Review: 'Money Heist' Season 3 (Part 3) Thrillingly Ups The Ante

Money Heist La Casa de Papel The Professor Salvador Salva Martín Sergio Marquina Álvaro Morte
“Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) manages to steal all the attention it demands during its enrapturing third outing. Season 3 (Part 3 on Netflix) takes everything the series established during its debut effort (its characters, tension, and mythos), and escalates it, tenfold.

Picking up two years after the initial heist was "successfully" completed, everyone is living their own happy ending. “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) finds the gang doing splendidly. Only to have their happiness upended by the two members, who should have never been a part of the team, to begin with -- Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) and Rio (Miguel Herrán).

Unsatisfied by life in paradise with Rio, Tokyo decides to head inland for some adventure away from her so-called beloved. Rio makes a desperate attempt to contact her, ultimately leading to his capture, and “Money Heist's” next plotline. Tokyo uses the Professor's contingency plan to reunite with him and beg for his help in rescuing Rio.

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

Before long, the whole team is reunited, as the Professor (Álvaro Morte, “Mirage”) readies his next big heist to save Rio. The great news is that everyone in the eclectic group is back for Season 3 (Part 3), including new recruit, Lisbon (aka former Inspector Raquel Murrillo). Yes, she and the Professor are still together and doing quite well. Thank you!

“Money Heist” does a fantastic job weaving everyone back into the fray. For those who need a break from Rio's immaturity, his time away serves the story as a whole.

The strategies and elaborate planning remain brilliantly executed. In doing so, the crime thriller delivers one of the rare sequel seasons to outdo its predecessor. The threading is tighter, the flow more consistent, and the result is a steadier season that never lulls for long.

There is character development that includes the audience learning more about its leading players, without utilizing abundant backstory to do so. Each episode also builds with greater intensity. There is little in the way of filler, and the leaner meat proves healthy.

“Money Heist” also manages to cleverly work in the Professor's scene-stealing brother, Berlin (Pedro Alonso). His death at the end of Season 2 (Part 2) made a comeback among the living, impossible. However, the magic of flashback storytelling helps herald him back to life.

To its credit, this does not come off as a ploy to have an integral character return. Nor does it diminish the emotional impact of Berlin’s death. “Money Heist” had already utilized flashbacks in its previous season. So, to use it as a catalyst to further explore Berlin and his relationship with the Professor feels earned.

Money Heist La Casa de Papel Nairobi Ágata Jiménez Alba Flores
Image by Tamara Arranz / Netflix

Season 3’s heist is equally entertaining, creative, and much faster-paced than its first. It is more vivid in terms of spectacle and plays well on-camera. The Bank of Spain provides quite a vision, and while a lot of the action takes place there, it never grows stagnant.

It is also worth noting that “Money Heist” makes incredible use of its score, using a broader range of music. The revitalized soundtrack helps breathe new and expanded life into the scenery and overall aesthetic of the series.

What made “Money Heist” work so well in its first two seasons was its colorful cast of characters. All of whom inject the idiosyncratic beats of comedy sewn through the high drama that thrusts the series forward. A knack that continues to amaze and boggle. “Money Heist” is unique, and it embraces it full tilt.

The series also manages to do what few of its kind have. Play the police with as much mental acumen as the thieves. The Professor remains an ingenious strategist who thankfully maintains all of his intellectual integrity (looking at you “Ozark”).

Instead of relying on undermining the Professor’s genius to drive story, “Money Heist” raises the stakes by giving him a formidable opponent, and it works.

The romance between the Professor and the Inspector is also incredibly well-realized. Their relationship is complicated, messy, and lovely, nonetheless. “Money Heist” does not shy away from its edges, nor does it ignore its smoothness to create unnecessary drama. The show has struck gold with them, and it buys a lot with their dynamic.

The cast gives another round of mesmeric performances. Standouts include Álvaro Morte as the Professor, Itziar Ituño as Raquel/Lisbon, and Alba Flores as Nairobi. Flores continuing to thrill as the headstrong scene-stealer.

In many ways, Nairobi is the emotional engine of the show, and she continually fuels it towards new heights. “Money Heist” relies on her in a way that it does with few other characters. In fact, I wish she narrated it instead of Tokyo.

Nairobi is complex. Underneath her confident veneer is an intricately crafted pathos that hinges on Alba Flores' engaging performance to relay. To say she is one of the series’ most fascinatingly rendered characters would be putting it mildly.

Series creator, Álex Pina, ensures that “Money Heist” thrives in the face of growing expectations. While the wait for Season 4 (Part 4) is going to be painful, the show has given viewers a lot to profoundly contemplate in the meantime.

Rating: 9.5/10

The first three seasons/parts of “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) are currently streaming on Netflix.

[Featured Image by Netflix]