The Department of Time: Con el tiempo en los talones (With Time on His Heels)   First Watch 
June 28, 2018 1:36 PM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Amelia and Alonso are sent to the premiere of "Vertigo" at the 1958 San Sebastián Film Festival, to foil a plan by Russia to kidnap Alfred Hitchcock and force him to produce propaganda films. While the Ministry is under construction, a wheelchair-bound Salvador becomes suspicious of a Sony Walkman-wearing construction worker he observes through his office window.

Beyond the Usual Disclaimer

This post contains spoilers for the third season premiere of El Ministerio del Tiempo. If you have not seen this episode, I strongly suggest doing so before reading further.

Notes (contain spoilers)

Whoo boy, where do we start?

* Season 3 almost didn't happen.
* Fans lobbied RTVE very hard for the show to return. RTVE was known for canceling shows that were not huge ratings successes.
* December 2016: Netflix enters into a collaboration agreement with RTVE. Once Season 3 has aired in full on Spanish television, Netflix will be able to stream all three seasons to 190 countries. Which is probably how most of us are watching the show now.
* The Netflix agreement was a cash infusion to the show and probably saved it from cancellation. In fact...
* Javier Olivares has said that if Netflix hadn't stepped in, the show would have been cancelled and that the crew was getting ready to dismantle the sets.
* Season 3's budget was increased by RTVE by 20% over previous seasons. Despite this, the season was not promoted in ads and billboards by RTVE, the way previous seasons had been.
* Season 3 aired almost an entire year after Season 2


* Rodolfo Sancho (Julían) had missed several episodes during Season 2 to film a different television series: Mar de plastico which aired for two seasons. During that time, the character of Pacino was created and added to the main team, as a temporary replacement. When Julián returns from the Siege of Baler, Pacino gets stationed by the Ministry in 1981.
* Unfortunately, Rodolfo Sanchez (Julían) was unable to come to an agreement with RTVE, Javier Olivares and the show's production company regarding his filming conflicts and his salary negotiations. The negotiations appear to have devolved into hostilities then broken down.


* The episode begins by showing us the death and funeral of Julián Martinez. His face is not shown on camera.
* Olivares killed him off. Gave him a funeral and everything. Without giving Sancho any screen time in this episode.
* Of course, this is a time travel show, so it's always possible he will return later on.
* Julián was killed during the Spanish Civil War's Battle of Teruel in 1936 during a mission to save the life of Miguel Hernández Gilabert, known as one of the poets and playwrights of the Generation of '27 and the Generation of '36 movements.
* During the opening scene, Julian's birth date on his tombstone is 1975. Rodolfo Sancho was born in January 1975.

On a lighter note.....

* Irene says during the episode that she cut herself preparing gazpacho. This is a reference to actress Cayetana Guillén Cuervo's frequent kitchen accidents during her participation in Spanish MasterChef Celebrity. (She managed to cut herself in nearly every episode.) Masterchef Celebrity aired shortly before Season 3 was shot.
* Salvador complains that he looks like "the bald one from the X-Men"
* During their first mission together in episode 11, Alonso calls Pacino "Chapino" by mistake. He does so again in this episode but it comes across as a sign of affection between them.
* As we've noted in the past, Amelia has a pretty decent English accent.
* Pacino's English, on the other hand, is atrocious.
* The less said about Hitchcock's accent the better.

Hitchcock References in this Episode

* Alfred Hitchcock is a main character in this episode. What role does he play? One he invented, of course. The MacGuffin. What's a MacGuffin? Let's let Hitchcock himself explain: "No film is complete without a MacGuffin because that's what everybody is after."
Wikipedia: The MacGuffin.
* The episode's title is a play on the title of Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest, which was called "Death on his Heels" in Spain.
* Hitchcock's famous silhouette from Alfred Hitchcock Presents appears in this episode.
* In the scene in which Amelia and Alonso first go to San Sebastián, they are surrounded by birds. Two seagulls appear behind Alonso as well. Amelia is dressed similarly to Tippi Hedren, in the Hitchcock film, The Birds.
* The first scene in the Ministry of Time mimics the opening scene of Rear Window, including the text in L.B. Jefferies' casket, the photos on the wall, the lighting and camera shots. Additional scenes in this episode with Salvador would create a Rear Window feel as an homage to the movie, including him being stuck in a wheelchair, watching events outside his window, and he and Irene watching someone do something suspicious through a pair of binoculars.
* At least five Hitchcock films are referenced in this episode in almost shot-for-shot reproduction. They are: Rear Window, Vertigo, The Birds, North by Northwest and Marnie.
* The main plot is a replay of the film Vertigo with other Hitchcock films thrown in. They even included a scene where the Russian attacks Pacino with a knife, reminiscent of the shower sequence from Psycho.
* Hitchcock's predilection for blondes is mentioned
* Additional Vertigo references: Marta being given a pearl necklace. Marta's "death" at the bottom of the stairs. Someone being illuminated with a blue light while sleeping. The actual Vertigo Effect from the Ministry's depths. A woman with her hair in a spiral bun.
* Additional Psycho reference: The camera angle, when Amelia and Alonso are in the car
* Rope reference: The Soviet agent tries to use a rope to kill Pacino
* Torn Curtain reference: Killing someone by stabbing them in the neck. In this case, a hypodermic needle.
posted by zarq (4 comments total)
Apologies for the delay on this post. The episode took some time to dissect and this post took a while to write.
posted by zarq at 1:37 PM on June 28, 2018

Ugh... I see I also called Rodolfo Sancho "Rodolfo Sanchez" in the 9th bullet. Sorry about that.
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on June 28, 2018

I was ok with the summary handling of Julian. I immediately thought "actor contact problems," And turns out I was right.

What really threw me for a loop was the wierd time compression of the Pacino plot. He's still time traveling? Who is Marta? I had trouble really caring about their relationship.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:53 PM on June 28, 2018

The less said about Hitchcock's accent the better.

Yeah, that was bonkers bad. Like, with all that new S3 budget money, they couldn't spring for a plane ticket to bring an actual Brit over for filming (or to dub it in post-production)? Yowza.

Sorry to lose Julían so abruptly. Though I do kind of like the irony of Amelia surviving him after her being the one doomed to an early death originally.

I'm curious to find out what that weird sci-fi-looking opening sequence was all about.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:35 PM on June 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

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