HBO’s 30 Coins: Recuerdos (Memories) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of HBO’s 30 Coins, Recuerdos (Memories), Father Vergara (Eduard Fernandez) takes a grim walk down a tragic memory lane that fleshes out the threats that persist in finding the 30 Coins.
Finally realizing that there’s no running from the looming demonic threat that’s slowly backing him into a corner, Vergara decides to leave the village in Spain and travel to Italy to gain help. In having Vergara return to his roots and reconnect with people from his past, we get a more human look at the character that’s pretty intriguing at times. Watching him box a young brute in the prison he likely did time in was great as he shows himself to be a physical force in the same way that he’s shown him to be an enforcing mental figure. We also see him be much more vulnerable here since his back is against the wall and he’s forced to face his past – which we get to see in full force with some interesting flashbacks that bring us back to Vergara’s days as a student looking to become a priest.
Although they might have been simpler times for Father Vergara, they weren’t any less haunting or creepy. We see him attend a class on exorcism and not necessarily agree with his teacher on how to handle those they are performing exorcisms on. While the teacher tells everyone not to listen to anything that the possessed says as it’s just the Devil tempting them towards evil, Vergara has a different view. Taking a more tactical approach, Vergara suggests that they should learn from what the Devil says so that they can understand his approach and intentions so that they can be stronger as their ongoing battle ensues. He even describes their back and forth with the Devil as a war, but his own opinions don’t win him any favors with anyone in the room. He obviously just gets ridiculed and kicked out by his teacher, but he gets a laughing ovation from the possessed woman – which is just the tip of the iceberg for the creepy stuff in this episode.
While this episode doesn’t focus on a classic horror props and scenarios like the previous episodes have, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide some creepy imagery and sequences. From watching Vergara’s friend Santoro (Manolo Solo) do a heart-pounding game of Five Finger Fillet with a fork and end in a strangely grim fashion to the cackle of the possessed woman sending chills through your body, the series continues to deliver strange and intriguing horrors. Nothing compares to the reveal of what I assume is the “big bad” Devil that Vergara has been running from – a man named Angelo (Cosimo Fusco). The way that Angelo has to be wrapped in chains in an enclosed room shows that he’s certainly a big threat and the way that he unleashes a fiery breath that lights Vergara’s friend Sargento (Pepon Nieto) ablaze proves himself to be a powerful entity. Add in the fact that Fusco has an incredibly daunting and mysterious screen presence and you quickly realize that things are starting to come together with what this evil presence is – sort of.
As a whole the plan with the Judas coins is still up in the air and Angelo also doesn’t claim himself to specifically be “The Devil” or Lucifer or anything like that, but perhaps just a disciple of evil looking for recognition that he and other entities didn’t get from God. Perhaps the coins offer them and other traitors of God a way for the world to not see God as this pure being since, according to them, God won’t recognize their part in creating humanity and his own evil. It’s a little confusing at times, but it seems like the Judas coins play a pivotal role in an evil plan that’s unfolding – not that we already didn’t know that. Being haunted by the image of Angelo in the present, Vergara looks for help from a higher power and ends up having a meeting with the Pope. Although it seems like Vergara will find the help he needs, it looks like it’s going to come with some ulterior motives since Angelo speaks to the Pope at a rally and the episode ends with Vergara seeing Santoro, who’s been shady as hell since Angelo tempted him to join him, walked in as the Pope’s most trusted Cardinal.
Back at the village, we get some of the aftermath of the mirror version of Vergara causing all of villagers to destroy Elena’s (Megan Montaner) office. While the backhanded comments from the villagers and their stubbornness to accept their role in the destruction making Elena want to leave makes sense, I got to say, the whole love triangle thing between her, Paco (Miguel Angel Silvestre), and Merche (Macarena Gomez) is getting old. There’s just something about it that feels forced and is underwhelming compared to everything else that happens in the episode. It could get more interesting though as some old woman that Antonio (Javier Bodalo) describes to Merche brings Elena’s husband back but not in a normal way. These demons seem to have more tricks up their sleeve with the way they turn a decaying scarecrow into Elena’s husband through a sequence that’s visually stunning with how disturbing it is.
The pieces are still coming together with 30 Coins as its latest episode gives us a better glimpse into the evil faction haunting Father Vergara as we explore his past and adds in some intriguing twists into its final moments. There’re some moments and story beats that still feel a tad confusing or underwhelming, but as a whole, the series continues to deliver a strong and strange horror story worth watching.