We begin episode 1 of 30 Coins in Geneva, Switzerland as a gunman arrives at a bank, nonchalantly shooting every officer in sight while shrugging off bullets. Opening the vault, he finds a safety deposit box and takes out the items inside.
Stuffing his treasure back in his pocket, this man walks past the security guards firing at him, continuing to shrug off the bullets like they’re nothing, and sits in the back of a black car as it drives off.
It’s a shocking opener, one that immediately grips you as the layers of mystery continue to build. A sunglass-wearing priest rips off the man’s necklace and stuffs a coin in his suitcase.
We then cut forward to Pedraza, Spain as a pregnant cow moos weakly while rain hammers down outside. Around the cow, a large crowd of people gather and look on in shock as it gives birth to a human baby.
News of this spreads across to Mayor Paco, who races off to the Alonso residence to see for himself what’s happened. As he does, it falls to his wife to pick up the pieces of the inauguration at this meat processing plant.
Paco organizes the men and women, telling them not to broadcast this on social media. While Elena is against the idea, everyone else is in agreement to get a priest involved to look over the child. Padre Manuel Vergara is the man in question and he looks over the footage from the event. He’s convinced that the child and calf were swapped in some elaborate PR stunt.
Manuel tells Paco it’s not witchcraft but the real mystery comes from who decided to switch the babies around – if that’s the truth. Paco is determined to find out and asks in vain whether Manuel had anyone in confession mention this. Obviously, he’s not able to disclose this.
Paco turns his attention toward a man called Jesus whose daughter, Trini, has been sick and hidden away. Elena and Paco head up to investigate and begin asking him questions. The former notices buckets of blood dotted around the property and immediately casts suspicions.
Eventually the pair head in and speak to Trini. As they ask whether she’s pregnant, Jesus immediately flies off the handle and tells them to leave. Only, not before berating Elena. When Trini shows up, her water suddenly breaks as she’s rushed to hospital. It’s safe to assume the child inside the cow isn’t hers then!
Elena returns to the meat plant and receives a rather frosty reception from Paco’s wife. Still, they gather together and look over the footage again, this time finding a boy called Antonio mulling about looking suspicious. As we cut across to Antonio himself, he seems to reinforce these suspicions as he hears a voice whispering ominously in his head.
Antonio arrives at the church and shows Manuel a hidden compartment. While we don’t see what’s inside, the pair do agree to keep this their secret. Church bells then sound out, ringing across the town sending everyone outside – including Manuel.
Antonio happens to be up on the roof with the cow-born child and Manuel hurries up to try and stop him from doing anything stupid. Thankfully, Elena helps too and takes the child, just as Antonio jumps off the roof, telling Manuel that he’s doing this for him.
Back on thee ground, Elena finds one of those strange coins along with a book about exorcisms on Antonio. Together with Paco, the pair stuff these trinkets in a tin and hide it from Manuel when he returns to the ground floor.
In hospital, Manuel approaches Antonio who’s looking the worst for wear. He’s wearing a neck brace and his leg is badly banged up too. He tells Manuel that they’re “coming for him” and goes on to maniacally start singing. Just as he does, Paco learns that Manuel used to be a priest dealing with exorcisms.
The next day, Elena sits with Manuel in the church. There, she shows him the trinket box, including the coin inside. He claims it’s worthless but given the opening scene of the season, it seems clear that it’s not. He allows her to keep this for now before officers arrive and ask him to join them at the police station.
There, Paco speaks to Manuel about the book and what happened the previous night. Specifically, Paco brings up Antonio saying “I’m doing this for you.” Manuel doesn’t have any answers, only more questions when he mentions someone is after them.
Elena has even more questions too, especially after visiting the Alonso residence. The baby is no longer a baby, it’s a fully grown…thing. She scrambles away and tells Paco that the child needs medical attention. Paco is understandably sceptical and heads over to Elena’s that night to discuss what’s transpired further.
If this mystery wasn’t enough, we also learn that Elena’s husband suddenly disappeared in the past. Could this be linked to what’s going on right now?
Back at the Alonso household, Carmen is blinded by her affection for this child. So much so in fact, she repeatedly stabs her husband and leaves him for dead at the bottom of the stairs. After, she hypnotically blends up liver for the child.
After a brief chat with Manual, Elena shows up at Paco’s house in the middle of the night and shows him documents regarding the Alonso’s and how they’ve been wanting to adopt a child for a long time. Elena decides they should phone social services but Paco is not so sure – especially with elections coming up.
They stop by at the Alonso household and find the downstairs area covered in cobwebs. Carmen tells them that the child is hers and proceeds to stab Paco in the shoulder with a pair of scissors. As the duo tumble down the stairs, Carmen grabs Paco and begins slamming his face against the floor. Elena scrambles away while Paco is kept a prisoner inside the house.
Manuel and the police catch wind of what’s going on and race up to the Alonso house. There, Carmen knocks the priest down to the ground before police fire their guns and incapacitate Carmen. With Paco safe for now, his wife Merche is none too happy about him galivanting off with Elena in the middle of the night and blames her for what’s happened to Paco.
Elena heads back inside the house and finds Manuel sitting alone in the attic. As she asks what’s going on, he tells her not to deny what she’s seeing. The skin this child seemingly had before has been shed and all of this seems to point toward it turning into a monster and racing off.
Carmen awakens in the ambulance and brandishes her makeshift voodoo doll. Controlling its limbs, a spider-like creature lumbers out into the road. The ambulance serves, tips over and prompts a nonchalant Carmen to say her farewells and take off.
Manuel brings Elena into the secret compartment inside the church which happens to hold a number of guns up on the wall. The sound of shattered glass brings Manuel out to investigate though, as Elena stays put. Carmen’s there and she asks for mercy.
Manuel sees straight through this façade though and she immediately knocks him down to the ground, demanding he hand over Giacano’s coin. Instead, Manuel douses his bullets in holy water and kills Carmen while Elena watches on.
Before she has a chance to comprehend what’s happened, this spider-like creature rocks up and tries to grab Elena, who manages to thwart the threat by grabbing the voodoo doll and ripping its limbs off. The spider-creature screams and heads down a drain. As Manuel shows up, he tells Elena he believes what she’s saying.
The Episode Review
Well, that was utterly bizarre. 30 Coins mixes horror, thriller and a compelling mystery box together quite well and does so with a lot of big questions bubbling at the heart of this one. What on earth is this spider-baby? How did the man during the opening scene shrug off those bullets like it was nothing? What’s going on with the cow giving birth to a human? And will Elena and Paco become romantically linked?
It’s clear there’s some character drama simmering away with this that I imagine will encapsulate most of the down-time around the horror and thriller elements going forward. The characters themselves are pretty good too, with spunky Elena and Paco fronting this series alongside the war-torn Manuel, who’s certainly seen his fair share of demonic spirits.
The set-up is definitely intriguing though and the opening scene is easily one of the strongest this year. So far so good; 30 Coins begins with a really compelling episode.