“Alba,” the 2022 Spanish series, is based on a Turkish television show named “What is Fatmagul’s fault” (originally titled Fatmagul’un Sucu Ne in Turkish). The series, directed by Humberto Miro, Carlota Pereda, and Pablo Guerrero, takes us through the life of a rape victim who not only survives the horrendous crime, but is ready to put up a fight and make sure that the guilty people are put behind bars. The series talks about all the prejudices and stereotypical connotations that we as a society have against rape victims. It’s not a courtroom drama or a suspense thriller, but it creates gut-wrenching conflicts that force you to go into deep self-evaluation. The 13-episode series is a slow burn and often intentionally sluggish in its pace, which in turn successfully prevents you from having a phlegmatic approach towards the events. Your stomach churns, and it makes you uneasy, and though, in my opinion, a dramatic end somewhere diluted the effectiveness of the cause at hand, still, through Alba, you get a perspective, empathize with her, and get an idea about the unequal scales of our society.
A Fateful Incident
Alba Llorens was a girl who liked living her life on her own terms. She met Bruno in Madrid, but she had known him from before. He was from Alba’s hometown, but she had preconceived notions about him and the gang he used to hang out with. They got to know each other in Madrid and eventually moved in together. They were growing closer with every passing day, and they both knew that they had found that special one with whom they were ready to spend the rest of their lives. Alba and Bruno were both going back to their hometown for some downtime to unwind. While Bruno was driving with his friends, Alba had chosen to not come with him and instead went on her own. She was not comfortable around his friends and had never met them since they started dating. She always believed that Bruno deserved a much better company as compared to these rich, spoiled brats. Bruno always tried to convince her that his friends were not so bad, and that she should give them a chance at least. But Alba was firm about her decision, and she had communicated the same to Bruno. They reached their hometown. Alba met Bego, her best friend, and also Tirso, whom she had once dated. Tirso felt betrayed when she told him that she was seeing Bruno.
Tirso still wanted to be with Alba, but she had made up her mind. She was happy with Bruno and saw a future with him. Alba decided to go to a local bar named Kevin’s that night with Bego. A group of four young men were lurking around the girls, but the bartender and Bego shooed them off. Later that night, somebody spiked Alba’s drink, and she lost control of her consciousness. She couldn’t find Bego, and started walking towards her home alone. On her way, she was stopped by a few guys, whom she couldn’t recognize, as she had blurred vision due to whatever was mixed in her drink. The next day, early in the morning, she found herself lying on the beach, with bruises on her whole body. She somehow managed to get herself together and visit the local doctor. The doctor told her that, in all probability, she had been raped the day before. Alba was numb. She didn’t know what to do. Tono Llorens, her brother, Miriam, his wife, and Bruno immediately arrived at the scene. They asked her if she had any recollection of the incident, but a traumatized Alba couldn’t recall anything.
The Dysfunctional Entrerrios Family
Ruben and Jacobo Entrerrios were first cousins, and Hugo Roig was the son of a Colonel, and himself in the army. Bruno Costa, who was a part of their group, had a very different upbringing as compared to theirs. Bruno came from a humble background and was brought up by his aunt, Clara, after the death of his parents. His aunt ran a grocery/vegetable stall, and everybody in society knew that though he hung out with the famous rich kids of the town, there was a stark difference between his personality and theirs. Ruben and Jacobo always had a lecherous gaze, and didn’t mind stooping low to satisfy their carnal desires. That night, when Alba was being raped, she remembered seeing a tattoo on the arm of one of the guys. When she gave the description of the tattoo, Bruno knew exactly who the guy was. Hugo Roig had the same tattoo, and Bruno went to confront him without telling anybody. That’s when Ruben and Jacobo tell him that he was involved in the act. Bruno was shocked. How could he do that to his own girlfriend, who trusted and loved him so much? The revelation made him feel claustrophobic, and he wanted to die of guilt. He went back to Alba but didn’t tell her anything about what he had just learned from his friends.
Victor Entrerrios, the head of the family, was in a delicate physical state. The brothers, Mariano and Ivan (Victor’s sons), knew that they would inherit all the property and controlling shares in the company after their father. But Victor had planned something else. He gave the controlling power to Mariano’s wife, Mercedes. He called her to his room and gave her this piece of information. But Mercedes was enveloped by sudden greed. She couldn’t wait any longer to be in power. She had waited all her life to be in a commanding position, and finally, she could see her dreams turning into reality. Victor had respiratory equipment on at all times, which helped him breathe. She snatched that, which made him choke and die instantly. Mercedes became the uncrowned empress of the Entrerrios empire. She wanted Ruben to act more responsibly as he was now the heir to the empire. But Ruben was not somebody who would listen to what others had to say. Mercedes was scared that his behavior would lead to Jacobo, Ivan’s son, gaining the leverage. But Ruben and Jacobo didn’t have that competitive feeling between them. Ruben was happy that Jacobo was the more responsible one, who went to all the board meetings and learned more about the business, while he partied and viled off most of his time in pursuit of debauchery. Eloy was not only the in-house legal counsel for the Entrerrios family for quite some time but also someone whom the deceased Victor Entrerrios trusted more than his own sons. Eloy knew each and every secret about the Entrerrios family, and that is why when he came to know about the crime that the boys had committed, he took charge of things and started mitigating the situation.
What Secret Did Hugo Disclose?
Bruno hadn’t told anything to Alba, because he was told by Jacobo that he, too, was involved in the act. He didn’t know how to tell her, and kept her under the pretext that he was as unaware of the events as she was. Lieutenant Giner, who was investigating the case, repeatedly asked Alba if she remembered anything, but she didn’t. Giner had found a cell phone from the scene, and she hoped that it had some incriminating evidence. In reality, Bruno hadn’t done anything. He was just being framed by Jacobo and Ruben so that he would not go against them. Giner was investigating in a totally different direction as she was being misled by Cesar, a police officer who was working for the Entrerrios. Eloy had promised to look after the medical expenses of Cesar’s daughter, and in turn, demanded his allegiance towards the family. Cesar tampered with the evidence and made sure that the blame for the crime was put on a group of four boys, who were also present that night in Kevin’s bar. The car in which the suspects were traveling crashed while being chased down by Cesar. Then Cesar managed to push it off a cliff and plant the fake evidence before doing that. Though Giner had eventually realized that Cesar was working for the Entrerrios family, she didn’t have any evidence to prove it.
Hugo Roig, unlike Ruben and Jacobo, was getting eaten by all the guilt. He knew very well that Bruno was not involved in the act, but he had his own obligations and compulsions, which were stopping him from confessing the crime. Hugo loved Ruben and he knew that if he confessed to the crime, it would mean that Ruben would have to bear the consequences too. But he couldn’t stop himself. He had to tell Alba that it was them who were responsible for what she had to go through. So he wrote an email to Alba from an anonymous address and attached the video of that night that they had taken.
In that video, even Bruno was seen, and though he had passed out without knowing what his mates were up to, Alba didn’t know that. She got the video and was deeply hurt by knowing that her own boyfriend had done something like this to her. Bruno was also made to believe by Jacobo that he was part of the act, so he didn’t argue with Alba and accepted his crime, though deep down, he knew that he could never have done anything like this. But his words held no weight, as the video showed a totally different picture. Bruno’s family was constantly being threatened by the Entrerrios family. Bruno had been once assaulted by a masked man, and he was scared that they would do something to his aunt Clara and Alba’s family.
That masked man was Cesar, and though he didn’t want to scare Bruno, his daughter’s life lay in the hands of the Entrerrois family. Alba didn’t tell anything to lieutenant Giner and kept staying with Bruno, as she knew that her actions could risk the safety of her family. But Bruno has a change of heart. He could no longer live with all the guilt and hatred that he saw in Alba’s eyes. Alba despised each and every moment that she had to live in the same house as Bruno. The imagery of that night was haunting her. Bruno tells her to give the video to lieutenant Giner, as he was ready to sacrifice himself for justice. He knew that it would also incriminate him, but he had no other option. He couldn’t see Alba living in such misery. Alba goes to the police headquarters and gives Giner the video. It caused an uproar in the media and shocked Ruben, Jacob and their whole family, as they didn’t know who had leaked the video. Hugo stayed quiet and waited for the legal system to take its course. Mercedes, Ruben’s mother, knew Manuel Cruz, who was going to be the sitting judge in the case. She contacted him and tried to woo him to reject the case based on insufficient evidence. She indulged with him, in the hope that he would help her son, but instead, he decided that Alba’s case had enough merits and would go to trial.
How did Mercedes Cause a Mistrial?
The case went to trial, and the media started its game of victim blaming. People, as usual, had a lot to say about the character of a woman who parties till late and consumes alcohol and drugs. The Entrerrios family were not leaving any stone unturned and were trying to hurt and discredit Alba in every way possible. Alba had once been in an amateur relationship in school with Ruben, and they used that piece of information to prove in the court of law that she was doing all of this for money. Marta Villar was fighting the case for Alba, and she knew that the truth was going to come out in front of everybody. Lieutenant Giner was looking into the anonymous mail that Alba had gotten, which had the video of the incident attached to it. She came to know that it was Hugo who had sent the mail.
Marta knew that she had to convince Hugo and appeal to his conscience so that he testified against Ruben and Jacobo and also stated the fact that Bruno wasn’t involved in all this. But Hugo isn’t able to muster the courage to go against his love interest, Ruben. But he does one thing. He goes to Alba and tells her that Bruno didn’t do anything that night, and that he actually passed out the moment he arrived at the scene. Alba was relieved. She never truly believed with all her heart that Bruno could hurt her, and now with the unofficial testimony of Hugo, she knew that she was right in thinking so. Alba’s ex-flame, Tirso, confessed in court that he had sold the Entrerrios boys the drugs that they had mixed in Alba’s drink. It incriminates Tirso, but much like Bruno, he was also ready to make the sacrifice if it helped Alba get justice.
After the cross-examination of the victim and the accused individuals, Eloy knew that the court could favor Alba as she did have a strong case. So Mercedes comes up with a master plan. She tells the media that she had an affair with one of the judges on the case and that her boys were being targeted because that judge wanted to take revenge on her. In reality, Justice Manuel Cruz knew that Mercedes was just framing him. But these grounds were sufficient to make the proceedings invalid, and it was declared a mistrial. Alba and Marta are anguished as they were really close to a victory, but a cheap ploy by Mercedes meant that the accused party got some time to think about their strategy and come up with some other solution to un-substantiate the allegations.
‘Alba’ Ending Explained: Did Alba Find Evidence Against Ruben And Jacobo? What Was Alba’s Plan?
Hugo could no longer take the guilt and shot himself dead in front of Ruben. He was in a desperate situation. He couldn’t go against Ruben, but at the same time, couldn’t live with the fact that he had ruined a girl’s life and given the traumas that would haunt her forever. Before committing suicide, he had left a note in which he had taken accountability for his actions and also jotted down exactly what had happened. Alba got the note, but she knew that it wasn’t enough to prove that Jacobo and Ruben raped her. Once again, it fell down to Hugo’s words against theirs, and she knew that they would find some way to discredit it. But one thing that came out in Hugo’s suicide note was the fact that she was not the first victim of the boys. Ruben and Jacobo had done this earlier too. They also came across a teacher who had been molested by Mariano, Ruben’s father. It ran in the blood, and she knew that if she had to convict them, she had to find some concrete evidence against the Entrerrois family. Alba came to know that Mariano was actually the biological father of her nephew Luisito.
Tono’s wife, Miriam, had an affair with Mariano, who left her after he knew that she was pregnant. Miriam had also found Ruben’s ring at the scene of the crime but refrained from informing the authorities about the same because she wanted to blackmail Mercedes into giving her more money, in addition to what she was already getting from Mariano. Alba and even Tono were deeply hurt by this revelation. With Bego’s help, Alba was able to join a secret chat group, of which Jacobo was a part of. Meanwhile, Bruno tried to dig up more information by winning the trust of Jacobo. He told Jacobo that being with Alba was a big mistake, and he regretted doing so and going against him. Alba came to know through the chat group that Jacobo used to take the undergarments of his victims as souvenirs and had hidden them somewhere in his bedroom. Eloy had decided to coerce Mercedes to sign a contract where she gave up her controlling shares, as he had the video where Mercedes was seen killing Victor Entrerrois. But Mercedes didn’t stay quiet. She retaliated by making public all the information that Victor had kept under his safe custody for all those years. All the illegal and fraudulent activities of the family were out in the open, and Mercedes had planned to escape the country with Ruben, but he made a reckless decision that spoiled his mother’s plan. Ruben kidnapped Alba and took her to an industrial park owned by the family. He informed Jacobo, who at the time had gone to meet Bruno. Jacobo panicked after the phone call he got from his cousin Ruben, and Bruno, who had been looking for a missing Alba, knew that something was fishy. Bruno slid his phone inside Jacobo’s pocket so that he could track him down and find out about the whereabouts of Alba. Bruno called Cesar (who had stopped doing favors to the Entrerrois family), and together they went after Jacobo. At the industrial park, Ruben convinced Jacobo that it was in their best interest to kill Alba and put an end to all the allegations. But Bruno arrived at that moment and saved Alba. Cesar had already called the police, and the heavily injured Ruben and his cousin Jacobo were taken under custody. More girls came forward and gave their testimonies against Jacobo and Ruben. The police also found the undergarments that Jacobo collected as souvenirs. With incriminating evidence against both the brothers and other fraudulent activities of the family coming to light, the people knew that the downfall of the Entrerrios empire had begun.
Alba got justice, but in the process, she suffered a lot. She didn’t know whether she would be able to carry on with her life and cherish it like before, but she was not somebody who would get bogged down by the struggles and the traumas. She was a fighter, and she knew that she had the unwavering support of Bruno and her brother Tono. She had friends like Bego and Tirso, who were always there for her. Her journey and her fight against injustice was an inspiration for all those girls who had been ridiculed and objectified by men and oppressed by society. Not only did she fight against the heinous crimes committed against her but also the deeply rooted prejudices of the society that, for ages, had made sure that females never enjoy equal status and are brainwashed in a manner where they themselves don’t find anything wrong in the discriminatory behavior of men.
“Alba” is a 2022 Drama Series created by Carlos Martín and Ignasi Rubio.