It takes a lot of love and creativity to be able to sustain the momentum and good quality of a series from start to finish and series creator Alex Pina managed to do just that with Spanish series Money Heist (La Casa de Papel). What an amazing back half to the fifth and final season for the Professor and his gang. It was a beautiful love letter to the fans who have catapulted the show to become a worldwide phenomenon. It was epic.
*Note: This review may contain spoilers from previous seasons
Synopsis: Things are pretty bleak for the gang members trapped in the Bank of Spain but it is even more chaotic for the team outside. As Colonel Tamayo desperately seeks a win over the Professor, he will stop at nothing to bring the gang to its knees. As Tokyo’s heroic farewell takes down six of Tamayo’s soldiers, Alicia and the Professor forge an unlikely alliance as they face multiple betrayals from an unexpected party. A rollercoaster of emotions await viewers in the final five episodes of the series, which could end up with only absolute victory or irreversible tragedy.
With only five episodes left for the Professor Gang, it would seem like an easy binge, but the high stakes tension would surely compel you to break your viewing into two, just to catch your breath.
As the gang deals with the death of another one of their core members, it became pretty clear that their only way out to survive is to get the gold out of the Bank of Spain. From the first episode on, the final season does not hold anything back. Sagasta plots to get the upper hand against the gang while Tamayo deals with the circus outside. The more that he thinks about cleaning up the image of the police, the faster the gang gets one over him. Of course, Sierra remains a problem, and causes one too many spokes in the plan.
As the momentum shifts from one side to the other, another factor comes to play. It was a madhouse of a final season but creator Alex Pina managed to pull out a new trick out of his hat every single time. He perfectly balanced the stakes between the law enforcement and the gang and also tipped the scales of morality to spark a conversation about what is actually right and wrong.
The final season was not just about the heist and all the things that went wrong with it. Its a test of resolve and resilience and faith. But ultimately, the rescue mission for Rio was a love story – The Professor’s love for his father and brother; Palermo’s love for Berlin (and the plan that they came up with together); Denver, Stockholm, and Manila’s relationship; Benjamin’s journey with his daughter — and it was all about family.
From Season 1 when the Professor asked the gang members to refer only to their aliases to prevent them from developing attachments to each other, each gang member became a family with an indestructible bond. It became a family that would risk their life to pull off a crazy plan to save another, and a family who will lay their life on the line to protect one another. It was a beautiful full circle moment, especially with more people becoming part of the Professor’s gang.
I loved the transitions of the characters and how each one evolved. In the beginning, Palermo seemed like a cocky, unfeeling SOB, but as the gang was pushed to the wall one too many times, he more than redeemed himself as he took on a leadership role, much in the same way Berlin did what needed to be done in the first season. His eccentricity made him so much fun to watch. Remember that time when Alicia Sierra tortured Rio and shot Nairobi and became the most hated character on Money Heist? Well, from Public Enemy No. 1 of the fandom, she shot up to MVP status quite effortlessly because of her natural intelligence and skill. If there was one character who was a match for the Professor in every way, it was Sierra. And all this badas*ery she was doing while she was nine months pregnant and until a few months ago, a new mom.
The character development was amazing. Everyone was an MVP in their own right. The Professor, who planned everything out, showed that he was also human and fell apart during the most crucial moments of the series. But as was his nature, his big brain was always working, always plotting, always alert.
Shenanigans and Betrayals
As much as I loved the gang inside the Bank of Spain, the final half was mostly about the escapades of the team outside. I felt like my heart was about to explode with each mishap. I loved how Marseilles was literally all over the place, part of every one of the plans, being in one place one moment and another the next. And his close up shots when he managed to execute a part of the plan — he looked like he was ready to film a tutorial on thievery each time. I loved how the frail looking Benjamin and his gang of Serbians was always ready to take their guns out for a standoff. It would have been awesome to see him in his prime as a criminal. LOL
The pacing was brilliant albeit tiring. Alex Pina definitely saved the best twists for last. And because Pina offed two of the most important characters in the series in the last two seasons, the sense of intensity doubled because it was a signal that everyone was fair game.
There was a lot of foreshadowing and cheesy montages but the great news was that they did not feel forced. Sure, Money Heist was not intended to last for five seasons and was only extended because of strong public demand. But the way the story was laid out was clear evidence that the team behind Money Heist thought everything through before agreeing to film the extended seasons. It spoke of great respect and love for the audience. Hours and hours of material laid out perfectly as if they were bricks being laid to come up with a strong building. Pina and Co. were able to do this because of the strong foundation it laid out with the Royal Mint of Spain heist.
The ending was poetic, and it managed to up the ante of the previous seasons for the finale. I found myself literally applauding every twist, from the Professor gang and the law enforcement side as well. I felt bad actually for Angel and Suarez. They were good officers but they’re just not on the same level as Sierra and the Professor. And Tamayo — excellent acting from Fernando Cayo. I was ready for him to explode into a heart attack for the better part of 20 episodes.
The way in which the final credits were laid out gave it a very Avengers: Endgame feel. It was magnificent. It paid tribute to all the members of the Professor Gang from past to present. It actually made me cry to see how it ended so beautifully. All in all, the final season delivered a high tension, emotional rollercoaster that never eased up on the gas pedal. It was magnificent. Truly a marvel of a series. All of the accolades and praises were well deserved.