If you’ve seen a TV show before, you probably started making some guesses about where Money Heist’s plot was headed when more of Tokyo’s backstory started weaving through season five. There she was in the premiere, telling Lisbon about the love of her life and how the inherent danger in heists accelerated their feelings for each other. In a flashback, she was telling Nairobi how much it meant to her that Nairobi was willing to put herself at risk for Río. So when this final episode of season five, part one, leads with the heist that killed that love of Tokyo’s life, René, we might have all locked in on the same suspicion: There’s some bad road ahead for our narrator.
There is so much Tokyo backstory to get through here, in fact, that the flashbacks jump around in time, but here’s the chronological order of events. Back when she was Silene Oliveira, Tokyo dated René; they successfully pulled off low-stakes heists at restaurants and the like in their spare time. At the end of a vacation in Lisbon, four years before D-Day, Tokyo started to feel disgusted by the idea of returning to their small lives. René realized they needed to rob “bigger things” because Tokyo didn’t want money to buy things; she wanted enough money to have true freedom. It was in this conversation that she also identified Tokyo as the place she wanted him to take her: “The first time I chose Tokyo was to travel with René to the farthest city in the world … The second time I chose Tokyo was to change one life for another.”
Even though René had been hesitant to start hitting banks, he agreed to do it for Tokyo. As we already saw in the premiere, René was killed on their way out. The coverage of the heist was extensive enough for Berlin to have seen it and told the Professor she was what they needed for their new gang: “Our battering ram.” The Professor thought she was too infamous, but Berlin pressed his point: “Four armed people. Three die, one doesn’t … She’s a survivor.” Tokyo escaped arrest and hid for ten days grieving René until the Professor — impressed that she had actually evaded capture — found her to recruit her to the gang. Though Tokyo was predictably dubious about the Professor’s mint plan, she was convinced when he echoed René, saying he was offering her freedom. Was she brave enough to give up her first life and be born again into a second one? As we know, she was. We also see her in Toledo, starting that second life by letting herself enjoy flirting and dancing with Río under the stars.
And so to the present and the Bank of Spain kitchen, where soldiers have cornered Tokyo, Denver, and Manila. Since the swinging doors to the kitchen could not be flimsier — the female commando, Arteche, easily turns them to splinters by shooting them a few times — job one is to wrench the cast-iron top off the stove to block the entrance, popping out the burner covers to shoot through. The gang can hear Sagasta strategizing and giving orders from this secure position and Gandía refusing them. The Professor tells Tokyo to work the weak spot that is Gandía’s insubordination, which she easily does, taunting him with swipes at his indifference to his family until he loses it and throws a live grenade into the kitchen. Tokyo then catches it on the fly and throws it back out, injuring two commandos and killing a third. Troop cohesion takes a hit as a furious Arteche attacks Gandía until Sagasta calls her off, though not before letting her get in a few good shots.
So then the various teams set to their projects. Lisbon calls the smelters up from the foundry to cut through the museum’s safety door with their lances. Sagasta instructs Cañizo, head of the snipers outside, to find an angle on the kitchen and sends two other men to start drilling through a wall to the kitchen’s walk-in freezer. Stockholm gives Helsinki as much first aid as she can, given his catastrophic injuries and her ongoing PTSD; when Río runs in looking for a jackhammer so he can break through the kitchen floor from below, she sees and hears him appear as Arturo. Helsinki recognizes her haunted look as the aftereffect of her first kill. He then begs her for morphine; we don’t see her give him any (though she does take two syringes, so I hope she did?), but we sure do see her post up alone in the Governor’s office and treat herself to a dose. And at the hideout, Marseille returns with two armloads of baby stuff and a scolding from Benjamín for “conditioning” the baby by getting everything in pink when he doesn’t know what the gender will be. Lisbon and Palermo hear the baby crying over comms, and after the Professor shares the birth announcement, we finally get a name. Since Sierra can’t go with her original plan — Germán, after the baby’s late father — she lands on Victoria: “Because she’s going to be as strong as a bombshell, and so will I.”
There’s exactly enough downtime in the kitchen for Tokyo to wonder aloud whether Denver and Manila will be the gang’s next love story. Denver gives Manila a chance to walk back her declaration from “Your Place in Heaven,” but she insists that she was telling the truth and questions Denver about his happiness since she has known him all their lives and remembers what his dreams were — did he ever open a nightclub, or a martial-arts studio, like he always wanted to? “I wanted to grow up,” he replies. Manila can’t believe he has never had any doubts about his choices: “That’s not you. That’s not your life.” Tokyo interrupts to say Denver is living a different life now, but it’s just as much his as his old one: “One life can be made up of several.”
We have to put a pin in Manila’s yearning because Tokyo and Denver can hear the drills. She manages to shoot the two commandos in the leg through the wall; that’s when Sagasta gives Cañizo the order to shoot through the window. Given that he can’t really see what he’s aiming at, he’s remarkably accurate: Tokyo gets shot five times in her arms and legs.
As Denver drags her out of sight from the window, Tokyo’s narration kicks in: “The day I killed Gandía, the odds were against me.” The Professor tells them to build a trench and cover their defensive position, but just as all hope seems lost, a doped-up Stockholm starts exploring the office and finds a dumbwaiter that goes up to the kitchen. Though initially she gets spooked by a hallucination of Arturo looking down at her from a higher floor, she manages to get on the radio and tell Denver about it. He’s ready to escape with Tokyo, but she’s too badly injured to hold the rope. Over their tearful objections, Tokyo orders Denver and Manila to go.
Just as Manila and Denver start their descent, Río breaks through the floor next to Tokyo. The hole is only big enough for his hand, but they have a chance to touch again before Sagasta’s team uses charges in the holes they drilled to blow the pantry wall. Río wants to enlarge the gap, but Tokyo tells him there’s no time. He orders her not to give up and not to smile at him so wistfully, but she says it’s because she’s glad he’s there; she’s thinking about their first dance.
When Manila and Denver make it to the office and start throwing couch cushions and balled-up curtains onto the floor of the dumbwaiter shaft for Tokyo to land on, the Professor tells her she only needs to hold on for 30 seconds more before throwing herself down. But Tokyo knows she is never going to leave this room on her own power and is focused on Río, telling him not to be sad: “Something is ending today … but it’s the first day of your next life.” As we see her memories flick between her happiest times with both Río and René, Tokyo adds, “You’ve got a lot of lives to live.”
And then it’s the final assault: As everyone on the radio begs Tokyo to jump, she takes up her weapon, telling the Professor, “You’ve always been my guardian angel. Now it’s my turn to be yours.” Though she takes out Canalejas, the biggest commando, her opponents obviously have the advantage, between her injuries and their numbers. But Gandía underestimates Tokyo’s resolve: When he walks over to her seemingly inert body and kicks her onto her back, he sees she has four grenades on her chest and she has pulled all their pins.
“If my body can’t run away, at least my soul can.” Cue the rather large explosion. And that was the day she killed Gandía!
Everyone is shook by Tokyo’s sacrifice — even Sierra seems upset — but we’ll have to wait to see how it galvanizes them until season five, part two, drops. Assuming no one breaks into the Netflix vault to release it sooner, see you in December!
• Benjamín: “First of all, there are no colors for girls or for boys.” We stan a king who has put in the work to interrogate his own preconceptions!
• Guess that was a wrap on Rafael in the last episode … for now? I will just note that Tokyo’s holiday in Lisbon and Rafael’s visit to Copenhagen were both four years before D-Day, so maaaaaaybe they intersect somehow in the backstory of the bank heist that killed René. However, with Tokyo now dead herself and therefore not able to avenge herself on Rafael, I’m not sure how dramatically satisfying that would be.
• Though Sierra seems to have settled into gang life in the hideout, she’s still got some tricks up her sleeve. SORRY!