Emerson Furgason ‘24 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Considering the incredible global success of Netflix’s Spanish-language crime thriller Money Heist, it comes with no surprise that fans of the show were extremely eager to see their favorite red jumpsuit-wearing bank robbers grace the screen one last time. After a pandemic-induced delay and a year’s wait, the first installment of the hit show’s final season was released on Sept 3. However, the question remains: did season five of Money Heist live up to the hype?
Money Heist’s fifth season doesn’t waste any time delving right back into the action, picking up from season four’s cliffhanger ending. The mastermind behind the group’s heist, known primarily as the Professor (Álvaro Morte), is pinned down in his secret lair by disgraced police inspector Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri). With the Professor out of commission, no escape plan, and military forces lining up to enter the Bank of Spain, all seems lost for viewers’ favorite ragtag bunch of bank robbers. In turn, the crew members trapped in the Bank of Spain—Rio (Miguel Herrán), Bogota (Kovik Keuchkerian), Denver (Jaime Lorente), Stockholm (Esther Acebo), Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó), Helsinki (Darko Peric), Palermo (Rodrigo de la Serna) and Lisbon (Itziar Ituño)—are forced to improvise.
This improvisation is the reason for the sheer amount of over-the-top and almost pointless action sequences that comprise almost every episode this season. Although the flashy gunfights and explosions are initially entertaining, they are so repetitive and lose their shock value as the season progresses. These corny videogame-like shoot-em-up sequences get increasingly more irritating as viewers become aware that they are completely unnecessary. The team does not try to come up with any actual battle or escape tactics, leaving viewers questioning whether or not these are the same “experienced” bank robbers that stole millions from the Royal Mint of Spain in seasons one and two.
Moreover, one of the show’s biggest draws is undoubtedly the entertaining, almost ridiculous plans created by the incredible mind of the Professor. In previous seasons, watching the crew pull off the absurd plans was the main source of shock and enjoyment. Thus, it felt extremely out of character and unbelievable that the Professor did not have a backup plan to help the crew escape just in case things went awry. Since the writers clearly did not care much about maintaining the Professor’s character arc, it is unsurprising that his screen time was reduced significantly this season.
He isn’t the only one though—fan favorites Rio, Helsinki, and Palermo were severely underutilized as well. While previous seasons balanced screen time amongst the ensemble cast, season five seems to fixate on offering screen time to newer characters, such as Manila (Belén Cuesta) and Gandia (José Manuel Poga). Considering this is Money Heist’s final season, it felt wasteful for the writers to try and introduce new faces to the mix. Instead, this season would have been more successful and engaging if characters fans know well—such as Rio and the Professor—weren’t reduced to whiny, uninvolved messes.
Finally, the writers obviously wanted the real “wow” factor of this season to be Tokyo’s death. While her death left a tremendous impact, considering her role as the show’s narrator, it came with no significant shock. Each episode was littered with flashbacks of Tokyo’s life before getting involved with the Professor’s plans, which felt like a blatantly lazy and last-ditch effort by the writers to make us care more about her. These flashbacks revealed how she felt about an old flame, but they added nothing to the show’s central plot and almost made her death feel imminent. Flashbacks were undoubtedly commonplace this season, with several featuring the deceased Berlin (Pedro Alonso) and newcomer Rafael (Patrick Criado), Berlin’s MIT-educated son. The inclusion of these flashbacks plus the constant jumping back and forth in time muddled the plot significantly, especially since they didn’t connect back to the heist going on in the present in any shape or form.
The newest season of Money Heist has been the series’ weakest yet. It feels as though the writers have run out of ideas, becoming dependent on the inclusion of Hollywood-level action sequences to keep viewers engaged. Moreover, killing the show’s de facto main character and narrator somehow felt lackluster. Tokyo’s death did not come out of left field, so there wasn’t any shock value. The second part of Money Heist’s final season is set to release on Dec. 3, so fans won’t have to wait too long to see how the story ends. Hopefully, the second part of the final season focuses on the qualities that made the show so well-loved in the first place: the absurd survival tactics and friendship bonds forged between viewers’ beloved group of Salvador-Dali, mask-wearing robbers.