This is a review of the first season of Mar de Plástico.
Mar de Plástico (Sea of Plastic) is a serial Spanish crime drama television show. Mar de Plástico devotes all 13-episodes of the first season to solve one major crime. Granted that the malefaction is gruesome and abominable, watching the Guardia Civil solve the crime for over 16 hours is not an enjoyable task for the viewers. The show is a serial like Bosch, but unlike Bosch, it does not have a charismatic central (nor peripheral) character to hold one’s attention captive during the dreariest patches of the show.
Mar de Plástico derives its name from the greenhouse areas in Campoamargo, Almería, whose aerial view resembles a floating sea of plastic, a great and welcome contrast against the brown expanse of soil and sand. The peaceful cohabitation of fruits and vegetables in the greenhouses is shattered by a woman’s screams and struggle one oppressively stifling evening in the middle of a blackout.
The following day, crops and workers alike are soaked in a bloody shower. The blood comes from the brutally murdered woman from the previous night. The woman turns out to be Ainhoa Sánchez (Mara López), daughter of town mayor Carmen Almunia (Eva Martín). The influence of the political status of the mother of the victim pales in comparison to the inhumane act the victim suffered before and after she died, and the latter is the pivotal reason why the case is sensational. Ainhoa was killed like an animal, she was chained, hanged upside down, her blood was drained while she was alive, and her limbs and head were chopped off and buried in different locations all over Campoamargo. If that is not savage enough, I do not know what is.
The premise of Mar de Plástico is spellbinding for the first two episodes of the season, but for one reason or another the police work drags on in the last half of the season and whatever they do from that point forward becomes eyeroll-worthy.
Leading the Guardia Civil is sergeant Héctor Aguirre (Rodolfo Sancho), an Afghanistan war veteran with anger management issues and recurring war dreams that occur every time he closes his eyes (or looks like it, I am exaggerating). Héctor is a new transplant in Campoamargo, just like Javier Morey (Álex González) of El Príncipe. Héctor is aided by Lola Requena (Nya de la Rubia), a police officer with her own family issues, and Salva Morales (Lucho Fernández), a police officer with close ties to 99.9% of the characters in the show. I have to add that Salva is only one of two eyecandies in the show. 🙂 The trio work their butts off to find the perpetrators of Ainhoa’s merciless killing, and they look good in their sunglasses while doing it. However, commendable work ethic does not equate to successful policing, especially when the suspects are dime a dozen.
There is no shortage of suspects in the show. Exhibit A is Lucas (Jesús Castro, who coincidentally appears in El Príncipe) the boyfriend-slash-ex-boyfriend of Ainhoa. Lucas is the local bad boy who might or might not have impregnated Ainhoa. Exhibit B is Lucas’s bad girl counterpart, Pilar (Andrea del Río), the spoiled brat princess who wields high-powered arms as easily as she pouts. Pilar is in love with Lucas, and we all know how love can drive people to do crazy things. Exhibit C is Kaled (Will Shephard), the secret boyfriend of Ainhoa who might or might not have impregnated her. Kaled and Ainhoa are Ebony and Ivory so they keep their budding relationship in the down-low to avoid the judgmental society. Kaled is the other eyecandy in the show. 🙂 Exhibit D is Sergio Rueda (Federico Aguado), the older son of the richest man in Campoamargo and a little sexually deprived due to his less than ideal mental condition. Exhibit E is Juan Rueda, the richest man in Campoamargo who might have been in a sexual relationship with Ainhoa days before she was murdered, if photos of them are to be believed.
There are other suspects and to be honest, Mar de Plástico does its best to throw shade on every Tom, Dick and Harry whose Tom, Dick or Harry might have been in contact with Ainhoa’s Ainhoa. It throws the scent off the real murderer, but I guessed the correct psychopath before episode 1 ended. The show is predictable except in the moments when its police work is consistently shoddy. I had to contain myself from questioning the DNA evidences, proper timeline, and too many coincidences, but whatever. I understand that it is good TV to have drama, conflict and stupidity, but I also wish that what I watch has some semblance of logic.
The plot becomes (more) discombobulated with the (oftentimes) unnecessary story development of Héctor and his annoying one true love, Marta Ezquerro (Belén López). Their scenes together force police work and the plot to a screeching halt. Between them fighting or making love and Marta losing her son Nacho (Máximo Pastor) at least three times, my eyes rolled heavenwards so many times, they have not stopped rolling as of this writing. Of course, the war memories of Héctor that make themselves felt in his sleep and the pronounced shaking of his gun-toting hand have become redundant instead of effective because they manifest themselves too often so much so they have become a running joke in my mind.
Thankfully, action picks up once again as Mar de Plástico approaches the twilight of its premiere season. There is a bloody spurt, gun shooting, car chase (and a predictable maneuver), and Marta losing her son once again. It also means more gaping plot loopholes but at this point, they are inconsequential. I just wish to know who the real killer of Ainhoa Sánchez is (although it has been 99.9% backed by evidence that my guess is correct) and stop the torture of watching my least favorite main character in El Ministerio del Tiempo.
I may be in the minority in saying that Mar de Plástico is neither inspiring nor entertaining (this is coming from someone who watched Mario Casas let his abs to the acting for him for two seasons of El Barco. For the record, I endured it because of Juan Pablo Shuk). Except for the sadistic shock value of the crime in the premiere, the season-long journey is uneventful and punctuated only by a couple of highlights, one of which is the ending of the story of Lucas and Fara (Yaima Ramos) and the other is the fate that awaits pout princess Pilar.
For a review of the second season of Mar de Plástico, please read Mar de Plástico – Season II.
*This is a very long and forgettable rambling. I profusely apologize to those who reached this point of the post.