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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Money Heist Season 4 first impression: Chaos is the juice

Money Heist creator Álex Pina knows that it is not the ingeniously planned heist that keeps the audience hooked. It is the unpredictability of human characters that enrich the show’s drama.

Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru | Updated: April 4, 2020 8:59:50 am
Money Heist 4 Money Heist Season 4 to stream on Netflix.

The third season of Netflix’s hit Spanish show Money Heist (La casa de papel) ended on a massive cliffhanger. The entire plan of The Professor (Álvaro Morte) was on the verge of collapse. Oh, wait! It was not The Professor’s plan in the first place. It was his brother Berlin’s plan. Berlin had conceived the heist with his soul-mate Palermo, and The Professor always thought to rob the Bank of Spain of its massive gold reserve was nothing but a suicidal mission.

But, still, why did The Professor pick such a high-risk mission and risk losing everything he has? He has a wife, a family, and funds that would allow his family to live a luxurious life for generations. And still, why? It is the same ‘WHY’ due to which Robert De Niro’s Neil McCauley and his crew in Heat (1995) did not walk away with everything they had while they had the chance. As Tom Sizemore’s Michael Cheritto puts it, “For me, the action is the juice.” Here, the operative word is the juice, which doesn’t refer to the money that the crew makes by robbing the next bank. The term juice refers to the whole process of being in the thick of action and executing a robbery, which they are so good at, and go back home with a sense of having used up all their potential to great success. Money is just a reward, but what is more important for the crew is to keep doing what they do, even it means risking a bullet to the head every day.

It is also the same juice that drives Breaking Bad’s Walter White to build a drug empire by taking out mafia bosses. He was just a teacher who taught chemistry at school. And yes, money was his main aim when he started cooking meth. But, it is the pleasure and a great sense of achievement that he derives from his action that kept him in the drug business. Not loads of money that was piling up in a storage room.

And likewise, for Dalis, the chaos is the juice.

After pulling off the biggest heist in human history, The Professor can only stay away for so long from doing what he is best at doing. And when he is presented with an excuse to break his sabbatical, he jumps at it. In season three, Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) takes off from Rio (Miguel Herrán) because she was no longer enjoying the safety that the Caribbean island was providing her. And that decision led to the arrest of Rio, who was facing torture at the hands of the most cold-blooded and meanest person in all of Spain’s police force: Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri).

The Professor convinces other crew members to come out of the honeymoon and help a brother out.

Álex Pina, the creator of Money Heist, knows that it is not the ingeniously planned heist that keeps the audience hooked to the show. It is the unpredictability of human characters that enrich the show’s drama.

The Professor considers all the possibilities while making his plan failproof but what he does not (and can’t) factor in is the human factor itself. The tendency of humans to put one’s wants above the rest of them. The urge to be in the position of power and destroying everything for wounded pride. These are the factors that push the entire plan into chaos and sends the dramatic tension through the roofs.

And there is no dearth of dramatic tension in the first five episodes of Money Heist Season 4 as nothing seems to be going according to The Professor’s masterplan. Season three ended with the ‘Dalis’ blowing up a military tank to pieces leaving everyone in an utter state of shock. It is not the way ‘Dalis’ conduct a robbery. The Professor goes to great lengths to ensure that nobody gets hurt/killed in the process as it would damage the popularity of the heist amongst the public. For the public, the robbery is a daring resistance against big corporations and powerful people who rob taxpayers’ money within the framework of the legally established system. Will the Dalis’ act of war hurt public’s favourable opinion about them? Will Lisbon break in and give up the plan in return for the safety of her daughter and mother? Will Nairobi survive the gun wound? Will Toyko, well, stick to the plan? More importantly, will The Professor regain control of the heist?

The stakes are really high.

The show creators have also added a significant amount of humour to season four. At times, the Dalis behave like Marvel characters undercutting the seriousness of the drama with a gag or trash talking. Well, even if it is not new to the show, Álex Pina has increased its dosage in the latest season significantly.

All episodes of Money Heist Season 4 are streaming on Netflix.

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