El Ministerio del Tiempo 4×08 Review: Days of Future Past

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 despacho

Where do I begin? Where. Do. I. Begin. Like this episode, I might as well start at the end, with Salvador resigning from his post. People leave, they start new adventures. Some get their sons back. Others remain, waiting until old age to reunite with their partner. And others retire because they turn 80 in three months and, honestly, they deserve a break if they bloody want to.

We jump forward in time, to November 20th, 2020. It is night time, and Ernesto watches from a window as the corpse of a baby is dug out from the land in front of the ministry. The detective in charge, DI Ayala, looks at the building suspecting there must be a link between the child and the ministry. Ernesto goes to Salvador, who is writing his resignation letter. He lets him know about the cops, and Salvador seems ready to do what needs to be done.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 salvador inspectora ayalaThe next day, DI Ayala arrives at an empty ministry and is welcomed by Ernesto, who takes her to meet Salvador. Our sub-secretary then proceeds to tell her all about the ministry, probably because he doesn’t care, mostly because she will never be able to tell anyone about it. He reveals he knows about the baby, because he is the one who killed him.

To show her the bigger picture, he tells her what happened six months earlier, when Julián disappeared. We then see Julián waking up in the year 2070. He meets an old woman who reveals herself to be Lola, now taking over her Claudia Tiedemann (aka the White Devil) persona. She is the one who sent those men after Julián, and tells our guy that, after Díaz Bueno landed the anacronópete in 1945, she moved the numbers and drank all the García fluid that she could, ending up in 2065, aging nonetheless. In the five years since, the government has created over a hundred more, property of the ministry. The doors couldn’t take you to the future, but the doors were closed for good in 2020. With the anacronópetes, you can travel to an exact moment in time, and the current government uses it to go to the future and see if their plans work out, or if anyone is a threat, then going to the past to take them out before they can do any harm. Very charming.

It is quite the “Blade Runner meets 1984” scenario. The ministry is no longer a secret, goods like food and water are taken from the past to be sold at high prices in their present, and healthy babies (because the future stinks and is full of pollution) are kidnapped from the past to be adopted in the future. It reminded me of National Socialism in the 1930s, where they preached the purity of race by taking out anyone not healthy (a specific plotline from Man in the High Castle with John Smith’s son comes to mind).

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 julian lola iria martinez granddaughterSorry, before I ramble again: the sub-secretary in the year 2070 is called Juan Salcedo, and you know what, he is that red-haired guy who pretended to be the government delegate! Something smells fishy. We see him as a hologram on a building, along with a big Wanted image of a young girl.

Lola reveals to Julián that Spain left the EU in 2028, and they meet the wanted girl, Iria Martínez, who, as it turns out, is Julián’s granddaughter! So I guess he really did save Maite for real. It is my guess now that Salcedo, knowing that Julián was her grandfather, travelled to the ministry in 2020 with the sole purpose of finding out where Julián was and kill him, to make sure Iria would never be born.

We enter now a paradox that could melt Stephen Hawkings’s brain. As Lola says, perhaps Julián saving Maite has changed things, but maybe they have done similar things in the past. Sometimes they had to go on missions that seemed to have little sense; alarms would go off about changes in the past that no one could have predicted, and perhaps that was their own fault. The butterfly Salvador always talked about. What if, on a mission, Alonso killed someone whose descendants were meant to be important, or saved someone whose kid becomes a villain, meddling with time? There are many variants, all impossible to predict and I think I need a nap after this, preceded by a long glass of vodka.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 anacronopete julian pacinoNow is the moment when Lola reveals to Julián why she has brought him to 2070: Salcedo travelled to the future and found out that, in 2075, Iria brings people together and wins the elections. Lola is protecting her, but she is old and knows that she won’t be able to protect her forever, because Salcedo can always travel back and finish Iria. So Julián realises what he needs to do, and it involves Terminator plotlines.

So we are back to the six months earlier, May 2020, after our team returns from the Fernando VII mission. The three bosses are in Salvador’s office when Angustias arrives with an alarm: Maite, two days after she was supposed to die in 2012, has reported Julián missing. They realise he has been lying to them. Almost at the same time, an anacronópete appears and drops Julián on the rooftop (poor Pacino thought it would be Lola).

Julián tells them everything, the theft of food and children from the past, how Salcedo found Lola in 2065 and she wouldn’t stop talking about the ministry… Salcedo then travelled to 2020, intrigued by what she had told him (so, not to kill Julián, as I had thought).

So, the mission starts now. Alonso has to go get Maite, while the others do research on Salcedo’s family tree. Poor Carolina, it takes her a while to realise that the reason they are doing this is to kill Salcedo’s ancestor. Unfortunately for everyone involved, because they know a grandfather will be too close to his line, and thus protected by Salcedo, they find in 1890 that his great-great-grandfather was left at an orphanage, a convent where his mother gave birth.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 julian y maiteAfter this, we finally have a moment between Pacino and Julián. These two are now united by the loss of their other half, and while Pacino laments that he won’t grow old with Lola (oh, Pacino, just you wait), Julián gives him a letter Lola trusted him to deliver to Pacino. And then Julián reunites with Maite and, my friends, I have never seen him more at peace. I know some people didn’t like that he was still, four seasons in, obsessed with his dead wife, but it made all the sense to me. Especially now that their offspring is going to change the world and all that.

As the team gets ready for the mission to 1890, we discover that the mother of the abandoned baby had followed this rascal who had knocked her out and then left her. She had become an alcoholic and resorted to prostitution. Because life in the 19th apparently sucked if you weren’t rich. The plan is for Irene and Alonso to act as the woman’s aunt and uncle to take the baby, bringing Pacino and Carolina along as reinforcement, just in case.

Unexpectedly (though not so much) some of the nuns are actually agents sent by Salcedo to protect his ancestor. After a wild gunfire that involves a Battleship Potemkin moment, our team succeeds and the baby is taken to Salvador.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 alonso irene orfanato

Back in the present (as in, November 2020), DI Ayala reads Salvador’s confession of the crime and rushes off. She walks around the ministry until Ernesto finds her. She is looking for something, and she wants Ernesto to help her.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 salvador bebeWe go back to six months earlier, in May, with Salvador about to kill the baby. The infant cries; Salvador pours himself a drink. He is about to make him sleep forever, when Ayala shows up, gun in hand, urging him not to do it. The past has already been changed by taking the kid.

Back to the present again. Salvador resigns, leaving his posts to Ernesto. He gives a letter to his successor, where he says goodbye to everyone, even to his frenemy, Velázquez. Carolina keeps the child for herself; Irene creates the division for female memory; Alonso moves to The Hague, where his wife just got a job, the place where he once was a soldier of the 16th century; Julián has a life again with Maite, expecting their first child together.

Then we move to 2065, where we see an old man building what looks like a bomb. He drives (with his solar-powered car) to a field, waiting for something. Then, the anacronópete appears, and an aged Lola comes out of it. She instantly recognises him. It’s Pacino, well into his eighties but still looking sharp. He puts the bomb inside the machine and the two drive away to the years of future they still have left, as the time machine explodes.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 2065 anacronopete pacino lola

 

“We were wrong”

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 2065 old pacino lola

-I assume that, ever since season 3, every season finale is going to be treated as a series finale, just in case. I love that Olivares gave everyone an ending, but one that allows everyone to return. Alonso can come back to Spain, Julián and the rest still work at the ministry, and Pacino is only seen when he is already old.

-I must say though, that I would have wanted this episode to last at least 20 more minutes. Some parts felt rushed and I think the story would have benefited from more screen time.

-I know this sounds awful, but I swear to you Pacino had more chemistry with older Lola (Fiorella Faltoyano) than with the younger version. Then again, I have said before that I am biased when it comes to older people. I can’t help it.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 irene memoria historica femenina-“It’s been like this since Isabel the Catholic founded the ministry.” “Really? I’ve seen the show Isabel and they didn’t mention it.” “The first writer in the show tried to, but we replaced him.” Nice wink, considering Javier Olivares was the creator and one of the main writers of Isabel

-So, if Ayala stops the baby killing, the corpse disappears? Or did they then put the corpse of a baby that was already dead? Questions that needed 20 more minutes for answers!

-Another question: the Maite that Alonso brings, is she 2012 Maite or 2020 Maite? This will haunt me for weeks, or even years until a season 5 comes out.

-Also, I missed Amelia.

-I found the killing of people who might cause problem in the future for the government like a sort of immoral version of Minority Report.

-Even Alonso tells you this: stop denying climate change and do something about it! Unless you want to wear masks for the rest of your life.

-Please let me know if I missed an Easter egg. I’m sure I missed dozens.

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 2065 pacino y lola tienen futuro-Inside joke that I loved: how the show Cuéntame, which is already lasting a looong time in 2020, is still going in 2070.

-The president in 2028, Bertín Osborne, is a famous singer, entrepreneur and TV host, signalling the joke that it appears anyone famous can rule a country. Also, his slogan, My Country is Your Country, is a pun on a show he hosts called My Home is Your Home.

-Oh, Julián, you have always been right: “Fuck, in the end everything is always like in Terminator.”

-“I have never met anyone who comes from the future, unless you count detergent ads.”

-I wonder if episodes 6 and 7 were meant to be shown the other way around. Just me thinking out loud.

-“You are right. What I am most sorry for, is that what you just said, I didn’t say it earlier.”

el ministerio del tiempo 4x08 pacino bebe escalera-“If you do this, it will be you who will change this ministry’s raison d’être.”

-Old Pacino, still rocking three quarter coats.

-Thank you so much for reading my views on El Ministerio del Tiempo! I really hope that one day we will meet again to discuss season 5, but if it never happens (yet I hope it will), it has been my pleasure! Let’s pray that Olivares will one day do his long-awaited project on Felipe II, so that at least we can talk about that! And remember: time is what it is.

 

Categories: Spanish Historical Fiction, Television | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “El Ministerio del Tiempo 4×08 Review: Days of Future Past

  1. Hi Ginny,
    another great review, let’s hope it won’t be the last for eMdT (!)
    I’m glad to hear you liked the finale, I also read a lot of people on Twitter loved it.
    Me, on the other hand, I’m not super satisfied with it and I’m wishing even harder than before that they will announce a season 5 because leaving things like this would be a little disappointing for me after the great journey so far.
    Let me try to explain my reasons.
    On paper, the episode had everything you could ask for: sci-fi, travel to the future, high stakes, great inside references, even a mission to the past (by the way, the scene with the stroller it was an homage to the station scene of The Untouchables, almost a shot by shot version of it, quite good!), happy endings for everyone… and yet, once I finished watching it, I felt “empty”. Emotionally, it didn’t give me that satisfaction of “closing the circle” that it was intended to communicate.
    Why?

    1) Salvador leaving the Ministry
    Well deserved! And a great scene of him reading the letter.
    Although I did cringe a little at him having to resort to KILL A BABY to understand it was time to let go. Ok that we didn’t actually see it and it was technically “undone” in the end, but he did do it (!!!) Maybe that was a little bit too far for a show like this.
    I also did not understand why it had to be the police lady – a complete stranger – to fix this situation and make things right. Couldn’t it have been someone of our people? Maybe Ernesto, even Angustias, talking Salvador to his senses and make him do the right choice? How is it possible that all of them thought that following orders, in this instance, was more valuable than speaking the truth? Even Irene, Pacino and Julian, who have disobeyed (repeatedly) in the past and complained about the Ministry crossing the line, they all thought it was ok to kill the baby? Couldn’t they have been the ones to suggest for Carolina to adopt it instead? Even Carolina, who was clearly not ok with killing the baby, couldn’t she have spoken up and volunteer herself?

    2) Ernesto becoming the boss
    That’s fine, no objection here, he deserved this.
    If there will be a season 5, I hope we will see him go to Salvador again for counsel or for friendship.

    3) Angustias and the lottery numbers
    Oook. It felt a little silly but ok.
    I really hope she could have been the one to tell Salvador off honestly. It would have made sense.

    4) Velazquez
    Too bad he wasn’t there for the finale, probably due to the actor’s committment but it’s nice that they included him. It would have been nice if they remembered of Amelia too…

    5) Carolina adopting the baby
    That’s nice. It makes sense. But I guess that being a single mom takes her out of the picture for possible future missions?

    6) Irene opening the department for the “femenine memory”
    Great job for an even greater purpose.
    I wonder what does this mean for her future though? If the eMdT comes back will she be able to be an active part to it?
    I kinda thought she would have shared the “boss” job with Ernesto.
    I know that giving the boss chair to a woman would have been too much even for a tv series, but hopefully when Ernesto will retire, he will give her the job she deserves 😉

    7) Alonso leaving Madrid and the Ministry and everything behind.
    Rationally, I will tell you that it kinda makes sense for him to close the circle back where it started, and I LOVED the words Salvador used about being Elena that now goes there “where you last saw fields of dead, now there are fields of flowers” and she can go there “to fight because of you,”.
    Emotionally it just made me ultra sad because it kinda closes the Ministry’s door for Alonso, a character who has been there in every single episode since the beginning and that we all deeply love. I’m happy for his happy ending, but selfishly sad as a viewer if we won’t be able to see him again.

    8) Julian finally reuniting with Maite and having a baby.
    If we ignore the time-paradox this created (of which I will talk in another comment because it’s too complicated), that’s the best “closing the circle”. On paper. But this storyline has been so abused over the past seasons that I (and many other viewers if the comments to 4×07 were any indication) was emotionally completely disconnected from their happy ending. I’m sorry, I wish I could be more involved, but if I’m being honest, I felt was quite indifferent to it.

    9) Pacino waiting for Lola to “grow old together”.
    On paper, the sweetest and most romantic scene one could have asked for. And I agree, it IS adorable, it’s just the couple that I still cannot accept!
    In the first 3 seasons eMdT has never been particularly fond about “ships”, couples and whatnot. And that’s fine, every series has their style.
    But this year they fixated on shoving this Lola/Pacino thing down our thoats at all costs (because it clearly worked for the seasonal storyline) and they did it with such little tact that it really unnerved me! First they didn’t create any buildup. Ok, there was the 3 years break, nobody’s fault.
    Then they barely showed them as a couple and immediately cut them short. Ok, that happens, no hard feelings.
    Lola is more interested in her career so she wants to keep it professional. Can’t help but admire her resolution.
    Pacino in the meanwhile was turned into this lovesick puppy, which was new and cute (Hugo Silva could pull off anything), it does happen in real life to have feelings that are not returned. Usually time cures it all, but… NO!
    Pacino is grieving so much for her loss that he goes back in time to change the past to save her! And what do we see in the past? That they were in fact back together (thanks for not letting the viewer know!) but she still didn’t care that much about him if her throwing away the pregnancy test was any indication. Ok, we cannot know what it would have happened with that, but one thing we do know: when she landed in 2065, she had the damn aracnopete, couldn’t she have gone back to Pacino in 2020 if she was so in love with him?!? Without drinking the Garcia fluid she would have gone back to her 20s and everything would have worked out!
    Why the viewer should have felt sorry for the breakup or him never getting back together with her when we were never given the opportunity to get attached to the couple and emotionally connect with their trouble and were only shown how much she was not that much into this relationship?
    I would have been ok with a finale of Pacino who kept fighting the good fight for MdT (someone has to do it, right?) and never seeing Lola again. Establishing that he will wait for her until his 80s is such a huge commitment that felt quite unnecessary for what this couple has meant to the viewer up until now, which is: pretty much nothing. Sorry if I’m harsh on this one, but I haven’t been able to swallow it for the whole season and this was just the last straw of how you SHOULDN’T create a couple just because you need it for the plot if you’re not planning to give the viewer the chance to care for it.
    I cared so much more about Pacino as a character than him as a half of this couple, despite all the opportunities of screen time.
    The only consolation is that if we’ll ever have a season 5, a) we won’t have Lola around anymore until 2065 and b) maybe Pacino will get the chance to have the lovestory he (and his fans) deserves 🙂

    10) Last but not least: the absence of Amelia.
    Fun fact: her name was Trending Topic on twitter just after the finale.
    Apparently a lot of people agreed with me that it was quite sad that there was no chance to include Amelia in the final montage: she has been such an important part of the team!
    I know we kinda already said goodbye to her and we know that (for now) she’s pursuing a greater good, but I’m starting a petition for her to be back among the regulars in season 5 (…her mother will pass away at some point and she could come back, right?)

    Anyway, I’m sorry for the long rant, I know I’m grumpy I hope I didn’t ruin the episode for you too, I really wanted to love it, especially if we won’t have any more seasons, but emotionally the main sensation it left me is the hope for a 5th season so that we can keep seeing more of this amazing show. ❤

    • Ginny C

      Nice comment! I agree with you in the sense that it was rushed, like I mentioned in my recap.
      When it comes to Pacino, I am hoping that the 40 years he waits until he sees Lola again, he is still having his life, working for the ministry, having affairs…I do agree that Lola isn’t as much into the relationship because she doesn’t take the ship and fly back to 2020 immediately.
      I think, if there is a season 5, Alonso will return. He retired at the end of s3 as well, and they brought him back.
      Julián, on the other hand, had always that gloomy, widower look that now is of course gone, so it would be interesting to see what they’d do.
      I think Irene still works for the ministry, but now has a subdivision focused on women. And yes, someone else calling Salvador out would have made more sense, although perhaps the writers wanted a stranger to be the one to convince him?
      All in all, I needed half an hour more for closure. Endings are never perfect and not everyone likes them. If I have to be honest, I like s3’s finale as a series finale more (we barely saw Alonso on this one!) but I forgive them for all the great previous episodes. Again, the episode was way too short for all the stuff that needed to be included.

  2. I just wanted to make a separate comment about the time travel thing, because it’s long and complicated to talk abou it.
    Let me specify that I’m in no way a sci-fi fanatic, space-time continuum mistakes in movies or series do not bother me very much because I’m all for the “suspension of disbelief”, so everything I’m about to say is just for the fun of it 🙂 , because when you start thinking about it it’s mind blowing 😀

    A) Obviously, first thing first, the moment Julian saved Maite, automatically every involvement of his with the Ministry should be undone. If he kept staying with Maite, MdT would have never recruited him, hence Salvador, Ernesto, Irene, etc, shouldn’t even know who Julian Martinez is.

    B) After 2012!Maite finished her run, at home she would have met 2012!Julian (the one who at the time of her supposed death was working on the ambulance) because he would be still alive and well, so how can she have reported a missing person claim in 2012 for the kidnapping of 2020!Julian? That doesn’t make any sense

    C) Why Alonso has to go to through a door to 2012 to get Maite, when she is (supposedly) still alive in 2020? I mean, in 2020 she would have had her baby and living her normal life with her normal husband who works in the SAMUR and there should be no agent Julian.

    D) Following up from C), who’s the Julian that we see in the final montage? 2012!Maite will go back to 2012 and will have the baby there, right? So that one can’t be 2020!Julian, right? That should be 2012!longhair!Julian I think? But then what happens to the agent Julian, who isn’t even supposed to exist anymore?

    I’m sure that there must be many more, but just thinking of these ones is already giving me a headache… 😀
    What do you think?

    • Ginny C

      I think my brain just exploded and now I have even more questions. I’m just going to guess that they are from 2020, that Maite now knows about the ministry because Julián tells her, and that he simply created a different timeline or something (it is really a lot to take and I feel like I need a degree in theoretic physics for this! hahaha). Javier Olivares always ends up explaining these things, so I am going to wait for his eventual explanation of where is 2012 Julián and how he is still recruited etc etc.

      To be honest, I would simply apply Endgame logic here: (SPOILERS FOR ENDGAME): they kill Thanos at the end, the Thanos from before Infinity War, but the events from IW already happened for them, so killing pre-IW Thanos doesn’t erase the events from IW because they already took place. It’s mindblowing but I will take it, because I have nothing else XD

    • Micah

      For C, couldn’t it be that Salcedo comes back and kills Julian to get rid of Iria? And so that’s what Maite is reporting, not 2020!Julian being kidnapped. Then, when they take the baby it undoes that and then they go and get 2012 Maite and bring her to 2020, meaning that everything else happens as normal? ;-;

      Sometimes though in time travel shows you just have to go ‘meh, time stuff’

  3. Heather

    Thanks for all your hard work recapping the show. As it stands, this is the end for me as Salvador(not Julian) was the heart of the show.

    1)Alonso definitely will come back if there’s a Season 5. He’s like Mulder on the X-Files-even when he was suspended or near death, you know he’d be back next season.

    2)I called it on Julian and Maite. I wish I cared about them but that story line was overdone. I see an Amelia/Maite/Julian triangle next season. LOL.

    3)I think Pacino had the worst storyline. First Amelia comes back and doesn’t see him, now Lola left him. My fanwank is that he went and spent his life with Amelia, then after she died, he found Lola.

    Even though I focus on the flaws, I’m still grateful for the cast and crew to make this show-especially in Spain. Even though the ending wasn’t what I wanted and IMO wasn’t sensible, the journey was fun.

    Though I’ll probably like this ending more when I see how they end Dark. Just call me Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons:)

    • Ginny C

      I like your Pacino idea!!! I agree about Salvador being the heart. Julián left twice, after all. I’m just sad that it took four seasons to get a Salvador-centric episode.

      Weirdly enough, I trust the creators of Dark! If only because they’ve had the plan for the three seasons crafted from the start. I just hope the alternate universe thing doesn’t ruin it. That being said, I am thinking about recapping that last season, but more as a live blog/stream of instant thoughts, like I have done in the past with Outlander and some seasons of Game of Thrones.

      • Heather

        Interested in your thoughts on Dark. I’m two episodes in and the music, scenery and plot is still great and confusing. I think it really shows how good a series can be when plot lines are mapped out instead of changing(X-Files). And has the same amount of sex as MdT:)

        I will forgive MdT since unlike Dark, it wasn’t shot all in one year and actors were unavailable.

        But please do a stream of conscious as there are some scenes that are just mind blowing.

        Finally, Pacino’s coat=the yellow raincoat.

      • Ginny C

        “Finally, Pacino’s coat=the yellow raincoat.” Absolutely agree!!!

        I want to rewatch at least the last episode of season 2 before season 3, but I should start no later than tomorrow with the first episode! And like you mentioned, it is a joy to watch a show where the plot has been established since the very beginning. It shows.

  4. James

    I’m still processing the episode and trying to decide if I liked it (not just as a standalone episode but also as a capstone to the season, and possibly to the series as a whole). I feel pretty conflicted emotionally and intellectually about numerous elements of this finale. So instead of working through my thoughts and feeling in the comment section I will just share one little linguistic/homonym joke I enjoyed, that being Ayala’s first impression that the Ministerio del *Tiempo* had something to do with the weather. 🙂 It certainly would be a more logical conclusion upon first hearing the title.

    • Ginny C

      I like your thought! It’s certainly what anyone would think upon first hearing about that ministry 😛

  5. Micah

    Loved this review! It’s always nice to see other people enjoying this show when most people I talk to haven’t heard of it (!)

    – About the baby, at the end it re-shows the early scene with Ernesto looking at the police finding the baby, and they aren’t there so I assume it never happened in this time line and Alaya only remembered because she time travelled (or : wibbly wobbly timey wimey)

    – As for Maite… I would guess that it’s 2012 Maite and the idea is that they’ll bring her to 2020, meaning Julian is still in the position of losing her in 2012 and everything else happens as usual? That part confused me too!

    – Amelia.. ah I was happy to see she’d be returning this season only to have just one episode and not even be mentioned by Salvador in his letter. I guess that was unavoidable with scheduling but it was still sad to not see her around.

    I agree that this episode could have been 20 minutes longer but it was a good finale nonetheless. Im still not ready to say goodbye to the ministry and the gang though… Here’s hoping for a season 5! :))

    • Ginny C

      I agree with Maite being from 2012! It would definitely explain Julián still losing his wife

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