Red jumpsuits. Salvador Dalí masks. For five glorious seasons, Netflix's "Money Heist" struck us with its bold visuals, dynamic characters, and incomparably intense plot. The show's titular heist reached new levels of tension in its final season, which arrived on Netflix on December 3rd of 2021. Two months later, it's time to look back on the show's finale and relive the conclusion to the journey that has dominated all of our screens.
The Stage is Set
As the war between the gang and the police draws to a close, and the Professor enters the site of his grand plan for the first time, the story is far from its conclusion. At this point in the finale, Tamayo, head of the police investigation, is not ready to let the gang go until he locates the stolen gold which, unbeknownst to him, is a fact that even the Professor is oblivious to, as it was stolen from him by his nephew shortly after having been extracted.
Meanwhile, Alicia Sierra, police negotiator turned ally to the Professor, is conducting a mad search for the gold outside of the bank. The gang's last hope lies on her shoulders.
Alicia Sierra is a testament to what "Money Heist" does best: creating characters you first love to hate and later love to love. Alicia's beginnings as Rio's torturer, the member of the gang this heist was intended to save, sets her up to be despised. However, as she uncovers the corruption of her police force, willing to burn her for their own advantage, she is forced to work with the Professor if she wishes to have any future for herself and her newborn daughter.
The show's finale allows Alicia to truly shine and provides its audience with one of the most satisfying character arcs to ever cross our screens. Alicia's loyalties are tested again and again, but she ultimately proves capable of pushing through her past experiences and joins the Professor in his resistance to the system, finding the gold for him and becoming the latest, and most unlikely, member of the gang's dysfunctional family.
Family is at the core of "Money Heist" and its finale is no exception to this, with both biological and adoptive connections being delved into throughout the final episode.
The Professor's connection to his family is the secret force behind his heists. His father had been a bank robber, and the Professor used the fantasies he never got to see through as the basis for his own heists, the first of which he carried out with his brother Berlin. The importance the Professor places in family is what allows for the gold to be recovered from his nephew Rafael, who had stolen it from his uncle as an act of spite and disregard for any family ties they once had. Alicia Sierra delivers him a note from the Professor, the contents of which are hidden from the audience, but undeniably falls back on his extreme care for those he considers family, as it successfully convinces his nephew to place the gold back in his hands.
The finale drives home one of the show's core themes of family being more than just blood through the gang's relentless protection of each other, despite their consistently messy history. We have watched each member of the gang find their place within their family dynamic, from Tokyo and Nairobi's sisterhood, which ended too soon, to the love between Palermo and Berlin, which ultimately led to the former sabotaging the heist from within. Nonetheless, the love they all have for each other is never more apparent than during the finale, despite it being tested more intensely than ever.
The Gang Was There
One of the show's best aspects, the incredible connections formed between the audience and the characters, is exploited during the show's most intense moments, which are present in the finale. The writers force the audience to fall back on what they know to be true about a character, and rely as heavily on that knowledge as the rest of the gang does as they await their fate.
The tensest scene in the show's memory is when Denver is taken in for questioning, appearing as though he may give up information to attempt to salvage his future. At this moment, neither the audience nor the rest of the gang can be completely certain what the outcome will be, all while knowing that if Denver gives over information, the Professor's final attempt at gaining the gang's safety will be ruined. The relationships that have played out for five seasons have been tested relentlessly, but here lies the ultimate trial.
Ultimately, Denver saves the gang's secrets, giving the audience the final, relieving payoff they deserved. We have been by these characters' sides for five seasons, two heists and multiple deaths. To realize how truly connected you are to them at the climax of the finale is a glorious moment.
"Money Heist" is without a doubt known for its fast-paced writing that never allows its audience to guess where it is headed next. Through perfectly timed cut scenes and exposition featuring the layout and execution of the Professor's plans, the audience's attention is never far from their screen. The finale presented the seemingly insurmountable problem of safely escaping the bank, which had already been taken by the police. Nevertheless, the show's signature writing leaves one last thread of hope to cling to: the Professor's negotiating skills.
While he and Raquel attempt to negotiate their freedom using intricate state secrets and economic theory, we are left with the rest of our cast in what could feasibly be the last moments of their lives. Stockholm, Palermo, Rio, Bogota, Manila, Helsinki. Faced with officers counting down to their execution.
The emotional hit of believing that every one of our beloved characters has died is the most impactful moment of the show. All hope that the Professor could have one more plan up his sleeve is gone.
Until it isn't.
To see the remaining members of the gang come out safely, and under the protection of those fighting to shut them down, was a beautifully executed moment and conclusion to the show's legacy.
Though many were lost along the way, from Moscow and Berlin to Nairobi and Tokyo, we are left with a story of grief, hope, healing, and resistance. "Money Heist" was a complex show, delving into issues of morality, allowing a deep insight into lives outside of our own reality, and was above all a love letter to the resistance across the world—as the finale so perfectly demonstrated.
While the beautiful finale to "Money Heist" left a void in our hearts and on our screens, we won't need to wait too long for it to be filled!
A Korean version of the show, "Money Heist: Joint Economic Area", is set to hit Netflix this year, and a spin-off "Berlin", following the life of the titular character pre-Royal Mint of Spain, is coming soon after in 2023!