El Ministerio del Tiempo 1×03 Review: The Way Time is Rewritten

A time-travel show doesn’t become a proper time-travel show until it has its mandatory “we meet Hitler and have the dilemma of whether or not we should kill him” storyline. Here, it’s not really that the characters are thrown in that direction straightaway, but rather, they happen upon a conflict that might eventually only get solved if said assassination takes place.

We begin this entangled story with two men that look like Resistance fighters. It’s 1940, and they are running through a forest, trying to escape the Nazis, who eventually catch them. They kill one of them, but the other (let’s call him Traitor Guy) saves his life by revealing the secret about the Spanish Time Doors.

We soon find out that these Resistance men are allied with Lola, and that she is waiting for them at the Monserrat Abbey (please don’t Google news on this place right now, you’ll only be saddened). Lola is with two other men, whom I will call Bearded Guy and the Other Guy, for clarification purposes. Lola sends them through a door at the Abbey, and they land in Madrid 2015, from where they will go to Brazil. Eventually, Bearded Guy gets a fever and can’t accompany the other guy to Brazil. We will get back to that.

In the ministry, the task of the week is worrying: the meeting at Hendaye between Franco and Hitler, which was meant to end with no deal because Spain was recovering from its own war and Germany didn’t agree to Spain’s demands, seems to be taking a new direction. Germany has sent Spain 5,000 tonnes of wheat and is willing to accept Franco’s conditions. Salvador wants to know what has made the Germans agree (we know it’s because they’ve found out Spain has time-travel doors). If Spain enters WWII in the state it is, it will be the country’s doom.

Another thing they know is that Himmler went to Madrid and then travelled to Monserrat, so Ernesto, who speaks German, is sent with Irene to the capital’s Ritz in 1940 to find out what demands did Franco have that were met, and sabotage them.

Remember Bearded Guy? He eats shrimp not knowing he’s allergic to them and that’s why he had a fever. Sent to a hospital, our team visits him because his feverish self has been talking about time-travel, all while holding a 1930s photo of him with his wife and kid.

When it becomes obvious that Germany is accepting Spain’s demands because they want the door at Monserrat to travel to the future and obtain weapons to win WWII, Salvador sends the team to 1940s Monserrat to find the door and destroy it, and orders Ernesto and Irene to go to Hendaye to stop the agreement whatever it takes, should the team fail to find the door. Salvador also discovers that Bearded Guy was executed in 1941 -we’ll come back to this.

Our team, after meeting ministry agents from 1940, sneak into Monserrat. At the Abbey, Lola is set up by Traitor Guy (remember him?) who shows up with Himmler and co. looking for the door.

When Amelia finds the door herself, she stumbles upon a Nazi and the traitor. As the Nazi runs after Amelia, our Alonso and Julián try to save her but are also caught. Imprisoned the men, Amelia is thrown in with Lola, who tricks the Nazis by saying she knows where to find other doors. Isn’t it cute, to think that Lola is fighting Nazis twice at the same time? Here she is in her forties, when we know her twenty-year-old self is also a Resistance fighter in the 1940s.

BUT! After Alonso fakes a fight to get him and his teammates out of captivity, they are helpless as Himmler has sent a bunch of soldiers to 2015 to take over the ministry. Salvador, also helpless, keeps wondering why Spínola won’t answer his phone when he is needed.

Ernesto is informed about this, and knows he has to start Plan B: kill Hitler. He spikes his water with poison and waits for the moment. At the Abbey, we learn that Lola didn’t tell the Nazis that there were several doors because she was a traitor, but because she wants to help: she knows that, in the present, the ministry will be safe because Spínola will make sure that those Nazis don’t leave the building alive, as it eventually happens. Our team and the agents from 1940 overpower Himmler and take him to 2015, where they threaten to kill him to stop the Nazis from killing Salvador -although Spínola had most of it under control.

After Salvador threatens Himmler with killing his parents before they even meet, Himmler agrees to travel back to his time and call Hitler (still at Hendaye) to inform him that the time-travel thing was a hoax. Hitler eventually cancels the treaty with Franco and the team blows up the door at the Abbey.

Angustias, ever the nice woman, has in the meantime a task of her own with Bearded Guy. She has found out where his son is in the present. Sadly, he is an old man with dementia, who nevertheless recognises the father he hasn’t seen since he was a kid. Javier Olivares knows how to touch a nerve and make us cry. Bearded Guy decides to go back to 1940, despite knowing by Salvador’s hints that he will be executed, because he wants to see his son grow up, even if it’s just for a few more days.

And it is on this episode that begins that storyline where Amelia finds her own grave. She is going to die five years later, aged only 28, and it seems like she had a husband and a daughter. What will happen? Who knows? I mean, I do, but, you know, no spoilers.


¿Y tú de qué te ríes, tontolaba?

-“Whoever wants to know how many Velázquez is turning today, search on Wikipedia.”

-The puzzled face of Alonso when he sees the whole “blowing a candle on your birthday” act is wonderful.

-“They are not restoring my paintings properly, they are too illuminated. They look like a Spanish TV series!” “Well, you can lump it!” Velázquez ponders for a second “I discovered aerial view, I anticipated Impressionism! I’m the great Diego Velázquez!”

-“I already turned a blind eye on you painting the Cross of Saint James on Las Meninas, but that’s it!” “But I was given the Cross of Saint James!” “But three whole years after you did the painting! When you didn’t have the strength to even lift the pain brush!”

Himmler comes back from a bullfight “That matador is murdering bastard!” Salvador, listening through the bug “Because when you have Auschwitz, that’s a show for all ages.”

-“Past, future…who cares. A good soldier must forget his past and acknowledge that it’s likely he won’t have a future, because he fights for his life as if every day were the last.” “Certainly Alonso, when it comes to cheering people up, there’s no one like you.”

-The first agents our team meets in 1940 tell them (in the midst of a prank) that they are Maquis.

-“Hitler? He’s so standoffish.”

-There is a mention to a joke about a Spanish Hell, that we later see Julián telling the end of to Alonso. You can read it here, in Spanish. I don’t see a way of translating it, but if you understand the language and the culture, it’s quite funny.

-Spínola’s voicemail: “This is the talking device of Ambrosio Spínola Doria, Grandee of Spain…”

The Nazi threatening Amelia talks to the guys in Spanish “How thoughtful, this one doesn’t require subtitles.”

Franco waits while Hitler is speaking German on the phone “Did he say brittle?”

At Monserrat “Do you think this is a boulevard? This is a place of seclusion!” Right then, someone’s phone begins to ring

Everyone at the ministry is taken hostage and Velázquez starts to draw “You have a pair, drawing right now.” “If I don’t draw, I shit myself right here.” “Okay, then go on.”

“What are you laughing at, moron?”

-When Spínola arrives at the canteen, having defeated most of the Nazis, the Nazi behind Salvador grabs him and points a gun at him, and Salvador then says, “No, si hasta el rabo, todo es toro,” whose English equivalent would be “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.”



Categories: Spanish Historical Fiction, Television | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “El Ministerio del Tiempo 1×03 Review: The Way Time is Rewritten

  1. Heather

    I got excited that MdT was airing another season but no:( I don’t know if you’ve seen it but there is another Catalan SciFi series streaming on Netflix called in English “If I Hadn’t Met You” and stars the actor who played King Henry in Isabel. Not as good as EMdT and the show seems to veer from melancholy to scifi in extremes.
    Lead character reminds me of if Julian was the star of MdT. And the laboratory is in a disused shop in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. But the parallel world/time travel aspect is interesting even if I see the twist coming up.

    • Ginny C

      I hadn’t seen it!! Which is weird, because it must have been out in Spain first, but I missed it.
      Olivares did confirm yesterday that there is going to be a fourth series for sure, so let’s hope it’s true!

  2. Pingback: El Ministerio del Tiempo 1×04 Review: A Bargaining on Time | Corleones & Lannisters

  3. Pingback: El Ministerio del Tiempo 4×01 Review: Lost in Time | Corleones & Lannisters

  4. Pingback: El Ministerio del Tiempo 1×08 Review: The Legend of Time | Corleones & Lannisters

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