By Ben Helme
This month Money Heist came to an end. The jumpsuits, the Dali masks, and the city monikers are all iconic. It’s a global phenomenon, being Netflix’s most watched show of 2020. As such, the finale had a lot to live up to, and I wasn’t sure whether it would manage to. It did.
These episodes concluded the heist of the Bank of Spain, with numerous twists in each episode. Where other shows’ twists often feel gratuitous, here they seem natural. This realism is quite a feat given the outlandish premise. It’s impressive that they can still surprise us in a way that doesn’t feel forced after five seasons. It’s because the plot developments stem from brilliantly fleshed-out characters. The writing and acting of The Professor (Alvaro Morte) are particularly strong – he stands among the most impressive creations of recent television.
On the contrary, his brother Berlin, despite undoubtedly being a fan favourite, was the show’s weakness. They didn’t know when to get rid of him, and there were a few too many flashback scenes to keep him in the story. On the plus side, these diversions occupied less of the runtime than they did in previous seasons.
Best of all, it’s as clever as ever. As the pressure on the robbers mounts, they are shown making plans in real time, as well as actioning their prepared plots. It’s exhilarating, and it makes for great TV. A common fan opinion is that the show gets less clever over time as it becomes more action-packed. For me, the conflict between the robbers and the authorities never stops being a game of chess. It just becomes a game of chess that’s played with grenades. As such it’s just as engaging, but the stakes are higher.
The final season, despite never taking its foot off the pedal or letting the stakes slip, still makes room for quieter character moments. Some of these plots are a little dull, and most of the romances are still far-fetched, but this sustained human focus is admirable, and it grounds the action. We remember why we care about the people being shot at.
Overall, it’s an excellent ending to a great piece of television.