Money Heist, Part 4

Dept. of Sexy Spanish Stick-Ups


I spent the better part of Friday, April 3rd, checking the Netflix app on both my phone and on my laptop, incessantly refreshing it, hoping beyond hope that the next time I do it is when it’ll finally appear. And it finally did. Money Heist.

But first, for all you latecomers, a primer. Money Heist is a Spanish crime drama series that tells the story of a group of strangers who, under the guidance of The Professor, break into the Royal Mint of Spain. Over the course of 22 episodes, we learn about the plan and its execution. We learn about the crew. And we learn about the cops who are trying to stop them. This is the best game of cat and mouse on television right now.

The crew in their trademark Dali masks.

Money Heist was originally intended as a limited series told over two seasons; or as the series calls it, two parts. It had its original run of 15 episodes in Spain in 2017, at which point it was acquired by Netflix, recut into 22 shorter episodes, and released worldwide. In 2018 it was renewed for 16 more episodes, eight in part 3, and eight in part 4. 

This really is the perfect heist series. This is not Michael Bay. This isn’t Bad Boys. This is Michael Mann’s Heat. Guns going off have consequences, either physically or mentally. Guns being fired means an escalation. Of attention, of response, of emotion. 

In that way, Money Heist feels a little more like Spike Lee’s Inside Man. It’s a heist within a kidnapping, within a plan, that’s within another plan. Every step feels calculated and precise. The Professor is always in control. And you, like the team, learn early on to trust in him and in the plan.

The original run of the series ended on such a perfect note. At the end of Part 2, with the team out and scattered to the wind, inspector Raquel Murillo, the former inspector leading the task force to stop the heist, travels to Palawan, to a GPS point left to her in a clue. She walks over to the beachside bar, asks the bartender if she could charge her phone. And comes face to face with The Professor. 

And that was it. It was the perfect happily ever after ending. So perfect in fact that when Part 3 dropped on Netflix, it came as a complete shock. What else was there? The heist was perfect, every step calculated and accounted for. They had gotten away. The Professor would never allow the team to go on another heist. It would be stupid. They had gotten away with the money. This team can’t be both that greedy and that stupid to want to rob ANOTHER bank. 

But an episode into part 3 and it becomes clear. They had to do it again.

The Professor in Money Heist.

Money Heist does what all great movies must do. You must trust the audience. Trust that they will keep up. Trust that they will stick with you when you withhold some piece of information, only because the payoff later will be all the greater for it. Trust that a story does not need to be told chronologically and that it will be better for it. Trust that the audience is smart, and that the “plan”, whatever it may be, needs to be full proof.

Halfway through episode three of part 4, my wife sits down next to me to tune in. She hadn’t seen any of the earlier seasons so I felt compelled to tell her about the characters as the episode unfolded. But it was at this point that I had a realisation; the characters were growing. They were expanding their personalities, not just as characters on screen, but as people. The experiences of the earlier season had become baggage. These characters were fraying at the edges. Their relationships being pulled taught, pulled to the breaking point. And it was at this point that I realised that the characters were people. There is so much to see and experience of them. A flashback to an empty child’s room tells you Nairobi’s reason. A death in Part 2 explains Denver’s change in personality. Rio is a boy trying to make it big and prove himself. And Tokyo, well she’s a Maserati, but with several screws wound both too tightly and too loose. She is both the wanna-be leader and destructor. Thinking too hard and constantly trying to recover the ground she loses to her demons.

Tokyo and Helsinki track down a hostage in Money Heist.

Money Heist begins with Tokyo. She’s telling you, the audience, about how it all starts. Tokyo is the narrator. She is the omniscient voice clueing you in on what everyone is going through and thinking. But Money Heist really is an ensemble piece. From Tokyo, Rio, Denver, Nairobi, Helsinki, Moscow, Berlin, Oslo, then Stockholm, Lisbon, Bogota, Palermo and Marseille, the entire crew play a part in both the heist and the story. A lot of the story is told in flashbacks, but it never feels like a crutch or a cheat. All the emotional beats feel earned. 

If you’ve never seen Money Heist, this may be your chance to get on it. You do have a long way to go to catch up, 38 episodes in all. But I can assure you, it is all good. The dialogue is smart. The acting from the massive cast is fantastic. Nothing about this series is a letdown. This isn’t arthouse or unfamiliar in any way. Give yourself two episodes. You’ll see what I mean.

Money Heist
Netflix, Part 4, 8 Episodes
Showrunners: Álex Pina and Jesús Colmenar
Writers: Esther Morales, Ana Boyero, Jaun Salvador López, Emilio Díez, and Luis Moya
Directors: Koldo Serra, Javier Quintas, Álex Rodrigo, and Jesús Colmenar
Cast: Úrsula Corberó, Itziar Ituño, Álvaro Morte, Paco Tous, Pedro Alonso, Alba Flores, Miguel Herrán, Jaime Lorente, Esther Acebo, Enrique Arce, María Pedraza, Darko Perić, Kiti Mánver, Hovik Keuchkerian, Rodrigo de la Serna, and Najwa Nimri

Bahir also wrote about other non-English series that are worth binging here.

Bahir likes to review movies because he can watch them at special screenings and not have to interact with large groups of people who may not agree with his idea of what a movie going experience is. Bahir likes jazz, documentaries, Ken Burns, and summer blockbuster movies. He really hopes that the HBO MAX Green Lantern series will help the character be cool again. Also don’t get him started on Jason Momoa’s Aquaman (#NotMyArthurCurry).

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