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The Beloved Heist
Bri Rainey
Monday, May 18, 2020

          “Money Heist,” also known as La Casa de Papel, is a Spanish drama series originally released May 2, 2017 that has since grown a significant following on the popular streaming service Netflix. The drama series tells the story of a criminal mastermind “El Profesor” and robbers Nairobi (Alba Flores), Tokyo (Ursula Corbero), Denver (Jaime Lorente), Stockholm (Esther Acebo) and Lisbon (Itziar Ituno). Throughout the show, they navigate the ever-increasing problems they face after breaking into the Bank of Spain in order to save fellow comrade Rio from his illegal torture. While taking dozens hostage and promising not to kill, the robbers have gained a significant amount of public support during their second heist, making the police’s job to end the heist infinitely harder. 

          The first part of season two begins a few years after the heist on the Royal Mint of Spain, where all of the robbers are paired up living off-grid and in remote locations. However, when Tokyo leaves Rio alone at their off grid location, Rio is captured by Europol and is tortured in a secret location for an extended period of time. The robbers band together and continue year old plans to assault the Bank of Spain in order to force Europol to hand over Rio. To help with the elaborate plan, they enlist three new members, Bogota, Palermo and Marseille. While the robbers began the heist with an iron hold over the bank, by the end of the season everything seems to have gone wrong. Nairobi gets gravely injured by a police sniper, and Lisbon is caught and believed to have been executed.

          The emotional, fast-paced nature of “Money Heist” was not forgotten when the second part of season two was released on Netflix on April 3 and picked up seamlessly where it had left off. Nairobi is fighting for her life while the robbers are going through a drama of their own as they must not only attempt to operate on her themselves, but also keep Palermo, the former leader, from attempting to kill the robbers because of their coup d’etat. Palermo is restrained with the hostages where he befriends Gandia, chief of security, who aids his escape in an attempt to get back at the robbers. Gandia’s escape creates a mass of unforeseen chaos as he wreaks havoc on the robbers and is dedicated to killing as many of them as he can, focused on his personal vendetta for Nairobi who is still healing from her previous surgery. Gandia’s violent cat and mouse game causes the robbers to focus all of the attention on him in order to attempt to subdue him. However, their efforts are proven to be wasted as Gandia is able to successfully murder Nairobi causing the robbers to grieve for their former comrade and best friend. The ending of season two is full of surprises and emotional trips with the death of a beloved main character as well as the capture of El Profesor. 

          The second season of “Money Heist” is just as well done as the first, but in different ways. Season two focuses more upon the family-like bond between the robbers and their dedication to helping each other out and finding answers to what has happened in the previous season. The intertwined relationships of the robbers creates complexity but also a fresh take on classic heist stories as the audience gets a feel that the robbers are not violent and without empathy, but instead some of the most emphatic people who have decided to protest. With all the flashbacks to characters who are now deceased and present day moments of grief that highlight the season and add additional depth to the show. 

          Beyond the storyline, “Money Heist” also offers other things to the audience. The Italian protest folk song “Bella Ciao” is woven deep within the show with various clips playing at various moments including moments of triumph and moments of defeat. “Bella Ciao” is a song that symbolizes freedom and rebellion against acts that are unjust as well as the soundtrack to the resistance which is one way that the robbers are viewed in the public eye. The song is sung between characters since the show first aired and is just a sliver of the symbolism “Money Heist” provides. The robbers and hostages all wear red coveralls as not only a symbol of unity but also as a reference to the color being worn during revolutions around the world. The Dali mask the robbers are infamous for wearing is a reference to objecting modern capitalist society which the robbers do as they rob the government, rather than the people. 

          Overall, the ever-continuing drama leaves an impact on the audience as it provokes thoughts that good and evil are not as black and white as they appear to be as they robbers can initially be seen as evil, but as time goes on the line between evil and good becomes blurred. The intense symbolism that peaks through at moments where the audience is crying or where the audience is happy adds a depth that many shows lack today and is what pushes “Money Heist” to a 5 out of 5 stars. The next installment to the series has yet been confirmed nor denied, but if producers stay true to previous schedules, viewers can expect a release in late 2020. “Money Heist” is available on Netflix for streaming.