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“Money Heist” Season 5 Part 2: A Worthy Series Finale [Review]

Ending a beloved series is always a difficult task, one that Netflix’s global phenomenon “Money Heist” finds itself having to shoulder. It’s even harder to know whats best for the series; carry it on with more and more heists until the steam (and money) runs out, or give the show a definitive ending that satisfies fans. Let’s be honest, it’s rare that a show which chooses to carry on beyond its base narrative rarely works, despite or desire to never stop watching the show. That said, Netflix made the right choice to end the show on its own terms.

The conclusion may be hard to swallow, and I admittedly put off watching it until now in hopes of delaying the inevitable. But it was also necessary and handled with care. There is a true passion from everyone involved, both behind and in front of the camera. And you get the sense that the goodbye was just as hard for the creators as it was for the fans. This is a good thing even if it hurts, and sets Money Heist series finale in the small category of conclusions that nail it.

Netflix

There’s no point in trying to hide my undying love for “Money Heist.” My previous reviews are prime examples of just how much I’ve invested into these characters. So, rather than go on and on about all the things that make the show great and how well the ending was done, I’m going to simply highlight the things that make the final 5 episodes so good. I know, I know, that sounds like more of the same. But I’ll do my best not to rehash superlatives I’ve continuously placed upon the show. I will do my best to paint the show in broad strokes instead of specifics or attempts at begging you to watch the show. And I will even highlight some things that didn’t quite sit right despite how much I love the show.

Money Heist” is masterful television, but nothing is perfect. So as we examine the show and the ending as a whole, it’s probably best for balance to highlight some things that didn’t work in the wake of so many things that did.

Creator Alex Pina and his team demonstrate a deep love and understanding for their baby. What really sets “Money Heist” are deep, narrative themes that drive everything. The show is more than a heist, and the characters are complex and dysfunctional even when they’re successful. There is a humanness that gets injected into the absurd, a beautifully executed juxtaposition that never lets up even as the show comes to an end. Everything about s5pt2 feels purposeful and intentional, as if Pina and his team always wanted it this way, no matter how long it took them to get there. It’s this kind of forethought and/or purpose that makes the “Money Heist” finale hit harder emotionally. Pina has gone out of his way to humanize his larger than life thieves and make them more than just tropes and token team members. They love, they fight, they act irrationally, and they all have their own reasons and background trauma as to why they embarked on a more than likely suicide mission.

Netflix

There is both subversion and formula as we plow through the last few episodes of the series, something that has continuously made “Money Heist” better than the sum of its parts. On the surface, it’s a bunch of charismatic criminals devoted to a mastermind pulling off unimaginable (and downright impossible) heists. But below that (and it is most evident here in the final season), the show is about family, love, loss, purpose, moral ambiguity and yes, even a social commentary on global constructs like money, financial institutes, and what actually makes a criminal. There are even themes of freedom, life, honor, hope, failure, and success. This series goes out of its way to disguise these things under a basic premise, and leaves it up to the viewer to decipher the truth behind the madness. Not just figuring out how the hell they’re going to pull off the heist with their backs on the ropes, but who these people are and what drives them to do what they do.

These thematic elements are far more prevalent in the series finale, especially throughout the majority of the final episodes. S5pt2 is packed full of twists, turns, and set backs, but it’s surprisingly light on action and far more character-driven. This isn’t unusual for the series, as all entries have had this balance. But the final episodes seem to really be focused on peeling back the layers of our surviving members, particularly The Professor (the absolutely wonderful Álvaro Morte). The finale is focused on blurring the lines between confidence and hubris, intricate planning vs improvisation, and yes, even right and wrong. The show does all of these things well, offering fans a satisfying conclusion that feels complete without being forced or shortchanged.

I did promise some criticisms, though. The first is more a fault of Netflix than the series, but the ‘part’ season system needs to be put to bed immediately. I get it, you want us all to talk about specific events for x amount of months and try to stay relevant for a little longer, but all it does it front load the first half and unintentionally minimize the actual ending. We saw this with “Masters of the Universe,” where it was an intentional marketing ploy to stir up controversy. But the ending didn’t really warrant this kind of bait and switch.

Luckily, “Money Heist” season 5 part 2 is infinitely better than the aforementioned series, but still didn’t need to be split up. Season 5 is a complete season, one that has a definitive beginning, middle and end. Splitting the narrative for no other reason than to do it subtracts from the impact of its second part, even when that second part is really, really good. There is a disconnect where there doesn’t need to be one, and we should be able to embark the journey the way our characters are: one, single season in one single sitting.

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The conclusion of “Money Heist” also seems to spread itself a little too thin with its ambition. There are a lot of plot threads to follow, and while some have been a part of the show since its inception, there’s a part of you that gets to the final episode and think, “Wait, they’re going to tie this all up in an hour? HOW?” There are some intriguing elements and plot threads introduced in the front half of the season that don’t quite have a worthy payoff. I won’t spoil anything, but I’m not completely sold on the inclusion of the past in the present.

By that I mean much of this season has been spent with Berlin (Pedro Alonso who more than deserves his own spinoff show) prior to the heist of the Royal Mint, and his son Rafael (Patrick Criado). It plays an integral part of the overall narrative, with viewers knowing full well that this past story will come back some how to collide with the current Bank of Spain heist. We are right, of course. But in the effort of subversion, they never really put a stamp on why it was so important and why we should’ve spent this much time with them. It becomes little more than a plot device instead of something truly impactful, which was kind of let down in the face of everything else being executed so well.

Then there’s the heist’s conclusion itself. “Money Heist” may have gotten away from the creators, as things get increasingly more and more convoluted without much need to do so. The series has long been contingent upon misdirection, and I’m all for getting the rug pulled out from under me in a show designed to keep me guessing. But season 5 part 2 doesn’t feel quick as well put together as previous entries. Hell, even part 1 felt more focused than its latter half. There’s just a lot going on, maybe too much for its own good. And it doesn’t help that because we know it is the end, introducing a new plot thread or twist and turn this late in the game seems ill conceived and unnecessary. That’s not to say it doesn’t work; it does. Just that “Money Heist” is one bad decision away from completely falling apart and crumbling under the weight of its own ambition. The show has always ridden a fine line between compelling, complex television and outright, over the top shenanigans.

Netflix

My last criticism is with the shows perceived villain on Colonel Tomayo (Fernando Cayo). In a sea of complexity, it makes sense to have someone who’s generally one note. But Tomayo is a little too on the nose as the egotistical, impulsive but bumbling detective chasing our criminals. He’s a little TOO dumb and too dastardly to be a competent foe for The Professor and our rag tag group of anti heroes. It’s why Alicia (the ever brilliant Najwa Nimri) was such a compelling counter. She was as smart as she was ruthless, capable of deciphering some of the Professor’s tricks and foiling some of the best laid plans. This kind of tit for tat is sorely missed once she goes on the run and transitions from head of investigation to fugitive on the run herself. It’s a great story for her character, but what we’re left with is someone far less intimidating in Tomayo to square off against our anti-heroes. He’s simply not smart enough to feel out smarted, and as ruthless as he is, it never feels as in character as it’s suppose to. He doesn’t need to be Alicia, but he needs to be a bit more complex than how he is here, especially when the final episode of the series finale pits him in a kind of one on one battle of wits against The Professor. It just doesn’t carry the same impact, because there is nothing about him that says “ya that guy can out think The Professor, so he better be on his A game.” The Professor can best Tomayo in his sleep, and aside from his propensity for violence and manipulation, he never comes across as a worthy adversary.

Overall, “Money Heist” ends in a way that feels both hopeful and redemptive, which each surviving member having undergone their own personal discovery throughout the hard fought journey to pull off the impossible. I am genuinely sad to see the show end, but Season 5 Part 2 is a fitting ending to a wonderful show. Fans are rewarded with an epic conclusion that at times gets a little too ambitious, but in the end finds its footing and sticks the landing. The series finale is yet another reminder as to why this is one of the best shows on television.

I can’t stress this enough: WATCH MONEY HEIST, exclusively on Netflix. And watch it with subtitles in its original Spanish language. The show is intentionally written in a sort of Shakespearian, old Spanish style and you’d be doing yourself a disservice to watch it in English dubbing.

BELLA CIAO!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

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