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Review: 'Money Heist' Season 5 On Netflix: Is It A Return To Riches?

Money Heist La Casa de Papel Itziar Ituño Raquel Murillo Lisbon Álvaro Morte Sergio Marquina The Professor Najwa Nimri Alicia Sierra Netflix
Netflix

“Money Heist” (aka “La Casa de Papel”) is back after what has felt like an exceedingly long break. When it left off, the series was in the midst of lots of action as yet another “season” or “part” came to a close. Once again, it is the same heist, different season. Now to some good news. Season 5 (or Part 5) hints that the show’s uncharacteristic slump last season is not going to continue.

While lots of time has passed for viewers, it has stood still for all of your favorite characters. Despite Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) being around in Season 5, there are some bright spots. Lisbon (Itziar Ituño) holds her own, taking control from the regrettable Tokyo, who is now sporting a full-mullet. “Money Heist” initially has an excellent time blending Lisbon and Tokyo as their hot-and-cold relationship takes temperamental turns before it gets warm.

The Highlight of Season 5

The real action is in the plot twist “Money Heist” began to unleash as it left off last season. Season 5 picks up with it in the premiere. The Professor (Álvaro Morte) gets served a rude awakening fresh off his magnificent victory in the Season 4 finale as Alicia Sierra arrives in his secret lair. Alicia is still reeling from her career getting destroyed in a rush to cover up her illegal (sanctioned) activity.

So, it is time for the Professor to square off against his toughest competition yet, and there is added tension in their war of wills. Alicia (Najwa Nimri) is heavily pregnant, leaving her with the mother of all time bombs. It is nice to see the Professor challenged by someone that is genuinely his equal in a diabolical sense.

The Professor Vs. Alicia

Lisbon gave the Professor a run for his money, although she is not as ruthless as he is. Hence, the entrance of Alicia Sierra, a driven maniacal mind with a more sympathetic past than Tokyo, serves as a breath of fresh air for the gang. Finally, playing an edge “Money Heist” has not gotten to expound on fully. Season 5 comes alive thanks to the Professor and Alicia’s sparring.

This viewer had hoped Alicia would not only catch up with the Professor in Season 5. I also wished for them to join forces. So, the sound of them clashing early on is music to this “Money Heist” viewers’ ears. The premiere shows off some moving and insightful monologues. Finally, a return to riches for the series before it begins filling its episodes with superfluous flashbacks.

Berlin’s Storyline: The Pros and Cons

I have a feeling that there will be a split opinion online involving how “Money Heist” incorporates Berlin (Pedro Alonso) into Season 5. In the storyline, Berlin reunites with his estranged son, Rafael (Patrick Criado, “Unauthorized Living”), and before long coaches him in his first heist. Rafael is a stranger to thievery. Nevertheless, he is an engineering genius, and hence a master at the “craft.”

Interestingly, Berlin’s storyline juxtaposes and shines a light on why “Money Heist” is struggling at this point. Gone is the melody and momentum that the heist at the Bank of Spain had captured early on. If you thought the first heist was wearing on you by the time it wrapped up, this one takes the cake, smushes it in your face, and eats it.

WWII, According to “Money Heist.”

The main downside to Season 5 is that it wants to be a WWII movie, which is just, well…problematic. The heist has lost all of its momentum in favor of an all-out war. The magic that the Professor had mentioned earlier: the flourishes of deception, and shell games, is traded in for the sound of artillery, and it gets worse.

“Money Heist” tries to equivalate the gang’s struggle against the government to those that fought in the capture of Berlin. (A troubling assertion.) Speaking of whom, all soldiers get depicted as horrible immoral people. Season 5 broadens this disturbing trope to the degree that it is insulting to those who have served. The storytelling shows no “Punisher”-level sensitivity or empathy of any kind.

Denver and Stockholm

Denver (Jaime Lorente) has never been my favorite “Money Heist” character. However, he is leagues better than most of his counterparts, namely Tokyo and Rio (Miguel Herrán). Plus, his relationship with Stockholm has always provided an intriguing thread for the show to pull upon. Regrettably, for whatever reason, it feels as though the series gave up on writing for the pair as a couple once it returned for Season 3.

The second heist has torn the couple apart for plot-driven and confusing reasons. If anyone should be entirely devoted to one another, it is Denver and Stockholm (Esther Acebo). Yet, the show’s most surreal pairing has met more real-world “awakenings” than anyone else. The highlight in all of this is that Denver has matured past laughing all the time, giving Jaime Lorente a chance to endow Denver with “El Cid” worthy depth.

Final Thoughts

The series returned for Season 5 (Part 5) just in time for the weekend. It is the beginning of the end for the mega-popular Spanish TV show. There are ten episodes left overall, and Netflix has released the first half, with the second to follow on December 3 (the day before my birthday). So, I will be hard-pressed to watch anything else.

In that vein, let’s end on a high note. Season 5 is a return to riches, and “Money Heist” deserves major props for how it once again utilizes its soundtrack to boost the series’ epic feel. In addition, the score once again proves that it is a character unto itself and probably the most likable one (besides Helsinki). But, unfortunately, not everything that happens in Season 5 is music to the ears.

 “Money Heist” Season 1 through Season 5 (Part 1 - Part 5) are available to watch on Netflix. The sixth and final installment in the series will bow on December 3, so stay tuned.

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