thu 17/08/2017

I Know Who You Are, series finale, BBC Four review - gripping, but no one to root for | reviews, news & interviews

I Know Who You Are, series finale, BBC Four review - gripping, but no one to root for

I Know Who You Are, series finale, BBC Four review - gripping, but no one to root for

The mystery of Juan Elías and Ana Saura is resolved, but there's plenty more to sort out. Contains spoilers

Guilty, but of what? Francesc Garrido as Juan Elías in 'I Know Who You Are'Filmax International

The first thing to say is that this wasn’t the actual end. BBC Four scheduled I Know Who You Are to run two episodes a night over five Saturdays. The innocent punter might have assumed that after 10 x 70 minutes of the Spanish import, we’d arrive at some sort of terminus. With only a few minutes still to run, who wasn’t thinking, crikey, still quite a tick list of bows to tie up? Was Juan Elías, whom we now know is a killer (only not of Ana Saura), going to be shopped by Alicia, and would she secure immunity from prosecution beforehand? Or would Eva Durán get there first? Would someone spring Ana from her dungeon in time to witness the death of her father? And would Marta Hess, Spain’s most irritating attorney, be struck off for strutting between the courts and police HQ with a look of insufferable smugness on her mug?

It’s not in any of the BBC’s promotional literature, but in fact there are another six episodes of the drama to run [for clarification on this, see comments thread below]. If and when BBC Four broadcasts them, all these questions will play out in the style established so far: twistily, mega-absurdly and - let's be honest - grippingly. It was at least a suspenseful moment to pause in a lay-by for a breather. The past has caught up with the present: Elías has remembered he's a murderer, Ana has been located, Alicia has finally decided to do someone outside her immediate family a good turn, Eva has seen through Elías and refused to hand over the gun which (though she doesn’t yet know it) links him to the murder of Ezequiel Cortés, and Santi Mur has opted for more direct action than emetic blogging. (Pictured below: Blanca Portillo as Alicia Castro)
Blanca Portillo in I Know Who You AreIt is, of course, posh bunkum. The plot’s chicanes and hairpin bends would test the credulity of an infant who still believes in Santa. Take Ana’s emergence from 12 days of unconsciousness. There she lay like Sleeping Beauty, unsoiled and only a little thirsty, swiftly revived by a drip that appeared out of nowhere. Santi Mur’s blogging rather tested the concept of sub judice, as did the antics of the press. Their habit of stabbing microphones at grieving relatives makes our redtop phone hackers look like cherubim and seraphim. As for his twin in a coma, Pol no sooner found out about him than succumbed to his own fit of amnesia: his only function was to prove that the Elíases know how to keep a dark secret. (Pictured below: Álex Monner as Pol)

With the plot zigzagging hither and thither like a Jack Russell with ADHD, it was easy for any viewer to miss the odd trick. But here’s a list, not exhaustive, of quibbles and niggles. It took nine episodes for anyone to work out that a six-foot grave doesn’t dig itself in one short evening. What was Cortés doing at the villa at the same time as Ana? Even though her father was dying of cancer, 100,000 euros seems rather a lot of money to leave in the possession of a money-changer in Bangkok. There was little evidence of the antagonism between Ana and her stepmother Silvia so you had to take it on trust that this was the motive for her drastic plan to emigrate rather than complete her law degree. Marc seemed bizarrely familiar with Alicia’s jogging route. Charry’s death-rattle accusation was a straight lift from the soapiest Victorian melodrama. Are university elections really that interesting to the wider media? And how come the country villa of Hector Castro had been conveniently left to crumble all these years?Álex Monner in I Know Who You AreBut like all motorway pile-ups, it was difficult to take your eyes off it. The central concept of a man who has lost his memory and thus driven a 4x4 through a whole chain of evidence was robust enough to keep an audience on its toes and wanting to know more. Integral to this was Francesc Garrido’s compelling one-note performance as Elías, a man so divided against himself he had no coordinates for defining his own reality: was he really himself with the intense, idealistic Eva (Aida Foch, pictured below) or with the evil coeval Alicia who, played with marrow-chilling conviction by Blanca Portillo, was not the best advertisement for the Spanish judiciary. That triangle has been at the heart of everything. Forget Pol and Marc and all the other pouting walk-ons. The Elías marriage was the Macbeths in charcoal-grey labelwear. Full marks to a costume department which ran with the idea that you are what you wear. Eva Durán’s joyless overcoat deserves its own spin-off series with a co-starring role for Marta Hess’s repugnant leather blouson and peroxide Monica’s push-up croptops.

As the story unfurled, a picture emerged of a toxic pair of families and a couple of sexaholic law firms in which anyone and everyone could be suspected of anything from quasi-incest to pragmatic murder (meanwhile on campus an indecisive girl drove the plot by sleeping with both a brother and a sister). It was as if Murder on the Orient Sexpress had been rerouted to Barcelona. The only real adult was Julieta (Noa Fontanals), a child old before her time who was alone capable of provoking a smile in Elías, which arrived at the 11th hour like a blue moon in a month of Sundays.Aida Foch in I Know Who You AreWhat can we expect next? Pol knows that Ana has been found. Alicia, whose blood is currently smeared all over those lovely big windows, still has a pulse. Eva has made an enemy. Spare a thought for poor old Heredia, who has been imprisoned on remand, and can’t pull off the trick of bribing inmates not to kill him because Elías has already bought them a load of TVs (Spanish prisons are a bit laxer about these things than Parkhurst).

The acting has been nothing if not fiercely committed, not least from Susana Abaitua as Ana in the company of a cold-blooded killer. It sounded good – soundtrack by Arnau Bataller – and looked sort of not very Spanish. The sun didn't shine much, and the cinematography contrived to make Barcelona hard and unwelcoming. If free to view on the city's tourist board website, Sé quién eres could put off the unpopular hordes currently pissing their way up and down the Ramblas.

But then I Know Who You Are has chilliness at its heart. Everyone said "lo siento"; no one meant it. When even the missing victim, a right little trouble magnet, had attempted to entrap her uncle as a rapist, there wasn’t anyone at all to root for.

@JasperRees

A picture emerged of a toxic pair of families and a couple of sexaholic law firms in which anyone and everyone could be suspected of anything

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Comments

Brilliant review, mirrors my thoughts entirely....so how long must we wait for the next tranche of episodes?

The original run of the series on Spanish TV was 16 episodes of varying length which was edited down to 10 episodes of around 60-70 minutes for BBC 4 at the expense of some character development in order to drive the plot forward quicker.

Interesting. But when I looked up an interview with showrunner Pau Freixas, there were references to essential plot developments that I won't detail here but they certainly suggest that Spanish audiences got a lot more outro than we did in the BBC Four version

Please don't say there is another six hours of this stuff to sit through. However, I have been hooked and I even missed the meteor shower last night to see how the series was to be resolved, now I know we were left hanging on the cliff's edge. None of the characters were particularly sympathetic and I am banking on a massive twist to the scenario when it reaches its conclusion. My bet there is a twin of Juan Elias knocking around somewhere and he is the good one. Without a bit of niceness imbued into the story-line, the series will have failed.

Brilliant review! Thoroughly gripping, need conclusion. Hope it comes soon.

My thoughts too. I had noted all those thousands of "lo siento's", and remembered my surprise at a panel of 3 Eggheads not knowing what this meant, despite being given three options. Ana did emerge from her kidnap (?) in remarkably fine shape. On "waking up" it must have been nice to (eventually) be given water, a ham sandwich and a mattress, but I was rather concerned about her toilet facilities. (Or was that what the filing cabinets were for?) I must admit that I had a good laugh when Pol emerged from being beaten up by Santi with the blood still on his face. I suppose that as he was about to tell Marc that he had had sex with his sister, perhaps he thought that coming along "pre-beaten-up" might save him from another thrashing. I thought all the women were nasty, annoying and aggressive - could have had something to them all being lawyers, I suppose.

I have really had it with BBC. There are 6 more episodes. 16 Spanish episodes have not been cut down to 10. Only complete morons would do what BBC has done to divide the series into 2. What value does it add in their opinion I wonder to irritate viewers by leaving them with a cliffhanger? I shall never watch BBC again.

Hi Minnie Mouse! , If you understand Spanish, I suggest you to watch the 6 episodes left online, go to www.telecinco.es , under "SERIES" there is the full Se Quien eres (I know who you are) episodes. That's what I'll do.

I have read multiple sources that attest to the fact 16 Spanish episodes were indeed edited down to 10 BBC episodes. What's your evidence that it is not. The 10th BBC episode concluded the story satisfactorily. I struggle to imagine how a further 6 hour long episodes would add anything.

On the original site the description of episode 11 carries straight on from episode 10. (Spoilers!) http://www.telecinco.es/sequieneres/T01xC11-se-quien-eres-capitulo-compl... So there are another 6.

I won't go so far as never to watch BBC again, but otherwise I agree. We now have - how many? - months to forget the intricacies of the plot and characters. If I wanted to watch a soap opera I would do; what I wanted was a complicated and more-or-less logical plot that sorted itself out by the last billed episode. OK to leave some things unsaid, much as Line of Duty, but to solve almost nothing by the last billed episode is cynically taking the audience for a ride. I, for one, will not be watching for more of Elias's gloomy looks, and Eva's switching expressions, and Alicia alternating between lover and monster. It's a real shame: until the last [sic] episode it was really very good. I feel cheated and let down.

I hope Santi Mur exposes the hospital that failed to adequately resuscitate his sister. CPR is often poorly and mislradingly portrayed but medical and nursing staff were shown being criminally incompetent. Are they part of the conspiracy and working for Alicia?

Insightful and well-written review. Where can I read more of your stuff?

Thank you, Tony. Plenty of it on this site. For all theartsdesk.com's writers you can just click on their byline at the top of the article to get more

just noticed a spelling mistake though: hordes, not hoards

Corrected with thanks

At the end of episode 10, I thought, "ONLY the SPANISH could torture a viewer this way, pulling you in, twisting a knife, and ENDING it at the edge of a cliff! BUT, reading these comments, am I now to believe that it is the-- ENGLISH-- BBC who has done this and are such sadists????????? Will we EVER find out "what happens"????????????

For those unconvinced that there are 16 episodes, check IMDB. I've seen photos of the true last episodes and I won't spoil it for everyone but we haven't seen the last of Alicia. A very enjoyable article but I profoundly disagree that there is no one to root for, on the contrary, I found myself forced to see beyond caricatures of goodies & baddies and led to empathise with them all, i.e. Alicia & her heartbreaking dilemma, betray the man she's fought for and see her family shattered forever, see her children hurt behind bearing or betray Ana, whom she loves too. The compassion we see her feel, the suffering we see her go through in the 10th episode surely makes her worthy of our compassion. The same for other characters too, I'm rooting for Elias and for Ana, for them all, all flawed as we all are, profoundly flawed but all have something good about them that makes them, like us, real & heightens the drama. But the biggest drama of the show is what the BBC had denied us - Elias we know is an adulterer who always does what's expedient & kills his blackmailer, but he cares for Ana, he doesn't want to kill his niece but we know if she lives, her release will destroy everything for Elias forever, family will implode, career gone with his freedom, so what will he do? What would any of us do finding ourselves in his shoes, finding we are murderers but nonetheless love our families and don't want to be murderers, I am excited to watch the rest - come on BBC heavens above! Everyone who wants to see the whole series rather than this joke of 10 episodes, why not let the BBC know?

I generally avoid things with subtitles but having done A level Spanish I thought I'd give it a go. Actually really enjoyed it while brushing up my Spanish (although there were a few words which never figured in our classes!). I had heard something about another series but had not guessed they would follow straight on from this. Best cliff hanger since Who killed JR. Better than most of the rubbish currently on TV.

I think I'm watching a different programme to the rest of you. I can't believe it's going to take several more hours to solve this not so clever plot. It's already been six football matches worth and we've still got a stolen knife in Alicia heart, without a glimmer of resolution . How much longer will it take? The suspense is killing my enthusiasm. There's more pace in your average non league Saturday friendly. I can't face another ten torturous hours. I'm going to renew my season ticket to Matlock Town to guarantee proper twists, believable characters and a juicy ending before I don't know who I am any more!

Hilarious review. Love the "joyless overcoat" of Eva Duran.

You don't mention the poor policeman who can't sleep or stop people bursting into his offices unannounced.

Never mind all that, will someone PLEASE tell me if, and when, BBC4mbe showing more. Not sure how much of Inspector Mointwotsit I can take - pole in eye with aharp stick less painful. Thanks.

There are definitely 6 more episodes. If you check out the show's page on Spanish Wikipedia you will see the production had a few setbacks and initially the series was supposed to comprise if two seasons. Maybe the BBC are following that plan, although I don't see the wisdom in spaffing out two episodes a week if there intention was to stretch things out.

Followed the link, posted earlier by John C., to the Telecinco.es site and with the help of Google translate I now know that in the UK we have another 6 episodes to watch - the BBC have not shown 16 Spanish episodes compressed into 10. Episode 16, if Google has translated correctly, is when all the threads I thought would be answered in episode 10 on Saturday.

Of all the holes in the plot the biggest must surely be how the police found a drop of Ana's blood in Elias's car, but of a man whose brains were blown out through the back of his head there was not a sign. How weird is that?

Castro's house was not a crime scene, was it? The cop didn't make it there till Eva took him in ep 10, I believe.

When the body was found they said there was no exit wound so no brain splatage!

New just in from the BBC concerning the missing half-dozen episodes of I Know Who You Are: http://www.bbc.co.uk/faqs/i-know-who-you-are

Thank you for the link. I've been searching for hours for info on the missing episodes.

By the way, if anyone now has a craving for more Spanish shows with the same actors. On WLEXT, you can see (with subtitles): - El Tiempo Entre Costuras - a period piece with the actor who plays Elías in a much more upstanding role. - Las Chicas del Cable - a period piece in which the actor who plays Marc is the head of a telecommunications company. - El Internado - a period piece in which the actor who plays Marc is a schoolboy. And finally, on Vimeo you can find a short subtitled clip of La Pecera de Eva, where you will see Ana Saura from a few years back!

Thanks for that news jasper.rees, yea - wonderful & v v exciting. For enthralling drama I think it ranks with Gomorrah & The Killing, it's worthy of Hitchcock and -proudly - I can now say 'countryside, listen to me!,' in Spanish, & will use this out of context frequently, oh the joys. So happy.

I loved this programme and it's the only time I've contacted the BBC to find out when/if they are showing the conclusion. Jasper - I've loved your review. The review and the comments have made me smile. Perfect - THANK YOU!

Another BBC blunder in the above link. The Spanish series was produced and shown in one go with 16 episodes. At first, they thought of producing two seasons but Telecinco decided against it, hear this, because they thought it not right making viewers wait for season two when the storyline is so intense and it made no sense to have two separate seasons. See how logical the Spaniards are compared to BBC. Luckily I do know Spanish and can watch it on Telecinco asap.

Though am glad to be seeing it at all & grateful the BBC bought the show I agree Minnie, splitting the show is an absurd idea. One just wonders who the BBC are employing to make such idiotic decisions.

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters