La Casa de Papel uses a lot of flashbacks and jumps across time to tell its story. It’s a large reason for its success, I believe, because it allows them, in the very first episode to jump right into the middle of the heist, then with that tension lingering, they deepen the story through flashbacks. Through flashback, we learn about the characters and the relationships. And then used that added familiarity to set up the big plot moments. Here’s one of the backstories that we’ve been watching unfold.

Throughout four seasons a dozen or so short scenes Nairobi expresses her desire to be a mother. She asks many of the males in the crew if they will help her get pregnant. All turn her down. You see, she fucked up with her first child. She brought her son to the park, not to play with him, but because she sold drugs there. What’s worse, she hid the drugs in her son’s teddy bear. She was her mule. It breaks her heart, and she repents about being the worst mother in the world. And now all she wants is another try.

In the last season, she is shot after the police used her lost son to lure her to a window where a sniper put a bullet into her lung. She slowly recovers and our hope builds. I love Nairobi; she can be loving at times and demand respect at other times.

In the last episode, scenes bounce back and forth between two Nairobi storylines. The first she’s taken hostage by a navy seal and her team tries to rescue her. The second, a flashback, telling us information that the show wisely waited until this moment to tell us: “the professor” her boss caved in and told her he’ll donate his sperm for her. In one scene, we watch her at the whim of a lunatic, then flash-cut to her celebrating that she’ll be a mother. And back and forth, our hope builds for her to become a mother, then, bang, the lunatic puts a bullet in her head. Our heart breaks.

Why was this so effective emotional timing?

After the backstory scene, we finally understood why Nairobi had asked Rio, one of the guys with a girlfriend, for him to put a baby in her. We finally understand why she asked Helsinki, one of the gay members, to put a baby in her. It wasn’t for sexual reasons. Just now we see the story she tells herself and it’s beautiful.

Then with one gunshot, that’s taken that away from us.