The Department of Time: La leyenda del tiempo (The Legend of Time)   First Watch 
May 14, 2018 6:36 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Season finale. When the Ministry discovers that a young Salvador Dali has designed a film poster in 1924 depicting a modern electronic tablet computer, the team is sent to investigate.

Notes (contains episode spoilers)

Throughout the season, we have watched the three main characters deal with the emotional impact of being part of the Ministry. Now, things come to a head for each of them.

* We learn why Leiva spared Salvador during the last episode. Salvador was the one who sent Leiva the drug so he could fake his own death and escape.
* Irene has been sending the photos to the team.
* Alonso learns Amelia's secret.
* Amelia finds she is falling in love with Julian.
* We meet Amelia's granddaughter, Silvia. Silvia is infatuated with Julian, who may be her grandfather.
* The play at the Student Residence is a version of Zorrilla's Don Juan Tenorio. Alonso is inspired by the play to return to his time and threaten his wife's second husband for mistreating her.
* TV host Jordi Hurtado is revealed to work for the Ministry. His mission is traveling to the past to film more episodes of his Spanish cultural trivia show, Saber y Ganar ("Knowing and Winning.") Saber y Ganar has been on the air since 1997. It is the longest running daily game show in the history of television in Spain. The joke that Hutado is a kind of Dorian Gray who doesn't age is a Spanish cultural meme, similar to what used to be said about Dick Clark here in America. A newspaper article appeared when this episode aired: "'El Ministerio del Tiempo' desvela el secreto de la eterna juventud de Jordi Hurtado" ("The Ministry of Time reveals Jordi Hurtado's secret of eternal youth.")
* Julián becomes friends with Federico García Lorca in this episode. He even quotes from Lorca's work, "Poet in New York." But Julián knows what will happen to Lorca in the future. (He'll be killed in the early stages of the Spanish Civil War.) He can do nothing to save his friend. This is similar to his situation with Maite.
* We learn that, tragically, Julian indirectly caused the accident that killed Maite while he was trying to save her from dying. Worse, the episode seems to show that the last thing Maite saw before she died was Julian behind the wheel of a car with another woman, when he was supposed to be at work.
posted by zarq (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh, man, I didn’t even register that Maite saw Julián in the car.

What an unbearably tragic paradox. I think sometime in the previous episode I realized that Maite’s accident being a hit & run was probably significant, but was thinking it was maybe that somehow the Ministry or its enemies turning out to be involved would be the loophole that would make it ok for Julián to alter his past. This is so much (and I mean this as a compliment) worse — he could never have caused her death if he hadn’t been recruited and he would never have been recruited if he hadn’t caused her death. And they foreshadowed it with Amelia’s line about Picasso’s receipt.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:33 AM on May 14, 2018

I'm loving this series, it's my TV of choice right now. I'm up to ep 11 series 2 so will try hard not to write any spoilers.

Commenting on the Hitler episode someone was outraged at the series' take on Franco, and it's taken me time to get to an accommodation of where the show's politics are, where its heart is. Is it nationalist? Is it racist, antisemitic, antiMuslim? Is it sexist and does it casually display a bias towards the Evil Lesbian trope? So round about ep 4 I was wondering whether the Rabbi's trial by the Spanish Inquisition (nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition) was treated altogether too lightly for the history of it. Also there's that thing where persecuted minorities have to be impeccably saintly while at the same time their interests and pov are at the service of the majority characters - you know in American films where the black character inexplicably sacrifices their own life for everybody elses? It's a sign that the work hasn't challenged itself to disengage with the racism that's part of it's own context. So I wasn't sure, with ep 4, that it wouldn't read to Jewish people the way something like Red reads to me. But since I've watched more episodes, I'm okay, I think, with the way the series talks about things.

I mean I could wish more of the secondary background characters were female - they default to male - but I'm loving the way the female characters are complete people with mixed motives and dodgy impulses, just like the male ones. There's none of this O MY GOD A WOMAN DID A MORALLY QUESTIONABLE THING NOW THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BURN UNLESS SHE HAS A THOROUGH GROVEL that's so much part of the female character cycle of a lot of popular media. The show doesn't default to the easy answer (though it sometimes does to the flamboyant one) it's subtle, the point of view is subtle and echoes the delicacy with which we see the work of the ministry being done. It's a balancing act, horrible things happen or are let to happen and characters we're invested in do some of them, but people are, on the whole, trying their best, and sometimes fail.

But then again, that official ministry medieval prison is a human rights atrocity. That's like an extravagant Game of Thrones-gruesome fantasy element put into something like a time travel comedy of manners. Or is it, because real life contemporary parallels are drawn?

I have a feeling the subtitles could be better, and that there's more wit and playfulness with language going on than is obvious to a non-Spanish speaker. European Spanish doesn't feel at all intuitive to this English speaker. I used to be into Il Commissario Montalbano, and with subtitles it's easy to believe full understanding of Italian is just a couple of echoes away, but the sounds of Spanish are so much less familiar! And much harsher.
posted by glasseyes at 10:23 AM on May 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for supplying all the little bits of current context zarq. I find myself pausing and going to google some of the references, a painter here, a footballer there, a time of death or the source of a joke.
posted by glasseyes at 10:29 AM on May 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

And they foreshadowed it with Amelia’s line about Picasso’s receipt.

*jaw drops*

I didn't realize that. Nice catch!

Regarding Maite: There's a moment where she pauses before she's hit, and they show Julian's car from outside. He's behind the wheel and Amelia is next to him. And they cut back to Maite and her face is tighter. She's frowning a little and looks emotionally hurt. And then everything happens and she's killed.

We've become so attached to Julian and following the fine line he has been walking throughout this series. That moment of realization hit me very hard.
posted by zarq at 2:55 PM on May 14, 2018

Thanks for supplying all the little bits of current context zarq. I find myself pausing and going to google some of the references, a painter here, a footballer there, a time of death or the source of a joke.

You're very welcome! I love knowing the extra bits of backstory and understand cool references. (There's one in the next episode that's a lot of fun.) :)

I've been relying heavily on TV tropes and some other resources to find those connections and then flesh them out where necessary with google searches But the problem with reading those sites is they are *filled* with spoilers, and in my humble opinion, there are secrets that absolutely should not be revealed before they're seen in an episode. (I"m nearly done with season 3 now.) So I'm adding 'em in to these posts without cites.
posted by zarq at 3:00 PM on May 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thank you for posting these.

This one made me very interested in Lorca, and, like Julian, I think I'm going to be reading up on him. One thing that bugs me about this show is how well the agents manage to blend in wherever they go. I have no proof of it, but I feel like if I were put back in time I would stand out like a sore thumb. Conversely, I think if someone from another time period were to meet me on the street, I would immediately know that something was off. Thus, I was thrilled when Lorca asked if they were from the future. It's a bit weakened by it being because of a mystical dream though. I like the idea that he's just exceptionally perceptive, and that's why he became a poet.

It's funny that I'm complaining about mystical elements in a not-trying-to-be-scientific show about time travel.

I didn't know who Hurtado was, but once I learned that he's the Spanish equivalent of Paul Rudd, I had a good chuckle.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:13 AM on May 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also, I was surprised by this show's really harsh opinion of Dali!
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:14 AM on May 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well I guess I was wrong about Irene getting over the loss of her wife. Huh.

In terms of foreshadowing the hit and run, The Time of Rogues also predicts this. The agents go through the same day multiple times, yet despite knowing the details of the day down to exact dialogue Alonso still gets peed on by the dog. This illustrates how even knowing the details of an event changing it even in minor ways can be difficult.

Despite this Alonso is able to "change the fate" of his wife. This also suggests some events are more "fixed" or fated than others.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:53 AM on May 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

He says he changed her fate, but I'm not sure we have proof that he did. As far as I can tell, his ghostly appearance doesn't contradict anything his son told him about her life. I may have missed something during the discussion with the son though.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:58 PM on May 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Speaking of Alonso...I had a chuckle when he mounted the steps to the stage to challenge whatsisface to a duel. There are like seven or eight steps to get up to the stage, but Alonso takes them in two, like some giant grasshopper. Just a reminder of how *tall* he is.
posted by Mogur at 4:22 PM on August 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

One thing that bugs me about this show is how well the agents manage to blend in wherever they go.

Not just blend in - they blend in while looking amazing. It's some kind of temporal energy phenomenon, I'm sure.
posted by Mogur at 4:25 PM on August 16, 2018

That being said, that is possibly the saddest season finales I've seen in a long time.
posted by Mogur at 5:30 PM on August 16, 2018

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