Pipa Is Back In 'Recurrence' But Is It The Movie Series' Best?

Pipa Recurrence Manuela 'Pipa' Pelari Luisana Lopilato Netflix

“Recurrence” (aka “Pipa”) is the third movie in what Netflix categorizes as the South American collection. It continues the story of Pipa (an always salient, Luisana Lopilato). In a deviation from film series norms, the latest installment takes viewers to yet another timeline. Allow me to explain.

The first movie in the series (“Perdida”) kicked things off in the “present day.” Despite being the third film in the series, “Recurrence” is the follow-up to “Perdida” timeline-wise. In the original movie, the story switches between the past and present to reveal the shocking truth shaping Pipa’s future. The second movie (“Intersection”) fully flashes back to Pipa’s past.

In it, Pipa’s life as a detective and her mentorship under the captivating Francisco (Joaquรญn Furriel, “The Lighthouse of the Orcas”) serve as the driving force behind the film. The common thread in all of the movies tends to be pushing Pipa to her tipping point and forcing her to choose between a right and wrong, moral and ethical, and legal and illegal -- choice. “Recurrence” stays the course. There is only one problem.

Three movies in and without “Gran Hotel” star - Amaia Salamanca’s - mysterious character or an equivalent, Pipa has no viable counterbalance here. “Recurrence” has villains with no nuance and easy-to-guess motives. Gone are the crazy twists and turns of the series’ previous entries. I would have rather watched “The Gray Man” again, which would not require much persuasion.

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Pipa continues to stall as a character. Her regression makes sense in “Intuition,” considering that film’s flashback nature. However, it only adds to the anticipatory build-up of who we expect to see in “Recurrence” and fail to recognize. The awkward timeline makes the absence of Pipa’s personal growth in the “present” all the more frustrating and glaringly apparent.

Would the South American collection have been better served to go the route of the Spanish Baztรกn trilogy? That trio of movies tells the story of its heroine, Amaia, in sequential order while also diving into frequently confusing flashbacks. Upon further reflection, it feels as though Amaia’s trilogy is an easier tightrope for viewers to walk than Pipa’s.

“Recurrence” has a tremendous amount of potential it cannot quite reach, mainly because it busies itself too much with solving an uncomplicated mystery. The perpetrators are obvious from the get-go, and the twist can be foreseen from just as early a start. It is also worth reiterating that “Perdida” and “Intuition” called upon forces that provided friction, igniting a spark for Pipa.

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Without such an entity in “Recurrence,” Pipa lacks any semblance of a lifeforce. As a character, Pipa thrives when she is challenged to meditate deeper on life’s more complicated angles. Besides the obvious villains, only good people surround Pipa in this threequel, leaving no one to question her black-and-white mindset. 

Grey characters have been the driving force behind the trilogy. Without them to enrich it, this third installment lacks the depth of a third dimension. Now to the good news. You can stream all three movies that currently comprise the South American collection on Netflix. Time will tell if more films follow “Recurrence” (aka “Pipa”). Here is hoping they do!