The second half of the sophomore season of Spanish TV show El Príncipe picks up immediately after the end of the first half. El Príncipe does not lose one of its eye candy as CNI (Centro Nacional de Inteligencia) agent Javier Morey (Álex González) survives his close encounter with another CNI agent, Laura Hidalgo (Nerea Barros). Due to a momentary lapse of concentration, Hidalgo meets her maker with one gunshot from Morey. It is a little disappointing to see Barros exit the show this way because she got fired in doing the right thing in El Tiempo Entre Costuras. When will her TV character get a break?
Hidalgo’s death is not all for naught because she spent her last breathes telling Morey that their immediate superior Ricardo Serra (Pau Durá) is a traitor. With Morey’s persistence and Serra’s confession, he and chief Carmen Salinas (Blanca Apilánez) discover that the treachery runs deep in the agency, but they cannot touch Serra’s accomplice, Robledo, without hard proof. In order to clear his name and conscience, Serra aids Morey and Salinas to make a case against Robledo, but it only ends up with Serra’s death at the hands of the very man he wanted to be indicted.
Meanwhile the unhappily wedded couple, Khaled Ashour (Stany Coppet) and Fátima Ben Barek (Hiba Abouk), is unsurprisingly together. Khaled continues to play both sides in the terrorism front, and Fátima remains as confused and confusing as ever when it comes to her emotional state. Neither matters because Khaled sets his mind on loving his wife, and that love extends to the Ben Barek family, which affords them his protection. Most of that love is due to Khaled’s belief that Fátima is pregnant with his son. After some damning proofs, Khaled puts two and two together and realizes that Fátima fakes the pregnancy. Upon learning of her deception, Khaled’s expression changes from happiness to doubt and finally settles with take-no-prisoners game face. For a moment there, I felt a tinge of sympathy for Khaled. He asks Fátima if she felt something for him even for a moment, but she just gives him her signature look #1, the scornful look made especially for him.
For a split second, he loses control and might or might not have pushed Fátima down the steps. As soon as she reaches the foot of the stony steps, he immediately realizes that he cannot live without her and takes her to the hospital. After her recovery from the fall and the “miscarriage”, she continues to look at him with contempt. That does not stop him from loving her…quite obsessively. For the sake of drama, Khaled’s obsession with his wife affects his status as a faithful member of terrorist group Akrab, but not enough to stop him from purchasing explosives, blast testing said explosives, meeting with and blindsiding French authorities and terrorist leaders, and plotting with lawyer-uncle Salman Moukarzel (Hamid Krim) and Jihaddist Ismael Ben Joussef (Kaabil Sekali). Salman and Ismael are very efficient in doing Khaled’s dirty work so he has more time to guard his unfaithful wife.
Even with Khaled’s vigilance, the Morey and Fátima love affair continues with lingering looks, meaningful touches and stolen moments of intimacy. Fátima’s fall makes her call Morey, tells him, “sacame aquí” (take me out of here) like she is the queen of Spain, hangs up, and shows the audience her signature look #2, the crying-lips-trembling look. That fall becomes the catalyst of their magical Madrid escapade, where they make love without haste or fear of discovery. After a call from her mother prompted by an emotional blackmail from Khaled, Ben Barek Aisha (Merce Montalà), Fátima leaves Morey. That night in Madrid ends with Morey teaching Fátima how to dance. No, I did not say, “awwww” or wished the scene to be longer, although the Spanish song that accompanies the dance is quite good.
Since Fátima and Morey are born for each other, they cannot keep their hands off each other for too long. For the rest of the show, Morey and Fátima confess their love for each other while forgetting that one of them is married to the man that the other one is trying to kill. Fátima finds a way to anger Khaled, calls Morey for help, Morey kicks or punch something out of frustration, Morey comes running, err, more like misusing the CNI and Ceuta police station resources (use of helicopter, takes time off work, directs Ceuta police force to solely protect Fátima and ignore other pressing matters) to get to her, they embrace and kiss passionately, then Morey asks Fátima to leave Khaled only for her to realize that she is a good daughter or sister and has to stay with Khaled for the sake of family. This cycle happens 777 times in seven episodes. Okay, I exaggerate but Morey and Fátima have become too predictable; they have crossed from “forbidden yet sweet love I can theoretically support” side to “annoying and I want to fast forward their scenes together” side.
While Fátima perfects her two signature looks, younger sister Nayat (Carla Díaz), returns from terrorist captivity with Khaled’s help. With the family focusing on Fátima’s adventures as an adulteress, Nayat feels neglected and succumbs to loneliness. Instead of being thankful for escaping Akrab, she longs for the day to set her eyes on Akrab gorgeous poster boy Sergio Montes once again. With no one else to turn to, she finds an ally in Khaled. Khaled sees this as another opportunity to blackmail his wife and further his terroristic activities and readily agrees.
With her sisters ruled by hormones, Faruq Ben Barek (Rubén Cortada), the supposed black sheep in the family, makes a deal with the police to find Nayat in exchange for incriminating information on Khaled. He spies on Khaled’s illegal activities which culminates in him witnessing Khaled test explosives with Salman and Ismael in attendance and trying to steal the remaining explosives inside Khaled’s safety box inside his house. Faruq risks life and limb so he, wife Leila (Mary Guinea), mother and sisters will have new identities and life in France, far from the chaos of El Príncipe. His short excursion to Khaled’s war room to steal the explosives fails. He gets caught and imprisoned briefly. With the help of Morey, Salinas and Francisco “Fran” Peyón (José Coronado), Faruq gets out in time to save the Ben Barek women from another deadly situation. The women come out unscathed, but the Ben Barek ancestral house is swallowed by a fiery inferno.
Having met his part of the deal, Faruq, together with wife and mother, leaves El Príncipe on a helicopter, with tears streaming down his cheeks as he looks at the burning Ben Barek house from midair. With the only endearing and thinking Ben Barek offspring safe in France, I heaved a sigh of relief.
Faruq entrusts the safekeeping of the remains of the house, his drug business and his people to cousin Paco Ben Barek (Jesús Castro). Paco, whose ultimate dream is to become Faruq’s right hand man, is over the moon with the decision. He is the new boss of Plaza Ben Barek with girlfriend Noor by his side with whom he shares his dreams with. Paco seems rough around the edges but he has a good heart who genuinely cares for the people of El Príncipe.
Last but definitely not the least is my favorite character on the show, Fran. Unfortunately, he transforms into Morey’s Ned Stark. Morey shits where he eats, and Fran is the hand that wipes that shit. He does most of the legwork while Morey whines about his and Fátima’s situation. That gives Fran more airtime with two other likeable characters, Faruq and the spitfire Matilde “Mati” Vila Colomer (Thaïs Blume). He and Faruq bond over El Príncipe’s fight against terrorism while he and Mati study the evidences together. It seems that the three of them do majority of the detective work because the CNI people bicker a lot and get bogged down by legalities. In terms of personal life, Fran makes peace with erstwhile best friend Quílez (Juan Manuel Lara) and is on the mend with wife Raquel (Elia Galera). Fran is the coolest character on El Príncipe. He gets away with wearing sunglasses inside a windowless safe house or while shooting criminals, rocks the leather jacket like a real action star, and spits out threats like he means them a la Tywin Lannister. His cool factor reaches its zenith when he punches the ungrateful and selfish Morey inside the police station.
Events lead some of the characters above to converge in Granada and hobnob with the kings of Spain and Morocco. Due to his key role in the capture of Akrab leader Marwan, Khaled gets a prestigious award called Caballero de la Orden Nacional de Mérito in the presence of royalty. He forces his esposa infiel (unfaithful wife) to go and play the loving wife. Of course, her lover is not far behind. Her lover’s partner in crime also tags along. And this is where the plot thickens…
To be continued. EDIT: For the continuation, please read El Príncipe – Season II, Part III.
This is a summary of episodes 11 to 18 of El Príncipe Season 2.
For the review of first season, please read El Príncipe – Season I.
For the review of the first half of the second season (episodes 1-10), please read El Príncipe – Season II, Part I.