The End Of The Road – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Do You Believe In Reincarnation? – | Review Score – 3/5
Welcome to the Spectacle of Life – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Your Place In Heaven – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Live Many Lives – | Review Score – 4/5
Escape Valve – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Wishful Thinking – | Review Score – 3.5/5
The Elegance Theory – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Pillow Talk – | Review Score – 3.5/5
A Family Tradition – | Review Score – 3.5/5
All good things must come to an end. And thus, what a bombastic, explosive ending this Spanish series winds up becoming. Back in 2018, La Casa De Papel dropped on Netflix without much aplomb, eventually catapulting into superstardom through a tightly scripted and pulsating first season. When part 2 dropped later that year, it concluded the heist on a high and left fans desperate for more.
Season 3 felt like the perfect way to welcome our characters back. A new heist, a new reason for infiltrating the bank and a new purpose going forward. Instead of concluding the new heist though, the following two seasons have essentially continued this story thread going. While that in itself is fine, La Casa De Papel (or the decidedly bland title of “Money Heist” as it’s called in the west) started to spin its wheels., typified by season 4’s stumbles.
The tightly constructed action and pulsating segments turned into incredulous Bollywood-esque sequences, complete with slow-mo action, annoying characters and non-stop melodrama. Season 4 exemplified this completely, stumbling over its own plot points and turning some characters into caricature echoes of who they once were.
Season 5 then is the best of both worlds. The first part is decidedly slow, meandering through its plot points while peppering in some pretty poor and illogical action. The flashbacks seem to go nowhere and the supporting characters just aren’t given that much depth. At its worst, characters like Stockholm and Arturo are just outright unwatchable annoyances.
While the fifth season does conclude the heist, it does so in a pretty questionable way. Gone are the logical, gritty characters of old. Gone are the nail-biting tension and real-stakes. Instead, characters like Arturo, Tamayo and Sierra are given incredible amounts of power and plot armour, while old faves like the Professor essentially devolve into bumbling idiots. There’s even a moment where the Professor decides to give up completely!
Now, it’s worth mentioning too that not everyone makes it through this heist unscathed. La Casa De Papel is certainly not afraid to pull the trigger here. There are several big characters who bite the dust across the episodes, which does help to increase the tension and make the action that much more dramatic.
While watchable, this season feels like a necessary evil to get to the end of the heist. There’s certainly enough here to enjoy but it’s surface level enjoyable at best; a popcorn munching summer blockbuster with all the bells and whistles that go with that. Of course, this also means sacrificing deep characterization and believability too.
The final season bows out this swan song era with a lot of action, a lot of thrills – and a lot of plot contrivances. It’s a messy, bombastic and thrilling ending that’s as much a guilty pleasure as it is a frustrating pain.
Verdict - 6/10