Julián is back! I didn’t realise I was missing him so much (I’m lying, of course I did), but at least Pacino has helped fill the void. Anyway, what has Julián been up to?
As you well know, Julián fled to 1898 Cuba to help out as a medic in the war there. And from Cuba, he moves to the Philippines to continue helping there. Since Julián is the extremely nice guy we all know and love, when a dying young soldier asks him to travel to Baler to deliver a cameo to his girlfriend, Julián, of course, agrees, not realising that he is heading straight into the lion’s den.
Here’s the historical aspect, so that you can understand it: in June 1898, a group of Spanish soldiers were forced to take sanctuary in the church, the only stone building in Baler, because a group of Filipino insurgents attacked them (the background to the war is obviously much more extensive). They hid in that church until June 1899, even though the war had officially ended in December. So yes, the men spent a year hidden in there, and almost half of them died.
So that is where Julián is. But let me explain the problem here: he managed to travel to 1898 Cuba through a door because it was still part of the Spanish Empire, so of course there was a door that led there. Now that neither Cuba nor the Philippines are Spanish, how the hell is he going to get back to 2016? Don’t worry, Salvador is up to something, and I think it involves sending Alonso to save his friend during that dreadful siege.
In the meantime, things in 2016 are slightly uneventful (but never boring). Salvador is “told off” because the reports of the year in the ministry are not the most organised and in-depth thing in the world, so he warns all the agents that there is going to be an audit. Ugh. The woman in charge of it, by the way, is a former love of Ernesto, which means we now know he has feelings! Not that I ever doubted it, anyway. But while going through some documents with Angustias, Ernesto finds a letter someone sent him telling him that he had a son he’d never met, which unsettles Ernesto. Not surprising, if we consider that his only son so far is Torquemada…
And our team gets the chance for once to do everyday things. While Amelia is stuck filing paperwork (because that’s what she’s good at), the boys are in charge of checking every door –which eventually leads to Pacino meeting Julián circa season one. Alonso, while taking a walk, discovers something that he considers must be witchcraft: he sees a woman who looks exactly like his wife Blanca –ala Dracula. Of course, this ends up with Alonso beating some cops during a protest, which brings Alonso and NotBlanca a bit closer.
And Pacino, in his latest attempt to “seduce” Amelia, invites her home to watch a DVD of Historias Para No Dormir, which was a famous TV show from the 1960s/70s (in the style of Goosebumps, but infinitely better). But then Alonso cockblocks him. That’s life for you. And flatmates.
This was the first instalment of a two-parter, so we will get to see the outcome next week –and Julián’s return to the ministry!
-“Where did you get that idea from?” “Err, once in Madrid, I saw this American doctor do it. Doctor House.”
-Seeing that all those soldiers were illiterate made me sad and angry. They were sent there and they probably didn’t even know what for. And the Empire didn’t make an effort to teach them how to read and write. Awful. But that’s life back then.
-It was funny to see Rodolfo Sancho complaining about monarchs sending their men to endless battles and wars, when you think that he played Fernando of Aragón, who did exactly the same. Although Fernando always went to battle with his men and led them.
-And kudos for the nice mention of Fernando and Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba at the beginning of the episode, and how Córdoba had to report his war expenses to the monarch.
-I will never stop saying this: DON’T make Amelia and Julián an item. She can have a thing for him, because she’s 23 and he is fricking Rodolfo Sancho, but he still loves his wife. It was the whole point of season 1 and why he went to Cuba. Please don’t make this happen.
–Ministry’s files! Here you can learn all about the Last of the Philippines.
-If you understand Spanish, you can listen to the podcasts of what Julián has been doing these past few months in Cuba.