Synopsis: This week’s episode of The Barrier reveals if Julia (Olivia Molina) survived, following on from last week’s cliff-hanger. Hugo (Unax Ugalde) receives a visitor, whose identity shocks him. Meanwhile, Begona (Angela Vega) continues spying, getting dangerously close to the truth. Alma (Eleonora Wexler) has everyone, including Luis (Abel Folk), crucially, right where she want them . . .
A slower episode than last week. The atmosphere in The Barrier is no less tense. It’s a more cerebral affair, the drama building gradually. Begona’s presence this week absolutely encapsulates that. Emilia (Angela Molina) attempts to convince her that nothing is untoward, as her and Alex (Daniel Ibanez) continue to help the members of the resistance. The members’ mistrust of anyone new shows great awareness from the writers who really understand the ways of the world they’ve built. They know that anyone could either break, and tell the authorities the truth, or, be double agents. True psychological warfare. One lapse of judgment could spell the end of ever having any hope of purposefully opposing the regime and the persistent oppression they’re subjected to.
Carlos (Juan Blanco), now operating as a covert state operative, under orders by Colonel Enrique (Manu Fullola) unexpectedly encounters Hugo. This is whilst Carlos is visiting his mother. Hugo’s there because Julia has asked him to help care for her, due to Carlos’s mother’s elderly and infirm state. Carlos knows it’s dangerous to visit her, and that he could inadvertently endanger his mother. That he still goes shows further considered writing. With that in mind, Enrique, later exploits that vulnerability.
At Alma’s house, Hugo, Julia and Marta (Laura Quiros) are there serving part of her celebration party, for her new job. They’ve brought Marta as Hugo doesn’t want to be away from her, due to last week’s attempted kidnapping. The illusion of they’re safe couldn’t be more wrong. Alma swoops on this opportunity, insisting that Marta stays at the house, that she should more often.
Elsewhere, during the party, Luis’s friend warns him of plans he’s heard about, that he tells him will have devastating and permanent consequences. Further plot developments, glimpsed at this way, definitely stirred interest in what direction The Barrier will take next.
Juan Blanco, as Carlos, did a great job of showing someone caught over a barrel. His acting skills allowed his battle with inner conflict to get real visibility, on the screen. Some great acting there, to really give the scene where he sees his mother emotional power.
Wexler, playing Alma, really puts in a performance here. bringing a chilling calmness to the role. Her character acts out her double life with practiced calmness. Wexler understands Alma, and her ruthlessness, her determination to get what she wants, and to get where she wants to be, at all costs. Sergio (Ivan Chavero), we already know, isn’t Alma’s son. Via Wexler’s, Alma’s cold efficiency treats the child as just another pawn in the game. This episode is Wexler’s. She’s thoroughly convincing as a dark force, and quietly manipulative orchestrator of socioeconomic and political power play in The Barrier. Great job done again, as a strong, leading antagonist.
CGI & Effects
The Barrier continues to demonstrate that big budgets effects, and the very latest digital trickery, are no substitute for a good creative eye. As ever the show’s look brings home the reality of the world that the characters inhabit. Evidence in this week’s episode are the stark contrasts between Marta and Sergio. Sergio wears expensive, good quality clothes. He has many toys, in his own room. Marta has neither fancy clothing, or indeed many toys; let alone her own room. These considerations use key differences, critically, therefore highlighting characters in The Barrier are socialized into perceived normality. Very smart, well thought out stuff.
Good writing uses emotive dialogue. Great writing implies emotions via what’s not said. Subtexts, etc. Alma is secretly making plans, from within her marriage to Luis. In fact, that’s what allows her to do so. Luis’s position and status., and hers via association. That she is able live a lie so easily illustrates she’s deeply deceitful. It’s likely she’s using Enrique, too, but he can’t see it. Clearly, he actually loves her. The best characters are nuanced, and complicated, meaning their relationships are. This, and the way that the show builds emotional tensions slowly, are why it’s consistently delivers and is so engaging to watch. In that way The Barrier is so different to so many other dramas. This episode may not be gung-ho or nail-biting, but it deals with human interaction in an inspired way.