The Barrier: (S.1 Ep.10) – The Shadow Zone

Given the current world health pandemic, "The Shadow Zone" felt like the most relevant episode yet.
The Barrier

Synopsis:  Manuela (Yaima Ramos) plays a major role, in “The Shadow Zone”. Her revelation has serious implications for everyone. But chiefly, for Ivan (Nicolas Illoro), who must finally take some responsibility. The news has dire unexpected consequence for Alma (Eleonora Wexler) and Luis (Abel Folk). Meanwhile, the resistance movement Emilia (Angela Molina) is behind gathers momentum.

 

Story

Whilst last week’s episode was slower than usual, this week’s was explosive, by comparison. Good to see so far minor character, in Manuela, used superbly. The story picks up with her. She’s on a bus, and there is an incident. At first, it just seems unpleasant. A vagrant looking man begins to have convulsions, and then vomits on her. As it happens, he’s contaminated with the norovirus. The result of the scene is the show firmly bringing the “virus” plot device into play. But it’s Manuela’s reaction that helps to tell the story so well. So far, there’s only been hints of a relationship of some sort between Manuela and Ivan. Now, they’re confirmed. We discover she’s pregnant. Understandably, her fear of being infected devastates her. Ivan has no idea at all that Manuela’ s carrying his child.

Begona (Angela Vega) visits Emilia, and tells her that the people who were at her flat last week have been found dead. They are the real parents of Sergio (Ivan Chavero). Colonel Enrique (Manu Fullola) murdered them, gunning them down in the street, last week. To prevent them pursuing custody of Sergio. We’re reminded of Begona’s powerful influence, as she warns Emilia to beware of the sort of people she gets involved with. This quiet tyranny by Begona is what helps make the show’s tenseness so realistic. Subtly, the environment of the show’s story-world  comes through. Danger, death even, is always there, lurking. A veiled, but ever present threat. Luis knows that only too well, of late. He finds out about Sergio’s parents from Hugo (Unax Ugalde), who was told by Emilia.

The Children Are The Future

Back at the Covarrubias house, Julia (Olivia Molina) begins to suspect something is wrong with Manuela. Manuela tells Julia about the bus, and the virus, and also her pregnancy’s revealed. Rosa (Elena Seijo) has already worked this out, and tells Ivan. Ivan tells Manuela he loves her and wants the baby with her. In a panic, and attempt to protect her, Ivan tells Alma. Alma says she’ll do what’s best . . . By the time she gets to where Manuela was, she’s hidden elsewhere. Of all people, Rosa helps Manuela to escape, and her and Ivan leave. Just before the credits roll, we see Luis at the resistance meeting, as the situation looks to be close to reaching boiling point soon.

 

Acting

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s Yaima Ramos who steals the show in “The Shadow Zone”. Ramos handled the horror Manuela goes through on the bus with a striking impact. Her performance allowed viewers to understand how terrifying the virus is to the population. Her fear was tangible, and created a real sense of vulnerability. Additionally, her emotional acting in scenes with Ivan was also laced with what are clearly some sizable acting skills. A great step up to the mark, especially amongst an established leading cast.

Another great actor who hasn’t been mentioned in our reviews yet is Elena Seijo. Her fine work, as Rosa, deserves credit. This week, she showed the plight of the character, so succinctly. Seijo knows Rosa is in a desperate position, and is controlled by her status. Such traits being depicted in such an understated manner are the sign of real skill. A thoroughly impressive set of scenes, well delivered

Though she was only in one scene, Angela Vega as Begona Sanchez also show she knows the character inside out, and her situation.

CGI & Effects

The opening scene of “The Shadow Zone” relied on the same low-key effects that have made the show such an important force, as visual poetry. The man on the bus having convulsions was truly terrifying, made more so by the circumstances of the story-world.

Another great use of effects in this episode was the flashback sequence where Marta told everyone of her time at the compound. The lighting in the van and the masked nurse really conjured up powerful images of state sponsored abuse and oppression

Finally, seeing the virus affect someone was chilling. It really announced the show as science fiction, taking the concept of a mutated virus. What was smart was it wasn’t over-egged. The marks on Manuela’s arm were more than enough to suggest death’s presence.

Overall

Given the current world health pandemic, “The Shadow Zone” felt like the most relevant episode yet. Of course, Manuela being infected was much scarier than the experience of most people who contract Covid 19. But the attitude and fear made the scenes relatable to right now. The regime so efficiently containing people was a scary concept. One which expressed the show’s themes in a chilling way.

Another crucial theme the episode caught was this vital message: people must fight back. Personal liberty must be protected, fiercely. Luis knows well how dangerous his involvement is, but is still choosing to risk his life and status, for the sake of the greater good,

Following events in “The Shadow Zone”, the fuse is lit. With Ivan infected (which the preview of next week’s episode showed in the credits), things are going to get very intense, very quickly. Alma will have big decisions to make, and have to make them as a mother, not just as controller of the vaccine program. The Barrier is seriously infectious stuff, and an inexplicably important show, right now.

9.2
The Barrier: (S.1 Ep.10) - The Shadow Zone
  • Story
    9.2
  • Acting
    9.3
  • CGI & Effects
    9.2
  • Overall
    9.2
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