This week, we finish the first of our reviews (we left off at El Ministerio del Tiempo (S1e1) “El Tiempo Es El Que Es/Time Is What It Is” First half) of episodes of El Ministerio del Tiempo! I love the modes of transportation shown in this show, from the bus, to the traffic in Madrid, to the train, and even fairly regular mention and shots of the Madrid metro.
Every 30 seconds of this series, even when there’s no dialogue, is precious! During the ride in the car which, is the first for both Amelia and Alonso, Julian sits between them and watches the reactions of each of them to the modern world. The looks on their faces, and the look on his face as he observes both of them, are absolutely beautiful.
As Irene drives in Madrid traffic!!
(I told you they should have taken the Metro!)
In the bookstore, they all find out what the bad guys are after, and Alonso finds out that Spain is no longer an empire. Hence one of my favorite lines from Julian the cynic about paying tribute to the European Central Bank!
As they are headed out the door on the way back to the ministry, Alonso spots and takes a copy of one of the Capitan Alatriste books by Arturo Perez Reverte.
Then we switch back to the bad guys and find out that the Spaniard who is working with the Napoleonic guy turns out to be in favor of a republic, and believes that the French, if Spain loses this war of independence, will install a republic in Spain, while of course the Napoleonic soldier from France knows better, but keeps quiet, busy admiring the violent television shows of the modern day.
Back at the ministry, poor Amelia is horrifyingly embarrassed to having to be explained about the use of tampons by Irene, and I know that this is the first time I have ever seen the topic of women’s periods being normalized in a popular TV show, finally. The men are all in another room discussing the meeting the next morning, and being dismissed to go home. Alonso now has a new home in Madrid since he had to leave Sevilla obviously because he is dead there. Does he have any idea how he’s going to get home, using the door to his time period, the 16th century?
Julian, instead of taking the metro home, takes a little detour to talk to the stairway guard who controls access to the doors of time, and begins to discover some of the little secrets of the employees or functionaries of the ministry, like going back to watch one of the old football games that he saw with his father. These are unauthorized time travel trips, and in fact could be punishable if they were known by the bosses. Obviously Julian intends to go back in time and probably try to prevent his wife from dying, despite the fact that everyone says it’s a bad idea.
Of course he goes back anyway, forgetting that he doesn’t have the correct money as this is before the euro came in, and sees himself and his wife on one of their first dates back in high school. This of course begins a bad habit of his at the ministry.
Then we find out just how much the French soldier admires violence, and our Patrol is sent on its first mission. We see how the ministry of our time period coordinates Patrol trips with ministries from earlier time periods, and of course we see the beginning of poor Alonso’s reaction to having to obey orders from a woman.
Best of all Amelia asks:
“Pero cuál es el plan?”
To which director Salvador Marti responds:
“¿Somos españoles no? Improvisen.”
(“But what’s the plan? We’re Spaniards aren’t we? Improvise.”)
And for Julian, a special smartphone to dial to or from any time period.
Welcome to French occupied Spain.
Where Alonso is even more shocked at the idea of a lady riding a horse, and then a man who does not know how to ride a horse and of course the local functionary complaining about the Christmas bonus being taken away!
And of course, Alonso immediately disobeys Amelia’s order not to draw attention. At least Julian backs her up later, regarding the plan, which Alonso questions, of course. Even if his knowledge of history could be a little better.
And Julian is absolutely right in insisting that they really need to see the film Terminator.
They figure out that the French soldier has discovered the main actor back in this time period, Juan Martín Díaz, known as el Empecinado for his dedication to Spain, who began the guerrilla war that led to the French leaving Spain. Killing him might kill the Spanish Independence movement, but of course Julian’s modern medical knowledge saves the day. And then he sees someone using a telephone not on their team. Turns out that the ministry has a renegade former member!
Apparently she was working, like the dead Spaniard, in the hope that the French would place a republic in Spain. In vain.
The sad thing is that while Alonso is saying that the king should be proud of the man who rid Spain of the French occupiers, Amelia informs him that after the war, the king had many Spanish Patriots executed in spite of the work they did to win his war.
Alonso sadly recognizes that nothing has changed, since his own order of execution by an incompetent Spanish official.
After the mission, in the last 10 minutes of the episode, of course Julian goes back to visit his wife just before she died, and is caught by his teammates. They take him to a cafe where Amelia gives him the idea to call from the future, discreetly of course. But being watched, by the former ministry functionary who got away, even more discreetly.
Stay tuned for the script, if it is still available, and then the first half of episode 2!!
This series began in 2015 on Spanish Public Television, RTVe, and is available on that website to those in Europe, or with a free web browser proxy, like Hoxx, set to a location in Europe.
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B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Sihirli Annem, Lupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist, and El Ministerio del Tiempo Reviews,
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