Money Heist, S5 part 2 review: Spanish drama delivers sweet and stirring send-off to fans

Picking up just moments after the death of ostensibly its lead character Tokyo, the second half of the final season of Money Heist, delivers a stirring and sweet send-off to the remaining members of “The Resistance”.

Deven Kanal December 06, 2021 08:16:14 IST
Money Heist, S5 part 2 review: Spanish drama delivers sweet and stirring send-off to fans

It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.

While that’s certainly partly true when it comes to books, movies and TV shows, most of the time that line has been pushed by incompetent and irritable creatives to a furious fanbase when a pop culture phenomenon ends with a fizz instead of fireworks.

The past couple of decades have seen big name after big name – from HBO’s The Sopranos and Game of Thrones (the gold standard for terrible final seasons and finales) to Showtime’s Dexter* and Netflix’s House of Cards crash and burn when attempting to stick the landing.

All these years later, poor Sopranos creator David Chase is still trying to explain what happened to Tony in those befuddling moments when the television turned to black as the series ended and many thought their TV screens had malfunctioned. Sidenote: stop asking Chase what happened to Tony. For the love of God, stop asking Chase what happened to Tony.

While House of Cards’ final outing was knee-capped by the developments surrounding its star Kevin Spacey, who continues to make headlines in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, the show had long since degenerated from camp into blatant self-parody. That’s setting aside the fact that the election of Donald Trump to the White House, and the events that unfolded during his tenure, revealed politics to be more Veep than West Wing.

The Wire die-hards may rant about the decline in writing quality and outlandish and scarcely-believable plot twists in its latter seasons, but even the worst excesses of the show leave it leagues better than standard fare cop drama.

The creatives behind Game of Thrones delivered their version of George RR Martin’s promised “bittersweet” closure to his A Song of Ice and Fire saga with a nonsensical and borderline nihilistic ending by a heel turn (a term and concept with which most professional wrestling fans have grown sadly familiar over the past three decades) by its most beloved character and heroine Daenerys Targaryen.

Not only did the showrunners tarnish their own reputations – it didn’t help that they cancelled all public appearances afterward and basically went into hiding from their own outraged fanbase – but also diminished the legacy of one of HBO’s greatest shows. A nifty trick if I’ve ever seen one and perhaps never to be emulated.

Perhaps the most interesting show on this list is Showtime’s Dexter. Before GOT’s flaccid and flailing final seasons, Dexter was widely acknowledged as the undisputed king of bad TV endings. The mere existence of the show’s revival points to those in the know acknowledging what a terrible send-off the character and the series gave its fans and trying to make good.

Which brings us to Money Heist. Which is, at this moment, the biggest TV show in the world and a cultural behemoth.

Back in September, when Money Heist killed off Tokyo, one of the show’s central characters, in part 1 of its fifth season, the question many of us asked is: What now? Can Money Heist do what so few huge pop culture juggernauts have done before it and end on a satisfying note?

Now, we have the answer.

Yes.

Picking up just moments after the death of ostensibly its lead character Tokyo, the second half of the final season of Money Heist, delivers a stirring and sweet send-off to the remaining members of “The Resistance”.

The character of Tokyo may be dead in the show, but it’s her voice – and spirit of her character – that continues to guide characters and serves as a catalyst by sending the Professor into a physical and emotional tailspin from which he tries to spend the rest of the season trying to recover.

Money Heist S5 part 2 review Spanish drama delivers sweet and stirring sendoff to fans

Meanwhile, former inspector Sierra has used this development to give her captors the slip. The former inspector’s continued attempts to get her life back by delivering the Professor to Tamayo goes about as well as can be expected.

The inevitable team up between the Professor and Sierra – a marriage of convenience (with a baby in tow no less!) as she so rightly puts it – and their escape from the quickly closing police dragnet around them is typical of the Professor: fiendishly clever and delightful to watch.

Back at the Bank of Spain, the gang begin sending the melted down gold through the underground pipes – using the pump Berlin previously stole – to a storm water tank where Benjamin’s crew begin refashioning it into gold bars.

All those flashbacks with Berlin culminate with our heroes being relieved of the treasure they’ve literally bled for by Berlin’s lovely wife Tatiana and his nerdish son Rafael – Chekhov’s gun anyone? – adding another twist in the tale and giving the Professor and Sierra yet another obstacle to overcome.

Truly, there is no honour among thieves.

As the resistance of The Resistance members at the Bank of Spain is finally broken by the special forces, it all comes down to the final bargaining chip: those precious gold bars that serve as Spain’s national reserve, and a showdown between the Professor and a frothing, unyielding Tamayo.

The captive Professor, in a callback to a face-to-face he had with a tied-up Raquel about paper money all the way back in Season 2, makes the same argument to Tamayo about the importance of having the gold bars safe and secure in the vault: it’s an illusion. A magic trick. A shadow on the wall that only gives it meaning because we, the public, say it has meaning.

But there’s time, there’s a difference. This time, the Professor – much like Walter White in the final season of Breaking Bad – makes no attempt to dress up his arguments with a critique of the elites or of the financial system. He finally admits why he does what he does and what he is: a thief.

Quite why our society so enjoys watching anti-heroes on the screen is a discussion best saved for another column.

All Money Heist fans should know is that while it doesn’t quite deliver the highs of the earlier seasons, there’s more than enough to keep the die-hards happy.

And if not, there’s always the Berlin spin-off coming to Netflix in 2023.

Money Heist is streaming on Netflix.

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