Anyone who has some knowledge of Spanish literature will know that the picaresque novel, or picaresca, was one of the most important genres of literature in my home country in the 16th and 17th centuries. Cervantes wrote his fair share of stories in the genre, as well as other writers, but none is as important as the Lazarillo de Tormes, by an anonymous author. That is, until MdT revealed to us what really happened.
Problems, as usual, begin with an archaeological excavation. It is the present day, and some dudes are doing their work in Salamanca when they find some paintings that had been hidden there since the 16th century. And also, a smartphone.
When our team is summoned, Salvador explains that they know who the phone belongs to: Díaz Bueno, this massive twat who is a corrupt thief in the present and who apparently escaped to the past to avoid prison, and who, as most criminals do in this show, is associated with Lola. So the team has to go to Salamanca in the 16th century and find him, with the aid of a photofit courtesy of Velázquez.
In the meantime, Irene is sent to the ministry’s prison in 1053’s Huesca to interrogate Walcott (the American who got caught in the previous episode). While there, Irene takes the opportunity to visit her old mentor, Leiva, left there to rot because he rebelled against the ministry in the past. You see, his son was dying, but he didn’t take advantage of time travel to save him. No, Leiva didn’t want his son to be the exception, because every worker has a special someone who needs help. So he rebelled because he wanted everyone to benefit from that help. Now he is in a dungeon in the Middle Ages. To finish this story here, I will only say that the American embassy orders to have Walcott returned to them, and Salvador promises he will move Leiva somewhere more adequate. Cleaner and all that.
And now, back to our team! Upon arrival, they come across a young man being attacked, and Alonso, being Alonso, scares the bandits away, creating in the young man a debt of gratitude. He accompanies them on their way to Salamanca, and through his stories, Amelia and Julián realise this is Lázaro, as in, the Lazarillo, a character everyone assumes was made up, only to see him standing right in front of them. It’s like discovering Romeo and Juliet were real people. Needless to say, Alonso doesn’t understand why people would want to read about the stories of a common rascal like Lázaro –and that’s why we love him.
Inside Salamanca, everyone avoids their eye whenever our team asks about Díaz Bueno. It is only when they meet a friar that they learn Bueno is the Corregidor. When our team goes to a tavern to try and get more information, they encounter Lázaro, who offers a show for the present audience, getting himself in trouble, because this is 1520 (if you have watched Carlos, Rey Emperador, you will know that this is the year there were revolts because he was considered a foreigner and other details that I won’t explain here or I will divert too much). In short, Lázaro gets arrested and we meet Lola again. Remember those paintings? She was in business with Díaz Bueno to make some money, but he pretended to get killed to betray her. She is not too happy about that. But seriously, Lola, don’t ever take your eyes off the person you are pointing a gun at, because then you will end up in a cell.
Then our team decides to save Lázaro, intercepting the cart taking the prisoners to Seville. Except that, when they succeed, Lázaro is not in the cart, because he is going to get beheaded back in Salamanca. But look who is in the cart! It’s Lola, who assures the team she was going after Bueno to bring him to the present so he would pay for his sins. Not that the team trusts her, which is why Ernesto travels to the 16th century to pick her up.
The main problem for Ernesto consists of some harmless hazing activities and one young student too gullible when it comes to witchcraft and demons.
In the end, thanks to some tranquilisers shot with the greatest aim by Alonso, our team manages to rescue Lázaro from the scaffold and take Díaz Bueno back to the present. They kindly let Lola escape after she offers them a secret door when theirs is, well, burnt by the students, and all is well again. Lázaro and the friar set off to Toledo, and on their journey there, the young rascal talks about how he would love to tell his stories to the world, except he cannot write, and the friar offers to write them for him, but without signing his name because, being a friar, he is too modest and feels more comfortable with anonymity.
¡Por Santiago y por España!
-“I look like I’m from a tuna.”
-I love Amelia, but sometimes it doesn’t feel believable that she knows so much, so accurately about everything. She is only like 22.
-If you want a piece of trivia, in Spain we call guide dogs lazarillos because of the beginning of the novel, in which Lazarillo works for a blind man.
-Needless to say, I strongly advise you to read the novel. If possible, find a bilingual copy, one of those where you have the original Spanish version on one page, and the translation to your language on the opposite page.