Netflix’s Spanish series, “Who Killed Sara?,” tries to investigate the death of a teenage girl, Sara Guzmán, who accidentally falls from a parachute while parasailing with her boyfriend, Rodolfo Lazcano, her brother, Alex, and other common friends from the same circle. What captivated viewers’ attention in season 1 was a conspiracy schemed by the head of the Lazcano family, Cesar, who is presumed to be the potential protagonist of the series. In order to protect his sons from an arrest, Cesar manipulated Alex to take the blame for Sara’s death, and because of his confession, Alex had to spend some 18 years in prison, each day burning with the desire for vengeance. Season 1, therefore, begins and gains momentum with the release of Alex, who swears to take revenge against the entire Lazcano family and destroy them completely. However, on his path to vengeance, Alex, a brilliant coder and hacker, finds out some dark truths about her sister’s mental condition in Season 2. As Alex plunges further into the mystery, Sara’s shocking secrets start to unravel, which makes Alex doubt whether he really knew his sister or not. At the end of season 2, Alex finally tracks down Sara’s murderer, Marifer, who happens to be Sara’s step-sister (but not related to Alex, a complicated family affair). She confesses to tampering with the parachute ropes and thus killing Sara.
So far, each new season of “Who Killed Sara?” has brought a new conflict revolving around Sara’s death and disappearance that is explored by the creators throughout the season’s runtime. The entire season 3 carries forward the investigation so that Alex can finally find out what exactly happened with Sara and, in the process, give closure to the story, as we already know that Season 3 is the last season of the series.
In comparison with Season 1, the intensity of drama in Season 2 and Season 3 seems to be diluting consistently, which has a direct effect on the characters and their growth. Alex’s character, played by Manolo Cardona, was portrayed as a stern and focused man who just wanted to bring down the Lazcano family. His lack of emotions fits perfectly for a man seeking vengeance, but as the story unfolds further, the narrative demands Manolo Cardona’s Alex to become more humble, and that is where the actor stumbles. The emotional quotient is entirely lacking, in not just his character, but the entire screenplay. Except Alex, there is Cesar’s character, played by polished performer Ginés Garca Millán, who showed a glimpse of potential in previous seasons. However, as the rivalry concludes in Season 3, each actor is expected to play their emotional sides and connect with the viewers. But most of them fail to show that kind of range in their performance. It is not entirely their flaw, but a graph is missing somewhere in the screenplay. Additionally, the narrative is muddled with so many characters that it becomes tedious to keep up with everyone and their complex backstories.
Another flaw that the series suffers from is the sin of convenience. Take Alex, for example. He is a hacker and he can do anything on the dark web. He can hack computers, CCTV cameras, and bank accounts. You name it and Alex will hack it for you as if it is a piece of cake. His entire superpower to hack things becomes gimmicky as the season progresses. Plus, the series gives a lot of convenient reasons to fill the plot holes and character backstories, which sometimes don’t make sense or sometimes are too over-the-top to even entertain them for a minute.
But all is not lost. A new character brings some hope for the season. It seems like a psychiatric doctor named Reinaldo is the mastermind behind the entire ploy and has been running a secret project of some sort, which happens to be the root of all evil. Additionally, the end of Season 2, subtly suggests that Nicandro may have something to do with Sara’s accident and thus his involvement deepens the mystery further. Nicandro is the rich kid who was selling drugs in school while the characters were in their teenage years. Sara had a rivalry with Nicandro, and at the present time, Nicandro had disappeared without a trace. It is probable that Nicandro has something to do with Sara’s accident, and Season 3 explores the mentioned drama in length. The twists and turns that the audience cherished in the previous two seasons remain the same in Season 3, so it is not a complete bore, just a bit tedious and complex. Though creators have attempted to make it easier for viewers to follow complex storylines by including a brief flashback attached to a character as he or she appears on screen, a detailed recap is much more recommended to enjoy the series’ end.
Keeping aside the thrills and adventures, Season 3 offers a worthwhile discussion about homosexuality and mental illness. It is Chema Lazcano’s storyline where we find most of the discussion. His inclination towards the same sex is considered some kind of mental illness by his so-called broad-minded family. Chema has been struggling with his identity throughout the series and is trying to prove his worth to his father, Cesar. In the previous season, Chema took the blame for his father’s crimes in order to protect his name, but will Cesar ever be able to look beyond his son’s orientation and finally accept it? In Sara’s case, it is her mental illness that is looked down upon by her mother. She tries to hide it from everyone, even from her own son (Sara’s brother), as if having a mental illness is some kind of sin. The adversaries in the series take advantage of Sara’s illness, which deepens the discussion further, depicting the state of society we live in where a person with a mental illness is considered a lab rat.
In terms of production design and cinematography, “Who Killed Sara?” stays loyal to its genre, which is a television melodrama, and hence it would be really insensitive to expect anything more than that. Again, performances are apt as per the genre, and there is no character development or emotional quotient. The entire foundation of the series relies on the thrills and suspense that it introduces every 10 minutes or so. But in the end, the audience may just want to know one thing: what happened to Sara? Is she coming back or not? Anyone who has religiously followed the 2 previous seasons of “Who Killed Sara?” should definitely watch the finale season to finally find out Sara’s fate.
Note: The No-spoiler review is based on screeners of the first 3 episodes of “Who Killed Sara?” Season 3 provided by Netflix.