Old foes return! Did you think, like I did, that said foe was going to be Lola? Then, you are as mistaken as I am (for now at least), because the villain comes from the past. The paaaaaast.
That being said, I want to point out a couple of things before I begin my recap. First, I missed Alonso, but I get that we can’t have a hundred people working on a case at the same time. But the loss of Alonso made me realise that Young Lola is not that compelling as a character, not like the older version of her was, at least. The second thing is that this episode would be, for me, number four on the list of favourite episodes so far this season. Is it bad? Absolutely not! It has Velázquez, Picasso, shenanigans of all sorts! This just means that this show is so good, so superb, so above everything else on TV right now to the point it transcends, that even when the story’s pace is 1% slower, you can tell. It’s like when people say an episode of Sherlock is bad. Sorry, but no. You are simply used to excellence with them.
Now, the story. It is a normal day for Velázquez. Normal as in he is strolling around El Prado, admiring his paintings while he listens to trap songs about him. But alas! While he is enjoying a good look at Las Meninas, these disappear and transform into Goya’s Charles IV of Spain and His Family. Also in El Prado, but in 1937, paintings are being transported away to safety, Las Meninas among then, when we see… Díaz Bueno! That moron who almost got Lazarillo de Tormes executed. He takes a photo of the painting with his phone, and at the same time but in Paris, Picasso stares at his painting El Guernica. He sounds like he is saying goodbye to it. Why? It was so hard to find the stupid receipt!
The team learns from Salvador and a heartbroken Velázquez that Las Meninas have gone missing while they were being transported from Madrid to Valencia during the Civil War, along with other paintings. While informing the team, Salvador receives a text from ministry agent Renau about how Picasso is not painting El Guernica. Something odd is happening, considering both alarms have gone off on May 3 of the same year.
So, Julián and Lola must go to Madrid and Velázquez, Pacino and Irene to Paris, thanks to a mobile door Alfonso XIII put in a church there in 1914 so that the Claretians could help the 90,000 Spanish emigrants who were living in Paris. For the sake of clarity, I’m going to tell both stories in blocks until the storylines cross paths.
Upon arrival, Julián and Lola take the job of minding the rooms in the museum at night, to ensure no one takes anything. But wait! Who is part of keeping the paintings safe? No other than Lola’s ex-lover from the premiere! Whose name I have finally learnt – it’s Carlos. Remember Carlos? Lola shot him dead because he betrayed her. As you do.
Julián, I must add, doesn’t trust the traitor, even though Lola won’t meet him for another three years and he won’t betray them for another six. Someone else Julián is not too happy about is Lola herself, because he knew her in the past (her future) and he remembers her art-smuggling ways. Lola keeps defending Carlos, though, claiming that he can be of assistance, because he knows people and he might know something about the paintings vanishing. To prove to Julián that she is not a traitor herself, she tells him about how she murdered Carlos. Or did she execute him? It depends on your point of view here.
So Lola approaches Carlos, telling him lots of details about his life so that he believes she works for the government and is investigating some paintings being stolen (both things true, to be honest). But then, something doesn’t add up: Las Meninas were moved from Madrid to Paris not in 1937, but a year later, so why have they gone missing now? At the same time as Picasso’s refusal to paint El Guernica? Is the person behind all this a time traveller? We know he is, we saw Díaz Bueno at the very beginning of the episode. And so does Julián, who spots him in the museum and promptly takes a pic of him to send to Salvador. But Salvador wonders if Bueno has a mole in the ministry, because how else can he have knowledge of doors to travel? For that very reason, he warns Julián to keep an eye on Lola, just in case she is the one helping Bueno. After all, she did help him, in her future.
It is only when they reach the place where all the stolen paintings are being stored that Julián discovers that Las Meninas aren’t there. Instead, we discover a massive painting, El Guernica, which leads us to…
When Irene, Pacino and our favourite painter arrive in Paris, they visit Picasso (who, as usual, is in the middle of lady trouble). Picasso, of course, thinks he has seen Velázquez before, but dismisses it, because he seems to not have aged a day since then.
Pretending to be journalists, our team tries to figure out why Picasso is not painting El Guernica, but he claims he isn’t inspired at all. Taking the three of them to a party, Irene flirts with Joséphine Baker and Velázquez gets plastered after drinking too much absinthe. It is in this state that he spies on Picasso talking to Díaz Bueno, but his vision is so blurry that he can’t really tell who that was.
Luckily for our team, Picasso offers them his workshop to spend the night, because there is no way Velázquez can make it back to the hotel. As Irene returns to the party to meet Baker, she encounters Clara Campoamor instead, and decides to chat for a while with a woman who was an inspiration to her.
The next morning, Pacino does some investigating, discovering photos taken by Picasso’s lover, Dora, where we can see El Guernica. So he did paint it, now the question is, where is it? A hungover Velázquez eventually draws a sketch of the man from the previous night, revealing him to be Díaz Bueno. In the present day, Salvador wonders how Bueno could be in Paris one night and in Madrid the next day. He doesn’t have a book of doors, because he had it confiscated when he was sent to a mental institution. He must have a mole in the ministry (like I mentioned in the other storyline).
It is then that the team bugs Picasso’s house and then confronts him with the photographs, forcing the painter to throw them out of his house. What ensues is a hilarious scene of Velázquez listening with earphones to the “conversation” between Picasso and his lover. When the loving stops, the team hears Picasso receiving something in his house. They rush to the workshop, where they find… Las Meninas.
Now, let’s make the storylines converge. Picasso reveals that Díaz Bueno stole Las Meninas and sent him a photo of them. Bueno then offered to trade Velázquez’s painting for El Guernica, threatening to destroy Las Meninas if Picasso didn’t accept the deal. Oh, Picasso, you foolish man. Do as Irene says, and next time the government offers to pay for El Guernica, take the money, and ask for a receipt!
And then, everything is solved. El Guernica is being protected by the ministry from 1937, and the French embassy is taking Las Meninas to Switzerland. Ernesto and Salvador then reflect on everything that just happened. Ernesto wonders why Bueno wanted Las Meninas and not El Guernica, and Salvador shares his thoughts: if he had shown anyone that he had Velázquez’s painting, he would have been sued by literally everyone. But Picasso’s painting, in 1937, no one knew it existed. He could have kept it hidden, and sold it almost a hundred years later. A painting of Picasso that no one knew about, brand new? Imagine how much money it would sell for.
And then utter madness begins. In Madrid, as Julián waits in the car, Lola says goodbye to Carlos, a man who still doesn’t know what they will become. But something appears in the sky. Seriously, though, what the hell is that? In the following seconds of complete confusion, Julián rushes to find Lola, but there’s only a dying Carlos. The thing that came from the sky is some sort of flying wooden zeppelin which contains a door. It is both the weirdest and the coolest thing I have ever seen, verging on extreme sci-fi without being too far-fetched. Unable to rescue Lola, Julián tries to save Carlos, but he dies anyway, creating yet another paradox. Inside the flying object, Díaz Bueno offers Lola some sort of milk that prevents one from aging while time travelling, something we have yet to discover if it’s true or complete bullshit. But off they go, into the unknown.
‘Luck doesn’t exist, there is only bad luck’
-I must say I was secretly hoping Lola would turn “evil” Lola, as in the Lola from the olden days who would smuggle art and such. I think it is necessary for this character.
-Before you watch this episode, I recommend that you rewatch the episodes about Lazarillo de Tormes and the receipt of El Guernica to understand the plot better.
-‘She championed free love.’ ‘Well, she now acts like the vieja del visillo.’
-I only just now realised that the actor who plays Carlos is the one who played Felipe II in Carlos, Rey Emperador! Small world.
-I also live for Salvador and Velázquez: ‘When he is on edge I don’t want him near me, because he riles me up!
-‘I’m not surprised he is not painting, with so much chaos.’
-‘Spanish?’ ‘Yes. And mucho Spanish.’ This is a joke based on something Spain’s former president, Mariano Rajoy, said once. He left so many quotable lines.
-Picasso threw even the most liberal of women into a jealousy fit.
-And do check out the photos Dora Maar took of the making of El Guernica. They capture history.
-‘One day we’ll be able to say that one time we couldn’t sleep because of Velázquez and Picasso.’
-If you are in the 1930s and your smartphone starts vibrating, just do like Irene and clear your throat, then ask where the toilets are. Infallible.
-Similar to last week’s attempt by Julián to save Lorca’s life, this time Irene keeps in line with history, by telling Clara Campoamor that she shouldn’t go back to Spain, and she shouldn’t stay in Paris, either.
-‘Bring me a chamomile tea, or else I will paint a Bacon instead of a Velázquez.’ ‘…’ ‘S’il vous plaît.’ ‘Because you are Velázquez, otherwise I would pour it boiling hot over your back.’
-‘I have watched porn with more elaborate plot twists.’
-‘The nights of love that are lost are never recovered.’
-‘Velázquez, fork out some maravedies.’ ‘But I have no expenses left!’ ‘When it’s absinthe, we do have expenses, don’t we?’
-‘After I’m gone, when someone looks at my paintings, if they can’t tell I’m Spanish, they are either blind or ignorant.’
-Thank you, Javier Olivares, for quoting Luis Aragonés. Gone, but never ever forgotten.