Spoiler-Free Review: Netflix's 'Money Heist' Season 1 And Season 2

Money Heist La Casa de Papel Álvaro Morte The Professor Salvador Salva Martín Sergio Marquina
Do not worry, I am not about to spoil a thing about “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) Season 1 or Season 2. Giving you a general idea and handle of what to expect? You got it. “Money Heist” is a gripping heist series that does what few of its kind ever has.

For over 20 episodes in the Netflix format, Season 1 and 2 (Part 1 and 2 on Netflix) centers on a singular act of brazen theft. Set over the course of several days, “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) follows eight robbers, who sport the code names of famous cities.

On the inside, they carry out the hostage-taking robbery of the Royal Mint of Spain in Madrid. Their goal? To print €2.4 billion. They are led on the outside by the Professor (Álvaro Morte, “Mirage”), who has engineered every detail down to a science.

As well-prepared as he is, and with every contingency in mind, the Professor has not entirely braced himself for what making his plan a reality will entail. There are outside forces that make the waters murkier. The dynamics between the robbers and the hostages, marking one such instance.

The story that plays out between the Salvador Dali-masked thieves is just one facet of an incredibly complex series. “Money Heist” trades in being a heist-centric thriller, while upping the ante with its human drama. There is a sense of the sensational that plays out without ever treating it as over-the-top. All of it falls under the realm of realistic possibility.

Could it happen? Sure. Would it? “Money Heist” is written to give it every sense of realism. The suspense that builds throughout Season 1 and 2 is considerable, all leading to a heart-pounding finale. There are only a few times, this viewer can recall feeling that level of heightened emotions as one played out.

It is further proof that the extensive episode count is fully leveraged. Twenty episodes on a single heist can seem rather exorbitant. Is it entirely necessary? In the end, it pays off and that it is all any show can say. “Money Heist” cashes in on all of the emotional terrain it cultivates by leveraging it for an incredible cache of final episodes.

Money Heist La Casa de Papel Tokyo Silene Oliveira Úrsula Corberó
Image by Netflix

The dynamic between the Professor (aka Salva) and Raquel Murillo, the inspector tasked with bringing him and his plans down is one of the most intriguing, television has recently seen. “Money Heist” compellingly portrays two parallel relationships between the pair.

There is the colorful real-world cat-and-mouse aspect between them as thief and policewoman. Meanwhile, there is the simultaneously sweet and tender relationship between Raquel and “Salva.” To say, the latter is a coupling that is easy to root for would be an understatement.

The Professor and inspector’s relationship and pretty much everything else is golden. What does not work is a much shorter list, albeit a glaring issue that “Money Heist” struggles to overcome. Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) and Rio (Miguel Herrán) are both deeply unlikable characters, who annoy at every turn. Their selfish and rash natures should make them a no-go for such an operation.

How a person as brilliant as the Professor would even agree to have them on the team is the hardest bit of fiction to buy. “Money Heist” deals in a great deal of spectacle that it sells with much greater ease. Rio and Tokyo’s romance is not compelling. It is self-centric lust, pure, and straightforward. Hence, there is nothing to love or root for regarding their relationship.

The acting ensemble that “Money Heist” has assembled to carry out its elaborate tale is remarkable. As actors, their work together is positively spellbinding and believable. The characters are written with grooves and edges that the cast leans into, many seizing them for all they are worth.

Standouts among the hostage-takers include Pedro Alonso as the unnerving Berlin, Alba Flores as the scene-stealing Nairobi, and Paco Tous as the group's father figure, Moscow. On the outside of the Mint; Álvaro Morte as the Professor and Itziar Ituño as Inspector Raquel Murillo, spin pure magic on their own and together.

“Money Heist” is a well-executed tale of theft, philosophy, and endless intrigue. Ensemble pieces are always tricky. The way series’ creator Álex Pina has crafted the show, you would never know that. It is worth the binge-watch. Just be patient as you wade your way through it. Like any decent plan, it takes time.

Season 1 (aka Part 1) Rating: 8/10

Season 2 (aka Part 2) Rating: 9/10

Season 1 (Part 1), Season 2 (Part 2), and Season 3 (Part 3) of “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) are currently streaming on Netflix, along with lots of other content.

[Featured Image by Netflix]