El Ministerio del Tiempo 2×01 Review: Time of Legend

ministerio del tiempo2x01 velazquez painting

Months and months of waiting, and boy, it didn’t disappoint, did it? Us Ministéricos (“ministerics”) knew that the return of El Ministerio del Tiempo was going to be bigger and better. And sadder.

As usual, there was a plot revolving around a historical figure that needed saving, and on this occasion it was no other that Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar –that is, El Cid Campeador, rightfully played by Sergio Peris-Mencheta, who played Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, the Great Captain, in Isabel (I love it when actors from Isabel and Carlos, Rey Emperador show up on MdT, which is basically all the time).

So, here’s the thing. Salvador tells the team that, even though the remains of El Cid are buried in the Cathedral of Burgos, a second pair of remains has been found, carrying El Cid’s ring and sword, the Tizona. So off Amelia and Alonso go to 1099, the year the legend died, to investigate. Though they go with Ambrosio Spínola, not with Julián. I’ll talk about it later.

amelia alonso ambrosio spinolaWhen they finally meet El Cid, he is everything one would expect: brave, noble, a great warrior, kind and good guy all around. But of course, Amelia suspects as soon as she realises that Rodrigo is telling his story almost exactly as it is depicted in El Cantar de Mio Cid, which makes her think the guy must be a fake because legends cannot be exactly as depicted. Anyway, she ends up breaking into his tent, and discovers a chest that contains modern books of El Cantar and photographs of “Rodrigo” with his family from the 20th century. Cue to Jimena, Rodrigo’s wife, who goes and imprisons the three members of our team.

So then Rodrigo visits them and tells them the part-hilarious part-heartbreaking truth: his real name is Rogelio, and he is a Ministry of Time agent from 1960. Back in his time, Charlton Heston arrived in Spain to film the movie about El Cid, and he visited Ramón Menéndez Pidal, director of the Real Academia Española and historian expert on El Cid (and ministry agent, it seems), to get more information. Since Heston didn’t get the information he “needed” to develop his character, Rogelio was sent to 1079 to film El Cid. Problem is, he and his team distracted the clearly cruel and mercenary man and got him killed. When Rogelio told his boss, this decided to send Rogelio back to 1079 to be El Cid for the following 20 years, so that history wouldn’t change. And that is what poor Rogelio had been doing so far, being away from his family until the time of El Cid’s actual death, which was a month away now.

mdt sergio peris mencheta el cidAs you can see, it is clear from this episode that El Cid that died in 1079 was basically an asshole (as his wife Jimena states), and Rogelio’s Cid was the one songs were written about, the noble warrior who was loved and respected by his soldiers, who earned the right to become a true legend. Is it maybe because he had the books to tell him what to do, or simply because Rogelio was actually a good person and an even better warrior? It is one of those paradoxes with no answer.

Of course, not everything ends there, because Rogelio gets gravely wounded with still a month left for El Cid’s actual death (his death was an extremely touching moment that made me cry). And there is a problem: legend tells that El Cid’s soldiers put his corpse on top of a horse and that their enemies thought he was alive and were so scared that they ran away. Since El Cid is now dying earlier than expected, you know what happens? Alonso decides to take Rogelio’s place and cover his face and ride on the horse, pretending to be El Cid. Then they take Rogelio’s ring and the Tizona and gather the hidden remains of the real Cid, and the mission is done.

rodolfo sancho julian 2x01Buuuut things are happening at the same time at the ministry!! I won’t talk about Irene’s return, because I find that character quite boring, but oh my, what is Julián doing?

After months of therapy for pretty much causing his wife’s death, Julián returns to work but is left out of the cases for a while, and his healing skills are put to use by becoming the ministry’s in-house doctor. At one point, he tries to use the doors that allow him to see his wife, but realises they had been blocked for his own good. It is not until a fellow worker tells him of the war of Cuba at the end of the 19th century that Julián decides what to do with his life: he goes through the door that leads to that war, resolved to stay there for a while and help all those young soldiers who died of many diseases because there was no one there to help them. But don’t worry, Rodolfo Sancho will be back, hopefully soon!

I am so happy El Ministerio del Tiempo is finally back! And this season promises to be full of surprises. We will have Lope de Vega back, and we will meet Cervantes, and Hugo Silva (who starred with Michelle Jenner, aka Isabel, in Los Hombres de Paco) will join the team for a few episodes.



Random thoughts

rodolfo sancho julian door

-They know how to play running gags on this show, and the one about the DNA was priceless.

-“Heston asks if you are certain that in the days of El Cid they didn’t use rifles.”

-“He wants to know what was the relationship between El Cid and Christopher Columbus.” “Good Lord, had this man been born even simpler, he would have been born an earthenware pitcher.”

-Sadly, we didn’t get to see much of Velázquez, but I guess he was too busy going to El Prado Museum to attend a lecture on himself.

-“I’ll leave you alone, so that you can insult me, or call me a bitch, as I know you really want to.” “That’s not my style.” (she leaves the room) “….Bitch!!!”

-Rodolfo Sancho had to be absent for a few episodes because he was filming another series, but a few weeks ago he recorded some podcasts that tell what Julián is doing in Cuba, and a new one will be released each Monday. You can listen to them here.

-As it happened with Isabel and Carlos, Rey Emperador, MdT has a special after each episode that explains the historical aspect of what has been covered. The special is called Los Archivos del Ministerio (“The Ministry’s files”) and the one from last night is already available.



Categories: Spanish Historical Fiction, Television | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “El Ministerio del Tiempo 2×01 Review: Time of Legend

  1. Heather

    Agree with happiness to have MdT back on the small screen with it’s great mix of humor and history(fictionalized of course). My thoughts are like yours. I still think Irene is the weakest character(perhaps its the actress) as she comes across as too modern (IMHO). I also don’t understand why Lola is still detained while she is free as she double-crossed the ministery just as much. But perhaps the actress playing Lola was unavailable. I loved Sergio in Isabel and he brought the same warmth and bravery to his role as El Cid. I also loved how the writers acknowledged that El Cid was basically a mercenary-which is quite the unpopular idea in Spain, as I understand.

    Unpopular opinion but I am glad Julian/Rodolfo is going to be gone for awhile-especially as it seems his basic plot is still agonizing over his wife’s death-as in Season 1, which is getting quite boring and negates the fact that Alfonso lost both his wife and son and still can function. IMHO. Hopefully his stint in Cuba will let heal and he can help others. I was hopeful that the whole marriage/baby subplot with hand Amelia would be forgotten but he is a doctor in Cuba just like he told Amelia’s parents so I don’t think that is the case. If this were Doctor Who, Salvador would turn out to be Julian/Amelia’s great grandchild…

    Anyway, I can’t wait to see Hugo Silva in his role and of course Lope. Still hoping that one of the British networks buys this and gives it English subtitles as my Castillian spanish is not as good as my LA spanish.

  2. Pingback: A Thank You Letter to El Ministerio del Tiempo | Corleones & Lannisters

  3. Pingback: El Ministerio del Tiempo 3×13 Review: Between Two Times | Corleones & Lannisters

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