El Ministerio del Tiempo 3×10 Review: Sheltered by Time

I think we can confirm a fact about El Ministerio del Tiempo: it is now the Pacino and Alonso Show, and it is all the better for it.

Not that it wasn’t a great show before (because it’s always been an outstanding series), but the fact that it’s just the two of them now makes that relationship stand out. The chemistry between Hugo Silva and Nacho Fresneda gives us a fresh look, and provides the show with hilarious moments.

Proof of this is that the last episode was divided into two storylines, and the duo’s plot was much more interesting and easier to be invested in. I will start with the other one, so that you can see the difference.

I mean, I know the other plot was the one with the undertone that truly mattered, the one with the comments that made you think (they made me think). A group of Moorish refugees from the east coast of Elche in Spain in 1609 accidentally show up in Madrid in the present, and it is up to the ministry to cover this up and find them shelter while figuring out what to do with them. Ernesto and Young Lola are in charge of taking care of the ill and such. But alas! It turns out they are in the present because a member of the Sons of Padilla led them there. The SoP minion has a bomb vest! He is going to detonate it inside the ministry! Luckily, Young Lola shoots him in the head before anything happens, but not before Velázquez faints at the sight of the bomb as if he were Jamie Fraser seeing the love of his life again after twenty years.

With the minion eliminated, Ernesto and Young Lola have no choice but to travel to 1609 to talk to Felipe III, whom we’d already met a few episodes ago, to ask him not to expel the Moorish people, who would surely die. Alas, Felipe is not having it. Cue to Young Lola having a conversation with the queen (who was friends with Amelia, let’s remember that). The queen is super sad because young Felipe (one day Felipe IV, Velázquez’s patron) is having a fever and looks very ill. How to solve all their problems? The Moorish doctor from the refugee camp turns out to be the same doctor who cured Felipe III when he himself was ill as a child. So Ernesto brings the doctor to 1609 and the king, upon reuniting with his savior, promises to help the refugees out if he cures his son and heir, and so he does (with the help of some 21st-century antibiotics). Refugee crisis adverted, they all move to Italy in peace.

Except! The new delegate from the government is Bosco, that sneaky bastard from The Exterminating Angel. He has been spying on everyone from a privileged position. If you ask me, having two secret societies acting at the same time can be a bit confusing to the audience, so I hope they will finish one of those two plotlines soon.

And now, to what really matters. Where were Pacino and Alonso? They were in Bogotá in 1828, where everyone was talking like they were in a Narcos episode and I was loving it. We meet our friends as they are about to be executed just for showing up with Spanish accents, but don’t worry, because our hero, Simón Bolívar, appears just in time to save them.

Pacino and Alonso (who still hates Bolívar and thinks he’s a traitor) claim to be in Colombia on behalf of the Spanish Crown to sign some commercial treaty. In truth, they are there to save the president from a murder attempt by Santander.

Bolívar keeps thinking that he’s met them before, but the team evades his questions. Alonso, who hates the fact that Bolívar liberated South America, even ends up challenging Rafael Urdaneta to a duel.

But something weird happens. Yes, they stop the attempt, but the man in charge of killing Bolívar (and who wears a TEA ring) fights Pacino, and as much as Pacino fires at him, the bullets don’t seem to affect him. We’ll have to see what happens next week, seeing as Alonso hit him in the head and they are taking the murderer with them to the ministry.

Next week it’s zarzuela time!


They don’t really want independence, they want power to keep their shady deals going

-Oh, I’ve just remembered Marta was there. Sure. She was getting her minute of glory on TV trying to uncover what was going on with the refugees. In the end, Salvador tells her about time travel, and Alonso takes her to 1575’s Sevilla so she can see that she looks just like his wife. If a guy showed me that he started dating me because I’m his wife’s doppelgänger, I’d get the hell out of there.

-And Marta woke up! And of course, she has amnesia.

-Proof that Alonso and Pacino are a comedy duo: their aliases in 1828 were Andrés Pajares and Fernando Esteso, a famous comedy pair from the 1970s in Spain.

-Velázquez got sad because the refugees reminded him of his slave, Juanito.

-The reactions on Pacino’s face are still some of the best part of the show.

-Velázquez, being Velázquez, meddles with the portrait of Felipe III.

-Nice callback: Ernesto mentions that the ministry’s secret is safe, because Felipe II clearly didn’t tell anything to Felipe III, his son.

-The music was exceptional today, from Handel’s Sarabande to Mozart’s Rex Tremendae Majestatis.

-Who else loved seeing Angustias dressed like a nun?

-“These idiots have Spanish blood, and they don’t want independence, they just want power to keep their shady deals going.”

-Running joke of the show: someone seeing Velázquez for the first time and pointing out that “that guy looks just like Velázquez.”

-“You can’t kill him, you’ll change History!” “I forged my honour with fire and blood on the battlefield. And a true Spaniard doesn’t allow anyone to insult his homeland!” (Alonso leaves infuriated) “He’s so old-fashioned.”

-“So you are not as selfish as everyone thinks?” “Those people don’t know me. What can I do if I’m one of the greatest Spanish painters ever?” “You’re clearly full of yourself.”

-You have to love comedy transitions when someone insists something won’t happen, and the next scene is that very thing happening. On this occasion, when Ernesto says Velázquez won’t join them and we next see them all wearing period costumes.

-“Alonso was telling me the truth.” “Well, I don’t want to meddle, but after he rescued you from those medieval knights at Ortigosa’s wedding, you kind of should have guessed it…”

-“Long live the old ways.” “Long live your whore of a mother.”

-“I don’t want to kill you.” “Well, you cannot kill me.” “Great, a mystic.”

-“Every Achilles has his heel.” “But this one had his very well hidden, we almost had to call a SWAT team to find it.”





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

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3 thoughts on “El Ministerio del Tiempo 3×10 Review: Sheltered by Time

  1. Pingback: El Ministerio del Tiempo 3×11 Review: Time of Verbena | Corleones & Lannisters

  2. Danny

    While I adore El Ministerio del Tiempo, I’m not too fond of the virtue signalling content that occasionally creeps in. Like this one. This episode felt just a bit too much like propaganda. I found myself thoroughly enjoying the storyline of Alfonso & Pacino in Bogotá. But I found myself disliking the agenda behind the refugee storyline.

    It was just a bit too obvious. The bad guys wanting to expel the Muslim refugees. All the good guys wanting to save them. Even Velazquez–not the most emphatic guy around–feeling oh so sorry for them. The need to emphasize that “they’re as Spanish as we are”. The only Christian in their midst that turns out to be a suicide bomber.

    But what really got me is this: weren’t these refugees originally destined to die? The only reason they could flee, was because the Sons of Padilla minion led them through a time door. Here we have a Ministry with one stated goal: keep history as it is. But now that we’re dealing with refugees, all that goes out of the window. Even Salvador looks with utter dismay at Ernesto when he dares to suggest that they, you know, keep history as it is. The refugees must be saved. All these people who were going to die (as history says), are now allowed to keep living. Build their lives, have families, do whatever. Wouldn’t that change history in unimaginable ways?

    • Ginny C

      I completely agree with your point. I’m afraid that, nowadays, there is quite a lot of PC everywhere, and it seems as if everyone is afraid of being otherwise. In this case, they don’t seem to deal straightaway with the consequences of saving people who are meant to die. This sort of comes up again in season 4, in a Salvador-centric episode that talks about how every one of our actions might have changed the future.

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