An ending can make or break a show. A compelling finish can act as the final cherry topping on a luxurious, succulent cake. By comparison, a poor ending can feel like adding a 20KG weight to that same cake, ruining any carefully crafted work done prior. Cake metaphors aside, Someone Has To Die unfortunately finds itself on the latter end of this analogy.
On paper, Someone Has To Die actually has some really compelling elements to it. The soapy Spanish vibes are enticing, the 1950’s setting boasts some gorgeous costume work and the timely social commentary interweaves nicely with a simmering pot of tension that bubbles up over the 3 episodes.
Unfortunately, the final episode unravels all of this good work with a rushed, ill-conceived finish that unravels any character work up until that point and leaves you desperate for a more compelling resolution.
Let’s backtrack a second though. The story itself revolves around the dysfunctional Falcon family. Wild-child Gabino has been away in Mexico for 10 years and finally returns to Spain – but he’s not alone.
With his sexual exploits well known to his family, Gabino presents his “friend” Lazaro to them when he returns and things immediately become tense.
To complicate matters further, patriarch Gregorio happens to work at a detention center designed for rehabilitating homosexuals. His marriage to wife Mina is estranged, to say the least, which sees Mina seek passion elsewhere – namely in forbidden lust for Lazaro.
If that wasn’t juicy enough, Gabino is thrust into an arranged marriage with a girl called Cayetana. There’s also Cayetana’s brother, Afonso, who’s none too happy with this whole arrangement thanks to some past exploits with Gabino and his family.
There’s also a whole flurry of other supporting players that make up this ensemble, combining to create a soapy, surprisingly gripping set of characters and circumstances.
The title “Someone Has To Die” seems to hint toward a dramatic whodunit playing out and for the first couple of episodes the show appears to be gearing up for this in the third. I won’t spoil anything here but suffice to say all of this careful plotting is squandered in around 15 minutes during the final part of episode 3.
This is a real shame because Someone Has To Die definitely has some stand out moments. The social commentary and attitude toward homosexuals in the 1950’s is tackled really well and feels naturally included into the story rather than tacked on.
There’s a nice twist with Lazaro toward the end of episode 1, which plays a big part going forward while a particularly shocking scene involving live cockroaches at the detention center is another memorable scene. That’s to say nothing of the various sequences that depict xenophobia across the episodes that really show how far society has come since then.
Visually, Someone Has To Die definitely appears to have borrowed some ideas from Knives Out. The scene composition is interesting, with many scenes cluttered with interesting items to draw your eye to. That’s to say nothing of the costume design either, which is fantastic and certainly one of the stand-out elements to this alongside the music.
While the beginning and middle chapters do well to ease you into this world, I can’t help but feel Someone Has To Die needed another couple of episodes to really simmer out the drama and allow everything time to breathe.
There’s a few character developments across the season but this one largely misses the mark thanks to some disappointing conclusions for key players at the end.
For two thirds of Someone Has To Die, this drama does a great job building up to an exciting climax to our tale. While the third chapter is exciting, this comes at the expense of solid plotting, compelling character work and a satisfying conclusion.
It’s not a complete disaster but it’s definitely something worth bearing in mind before you jump into this one. Sadly, what starts out as an endearing and engrossing mystery stumbles at the final hurdle. What could have been a solid 7/10 unfortunately loses big marks thanks to that rushed ending. What a shame.
Verdict - 4/10