La Casa De Papel Money Heist Season Review

La Casa De Papel / Money Heist – Seasons One & Two

"Hope is kind of like dominos. Once one falls - the rest follow."

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Note: The show aired in Spain as one season comprising fifteen 70-minute episodes. Netflix re-edited them into 2 seasons worth of episodes (the first season being 13 and the second being 9). It’s unnecessarily confusing because people assume the show is two seasons, when it is in fact a one-season show.

It’s been a while since a TV show took the world by storm, and La Casa De Papel (also known as Money Heist) is doing exactly that. But does it deserve all the hype?

The short answer is yes! While it’s not perfect TV by any means (think The Good Fight, Game of Thrones, Alias Grace), it’s an incredibly entertaining production that’s both thrilling, and remarkably easy to watch. Casa is made to be bingewatched, particularly because its story is very self contained: a mysterious man named The Professor recruits a gang of eight to pull off the greatest robbery the world has ever seen. It’s a simple premise, but it hooks you right from the start without wasting any time. In fact, The Professor’s ingenuity reminded me of Michael Scofield’s brilliance in Prison Break (season one at least, before the show went off the rails and straight into endless ridiculousness). The constant surprises keep you on your toes, and the many cliffhangers are expertly deployed. Bravo!

A Spanish Blockbuster

The thing that’s most impressive about Casa is that it doesn’t feel like a European production. The cinematography rivals that of Hollywood’s most prestigious creations, the music is exceptional, and the performances are outstanding across the board. This is high quality TV – and you can’t fault a single aspect from a technical perceptive. The script on the other hand…

Too Long

It must be said that Casa is far too long for its own good. I was never really bored, but I did wish the show was shorter. Compact series like The Night Of,  Big Little Lies, and The Handmaid’s Tale, have proven that TV is much more gripping when the drama isn’t needlessly stretched out. Casa loses a bit of momentum in the middle, and I am certain it would have been even more impactful if a few episodes were trimmed off.

Scene Stealers

The greatest thing about Papel is that the show’s gang of misfits is perfectly cast. As inspector Raquel Murillo, the heroine at the center of the story, Itziar Ituño is both charismatic and relatable. Leading the other end of the story is Alvaro Morte as the above-mentioned Professor. His antagonist is wonderfully layered, and his scenes with Raquel are especially memorable. However, my personal favorite performer of the show is Alba Flores who plays Nairobi, a sharp-tongued and often-hilarious robber who steals (pardon the pun) all her scenes. Other standouts include Pedro Alonso’s brilliant turn as Berlin, the show’s complex baddie who injects a delicious sense of menace throughout.

An Uncertain Future

Unfortunately, Money Heist has proven to be such a gargantuan hit that Netflix has decided to bring the show back for a “third” season. I honestly can’t see the series sustaining itself organically for another year, especially after a pretty perfect ending. I’ll be watching of course, but I’m nervous that money-hungry Netflix will tarnish the show’s legacy in the process.

Bank Bits

Warning: this section is packed with spoilers so avoid until you’re done with the show.

– Raise your hand if you loved the show’s opening credits and theme song. Listen here.

– How great were Denver and Stockholm (Monica)? Although it’s a bit insane that they “fell in love” in the span of a few days, they were certainly my favorite couple on the show.

– I never really loved Tokyo as a character, but her motorcycle crash into the bank was super cool.

– Berlin’s dynamic with Ariadna REALLY disturbed me.

– One of my favorite scenes of the year: The Professor about to murder Raquel’s mom until he realizes she has dementia and spares her.

– Is Arturo the most annoying character of all time?

– The coolest thing about the show: the fact that the characters are named after cities.

– I wish the show killed off Helsinki and not Oslo. That would have left more impact since we knew the former more and would have actually felt something. Moscow’s death was a bit more effective, but I still think he could have been developed further.

– Berlin’s death was just perfect.

– The show’s ending with Raquel and the Professor at the bar, echoing their first meeting, was the ideal way to end the narrative. Although I had issues with pairing them together – it’s too “Hollywood” to have the lead inspector fall in love with the kidnapper – the actors made it work! Now let’s please end the story here!

Conclusion

It’s not perfect, but La Casa De Papel is an impeccably produced thrill-ride that features  likeable characters and compelling plot twists.

Nad Rating
A-

8 comments

  1. Had it not been for the Professor and Nairobi (miss u Berlin), I wouldn’t be looking forward to season 3 (or 2 in reality), the ending was just perfect. WHY THE NEED TO RENEW PERFECTLY ENDED SHOWS ?! WHY ? WHY?

    Otherwise, it’s one big fat A for me 😀

  2. SPOILR ALERTS:
    I guess I’m in the minority but I didn’t think the ending worked. First, after a brief lecture on the evils of capitalism and banking from the Professor, dedicated veteran cop Raquel sees the light and decides to help him. She betrays her partner (and one-time lover) who has just emerged from a coma. Her partner, in turn, betrays the law enforcement agencies trying to crack the case. Then Raquel, at the very end, puts together a post-card jigsaw puzzle that tells her where the Professor is. Why would he have left such clues when, at the time, he didn’t know that Raquel truly loved him? And, finally, dedicated mom and daughter, Raquel, apparently abandoned her mother and child to meet up with the Professor on a tropical paradise. Otherwise, this show was brilliant: one of the best in years.

    1. Very true. I didn’t even think that she left her daughter and mother at the end. Loved all your points and looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on other shows Rocco 😁

  3. Arturo was very annoying, in fact, i wish he died in the shoot out at the top of the building. He shouldn’t be brought along in the next season. Berlin was marvellous and quite humorous, I loved how he acted the whole thing like a leader and always trusting in the Professor no matter what.I rate Tokyo 8/10. Denver was really amazing and his love story with Monicah is beautifully crafted. to some extend I hate Rio for sometimes being a kid but his role was amazing. HOWEVER, Nairobi is my favorite, beautiful voice, dedicated, trusting Berlin at the most important times and the fact that she choose the name of my Country, Kenya. Please, if its possible to raise Berlin from death, then let it be done. funny part- raQuel tells The professor that she will never pull a gun on her and does it in their next meeting. Raquels’ husband tells her that that man is nothing but a ninja on spects!

    1. Thank you fo commenting Muisyo! I’m so glad you liked Nairobi too because she was def my favorite by far! I don’t know how I feel about the show getting another season; I feel like the story is over but I guess Netflix want to make more money! Fingers crossed it’s good!

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