This is a review of Mar de Plástico – Season 2. To read the review of Mar de Plástico – Season 1, please proceed here.
The first season of Mar de Plástico (Sea of Plastic), a serial Spanish crime drama television show, is rather disappointing. It is predictable and convoluted with more than one annoying main characters. Thankfully, the masochist in me forced me to watch the second season of Mar de Plástico. The sophomore season is la mar de buena.
The finale of the first season of Mar de Plástico shows a dead woman inside a giant plastic trash bin in the middle of an agricultural field. That is where the second season of the show starts.
Local police officer Salva Morales (Lucho Fernández) is out biking when he turns into Hansel as he finds crumbs of evidence of the brutal kill, a destroyed phone, a bloodied boot and finally a dead woman with severe blows to the head sprawled on top of discarded green leafy vegetables. The woman turns out to be agricultural engineer Marta Ezquerro (Belén López). Yes, she is the same Marta whom Guardia Civil officer Héctor Aguirre (Rodolfo Sancho) pined for for 99.9% of the first season. Imagine my relief upon knowing that she would not be making a significantly long appearance for the rest of the show. Yes, it is evil of me, but her character is infuriating as a mother, as a wife and as a lover. I cannot stand characters like her who talk incessantly and change their minds every two seconds. I have myself for that, but I digress.
Naturally, suspicions fall on Héctor, her ex-lover, and Pablo Torres Martín (Miquel Fernández), her newly-risen from the dead husband. The two were friends and served in Afghanistan together until personal beliefs tore them apart and literally blew their friendship to smithereens. Now, Héctor and Pablo are Campoamargo police station’s sergeant and lieutenant, respectively, and must help each other to bring Marta’s killer to justice. Imagine how awkward it is to work closely with your ex-lover’s husband or your wife’s ex-lover.
Héctor retains his posse of police officers in Salva and Lola (Nya de la Rubia). They try their damnest to solve the case with or without the knowledge of Pablo, their superior. Salva continues to strut about town in colorful and mostly-patterned shirts that clash with the rest of his outfits while Lola acts like a tough guy, sometimes even manlier than Héctor and Salva put together. She does this in spaghetti strapped body hugging tops under open button down shirts. I do not know which is worse, their clothes or their ho-hum acting.
Fortunately, the antagonists are more colorful than Salva’s shirts. Pouting princess Pilar (Andrea del Río) graduates from firing guns at inanimate objects and joins the hardcore businessmen with questionable ethics to setting people on fire while caring for her lovechild with Lucas (Jesús Castro). She looks great at being a badass with her bangs. 🙂 Marta’s ex-boyfriend, Álvaro (Jorge Suquet) lands on the list of suspects for well, being associated with her and for being a lousy government employee. Bombshell with a mind of a criminal Agneska (Lisi Linder) remains true to her scheming nature, and almost gets away with it.
To spice things up in Campoamargo, additional characters join Pablo. There is Cristina (Andrea Trepat), the girl with dark and complicated past who turns into the number one rabid fan of jailbird Fernando Rueda (Patrick Criado) also known as El Descuartizador in the first season. Then there is Vlad (Florín Opritescu), the former prisoner and drug trafficker partner of Juan Rueda (Pedro Casablanc). The seemingly normal new character is Sol (Adelaida Polo), the cousin of Lola who happens to be the only witness to Marta’s murder.
To keep the equilibrium, some characters, like Francisco, Varislav and the disgraced second lieutenant, have to die in the same violent manner that Marta did, with the use of hammer. The killer, known as El Asesino del Martillo, in an all black outfit and mask reminiscent of Hannibal’s, just happens to murder three of the four men connected to the death of Fernando’s mother, an unfortunate event that happened years ago. Suspicions now shift from Marta’s lovers to Fernando, but how can someone in jail kill these people? Here lies the genius of Fernando.
Mar de Plástico Season 2 spoilers ahead.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Fernando manipulates his unstable adoptive brother Sergio Rueda (Fede Aguado) to do his bidding from inside the cell. The close symbiotic relationship between them, as seen in Season 1 and as it continues this season, enables Fernando to control Sergio to avenge the death of the former’s mother. Sergio is subservient to his brother because he looks up to him and wishes to be like him. His goal in life is to be imprisoned to be closer to Fernando whom he misses and needs like a withered plant in the middle of summer misses and needs rain.
Surely, no one believes that a person like Sergio, with low IQ level and (I believe) muscle control problems albeit a tendency for physical outbursts, is capable of planning and executing three deaths and almost a fourth, his own father’s. But, suspension of belief is very much applied in this situation. It helps that the actors are brilliant. Criado and Aguado shine as a pair and as individuals in their respective scenes. Criado is amazing both as the lonesome prisoner on the mend and as the psychopath with long-term plans. His eyes say it all – I will hunt you down and kill you. Make no mistakes about it. Even his fight scenes, especially the one in the nude, are worth watching the 13 episodes for. Meanwhile, Aguado owns the Sergio character like he was born to play it. His speech patterns and his mannerisms, like the way he bends his fingers, how often he touches his nose or scratches his head and the way his eyes look at people in an unfocused kind of way, are eerily good. The Fernando and Sergio characters are head and shoulders above the other characters in all the Spanish series I have watched, including Sin Identidad’s Enrique (Tito Valverde) and El Barco’s Gamboa (Juan Pablo Shuk). Yes, I like love evil characters.
Speaking of evil characters, Pablo is one intelligent, cold and calculating evil character. It turned out that he killed Marta after all. Although the manner of killing her is similar to the other murders executed by the Rueda brothers, a video recording shows that he also donned the all-black outfit and wielded the hammer to end the life of the woman he once loved.
This discovery prompts the final showdown between Pablo and Héctor in the middle of nowhere with only the sun and the sand as the witnesses to their bitter feud. They trade blows and hurl insults until they shoot each other rather fatally. Will Héctor survive or not?
The last scene shows Lola putting Héctor’s things inside a box, with Salva looking thoughtfully. Seconds later, Héctor appears with a smile on his face, visibly recovered from the gunshot wounds, and the three of them walk away together. It means the audience chose justicia (justice) over venganza (revenge) in a poll.
The true Macbeth in this series is Juan. Karma really bites him in the ass with the death of Agneska, the irreparable damage in his relationship with Sergio and his helpless state after the severe blow to the head Sergio gave him. The only other person in his house is a servant. The servant does a Sergio 2.0 and also visits the psychopath Fernando in jail. Good luck, Juan!
The second season of Mar de Plástico is a vast improvement over the first because of three reasons. First, Marta, the most irritating character, is gone and the addition of Pablo and Vlad as bad guys is more than welcome especially in a series where watching the good guys is a worse form torture than watching paint dry. Second, unnecessary story arcs that do not contribute to the main plot are minimized. With the absence of Marta, Héctor’s love and family problems are eliminated. Third, and the most important factor, the Rueda brothers have more screen time. They are the MVP of the show and they carry the show to the finish line, much like Jordan and Pippen did to the Bulls (or Rasheed Wallace and Chauncey Billups and the Detroit Pistons) in the last two minutes of most of their games.