La Casa de Papel – Part 5: First Impressions

La Casa de Papel may not be Mission Impossible nor the franchise 007, but it has already delivered a good dose of adrenaline throughout its four parts — and if the first two episodes seen by Omelet at the invitation of Netflix are a good indication, Part 5 will take the action of the Spanish series to another, even more frenetic pace.

Shots, bombs, fights and even a flamethrower dominate the episodes, dedicated to showing how the Professor’s situation (Alvaro Death) and its “pickers” is getting in trouble after Raquel’s triumphant return (Itzar Ituño) — which humiliated the police — and the fact that the head of the group was found by Inspector Sierra (Najwa Nimri), at the end of part 4. The creator Alex Pina doesn’t skimp on blood or bullets, and manages to create a strong sense of danger, especially in the second chapter, which goes by as if in the blink of an eye.

The wild plans that became the hallmark of the series are also coming back, but the story, this time, dares to imagine the opposite: what if there is not always a possible alternative? It’s a welcome change, one that leaves an intriguing basis for later chapters.

In another not-so-welcome change, the group’s internal conflicts are set aside at this start, which can be a little frustrating for those expecting some sort of resolution, or even more confusion. After all, these clashes between thieves have always been one of the most interesting and fun elements of the series. There are signs that the drama may intensify further on, but you’ll have to pay to see it.

Instead of developing this internal aspect, the plot deals with flashbacks to introduce Rafael (Patrick Created), son of Berlin (Pedro Alonso), and René (Miguel Angel Silvestre), former boyfriend from Tokyo (Ursula Corberó). The first one, while not doing much as far as we’ve seen, seems to fit easily into the story, especially when we find out he’s an engineer, specializing in cybersecurity. The other one, however, still hasn’t said exactly what he came from — we know he’s the boyfriend Tokyo lost before the first robbery, but after the first episode of the series he’s barely mentioned; where, then, will this return to the past go?

The balance of the first two episodes, however, is positive: the palpable tension and frenetic pace provide a good introduction to the series’ last season, and by the end of the second, even the most reluctant viewer will want to take another peek at what the future guard for “La Banda”.