7 Burning Questions About La Casa De Papel Part 4

April 10, 2020 at 6:40 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers of La Casa De Papel / Money Heist part 4.

 

Part 4 of La Casa De Papel (called Money Heist in English) still left some questions unanswered for me, especially when it comes to the show’s key characters. This Spanish TV series on Netflix has become a hit worldwide not only because of its unique plot but because of its relatable characters. And what I was looking forward to seeing in the latest season was character development from the show’s key characters – mainly Sergio a.k.a The Professor and Raquel Murillo. Unfortunately, part 4 focused more on action than character development.

While I enjoyed the intense action scenes and especially the explosive season finale, there’s more left to be answered and explored. Here are just some of the burning questions I have from La Casa De Papel part 4.

  1. What is the Professor’s plan with Gandia?

At the end of part 4, we saw Gandia being captured alive by the Professor’s gang of robbers. Albeit he was knocked unconscious after trying to escape from the gang, he’s regarded by the Professor as an integral part of the plan. How will the Professor use him to get the gold out of the Bank of Spain and more importantly, let the gang escape?

  1. What will be Alicia’s next move?

Since Alicia found out the Professor’s hideout and Sergio now being held at gunpoint, will she try to use him as leverage against the police? I don’t think Alicia will kill him – at least not without getting something from him first. But taking into consideration the parallels of some scenes in part 4 with the show’s earlier seasons (e.g., Raquel finding out Sergio’s hideout in part 2, mutiny among the robbers, etc.), many viewers are guessing that Alicia will eventually become a member of the Professor’s gang.

Come to think of it, by the looks of it she doesn’t have much choice. The police and the national intelligence agency want to capture her for implicating them in her crimes. A judge may reduce her sentence for turning the Professor in to the police but she will still be sent to prison. And I don’t think she wants that given that she’s very pregnant and can give birth anytime soon.

7 Burning Questions About La Casa De Papel Part 4

  1. How will Sergio’s decision to grant Nairobi’s request affect his relationship with Raquel?

How I wish I could pretend that this particular story in part 4 never happened. This was one of the most divisive sub-plots in part 4. Nairobi’s storyline was certainly one of the weakest in part 4. I could understand Nairobi’s need to become a mother (but that’s a stretch already), but for Sergio to agree to be a sperm donor to Nairobi without consulting Raquel first was ridiculous and absurd. It’s really out of character.

Sergio is methodical and analytic. He doesn’t rush into any decisions, especially when he’s not under pressure. But here we are. And given this situation, will Sergio even tell Raquel about this eventually? How will Raquel react to this? Will this lead to another argument between them? Does Sergio even want to have a baby with Raquel? And if so, does Raquel want to have another baby? I hope the show’s writers address these in part 5.

  1. Will Raquel tell Sergio that she almost gave him up to the police?

During the interrogation with Alicia, Raquel had a moment of weakness and was almost ready to give Sergio up to the police. When Alicia mentioned this at a later scene, Raquel downplayed it and said that she was just stalling for time. But was she really? Later in the last episode, Alicia knew in her gut that Raquel was truly going give Sergio up, if not for Antoñanza’s intervention.

I think Raquel was faced with a major dilemma and caved in to Alicia’s taunts of a happy life with Paula. Remember the flashback scene when Berlin said something about betrayal when faced with a massive dilemma? I think that’s what happened with Raquel. But will she tell Sergio about this? And if so, will this drive them apart?

I think there are still things left unsaid between Raquel and Sergio and their relationship. Let’s take into account and assume that Sergio never told Raquel about the time when he tried to poison her mother.  Which brings me to number 5 below…

  1. Where does Sergio and Raquel’s relationship go from there?

When the second heist is over and assuming both Sergio and Raquel survive, what will be their plan? Right now it’s too early to tell since we still have yet to find out if they will make it alive from the heist. But I assume Sergio and Raquel already have a plan on what their next steps will Will they go back to Palawan?

While Raquel willingly lived with Sergio in Palawan, surely it must have crossed her mind that she doesn’t have a proper job now. And I don’t think she’s the type who would just live off from the loot of the heists. I think deep down, Raquel was struggling with her new life as Lisbon the robber. In addition, she has a daughter and a mother with Alzheimer’s disease to protect and take care of. Giving up her life to live with a notorious criminal must have been a hard decision for her, thus she almost betrayed him.

I think it would be interesting if the writers explore Raquel’s character further and delve deep into her relationship with Sergio in part 5 as I can see there are things in their relationship that need to be addressed. But more importantly, I would also love to see Raquel become her own person separate from Sergio. I miss the badass Raquel from the earlier seasons and I would like to see more of that.

  1. How will Raquel and Alicia’s relationship play out in the future?

There’s not much backstory between Raquel and Alicia except for the fact that they knew each other since they were at the academy training as police investigators. Judging from the bits of information we got from the show, it seems that they were good friends. Alicia knows Raquel’s history with men and vice versa.

Watching the interrogation scenes, it’s fascinating to see the dynamic between the two. Alicia may be cruel and ruthless, but I think she’s also well-meaning towards Raquel. I like that Alicia asked Raquel with the hard questions that Raquel might not want to hear. She had a point when she told Raquel about falling for the wrong men like Alberto and Sergio. I think she genuinely wanted to help Raquel.

But given that Alicia got fired and is now running away from the police, I wonder how that relationship will change in part 5.

7 Burning Questions About La Casa De Papel Part 4

  1. What is the story behind Sergio?

In parts 1 and 2 of the show, we knew little of Sergio. We only knew him as a nerdy guy who masterminded the heist and who was sickly as a child. Part 3 gave us a little more background about him and his relationship with his brother Berlin. We also learned that he’s not very adept at romantic relationships and we saw him struggle with that with Raquel. Part 4 gave us more of his relationships with Raquel and Berlin through flashbacks. But that still left me wanting to know more about him.

I always wondered who Sergio was before the heists – before all that planning with Berlin and Palermo. What did he do for a living before he became a criminal? Was he morally gray right from the start? What was his initial reaction when he learned about his father’s criminal past? What makes him tick?

He has a wide network of criminal friends operating across the globe. Were they his father’s network or Berlin’s? How did he come to know all of them?

 

These are just some of the questions I have about the show and its latest season. And I hope that in part 5, a lot of these will be answered. Part 5 doesn’t necessarily have to be drama-heavy, especially when fleshing out the characters. It just have to have that right balance of action and character-driven story.

La Casa De Papel is Back with More Action, Power Play and Drama: A Review of Part 4

April 6, 2020 at 10:04 AM | Posted in TV | 1 Comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This review contains major spoilers of La Casa De Papel part 4. Read at your own risk!

 

The latest season of La Casa De Papel (or Money Heist) just dropped on Netflix last April 3 and I for one was one of those avid fans who watched it as soon as it aired.

Part 4 (as the show calls their seasons) of La Casa De Papel picked up right where Part 3 left off. Part 3 ended in a cliffhanger with Nairobi getting shot on the chest by a sniper stationed outside the Bank of Spain – the location of the latest heist. Raquel Murillo, now called Lisbon since teaming up with the robbers, was captured by the police but the Professor thought that she’s been killed by them.

The running theme in Part 4 was chaos and it sure as hell chaotic inside the Bank of Spain as the robbers struggled with internal fighting, personal drama, betrayal and a dangerous Gandia on the loose. It’s an action-packed season with lots of gunfights, explosions and power play between the police and the robbers. Interspersed with that were new flashback scenes of Berlin, Sergio and Palermo before the first heist and of Denver, Moscow and a new character who turned out to be an undercover member of the gang.

The flashback scenes were enjoyable to watch. I’ve grown to love Berlin despite of him being a sexist, misogynistic psychopath. There’s something about him that’s endearing: his charm, his twisted sense of humor and his taste for the finer things in life. And his relationship with his brother Sergio was one of the most interesting stories in the show.

It was also interesting to watch Raquel struggle with her predicament. Now that she changed sides and was no longer a police investigator, she’s now left with two choices: betray Sergio and tell the police where he was or stand her ground and be sent to jail. Raquel had her moment of weakness while under interrogation by Alicia. Although I was a bit disappointed that she almost betrayed Sergio, I could understand her situation. Alicia messed with her head and emotions and pointed out insecurities that she might have felt. I could imagine anyone under the same extreme pressure (not to mention that she used to be a battered wife) could give in to the police. It would be interesting to see how this would play out in Part 5 as I think there are still things that are left unsaid between her and Sergio.

While Part 4 wasn’t on par with the first two parts, it still managed to be highly entertaining. It still had the same core elements that I’ve come to love from the show – intense action, brilliant plot, interesting characters and romance. But just like the show’s previous parts, Part 4 also had its share of plot holes and disappointments.

The biggest disappointment I had with Part 4 was the way the show’s writers treated Nairobi’s story about wanting to have a baby with Sergio. Now I know that Nairobi already asked Sergio to be a sperm donor in Part 1 but asking him again in Part 4 and Sergio agreeing to it? No. Just no. Sergio was not under any obligation to agree with her decision out of gratitude towards her.

First of all, Sergio a.k.a The Professor, hired Nairobi for one thing only: to help with the heist. And by agreeing to become a member of the gang, she had to work with the group and follow the Professor’s plan. If she didn’t want to join the gang in the second heist and save Rio, then she could always leave. The Professor didn’t force her to do things that she agreed with in the first place. She was there at the heist on her own free will. The Professor owed her nothing. So to see Sergio agreeing to be a sperm donor out of gratitude is absurd.

Second of all, Sergio should have told Raquel first about Nairobi’s request before agreeing to it. Raquel is in a serious relationship with him and she had the right to know. The decision should have come from both of them and not Sergio’s alone. It was hard to watch that party scene with Raquel, Nairobi, Tokyo and Stockholm knowing that Raquel unwittingly just partied with them unaware of the fact that her boyfriend Sergio just agreed to have a baby with Nairobi. Ugh!

Nairobi’s story this season wasn’t written well. Aside from that baby thing, the writers also forced a love story between her and Bogota. There was no established attraction between the two even when Bogota made an unsolicited comment about Nairobi’s butt in Part 3. Nairobi and Bogota didn’t have chemistry at all, then suddenly we’re supposed to believe they’re in love? I don’t need to see another romance in the show. I already put up with so much of that from Tokyo and Rio’s story. The only romance in the show I like and have come to love was between Sergio and Raquel.

Another plot hole in Part 4 was the scene with Berlin attacking a random diner in the bar just because he made fun of Berlin’s bowtie. I mean, that castration scene in the bar’s bathroom was unnecessary. It didn’t move the plot forward. Fans of the show already know how ruthless and dangerous Berlin could be. We already know that he had the propensity for violence. There’s no need to remind us that.

La Casa De Papel part 4 was not perfect, and there were loose ends that I would like to see get resolved in Part 5 (e.g. Raquel’s story). I know Part 5 is already confirmed but I think that the show should end there and not drag it out for more seasons. After all, how many more bank heists could the show write? Eventually, it would be tiring to watch that.

Grains of Gold from Part 4

  • Alvaro Morte’s performance as Sergio is topnotch this season. He deserves an Emmy nomination for this. That scene when Sergio cried his heart out among a field of flowers? Heartbreaking!
  • Sergio and Marseille fighting it out in the field was hilarious!
  • Sergio calling Raquel his “wife” was got me feeling all the butterflies in my tummy.
  • The rescue scene with Raquel was brilliant and so intense – I love it!
  • I love Berlin’s rendition of “Ti Amo”.
  • The newest member of the gang is called Manila! So delighted that my country finally got represented!
  • Can the show kill off Arturito already? Everybody hates him and his story serves no purpose anymore.

Why Sex Education is More Than Just a Teen Show

January 31, 2020 at 11:53 PM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers of Sex Education season 2. Read at your own risk!

When I first learned that my all-time favorite actor, Gillian Anderson, was going to do a new TV show on Netflix, I was only mildly interested. It wasn’t because I lost interest in her but because at that time I thought she was only going to be a supporting character in this new teen comedy called Sex Education, and that she would only have a few scenes. So I told myself that I was going to check it out just to see Gillian on screen. In fact, most of the Gillian Anderson fans I know on social media only initially watched the show just to see her.

Eventually I’m glad I was proven wrong because her character in Sex Education, Jean Milburn, proved to be a vital part of the story. Gillian might not have a lot of screen time in the show but every scene she was in was such a delight. It was refreshing to see her play a sex therapist and do a comedy. I mean, other than the comedic episodes of The X-Files, the Johnny English movie sequel she did back then, and another comedy film she did with Simon Pegg, Gillian wasn’t offered much comedic roles. Until now.

To be honest, I initially had low expectations about Sex Education. I thought it was going to be just another one of those superficial teen shows and movies with sex-crazed teens running amok. But when I saw the first season, I was surprised that it’s more than just a teen sex comedy. It actually had a heart and the characters were well-developed. It tackled serious issues such as bullying, slut-shaming and homophobia.

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Among the teen characters, my favorites were Eric and Maeve. The show gave both characters enough time to develop throughout season 1. By the end of season 1, we found out that Maeve was more than meets the eye. Eric, on the other hand, had to go through difficulties as he struggled to be accepted for what he was – gay and proud.

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The second season was even better. Gillian’s character had a lot more scenes this time and we see her navigating on a new relationship while helping the students at Otis’ school with their sex issues. What I loved about the second season was that it addressed sexual issues from a female point of view. One example was Aimee’s story where she was sexually assaulted in the bus. It showed how a seemingly “small” offense could affect a woman and how speaking out and supporting fellow women could be a powerful thing.

Speaking of power, another powerful scene in season 2 and one of my favorites was when Florence sought Jean’s advice about her intimacy issue. The student thought she’s broken because she’s not interested in sex. Then Jean said, “Sex doesn’t make you whole. And so, how can you ever be broken?” Everything in that scene was fantastic.

What more can I say? The show has a perfect cast, well-written episodes, great cinematography (those wide shots of expansive greeneries were to die for) and a kickass soundtrack!

Goodbye, friend. Hello, Elliot

December 26, 2019 at 5:16 PM | Posted in Mental Health, TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers of the series finale of Mr. Robot. Read at your own risk!

Will the real Elliot please stand up?

And damn right he did. That is, not until the penultimate episode of Mr. Robot’s series finale. After four incredible seasons, Mr. Robot aired its two-part series finale this week.

In the first part, Elliot Alderson seemed to have jumped back in time where he found himself in Washington Township – the place where he grew up in. Only this time, the town seemed oddly different. The town looked like it didn’t change at all after 20 years since Elliot was there. But some things did change: his father, a.k.a Mr. Robot, was alive and healthy. His mother was suddenly nice and loving towards him. And his sister Darlene didn’t exist. He’s supposedly an only child.

Then things got stranger as he soon found out that there was another Elliot Alderson living in the town who looked exactly like him – and engaged to be married to Angela who turned out to be alive. Who’s the other Elliot?

This second Elliot seemed to have the perfect life: he had a loving family, he’s the CEO of Allsafe – the anti-virus company that our Elliot (Elliot 1) used to work for, he had lots of friends and loved socializing with them, he’s engaged to be married to Angela who loved him, and his apartment looked so neat. It was all too perfect.

It felt disconcerting watching those scenes. I didn’t like this version of Elliot. And then came the shocker: Elliot 1 hacked Elliot 2’s computer and found sketches of himself, Darlene, and the rest of the original members of fsociety. What’s going on here? Who was this other Elliot? At first, I thought this was some kind of story similar to the movie Stranger Than Fiction where a fictional character written by a famous author became real. But then more was revealed in the second part of the show’s series finale.

In the second part, we finally found out that the Elliot Alderson we’ve seen in all seasons of the show and whom we have come to love wasn’t in fact real. Elliot 1 was apparently another persona that the real Elliot (Elliot 2) created in his mind. Elliot 2, who’s suffering from disassociative identity disorder (DID), had created five personas in his mind to cope with the harsh realities of his life: he created Mr. Robot, a different version of his mother, a much younger version of himself, Elliot 1 – the mastermind who was a hacker vigilante, and us viewers who he called “friend.” But Elliot 1 became such a dominant persona that it eventually took control of the real Elliot completely.

Honestly, I was kind of disappointed that Elliot 1 wasn’t the real Elliot. He was the one character in the show who I most relate with. He was an introvert like me. He had social anxiety just as I have and he was struggling with personal demons much like I am. He was just like me. But that character turned out to be just a figment of the real Elliot’s imagination.

But I loved the part where Elliot 1 and Darlene were in the hospital and he told her that he wasn’t the real Elliot. His last voice-over was so poignant and emotional that it almost sounded like a battle cry for people not to give up, to stay true to themselves. Then we saw the real Elliot emerged in the end with Darlene saying the final words in the show: “Hello, Elliot.”  I mean, that entire part brought tears to my eyes.

Overall, the series finale was a brilliant, mind-blowing one. I didn’t see the surprises coming. Everything fell into place in the finale – well, almost. It still left a few questions unanswered for me, such as:

  • Did Tyrell really die? What happened to him in the woods?
  • What exactly was whiterose’s machine capable of? There were hints of time travel but the finale didn’t make that clear.
  • Also, a news report stated that whiterose was killed by a terrorist attack. Was that really the case or was that just a coverup?
  • What happened to Dom?
  • What happened to the real Krista? Would she eventually know about the real Elliot?

A nice touch from the finale was the inclusion of the ‘80s classic song, “Mr. Roboto” in the penultimate episode, which most fans of the show were expecting (and hoping?) to hear. The show went through all three seasons without playing the song and now in season 4 they finally did. I chuckled when I heard the song being played in the background during the first few scenes of the episode. I never liked the song but hearing the lyrics now, I thought it was so fitting not only because of its resemblance to the title of the show but also because of the message in the song.

Season 4 of Mr. Robot came out a little weak and slow at the start of the season, but it picked up pace halfway through. The fifth episode, “Method Not Allowed,” was notable for not having much dialogue in it but it spoke volumes through fast-paced action, tense situations and creative display of text. Another episode that really stood out for me was “Conflict” where we saw Darlene doxed the Deus Group and whiterose, a.k.a Minister Zhang, shaken by fsociety’s hack on Cyprus National Bank. But one of my favorite episodes from the season apart from the finale was episode 7 titled “Proxy Authentication Required.” The scene between Elliot 1, Krista, Mr. Robot and Fernando Vera was powerful and intense and all the actors in it gave an astounding performance. Rami Malek, who plays Elliot, deserves another Emmy award from this scene alone.

I also want to note that this final season didn’t follow the usual format in naming the episodes. The previous three seasons had file names as episode titles, which I thought was really clever. I kind of miss that.

But I will surely miss this show. There wasn’t anything like it that I’ve ever seen. Its production values, unique story, brilliant writing and cinematography were what made the show one of the best in recent years.

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