What follows is a ramble about Season 4 of the hit Spanish Netflix series Money Heist aka La Casa de Papel, and does contain some spoilers, and if you haven’t seen Seasons 1-3, what the Dickens are you doing here? Begone now!
Money Heist makes for addictive viewing with most episodes ending with a hook for the next and Season 4 is no different. I was somewhat critical of Season 3 in my previous post, but, while it still lacks much character development (the groundwork already having been done in previous seasons) I think Season 4 is better.
As you would expect, it picks up where Season 3 ended – with two main plot points hanging. Firstly was the question mark over the fate of the Professor (Álvaro Morte), the mastermind working on the outside to support the heist, after hearing the supposed fatal shooting of his partner ex-Police Inspector Raquel Murillo (Itziar Ituño) aka Lisbon, blowing his cover in the forest and being tracked by the police. Secondly is the fate of Nairobi (Alba Flores) in the bank who appeared to be fatally shot through a window by a police sniper.
While most of the third season revolves around the story of how the Professor saves Lisbon, there’s also a lot more going on and it’s not surprising that anyone expecting the heist to be wrapped up by the end of the eighth episode will be sadly, or like me gladly, disappointed. Nairobi, who has a bullet in her lung, is saved by the team, the medical equipment they conveniently brought with them and help via a satellite link to a Pakistani surgeon. She’s then put through the mill and mirroring the events of the previous heist, Stockholm loses another buddy.
There’s no drama without conflict and while the police outside of the bank seem particularly ineffectual in this season, there’s a more immediate threat from the inside when Gandia (José Manuel Poga) the chief of security gets loose and does a kind of Die Hard fight from the inside the bank. Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) who continues to narrate the show is captured by him and held hostage in a secret safe room the usually meticulous Professor has failed to spot on the bank’s blueprints.
Although the show does again revolve around the dynamics within the troupe of red boiler-suited characters, Rio (Miguel Herrán), who is suffering from PTSD as a result of his illegal torture, and Stockholm (Esther Acebo) take somewhat of a backseat in this season. Her relationship with Denver (Jamie Lorente) seems to be on the rocks, as does Rio’s relationship with ‘Maserati’ Tokyo. Flashbacks predominantly focus on The Professor and Nairobi, the action around Gandia and the Professor, and the interplay between Lisbon and maverick police negotiator Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri).
As usual, even though this heist was supposedly brought together in a rush to save Rio, the Professor seems to have every possible move and countermove totally thought through like a game of chess. Only Sierra seems to be a match for the Professor’s cunning and when her illegal actions are revealed to the public, she won’t let the investigation go and follows the ‘rogue cop’ trope in trying to track down the Professor on her own. The season cliffhanger is her finding him in his control room.
The sense of edge of your seat tension, somewhat lacking in the previous season, is back. The choice of music, camera angles, and editing all help and the dubbed voice actors are pretty good too. They all help to distract you completely from some of the nonsense going on – mobile calls being made when there’s supposedly an electromagnetic lockdown around the bank, a sniper rifle bullet not blowing a gaping exit wound in Nairobi’s back, and the gang using a Chinook to drop Lisbon off at the bank.
For fans of the show it’s an absolute no-brainer to continue to ignore these technicalities and to keep watching and for those who are thinking about investing time watching the show, I’d suggest starting at the beginning with E1S1. You will not be disappointed. This is not a slow-burner show – if you aren’t immediately hooked, then leave it and go watch Ozark or something!
I’m still trying figure out how melting the gold bars from inside the vault into small pellets of a certain diameter will help them get out of the bank with it. It must have something to do with pellets taking on a kind of quasi-liquid form where they can be poured through tubing, but beyond that I’m at a loss. I’m sure, as ever, that the Professor has a plan…