Let’s just forget that this might be the last episode ever of El Ministerio del Tiempo, and discuss: wasn’t it the best way to end a season/series? Full of self-references, not just to previous plots of the show, but to the behind-the-scenes story as well. But let’s start from the beginning.
What is the mission this time? Apparently, TVE is making a show in 1966 called El Ministerio del Tiempo. And it’s not just that it has Julián, Amelia and Alonso as the main characters. It’s that the pilot is pretty much like the pilot from the real show itself –although, as Alonso points out, there are some major differences, like his catchphrase being different, Julián not being a sappy guy pinning for Amelia, and Velázquez being way thinner than his hoggish 60’s counterpart. It’s all a mess. Even Pacino wonders why his character is not there, to which Salvador replies that he probably won’t show up until season 2. Like I said, meta jokes one after the other.
So, to properly infiltrate the set, Alonso and Pacino become extras, while Young Lola works as the secretary of Aparicio-Bernal, the then director of TVE. It is working here that she finds out who the scriptwriter is, a guy named Ureña –she also receives a guy she doesn’t know called Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, who is unsuccessfully trying to sell a script to Aparicio-Bernal.
When the team goes back to 2017 to quickly inform Salvador about the Ureña discovery, we learn that Ureña died a few years ago and that he was very old, and that he also tried to kill Salvador. So who is this young guy writing El Ministerio? As we’ll learn later, it’s his grandson. Also, when Lola mentions Ibáñez Serrador in the conversation, Pacino gets anxious about his favourite show, Historias Para No Dormir, never getting made, but everyone ignores him. Serrador is the Spanish Hitchcock, he reminds everybody.
But nevertheless, our guys have a plan. To halt production of the fake Ministerio, everybody in the real one decide to write scripts that Aparicio-Bernal won’t like, like the killer of Rabal, the last of the Philippines or what really happened to El Cid. Pacino and Lola do change the scripts in the middle of the night (and pretend to be making out in what is a hilarious scene that reflects the mentality of the time) and Aparicio-Bernal hates the new scripts so much that he cancels El Ministerio. And because there is nothing to show on Friday nights now, he agrees to do Serrador’s show.
Yet, the story doesn’t end here. Ernesto and Alonso chase Ureña all the way to a door that leads to 2011, where we see our villain with his sick grandpa, who stole to book of doors, hence why Ureña was able to travel to 1966. Ernesto and Alonso return to 1966, and while Ernesto goes back to the present, the trio remains to see how Ibáñez Serrador does his show.
But oh, the drama! They return to 2017, and the ministry has changed! It’s not a government ministry anymore, but a tourist attraction called Carpe Diem! There are stewards, and they guide curious tourists through time, to witness Rafael Nadal’s first win, when the Beatles played in Madrid, and so on… As it turns out, Ureña created Carpe Diem in 2011 to end the crisis, and it paid off. Salvador is gone, and people like Irene and Angustias are now outlaws. Only Ernesto remains, because he was also travelling in time and knows this is not the real present.
So Ernesto and the team can do nothing but visit Salvador, who reveals he has a plan: bomb the ministry at night, when there’s no one, because this tourist madness should be stopped. But things go wrong, because Alonso doesn’t want that present, in which Elena doesn’t know who he is (and he was planning on leaving the ministry for good to be with her). Ureña and his men thus get them, and send them to 1350’s Segovia, where they have created a twisted game ala Ramsay Bolton in which they make people run and they chase them to shoot them dead. Revolting. Thankfully, our friends are saved by Irene, the intertemporal Robin Hood, who takes them to a small gathering where we find a sick Angustias. Carpe Diem, not happy with their money, have decided to attack our outlaws by sending strains of weird, incurable flues to the past so they all die.
But the team outlines a plan: they make the Carpe Diem minions they caught get sick with flu, and send them to 2017 with their contagious sickness. Ureña, freaking out, allows Salvador and all the others to meet with him, and they have one request to end this sickness that would spread to the entire country in a year: Ureña has to go back to 2011 and convince himself not to create Carpe Diem.
Ureña doesn’t buy it at first, but remember that Pacino kept the pages that show how to travel to the future in his phone? He takes Ureña to 2019, where Spain is in ruins, because NATO has decided to bomb the entire country to stop the disease from spreading to other countries. Needless to say, Ureña agrees to go to 2011, and our friends return to 1966 to go back to the real 2017 from there. All is well in the world.
So there we are, back in the real 2017. No harm has been done, TVE didn’t make a show about the ministry and Ibáñez Serrador got to do his. The ministry is saved.
Our last shot is Alonso, giving in to Elena, who has convinced him to go jogging together. Alonso is content, because, although he has saved history many times, he feels that his own history is more important, even if no books will tell you about it…
…but I honestly hope Netflix will save it and Alonso will return to the team…
…but if it is truly the end, bravo. Thanks for the memories. And the history lessons.
It’s not a matter of taste; it’s a shitty series, end of story
-When Pacino, Alonso and Lola walk towards the door, it’s a tribute to the first walk to the door in the pilot, frame by frame.
-The team finds out that the actors portraying Julián, Amelia and Alonso are Fernando Guillén and Gemma Cuervo (parents of Cayetana Guillén-Cuervo, who plays Irene) and Jaime Blanch (you know, our Salvador).
-Pacino foresees that someone telling Alonso that he doesn’t know how to fight can only bring trouble: he ends up breaking Jaime Blanch (Fake Alonso)’s nose, and Blanch quits, prompting Real Alonso to be cast as Fake Alonso. Seriously, all the meta jokes.
-“It doesn’t have a release date. They announce it as very soon, or shortly, which means who knows when.”
-“Morality is important. And first, I need you to lower your skirt.”
-The actor who plays Jaime Blanch is Raúl Mérida, who played Philip the Handsome in Isabel.
–Alonso and Pacino oversee a scene where Julián tells Amelia that he loved her even before he knew her “What a sissy! Did this happen?” “Not that I know of.” “They’re going to kiss, I bet you.” Julián and Amelia kiss “It was so obvious…”
-Fake fighting in 1960s productions are hilarious. Also hilarious: Pacino and Alonso’s Russian accents.
-“Don’t move or I’ll kill him. I swear by Laika the dog.”
–The director to Alonso “You were contained during the fight. I could tell you can’t fight, and I want you to give it all.” Pacino to Alonso, who ignores him “Alonso, Alonso, Alonso…. We’re screwed.”
-“Ureña, the evil old man.”
-“Things have to be done in order. First, you take her to El Retiro and buy her a horchata. Then, you introduce yourself to her family, properly. And you bring a bottle of anisette, it always works.”
-“I could be your father.” “And I could be your grandma.”
-“Back then, we fought for what we believed in. Our principles. We knew the enemy had theirs, but even for that, we acknowledged they had their honour. Nowadays, you don’t have ideologies.”
-“This will be my last mission.” “Another one who leaves… There is going to be no one left!”
-“We fought the Nazis, the Exterminating Angel, the Sons of Padilla and his mother…and we’ve been defeated by tourism.”
-“The tourists travelling through time aren’t doing it to learn about history, they are doing it to take selfies. Like that guy who enrolled the navy not because he wanted to see the world, but because he wanted the world to see him.”
-Darrow, our first big villain, makes an appearance: Ureña is going to sell 51% of Carpe Diem to them.
-“I’ll be brief, and I’ll explain it with doodles, so that you can understand.”
-“Congratulations, you’ve finished our past and our future off.” Alonso gets riled up “And I’m going to finish YOU off!!!”
–Salvador breaks Pacino’s phone “You could have waited a second before going all Sex Pistol on it.”
-“Congratulations, you stopped that rubbish show about the ministry from happening.”