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30 Coins: Mirrors, Memories, and…Boxing? (S1E3 & E4)

The first two episodes of 30 Coins were chaotic and terrifying, setting a high bar for the series. They peppered in small details of our character’s lives while mainly acting as a “creature of the week,” show in the style of Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Episode 3, “El Espejo (The Mirror),” and Episode 4, “Recuerdos (Memories),” take a different approach, with “El Espejo” starting with a “creature of the week” and then devolving into heavy character and plot development. Episode 4, “Recuerdos,” mainly acts as a vessel for Padre Vergara’s (Eduard Fernández) character development, and puts the relationship between Paco (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and Elena (Megan Montaner) in peril. The big question here is are the episodes still spooky? Let’s take a look.

Episode 3 “El Espejo (The Mirror)”

As with the first two episodes, we are privy to a brutal opening scene relating to the procurement of one of the coins. A man walks through the streets of New York with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist. He enters a jeweler’s and is taken to the back, where the jeweler shows him a necklace with one of the coins inside of it. The man pops out the coin, to the dismay of the jeweler, and then brutally rips his throat out before slamming the other jeweler’s head into a glass counter and then popping a few shots off into him. Personally, I think this is the wildest cold open of the first three episodes, though it gives us the majority of the blood we will see for the whole episode.

Paco and Merche (Macarena Gómez) continue with the obvious decline in their relationship when they host a wedding at their hotel. There is a theme of abuse of power throughout the season so far, and Paco goes so far as to basically tell Merche how uncomfortable he is with how they are running things in town, stating it feels like an abuse of power. Merche just keeps reiterating that he seems off, knowing that he really just can’t get his mind off of Elena.

A man named Tomás (Jaime Ordóñez) is en route to the wedding party, wedding cake in tow. While he is on the phone with his wife Susana (Isabel Bernal), he laments about their issues at home, stating, “I can’t stop thinking about it.” We soon find out they are referring to a mirror in their home—a home that has been abandoned for 50 years previously, and probably for good reason. Tomás crashes the car on his way to the party, which initially seemed like an accident, but in hindsight, it seems like he may have wanted to crash the car just so he could go to the hospital or die rather than having to go home and face that evil mirror again.

Paco and Elena see the mysterious book in the mirror for the first time

After the accident, Susana takes Paco to the mirror, where Paco realizes something is off and contacts Elena for help. Elena is working at her veterinary clinic with a good German Sheppard boy named Bravo (uncredited). Once Paco calls Elena, Bravo starts going crazy, which seems to be Giacomo trying to possess the dog since he knows Elena still has the coin. Elena joins Paco at the house and finally meets the dreaded mirror. There is a book on the table that isn’t there in real life…the book reads, “Gospel of Judas.” During a conversation with Padre Vergara, he tells Paco that Judas actually sacrificed himself for Jesus, at the request of Jesus. This leads to my favorite line in the episode where Padre Vergara says, “being free has a high price.”

Elena and Paco take Padre Vergara to the mirror, and this is when they notice that a door is open in the mirror that is closed in real life. Padre Vergara goes to the door; he opens and closes it, but the mirror shows the door still open and that the Padre is just moving his hand back and forth. After seeing someone walk past the open door in the mirror, Elena has a moment of relief when she tells Padre Vergara that he can’t chalk this one up to hallucinations or hysteria, as this is more than enough concrete proof of supernatural goings-on. Padre Vergara decides to spend the night in the house, alone. Unbeknownst to Vergara, Paco sets up video cameras to monitor what happens, since Vergara is not letting them join.

Paco lays under the covers giggling during his live chat with Elena while they watch Padre Vergara on the cameras

Later on in the evening, Elena and Paco watch the live stream from their respective phones, utilizing a live chat feature on the app. Paco giggles like a schoolchild about their conversation, which Merche takes as Paco watching porn. Rather than telling her the truth, he just goes along with it. Thanks to the camera setup, they now have physical evidence of the ghost on camera.

Elena goes back to the hospital to visit Susana, and Susana tells Elena that she can move the book. I’m not sure why she didn’t mention this earlier, and I’m also not sure why they didn’t just cover up the mirror…it seems like a lot of this mess could just be fixed by covering up the mirror. Elena runs into Antonio, who is still talking to the Shadow Priests (who from this point forward are referred to as Cainites). He asks her for a coffee because he “doesn’t have any coins,” which is a good subtle jab at her.

We find out that the Cainites are in search of objects that did harm to Jesus, stating, “the suffering of God is the most powerful of energies.” This is when Padre Vergara is taken into the mirror by Giacomo, and the mirror Padre Vergara takes his place. Fake Padre tells Paco and Elena, “finding the 30 coins would mean the definite collapse of Christianity.” Elena, having suspicions about Fake Padre’s weird change of heart says that she and Paco will go get the coin and return it to him. The Fake Padre Vergara follows them.

Padre Vergara gets the whole town possessed to have them attack Elena and Paco

Once Elena refuses to give the Fake Padre Vergara the coin, he entrances the entire town to turn on them, which leads them to almost burn down the entirety of her veterinary clinic; meanwhile, Elena and Paco make their way into the mirror world and rescue the real Padre Vergara. We find out that Giacomo is working with the Cainites, and have Padre Vergara held hostage. Things finally go, somewhat, back to normal with the real Padre Vergara back in the real world, and Elena throws the coin into the river.

While this episode doesn’t have the most scares, compared to the first two, there are some solid moments of horror and much-needed backstory on the Cainites. The episode is more of a psychologically scary one, while still being able to keep us entertained and engaged.

Episode 4 “Recuerdos (Memories)”

One of the priests admires the coin that he took from Jesus' eye

Episode 4 acts like an episode of pretty much nothing but backstory, making it feel a bit boring and oddly paced, but there are still some really solid moments strewn throughout. Its biggest downfall is the opening coin sequence. Rather than a fun and over-the-top scene of blood and mayhem, we get a group of priests who are traveling deep underground to find a key that is in an eye of a GIGANTIC upside-down Jesus on a cross statue. It sets off the mellow tone for the episode.

Paco holds a town meeting and asks everyone involved from fake Padre Vergara’s mass possession to put up a couple of bucks each to help fix Elena’s clinic, and this enrages people. The town ends up turning on Padre Vergara, who has since slipped off on a trip to Rome when Merche says the town needs someone better than a priest who went to jail. The town unanimously, Paco included, votes to complain to the church and request a better pastor.

Padre Vergara, Fabio Santoro and Sandro sit and have dinner during our first introduction

We then get a time jump to Rome 1990 where we meet two of Padre Vergara’s seminary school buddies Sandro (Leonardo Nigro) and the ominous Fabio Santoro (Manolo Solo). Fabio asks weird questions of his friends, at one point saying, “fear encourages me,” before stabbing himself in the hand with a fork. This starts to make us question him, and he continues to raise questions as the episode goes on.

With a quick cut to the current time the only quick snippet we get is when Roque (Antonio Velázquez) finally talks Elena into traveling with her.

Padre Vergara tries to contradict professor Lombardi with his ideas on how exorcisms are handled.

Once we get back to Rome in 1990, we see the early stages of Padre Vergara’s badassery when he questions his seminary teacher about how they handle exorcisms, leading to him getting kicked out of the class…and damn near expelled. This goes to show the subtle signs of his questioning religion have been part of his character for quite some time. Fabio tells Padre Vergara and Sandro to meet him at a spot at 10 o’clock that night, and they oblige. Once they get to the location, which is nearly a storage shed, we meet the chained-up man who resides inside, Angelo (Cosimo Fusco). Angelo quickly reveals that he is a demon when he blows fire breath on Sandro, setting him ablaze.

With another time jump, Padre Vergara visits a prison that Sandro stays at. Now the weird thing is, he wants to be there. Here he runs a boxing ring, which seems more or less like an outlet for the convicts to safely release their rage and anger.

We find ourselves back in the storage room in Rome, as Fabio and Padre Vergara put the fire on Sandro out, as Angelo monologues about how God is Satan and that he can show them the devil. Fabio is delighted and goes through the door to the other side that Angelo created. Both Angelo and Fabio disappear into thin air.

In the current time, Padre Vergara is still at the prison boxing ring with Sandro, where we FINALLY get to see him fight. He is insanely ripped and is absolutely intimidating. Of course, he wins his boxing match by throwing a whopping three punches. We find out Sandro stays in this prison because it is so depressing that evil wouldn’t even want to bother coming there, and that Fabio can’t find him here. He recommends that Padre Vergara run far, far away from this whole mess. Paco tries to manipulate Elena into staying here and not going with Roque by basically telling her he loves her but in a more conniving way.

In a hospital in Rome, we see young Padre Vergara comforting a post-fire Sandro in the hospital, where he admits, “My soul is burned.” It’s a really powerful line, with impeccable line delivery. Time to jump forward, but only two years this time, when Sandro and Padre Vergara visit Jerusalem. Within minutes of being there, they see Fabio, who runs away and pretends to not even know Padre Vergara. (This is the ast flashback of the episode.)

Merche runs into Paco at the abattoir, where he is angrily cleaning the blood off the floor, obviously getting all of his anger out from Elena not being manipulated by him. It should be said that, while it does seem like Paco tries to manipulate her, they do have an honest-to-god connection. Merche, pissed off, storms out of the abattoir and speeds home, nearly running the wheelchair-bound Antonio over. She gets out of the car to ask him why he isn’t at the hospital, and he tells her that Elena’s husband is still alive.

The scarecrow that is watered by an old lady, as it turns into Elena's husband

Padre Vergara meets with Father Lombardi (Luigi Diberti), the seminary teacher we saw who kicked him out of class earlier in the episode, in a retirement home. He is there to ask his former professor about the 30 coins. Lombardi ends up getting him a one-on-one meeting with the Pope! We get a nice and creepy moment when a random old lady waters a scarecrow, and with a good dash of cosmic horror, we see this scarecrow materialize and come to life. We soon find out that this creature is Elena’s husband. Might I add, the SFX makeup on him is incredible and undeniably haunting. Paco and Sargento Lagunas (Pepón Nieto) race to the airport to inform Elena of the news of her husband.

Padre Vergara finally gets his meeting with the Pope where he can finally discuss the coins and Giacomo. Only, during the meeting, the Pope says he would like to bring in his right-hand man, the person he trusts the most, and in walks the Cainite Shadow Priest himself…Fabio Santoro.

Thoughts

Episodes 3 and 4 definitely take a departure from the heart-racing horror of the first two episodes, but they are still incredibly fun. Even with Episode 4’s slower pacing, it’s good that we finally get some backstory for the ever-mysterious Padre Vergara. It was kind of obvious that Santoro would be working for/with the Pope, but it was still a great surprise. I’m hoping they get back to the horror of it, but it’s still engaging and suspenseful.


Looking for more on 30 Coins? We’ve got you:

“30 Coins: Preparing For The Holy War (S1E5 & E6)”

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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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