After eight episodes that have enshrined it as one of the series of the year, ‘Homeland’ he said goodbye to his audience last Sunday on HBO with a hug. I am speaking in code but it is already known that for those who have not seen the series this may be a spoiler of the fat, although those responsible for ‘How it was done’ have not had any qualms about gutting it. The last episode has been more of an epilogue than a denouement. As the chapter progressed we realized that the story had ended in the previous one and it only remained to close the loose ends. And provide that moment that, somehow, we all longed for. A long-awaited hug capable of drawing tears from the most impassive of the spectators. No dialogue, just looks that said it all. Without detracting from the other secondary characters, Elena Irureta and Ane Gabarain in their roles as Bittori and Miren have known how to carry the dramatic weight of the entire series and the foundations of that moment also rested on them.
There were a lot of expectation about the adaptation of the novel from Fernando Aramburu which has been more than enough for those who had already read the book, and for those who had chosen to wait for “the movie”. And that someone was waiting for her with the loaded shotgun, as the controversy raised around the unfortunate poster to promote it already pointed out. At this point, there is no doubt that Patria is not a series that tries to whitewash the terror of ETA. Make it very clear who the victims were and who the executioners were. After so much death, hatred, grudges and shattered lives, this hug has been one of the most overwhelming moments with a door to hope. Gone are the poor audience results in its open premiere on Telecinco. In HBO has swept away. The delays in filming and the premiere due to the pandemic were also far behind. The wait was worth it.
‘Patria’ is the story of two friends separated because of the scourge of terrorism after the husband of one of them becomes a target of the terrorist group ETA. The death of Xtato (José Ramón Soroiz) is not a spoiler because it is precisely with her that the series begins. A scene that is repeatedly returned to throughout its eight episodes, because it is at that moment where all its protagonists, whether from one side or the other, are trapped. And even so, in each return to this tragic moment, we learn new data about the circumstances of the murder, since each time we are shown the facts from the point of view of each of the characters.
The plot starts when Bittori returns to her village years after her husband’s death the day the terrorist gang announces the cessation of its activity. To that place that is not identified at any time and in which it always seems to be raining. Although the locations of the series are shot in various places, the most recognizable landscape is that of the Gipuzkoan municipality of Soraluze. It goes without saying that the return of the widow causes an entire earthquake among the neighbors, among whom are those who cheered or kept silent about the actions of those who killed her husband. They call her “la loca”, or simply and disparagingly “that one”. It seems like an offense that she goes back there to remind them how her husband died. But Bittori does not seek either rejoicing or revenge. As Miren says, that woman who years ago was her friend, “the crazy woman wants to know.” A hero in spite of herself.
Through flashbacks, we learn the story of how two friends of the soul separated the day ETA decided to put a target on the husband of one of them and the son of the other joined the band terrorist. A story that takes place in a framework of thirty years of terror and division in Basque society. From the moment ETA was out of control to the moment of its decline and fall. It was not only a bullet that separated and ruined the lives of these two families, it was fanaticism and hatred. It can be interpreted that everything Miren does is conditioned by a mother’s blind love for her son Xose Mari (Jon Olivares), but it must also be borne in mind that she has two more of whom she is ashamed and treats with contempt because their way of thinking is not eat yours.
One of the most criticized aspects of the series has been the vision that occurred in it of the Security Forces, although the controversy has been less intense than that of the Riot Police. It may fall into the cliché and the stereotype by showing them as bullies, but it does not detract from any validity to what the series tries to tell us. They may have been one of the great forgotten in this story, because surely it is not pleasant to be stationed in a place where each person can shoot you or plant a bomb at any time, but it is not their story that is being told to us. .
Although he never lets go of his fanaticism, ‘Homeland’ does make an effort to try to humanize the monster. Xose Mari as a bloodthirsty assassin. Sometimes we see him doubt. He doubts when he sees that one of his bombs can take away a girl, or when he is told that they have to go to his village to take care of the Xtato, a man in whose house he played when he was little. There are times when it seems that he pulls the trigger as if to try to assert himself before his colleagues, as if they had said that “there are no eggs.” But as he wilts in jail, as hard as he tries to show an unflappable facade, he does show regret. Deep down, he doesn’t say many of the things he would want to say out of fear of his mother. Precisely that woman whom he had frightened when he began to move in radical environments.
It is fear that has kept many silent throughout all those years. For this reason, another of the best characters in the series is Arantxa (Loreto Mauleón), who does not allow his disability to make him a silent witness to everything that happens around him and from his wheelchair he knows how to make himself heard and express your outrage on a half paralyzed face. Another of the circumstances that favors that final hug is the possibility that there may be hope for her.