“Money Heist” Part 5 Continues to Offer Queer Representation as Everyone Prioritizes Survival

Money Heist Part 5 review
Manila confessing her true feelings in Money Heist Part 5 (Image: Screengrab)

While Part 4 of Money Heist was about creating chaos, Money Heist Part 5 is about survival as the Professor’s team tries to handle problem after problem. And yes, one of the most-watched shows on Netflix continues to deliver queer representation.

Warning! This review of Money Heist Part 5 contains spoilers.

The last time we saw the Professor and his team, they were in a pickle. Most of the crew was still inside the bank with a group of hostages while rogue agent Sierra had her gun pointed at the Professor in his secret hideout. Money Heist Part 5 (consisting of five episodes) picked up right where Part 4 left us, and we got to see the Professor trying to handle risky situations as time continued to run out for his crew in the bank.

Before I talk about what our band of thieves had to face inside the bank, I’m going to get the Professor’s interactions with Sierra out of the way. It is obvious that Sierra took her job very seriously. I liked how easy it was for her to tie up the Professor. She even shot him in the foot during the interrogation process. Sierra’s not playing around. However, things changed for a pregnant Sierra when it’s time to give birth. And while I applaud her wanting to go through the delivery process on her own, she’s left with no other choice but to involve the Professor.

I liked how the writers made it clear that even though the Professor used such an emergency to do a favor to Sierra, she’s still not fully on his side. Yes, the government and her own department were against her (going as far as planting evidence to make her seem she had been working for the Professor all along). However, Sierra’s still got her eyes on the prize and I can’t wait to see her try to foil the Professor’s plans again.

We have to remember that while the viewers and the in-show public are sympathetic toward the Professor and his crew, they are still criminals in the eyes of the law. Sierra’s not going to forget her duty just because the Professor helped her.

As for the Professor’s crew still inside the bank, learning that Sierra got to the Professor served as an unfortunate shock. Apparently, there’s no Plan B. But considering the twists and turns we have seen occur in this series, I wouldn’t be surprised if there actually was a Plan B, C, D, all the way to Z.

I understand how certain fans roll their eyes over our main cast always finding a way out. However, in my opinion, that’s the most fun thing about Money Heist for me. I have accepted such shenanigans and how everything somehow ends up being part of the Professor’s plans down the line. The good news is that the writers still manage to keep the stakes raised and deaths in the ensemble cast do occur.

With the army closing in, Money Heist Part 5 continued to push our crew into a corner. I found myself worrying about a bunch of characters as they tried to make a stand against a mercenary team that’s not above killing hostages. Due to the latest installment giving us a handful of flashbacks to Tokyo’s past with a lover named Rene, I could feel something bad was going to happen to her. She kept talking about how she missed the love of her life and how working for the Professor and her love for Rio helped her begin a new chapter.

But even though Tokyo’s death was being hinted at and she did die in episode 5, titled ‘Live Many Lives’, it still hurt. We have been with her since the beginning. Tokyo was the one narrating the entire story. With her gone, I wonder who our narrator will be when new episodes are released in December of this year.

The title of episode 5 linked to Tokyo’s opinion about how certain people think they only find the love of their life once. However, what they don’t realize is that they can have many lives and thus, find love again. After losing Rene, Tokyo found love again with Rio. Her final conversation with Rio was emotionally devastating. She told him to live many lives and to remember to fall in love. It made me think of the conversation Jack had with Rose during his final moments in Titanic.

While Tokyo’s death hurt, of course, she went down with a bang (literally). Seeing an injured Tokyo keep the mercenary group at bay while Denver and Manila escaped was cool. I was waiting for Tokyo to kill Gandia and that’s exactly what happened. In the end, Tokyo got her narrative justice as she smiled at Gandia knowing they both were going to die.

Now, there are certain fans on Twitter who think Tokyo’s still alive. I mean, unless some kind of mutant power kicked in to piece back her body, I can’t see her returning. But having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if we do see her again during flashback sequences similar to Berlin.

Speaking of Berlin, having died in the present timeline, his flashbacks (which, I take it, took place 4 years before the current events), involved getting in touch with his estranged son Rafael. Apparently, Rafael’s an educated computeR engineer and Berlin wanted him to act as his hacker.

I enjoyed Berlin’s messed-up interactions with Rafael. Even though Berlin paid for Rafael’s education, he kept his distance from his son because according to Berlin, Rafael changed a lot of things when he was born. Berlin wanted to continue traveling the world and having fun with Rafael’s mother, but couldn’t due to a new baby getting involved. But now Berlin’s back, ready to invite his son into the criminal world.

Money Heist Part 5 didn’t give us a conclusion to Berlin and Rafael. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rafael popped up in the upcoming episodes. Also, there’s some weird tension between Rafael and Berlin’s new wife which I hope the writers don’t use to cause messy drama. People wanting to hook up with their step-parents is just a big “No!” for me.

As for the queer representation in Money Heist Part 5, it didn’t disappoint. With Tokyo talking about her love for Rene, queer love was showcased through Helsinki, Palermo, and Manila. While Helsinki is a big cuddly romantic, Palermo’s someone who keeps his feelings to himself, especially after what happened between him and Berlin. Helsinki’s looking for someone to settle down with. But Palermo’s all about having fun. While the two have hooked up, Palermo’s not looking for a boyfriend.

However, Palermo’s true feelings were shown when saving Helsinki’s life during a confrontation with the relentless mercenary group. I loved seeing Palmero’s determination to avoid cutting Helsinki’s injured leg as Palmero, Rio, and Bogota tried to find a way to lift a giant statue off of Helsinki. There’s no way Palermo was going to let Helsinki die. He even promised to take Helsinki out to dinner for three consecutive nights and even go see a movie. My heart!

I’m not sure if Helsinki and Palermo will survive in the end, but for now, I’m glad to see the two talk more about their feelings for each other. Palermo needs to continue opening up to Helsinki because there’s clearly something there. Like Tokyo’s been saying during Part 5 of Money Heist, losing someone you love doesn’t mean you can’t love again. Palermo couldn’t be with Berlin. But Helsinki’s right there to welcome Palermo with open arms.

Coming to Manila, she finally confessed her true feelings for Denver in front of him and Tokyo. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the trope where a queer individual falls in love with their best friend and goes through a lot of emotional turmoil because their friend doesn’t feel the same way, I’m interested in seeing how the writers plan to explore Manila’s dynamic with Denver. Even though he’s with Monica, according to Manila that’s not the life the Denver she grew up with wanted.

The narrative also touched on Manila’s (somewhat) strained relationship with her father due to being trans. Manila’s father couldn’t properly understand her as a child. He wanted her to be manly and talked about how boys couldn’t be girls. But Manila stuck to her truth and with time, she and her father were able to mend their relationship. She didn’t blame her father for how he raised her because growing up in a small town, Manila could empathize with the way her father acted toward her all those years ago. He just didn’t know how to support a young transgender kid. At least, the good news is that her father did find it in him to accept Manial’s true nature and continued to love her.

We also got a conversation about gender when it came to selecting clothes and items for Sierra’s newborn baby Victoria. With Marsella bringing over everything pink because pink is supposed to be for girls, I liked how the oldest person in the Professor’s crew questioned Marsella’s choices and talked about how color had no gender and it was being forced upon a baby girl that’s not even a day old. He also talked about how one can’t be sure if Victoria will grow up to like boys or girls. Heck! Victoria could even be trans.

I love seeing such kind of queer representation being featured in an incredibly popular show. As I continue to say, the world will consume queer media but it needs to be handled properly. There’s a difference between creating queer characters to tick certain boxes and having queer characters that are fully fleshed out (fictional) human beings and serve an actual role in the overall narrative. No one likes being pandered to.

All in all, Money Heist Part 5 offered five very enjoyable episodes that were action-heavy, gut-wrenching, and raised the stakes higher. I can’t wait to see what will happen next and how many of these characters will survive the ordeal.

Some other thoughts and questions:

  • So, we lost Tokyo but freaking Arturo is still alive for some reason!
  • I get what the writers are trying to do with Monica dealing with shooting Arturo and the emotional mess she’s become. But at the same time, I’m also like, “Get a grip! This is not the time!”
  • Do you think a time will come for Denver to choose between his feelings for Monica and Manila? I wouldn’t be surprised if he sacrifices himself to protect both of them.
  • It’s kind of interesting how Money Heist was regarded as a flop when the first season aired on Spanish TV back in 2017. But then, even to Netflix’s surprise, it became incredibly popular when it became globally available on the streaming juggernaut and the series was able to continue.

What did think you think of Money Heist Part 5? How are you feeling about Tokyo’s death?

Let us know.

The five episodes making up the first volume of Money Heist Part 5 (basically the first half of Money Heist Season 3) were released on Netflix on September 3, 2021.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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