nothing can satisfy the extraordinary hype that the series has garnered. Or maybe, as Professor says about the gold in the bank: It’s just an illusion.
Money Heist Season 5 Vol 2
Cast: Alvaro Morte, Ursula Corbero, Itziar Ituno, Pedro Alonso
Direction: Alex Pina