Synopsis: The Barrier, episode three, focuses on the increasingly dangerous experiments on children. Marta’s (Laura Quiros) still at the medical compound that Alma (Eleonora Wexler) heads up. Julia (Olivia Molina) makes a discovery whilst looking after Sergio (Ivan Chavero). She fears the worst. Meanwhile, Alex is in imminent danger . . .
A well paced mixture in episode three of The Barrier. Hugo’s (Unax Ulgalde) motivation and desperation come through brilliantly, via his confrontation with Rai (Pedro Beitia). There are so many “almost” moments, and these are so tense. This is perhaps mostly down to how wonderfully edited the show is, which tightens the atmosphere. Each scene has just enough in it, before it switches to the next one.
Alex (Daniel Ibanez) starts to feel that he’s getting closer to securing Marta’s return. Turns out he learns an important lesson about who to trust. It’s one that he won’t forget any time soon, and can’t afford to. The Barrier is very much about characters having to adapt to a very dark world.
By the end of the episode things have really started to move on with the plot. As Julia (Olivia Molina) continues her work at the house the effects of living a lie really start to take their toll. Luckily she just about manages to hold things together. Hugo (Unax Ulgalde) is doing a much better job staying calm, but with his discovery that starts to slip. It all makes for nervy, emotion driven, riveting viewing. You can’t look away for even a second in this episode.
Everyone in The Barrier is utterly convincing in their roles. There’s a really strong “normal” approach by all, like everyone’s a method actor. It can seem like nobody’s trying, but the understated element makes the show work adroitly. Ulgalde and Molina have most screen time to evidence this, but the supporting cast also contribute strongly. Whilst not a huge part, Begona (Angela Vega) encapsulates this, showing the idea perfectly.
Alma (Eleonora Wexler) is a genuinely convincing antagonist for The Barrier because she continues to believe that she’s making sacrifices for the greater good. Wexler demonstrates a chilling psychologically charged conviction. That’s the character’s primary weapon.
At the compound, Marta (Laura Quiros) appears to be still innocent enough to believe what she’s being told, but quickly starting to doubt it too. Quiros is a supreme talent and can convey such complex subtexts by the subtle movements of her face.
CGI & Effects
The blood on the clear background when one of the children are having it taken was a very powerful image. It’s this sort of visual sparseness that has helped the show to look so powerfully dystopian. The inventive and clever use of colour continues to be one of the best tools that Netflix’s The Barrier has used to build a world so bleak and grim. Using the taking of blood this way was a brilliant way to metaphorically embed the general mood of the show and hammer home the themes of brutal oppression and powerlessness to prevent it.
At times The Barrier has the the feel of the world within Philip Pullman’s His Dark Material series. But the world of The Barrier feels much more real. Using current ideas of science, make it terrifying. It’s not often in sci-fi that a show is a fictional story, with some scientific elements as plot devices/premises. This concept really does make everything feel realistic and perhaps even scarily prescient.