Someone Has to Die - A Review of the Netflix Original Series
It’s Spain in the 1950’s and Young Spaniard, Gabino, returns from Mexico after ten years of boarding school and (without notice) brings with him a friend ... Lázaro, a Young Mexican ballet dancer.
Someone Has to Die
A Netflix Original Series Created by Manolo Carlo.
This short mini-series (three episodes) taking place in Spain, about (I think) the persecution of gays during the 1950’s, is an “interesting” watch.
The beautiful scenery, the lovely era in which they captured this story, both luxurious and dark, seem to play off each other and balance it out and keep you longingly watching each scene unfold ... and then there’s the family drama.
Gabino Falcón (played by Alejandro Speitzer) returns home after spending ten years away in Mexico at a boarding school. His arraigned marriage to his childhood friend’s sister, Cayetana Aldama (played by Ester Expósito), is a surprise to him and something he’d rather not do.
Without a warning to his family, Gabino brought home with him one of his school mates, Lázaro (played by Isaac Hernández) a handsome and charming Mexican ballet dancer, and every one assumes ... well, I think you know where this is going.
As a result of rumor and innuendo, jealousy and revenge, horrible actions taken by several of the characters in this cast, rich and poor are united in this romantic, not-so-suspenseful-story of an abhorrent, bloody, yet lust filled drama.
Back to reality - It’s hard to believe that people treated other people this way, but living in today’s world, I guess not that hard. We have a maid with a story line of oppression, a young man with a storyline of confusion and self-hate, a young woman with a storyline of being the token spoiled rich cunt (yeah, harsh, but deservedly so), and a mom vs mother-in-law for the attention of ... for whom? Umm ... I’m not so sure.
From the lower level working class where they are forced to do the bidding of their shrewd, uncaring employers, to the militia-run country that arrests citizens for being even rumored to be gay ... or a communist, and sending them to detention camps to be ... Um, rehabilitated? This story is all over the place!
Someone Has to Die, is also a very fast moving mini-series with actors who are handsome, beautiful, well dressed (even the poor look pretty sharp) and some of them even act pretty well! Some of them.
Yeah ... Weird.
The moral of the story? Well, I’m not sure what it wants us to think about. What it wants us to take home ... or walk away feeling. Is it about the plight of the LGBTQ in post civil war Spain? Or, about the rounding up of supposed communists? Or, about the longstanding tradition of arraigned marriages? Or, about the mistreatment of the rich vs poor? Or, a glimpse into what the Spanish really think about Mexicans (which gives me my own civil war battle, having recently found out that I’m half Spanish and half Mexican!). And having watched all three episodes, I’m still not sure. So, there’s that.
It’s campy ... and that’s enough for me. Some of the fun in watching this are the silly one-liners some of them get to say at key scenes. For example, “I guess your blood really does run through my veins” (as he points his gun to her ... and I’m leaving out names so I don’t spoil it for you!) I’m sure in Spanish it all rolls off the tongue better , but in the dubbed English ... pure camp!
Oh, and about the dubbed English - it could have been better. Some of the voices didn’t really match the physical attributes of the characters playing them, well, specifically, the elder mother-in-law. In truth, I’d rather hear the actors in their own voices and read the subtitles.
Oh, and about the subtitles - some of the voice actors used to dub the parts into English had such thick accents that I had to turn on the subtitles to know what was going on in a couple of scenes. And ... well, the actors were saying one thing and the subtitles were paraphrasing what was being said. PARAPHRASING!! And not subtle little words here and there, I’m talking full sentences of major lines spoken were written as something else entirely! I thought that was real strange. Why bother if you’re not going to do it right? Who’s in charge of the subs?!
Overall, it was a good show - I loved the sense of realness in the era it captured, and how the portrayal of stature in the community is always gonna end up as the ‘man behind the curtain’, “pay no attention to him! I am the great and powerful Oz!” ... you know? The upstanding moral figure never toes that line a hundred percent! We’re always finding out that this person is not who you thought he’d be. so that’s always fun. But, is it always good? Is there a show or film where that good person is always good through and through? Forrest Gump you say? John Coffey you say? Okay, my bad.
What I did leave with was how two Latino cultures like Spain and Mexico, can loathe one another so badly. But look at our world today. It’s almost like the Civil War again, here in America. We’ve got brother going after brother over political opinions.
But, with the turmoil brought on in the story between my two cultural ethnicities, now half of me hates the other half of me. And, I really don’t know what I’m going to do about that.
(All three episodes are simultaneously available now on Netflix)