Review: “Money Heist: Season Four” is still intense but increasingly predictable


Courtesy of Netflix

Ver Lumod

“Money Heist,” Netflix’s internationally popular non-English language series that’s bafflingly underrated, storms back with a fourth season that’s just as thrilling yet unsurprising.

The masked robbers donning red jumpsuits and named after world cities are still taking the Bank of Spain under siege. However, complications set in as their leader, The Professor, played by Alvaro Morte, contends with new threats in and out of the building. As Tokyo, played by Ursula Corbero, unreliably narrates the overall story in the same vein as “Narcos,” the gang have seemingly betrayed their pacifist credentials to the ever supportive public. Hostage negotiator Alicia Sierra, played by Najwa Nimri, proves to be just as much an unpredictable force to reckon with, as one of the robbers’ life hangs in the balance. The show’s impeccable brand of never trusting anyone continues to captivate and bewilder the seasoned viewer.

It’s quite impossible to give away important plot points to “La Casa de Papel,” the original and more elegant name of the Spanish show, without revealing spoilers. It’s one of those shows where one has to watch all the way back to the first few seasons, which feature a memorable heist at the Royal Mint of Spain. Besides, the show has always been efficient in providing twists, which should reward anyone who doesn’t mind having to read the subtitles and actually bothers to watch the show.

Since this season is a continuation of the previous one plotwise, there’s nothing new to be said. Of course, the fact that “Money Heist” goes global is always noteworthy, especially in the case of its flashbacks that provide some insight into the stakes that went with planning the Bank of Spain heist. The show has never been subtle in showcasing how far it’s come from its humble beginnings as a serial show for Spanish network Antena 3. Now championed by streaming giant Netflix, creator Alex Pina has now been able to flaunt the show’s cinematic (and budgetary) muscles to make it more appealing to the general viewer.

Make no mistake, “Money Heist” is pure escapism. But it’s the type of escapism that’s undeniably done so well that it’s no wonder why the world has become enthralled with its ensuing phenomenon. Its emphasis on pulse-pounding action paired with the type of melodrama that’s typical of Spanish TV shows has assured “La Casa de Papel” of its international appeal. Its eclectic main characters, Robin Hood types clad in red jumpsuits and Salvador Dalí masks, are also symbolic of the cathartic release that the general public needs in the global anti-establishment feeling exhibited these days.

However, it’s not without glaring problems, especially with this particular season. While humans generally have the capacity to act based on emotional instinct, in the show’s case it’s done all too frequently and needlessly, laying waste to some character arcs. Season four’s inevitable focus on violence to achieve some goals becomes counterproductive by a long shot and provides nothing new to the story. And with “Money Heist” on the heels of becoming a global phenomenon lies the risk of recycling old plot dynamics to satisfy old fans, a similar fate that befell “Prison Break.” It will be an agonizing case as the show’s producers try to come up with new ways to lock the viewer in with the hostages and the robbers.

The new season of “Money Heist” is undeniably fast-paced with a few surprises along the way. While frustratingly predictable and with flagrant leaps in logic, one always hopes the masked robbers get out of the Bank of Spain alive and have their plan executed to an agreeable extent. With season five seemingly on the horizon, it looks like anyone still has time to catch up on the show and the phenomenon — and sing along to “Bella Ciao” at the top of their lungs.

To watch “Money Heist: Season Four,” click here.