We begin episode 3 of 30 Coins in New York City with an opener that feels very reminisce to that shocking prologue at the start of the show. A bald man carrying a briefcase walks into a jewelers and yanks one of those strange coins we’ve been seeing from a 3 million dollar necklace. After killing both men inside the shop, this blood-spattered man takes a cab across town.
Meanwhile, Paco tries his best to remain calm in the wake of what’s happening across the village. Merche can sense something is up. As she starts questioning her husband, she’s eventually distracted by the cake failing to show. As Susana rings Tomas to find out where he is, the man is beside himself with worry. While driving, he repeatedly mentions a mirror and crashes into a tree.
When Paco finds out, Susana offers to show him this very mirror. He immediately rings Elena and tells her she needs to see what he’s found. At the clinic, Elena struggles to control a dog called Bravo who begins acting erratically thanks to the coin she has on her.
Up in the apartment, Elena and Paco marvel at the mirror. Inside the reflection is a Greek book but on the table behind them there’s nothing there. It turns out this is the Gospel of Judas.
As they immediately get on the case and begin researching, the duo learn that Christ told Judas to betray him. This seems to hint that he planned his death beforehand. At least, according to these texts anyway. This immediately brings them to Father Manuel who claims Judas is the greatest saint because he gave up his own life for Jesus.
Well, Paco eventually brings Manuel up to see the mirror for himself. There, Elena catches a glimpse of a figure walking through the doorway but not enough to definitively say who. It’s certainly eerie and the trio try their best to figure out what this means. Manuel decides to deal with this alone and tells Elena and Paco to leave. Before they go though, Elena and Paco plant cameras around the room to keep an eye on him.
Father Manuel settles in for the night. Sat opposite the mirror, he stares at his own reflection waiting for something to happen. Elena and Paco watch the live broadcast from home, messaging each other while they do. At least for a little while anyway.
Paco eventually puts his phone down while Manuel drifts off and falls asleep. When he does, Manuel’s reflection stands up and looks over him menacingly. It’s an ominous omen but one that eventually ends with Paco and Elena arriving in the morning to wake the priest up. They show him the recording but he’s not happy they filmed in secret. Elena is not interested in his feelings. Instead, she asks whether this spirit could be Giacomo.
When Elena heads back to work, she speaks to Susana who admits you can run your hand over the book and feel it in the mirror. In the hallway, she bumps into Antonio who tells her to be careful. His “friends” in Italy are after the coin.
After feeding this back to Paco, they both look up and notice that the room holding the mirror has the blinds drawn. Both of them hurry up there, just in time to stop Manuel from smashing the mirror to bits.
Manuel’s reflection then shows up and tells him he want to talk. Alone. With Paco and Elena out the room, the reflection tells Manuel that he has a second chance. He will need to answer with a gesture, by taking “it” (the coin) from Elena. Manuel refuses to do this and looks set to destroy the mirror… until Manuel’s reflection wheels in the dead, mutilated body of Giacomo.
Smashing the mirror, Giacomo grabs Manuel and takes off, bringing him deeper into the mirror world. In his stead, the manifested reflection of Manuel steps out, stitching up the glass again and taking Manuel’s place.
Paco and Elena show up and take Manuel to the church where he discusses the coins. It turns out whoever collects all 30 of them can wield a weapon more powerful than the Arc of the Covenant – it could even bring about the destruction of Christianity as we know it.
Paco and Elena immediately sense something is wrong though, especially when Elena sees the numbers on Manuel’s watch are facing the wrong way.
Manuel gathers the villagers to his cause after brainwashing them all. He marches the men and women into the church and begins spewing his venomous words toward them, poisoning their minds and turning them all against Paco and Elena.
Meanwhile, our duo realize that Manuel is stuck inside the mirror and hurry back to the house. Elena realizes the Greek book can be moved and uses it to smash the mirror from the other side. As they step through, they marvel at the brightly lit world but remain vigilant.
Manuel happens to be sitting at the top of a large table, with a bag over his head and a knife ready to sacrifice him. Around the table, each of these red-robed priests sit and open their pocket watches, asking exactly where the coin is. Just before Manuel meets a grisly end, Elena slams her hand on the window and shows them the coin.
It’s just the distraction Manuel needs, as he bursts through the window and is carried to safety by Elena and Paco.
They make it back through the mirror, which is completely boarded up now, and take him to the hospital. While he’s patched up, Paco runs into Antonio again who discusses the game and how it’s currently in his court. Elena heads to the bridge overlooking a dam and throws the coin into the water below, hoping to be rid of its evil influence for good.
The Episode Review
30 Coins returns this week with another decent episode, this time involving a mirror world and a demonic version of Manuel. For the most part, the show has done quite well to build up a good layer of mystery and horror but the lack of explanation for what’s going on with these entities is a bit disappointing
Beyond that though, 30 Coins absolutely nails its tone and there’s no question that HBO’s latest horror is a very moody and atmospheric thrill ride. The characters are likable too, with this trio centerpiece of Manuel, Elena and Paco easy to empathize with.
Whether the show will deliver some answers in a satisfying way remains to be seen.