TV Review: 'Money Heist' Season 4 Struggles To Strike It Rich

Money Heist La casa de papel Darko Perić Mirko Dragic Helsinki Alba Flores Ágata Jiménez Nairobi Miguel Herrán Aníbal Cortés Rio Itziar Ituño Raquel Murillo Lisbon Úrsula Corberó Silene Oliveira Tokyo Álvaro Morte Sergio Marquina The Professor Salvador Salva Martín Esther Acebo Mónica Gaztambide Stockholm Jaime Lorente Daniel Ricardo Ramos Denver Rodrigo de la Serna Martín Berrote Palermo The Engineer Netflix
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“Money Heist” (“La Casa De Papal”) recently returned for Season 4 (Part 4) on Netflix, and the result is somewhere between addictive and bewildering. There is no doubt it, an eight-episode season serves the series well. It has a nice flow and clip to it. Unlike the first two installments, “Money Heist” does not have any issues with its pace.

Spoilers for the previous season of “Money Heist” are discussed below.

The series picks up where it left off amid the climactic cliffhanger that saw The Professor flip out and declare total war on authorities. From that moment, “Money Heist” took a surrealistic bent, and Season 4 acts as a sort of fevered dream up until its conclusion returns to form. For the most part, “Money Heist” is not itself.

There are a lot of missing pieces, including “Bella ciao,” and that is not the only thing strangely absent from the proceedings. The Professor only pulls two slick schemes, and his and Lisbon/The Inspector’s scenes are what you probably imagined. “Money Heist” should know where its fortune lies, and it is with them.

Sadly, Season 4 invests way too much of its time in Tokyo. A character who ran out of any allure well into the first half of its debut season. Even Rio has shown some personal growth at this point, while Tokyo remains stagnant in the worst way.

Season 4 suffers as it focuses on Tokyo’s countless desperate attempts for power. Compared to the rest of the canvas, Tokyo has no versatile appeal. She has one thing on her mind – herself, and the worst part is she acts as if that is not true. “Money Heist” is weighed down by the notion that a criminal gang would tolerate such an entity inside its ranks.

Aside from struggling to reconcile Tokyo’s continued presence, “Money Heist” also finds difficulty justifying its leaps to the past. As someone curious to learn more about Berlin and The Professor’s history (for instance, why the latter knows Russian), “Money Heist” offers no further insight. Its focus remains trapped on the heist, which itself peters out in terms of momentum.

If “Money Heist” wants to keep Berlin in the picture, this viewer would prefer if it used flashbacks of him to draw a better view of a broader past. That only happens in one scene towards the very end. There are a lot of missing years, and it would be nice to know how that unfolded for Berlin and The Professor. Season 4 offers nothing in this regard.

It is clear that “Money Heist” has gotten sentimental over its characters and found it impossible to let them go despite the story necessitating that it is time to move on. Season 4 is indicative of a series that knows it needs to make certain ones exit but cannot do it (see: Arturo). It is an issue that permeates the overall plot.

There are many loose ends that The Professor misses besides Tokyo. Another character that The Professor should have foreseen being a significant problem and made sure was out of the equation remains a frustrating inclusion. It weighs down the ability to suspend disbelief and go with what “Money Heist” is trying to sell.

Simply put, there is no way The Professor should have missed them, and “Money Heist” adds insult to injury with the twist that he did not. The apparent device plays its hand, drawing out the heist for an unseemly amount of time in Season 4, and it is glaring.

In the romance department, things are no better. “Money Heist” contrives tension between Stockholm/Monica and Denver with a bizarre love triangle that has as its third angle an out of nowhere participant. It is develment like this that are so disingenuous to the characters as they have previously been presented that it makes Season 4 tough to accept as canon.

“Money Heist” clearly wants to go from A to C and has made outlandish leaps in justifying B in the past. Those jumps never betrayed its characters until now. Season 4 pushes beyond all reason with a B that commits the most bothersome of all plot devices.

In this regard, “Money Heist” sacrifices the characters for plot progress, and that is a deal one should never make. The Professor circa pre-Season 4 would hopefully agree. If there is a Season 5, I hope wealthier days lie ahead for this once-excellent series.

“Money Heist” Season 1 through 4 (aka Parts 1-4) is currently streaming on Netflix. There are a lot of other great television options to check out if you need something to watch while you wait for word on a potential Season 5 (Part 5).

Rating: 6/10