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Cable Girls - Season 3 - Review: "Enthralling From Start to Finish"

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What. A. Season.

On Friday, season 3 of Cable Girls was one of a number of shows to drop on Netflix. Obviously this review contains spoilers on the season so if you haven’t had a chance to watch yet, do not read any further.

A problem I usually have with Netflix shows is they can be a bit slow to get going. Thankfully Cable Girls is one show that has never had an issue with that, and season 3 continued this.

Right off the bat we were thrown into the drama. A brief revisit of the season 2 finale saw Lidia’s life be saved by medics and begging them to save her baby as well. The show then jumped forward to Lidia and Carlos’s wedding day.

When a show begins the season with a wedding, everyone feeling happy, hopeful, things going smoothly and basically not a cloud in sight? Within minutes everything is going to go to hell, and that it did. Marga caught Pablo chatting up another woman only for it to be revealed it was his twin brother Julio. Carlota’s parents attended the wedding, apologized for their past behavior, and were willing to make a new start only for her father to end up dying in the fire. Carmen, Uribe and Elisa turned up to the wedding uninvited, against his best judgement Carlos allowed them to stay which Lidia wasn’t best pleased with. Francisco put his own feelings aside to walk the love of his life down the aisle so she could marry his best friend, but a smoke break outside turned into sounding the alarm of the church being on fire.

Said fire resulted in Angeles passing out from the smoke and waking up in hospital arrested, Pablo being injured and Julio saving his life, Marga getting injured and losing sight of Eva in the process, which resulted in the baby being presumed dead.

It’s a bit of a well known thing here on SpoilerTV that I watch a fair bit of Spanish programming. I’ve seen various members of the Cable Girls cast in other shows and movies, including Blanca Saurez who was previously in El Internado along with Yon Gonzalez and Martino Rivas. From watching that show among others, I know she is a talented actress and thankfully this season allowed her to shine.

Losing a member of your family is a devasting pain, but a mother losing her child? It’s beyond comprehension. Lidia absolutely refused to believe her daughter was dead, and spent the season on a desperate mission to find her. That involved sneaking around Carmen’s house to find information and setting off with Carlos on a desperate dash to the station, confronting a couple with a gun only to find out the child they were carrying wasn’t Eva. She then turned to Francisco and Angeles for help and they managed to trick Uribe into confessing his sins to the whole city, which was only that he was being blackmailed for being a bigamist. At times Lidia did look insane, to both viewers and those around her. She knew it and at points she did question whether Eva was actually dead, her search was hopeless, and she was just in denial over her grief. It caused her to be at odds with the chicas over her behavior, fall out with Carlos and disgust herself by sinking to Carmen’s level. Every time though, she was given a glimmer of hope, something that kept her fighting, even if she did just get knocked down again.

Going by the policy of ‘no body, no death’, I honestly never doubted Eva was alive and that Carmen was behind her disappearance. It’s just the type of poisonous person she is. She’s shared a mutual dislike of Lidia from the beginning, and her true identity being revealed deepened that rift. Carlos may have been able to intervene and rescue Lidia from the forced abortion, but Carmen is a determined woman.

Down the line it was revealed that during the fire, Elisa had found Eva as Marga was passing out and got the baby safely away. With everyone presuming them to be dead, Carmen took her opening and packed Elisa off to a convent. She told Elisa that Carlos had perished in the fire, Lidia wouldn’t let the family see Eva if they handed her back over, and took advantage of the fact Elisa couldn’t have children of her own to manipulate her into the idea of bringing Eva up herself. Elisa understandably wasn’t thrilled by the idea of that, and doubted whether Uribe would agree. Carmen lied he was completely OK with it, away on business at the time, but as soon as he was back, he and Elisa would go away for a while before eventually coming back with Eva as their own. Because she truly does think of everything, Carmen genuinely had Uribe and everyone else believing Elisa and Eva had perished in the fire so no-one would look for them.

The only person to know her deep, dark secrets was her assistant Miriam. Of course, Carmen had dirt on her in order to keep Miriam in line. Even when Miriam went behind her back, Carmen was soon tightening her grip and Miriam had far too much loyalty to her, and her secrets being kept hidden, to really fight her.

Carmen is the type of villain that we are supposed to hate, and dare I say she reminds me a lot of Teresa from Grand Hotel. Only difference between them being Teresa accepted the things that she did was bad and in the end repented for her sins. Carmen on the other hand has absolutely no morals whatsoever and will manipulate everyone around her to achieve her true goal, which is getting the company back. Concha Velasco honestly plays a baddie so well, and when it comes to my villains, I like to be able to understand their actions. Sure she’s completely immoral, but she’s living in a time that isn’t exactly favorable towards women and will do whatever she needs to do to stay on top of the pile. Everyone around her is a domino piece to manipulate, and sometimes she does that far too easily, but you can only really manipulate what you’re allowed to. Lidia had her cards marked from day one and Carmen knew that. Elisa at times has tried to stand up to her mother, but never really stays resolute. Carlos will be angry with her one minute, but she always manages to eventually wear him down so how can I be mad?

The show does of course revolve around the Cable Girls friendship, and even when they think they are out of line, that loyalty never really wavers, and I appreciate that. Carlota and Marga might not have agreed with Angeles giving Lidia a gun, and they may have thought that Lidia’s grief was blinding her, but they were still always there for their friend. That support didn’t always work both ways, with Lidia being far too drunk to really comprehend Angeles and Marga telling her that Carlota had been attacked. When a pep talk didn’t work, they left her to be, and Dona Lola was the one to tell her that Carlota had been attacked and almost raped, which snapped Lidia out of her drunken self-pity and racing to Carlota’s arms. Compared to the first 2 seasons, this year the girls were off in their own storylines more than they were actually together.

Following her father’s death, Carlota discovered he’d taken out a life insurance plan which left her and her mother millionaires. Carlota’s money was soon being put to use getting Sara out of jail, after she was arrested for throwing paint over a judge.

I may have watched 3 Spanish period dramas, but it still boggles my mind women weren’t allowed to do something as simple as withdraw money without their husband’s permission, men were allowed to freely abuse women without fear of consequences, if a woman rejected a man’s advances she was the one in the wrong and being LGBT was immoral. Watching these dramas I know that women’s rights is a popular theme that shows like to explore, so it was no surprise that Carlota and Sara had joined a rights group. Carlota wanted to use her money for good, and use Carlos’s radio station as a way to get their voices heard. Whilst her intentions were good, Carlota was quite na├»ve in her thinking. The groups leader Lucia was extremely hardcore in her terminology which Carlota didn’t really twig until it was too late. She believed the only way to make change was sinking down to the levels of their oppressors. Whilst Carlota was able to use her money to get Sara out of jail, she wasn’t able to convince the judge to put a man on trial for killing his wife which angered Lucia. She gave Carlota’s name away, which resulted in her being attacked and almost raped. Sara did her best to comfort and support her, Lucia was only focused on getting revenge. In her fear and anger, Carlota bowed to that pressure and gave Lucia funds, which she used to pay for the attack on the order, but also buy guns and bombs.

The end goal for the group was to use the event at the company to force the King to give up his throne, and if he didn’t agree, kill everyone. Carlota played along with this to try and rescue her friends and undo the mess she’d unintentionally created, but was obviously caught out and forced to hand herself over when Sara’s life was in danger. They ended up being locked in the stockroom with a bomb for company, and thankfully Angeles and Marga were able to rescue them before the place went up in flames. With their lives on the line Sara exchanged vows with Carlota. In the cold light of day, it would’ve been extremely easy for the writers to throw this proposal out the window, and put it down to the heat of the moment but they didn’t. Instead Sara admitted if it’d been possible, she would’ve liked to have married Carlota. Whilst that isn’t, Sara can marry her alias Oscar. Back in season 1 I found the fact Cable Girls decided to turn a triangle of Sara/Miguel/Carlota on its head by making them a poly-amorous relationship adventurous writing. Last season the relationship disintegrated as Sara went through identity issues that Miguel found too much to deal with, and turned to drugs to cope, leaving Sara/Carlota as a couple on their own this season. Their romantic relationship didn’t get much screen time this season, with the focus of their storyline centered on the women’s rights movement. I’m in different on whether I thought this move was for the best. Given the show jumped forward in time, any follow-up on Sara’s time in the hospital last season would’ve felt slightly out of place. However the show did leave us on the cliffhanger last year of Carlota by Miguel’s side as he recovered from his overdose, and Sara being given the offer of joining up with a group elsewhere. It was a little jarring that was all basically dropped and Miguel was essentially a background character this year.

Two plot-lines I could’ve completely done without were Angeles going undercover with Cuevas and Marga’s love triangle with Pablo’s brother. Sure it did free us from his ex-fiance who gladly disappeared into thin air, and sure I appreciate with a Spanish drama a twin brother coming out of nowhere is on the bucket list. However Margo accidentally sleeping with Julio under the belief he was actually Pablo was beyond dumb. Julio falling for Marga I completely get, the two did form a bond as the season went on, and things were a little strained for Marga/Pablo as a result of his injury. I still don’t buy her sleeping with Julio, I didn’t buy her kissing Pablo thinking he was Julio, and I didn’t buy her being torn between the two brother’s just because Julio was being nice to her.

I also couldn’t have cared less about Angeles undercover plot. It was an extremely complicated plot that incurred many a twist and turn that I simply couldn’t keep up with. I kept having to remember the criminal Angeles was dealing with was an old friend of Lidia, who had been introduced to us in the season 2 finale. He’s now apparently a big time criminal dealing drugs and whatnot, and someone Cuevas wants to put behind bars, and was willing to let Angeles go free if she helped him. The cat and mouse game of him knowing Cuevas was a police officer, threatening Angeles to turn on Cuevas which in turn caused Angeles to confess to Cuevas and them once again try to play him, only for him to once again turn the tables until Angeles confessed all to Lidia and she realized the criminal they were dealing with was her old friend was just stupid. It says a lot about a plot when I can’t even remember his name, despite the amount of times it was brought up.

Angeles in herself is an extremely interesting character and has come a long way in such a short space of time, from being a battered wife taking all of her husband’s beatings, to trying to escape from him, then poisoning him, being forced to kill him and falling for the Inspector in charge of the case. Discovering Cuevas was married was obviously a gut punch to Angeles as she had genuinely fallen for him. However, she’s been trapped in a marriage to a man who lied and manipulated, and reaching her breaking point, wasn’t going to allow herself to be at the mercy of any more men. Walking away from Cuevas was extremely hard for her, but Angeles needs to focus a little more on herself and her daughter and not being wrapped up in mindless schemes.

The most interesting plot of the season was Lidia’s journey to find her daughter. It gave us superb performances from Blanca Suarez as she explored the full depths of Lidia’s character, and the many twists and turns were enthralling to watch. Lidia ordering the hit on Carmen wasn’t something I saw coming, and her rage over the situation did cloud her judgement. Obviously Carmen is a cat with 9 lives so was always going to survive, but it presented a dilemma to Lidia over whether she was honest with Carlos over her actions or kept him in the dark.

Carlos is honestly a character I’ve never been able to take to. Last season I understood his anger towards Lidia, given he had fallen in love with her under the guise of lie so was heartbroken to discover the truth. Hooking up with Uribe’s sister to make her jealous was petty, sleeping with Lidia in order to steal her plans was underhanded, and exploding with rage when he discovered Lidia had slept with Francisco was pathetic. Sure I get the point was that despite his denials, Carlos was still deeply in love with her, and we were supposed to believe that eventually his rage would wane and they would get back together. However, the way he treated her was terrible and I can’t understand how Lidia could possibly love him. It is a sign of the period of time the show is set in that falling pregnant was enough to make Francisco stand back, and bring Lidia and Carlos back together, but I don’t think that’s a healthy stable for a relationship.

What Carmen did to Lidia at the end of last season was unforgivable. Time may have passed but Carlos should’ve still known that Lidia wouldn’t want his family at their wedding, and forced them to leave. Carmen may have later been ‘grieving’ the loss of her child, but Carlos should’ve still understood Lidia’s feelings towards her. Instead she was made to look like the bad guy for not being sympathetic towards a woman who’d ‘lost’ her child, and then Carlos turned his back on Lidia once more when he realized she was responsible for Carmen’s accident. He saw Lidia’s suggestion of getting married as her feeling guilty for her actions, which was probably true, but I can’t comprehend just how exactly Carlos though Lidia should’ve forgiven his mother for her child being dead. He’s always far too quick to turn his back on Lidia which makes it difficult for me to root for their relationship. Carlos should’ve realized Carmen’s offer of exchange on silence was far too easy, and it shouldn’t have taken Lidia walking into the company with Elisa for Carlos to see his mother’s true colors.

Whilst I’ll admit to liking Francisco/Lidia together, I’m more than willing to settle for them just being friends. They have far too much history together to not be part of each other’s lives in some form, and it was quite telling that Francisco was the one she constantly went to for help. Annoyingly Yon Gonzalez didn’t really have much to do this season. Francisco was mostly absent from all of the main drama, holed up in his new club and paying special attention to Pearl after she’d tried to steal from him. That did of course result in them hooking up, but it was blatantly obvious she was a Lidia substitute, his change to right the wrongs of his past and actually rescue the girl this time. Seeing Lidia and Francisco kiss was enough to make Pearl cut ties and keep things strictly professional, which isn’t something Francisco really liked, but Lidia is always on his mind. As soon as they’re in a room together sparks start flying, so it will be somewhat impossible for him to ever have a relationship with someone else.

Francisco reassuring Lidia she’d always have him was quite sweet, as was Lidia falling asleep on his sofa. I enjoyed them going on the mission to the convent, and Francisco accompanying Lidia to the plane to try and stop Miriam getting away with Eva. Yon and Blanca just have such a natural chemistry from the numerous times they’ve worked together, and you can feel that chemistry in their characters. It’s a chemistry shared with Martino Rivas thanks to their days on El Internado together, and Yon is the type of actor to have that natural charisma to him that you can feel in every scene he’s in regardless of the acting partner. Of course the cliffhanger for this season would be Francisco getting shot, and of course we’re going to be left wondering whether he is actually dead. As someone who has watched far too much TV, I do expect this to be another classic fake-out, but I won’t be too annoyed if this is the end of Francisco’s time on Cable Girls. As much as I enjoy Yon on the show and feel Francisco still has story to explore, he hasn’t exactly been utilized well and I’d prefer Francisco to go out as a hero rather than watch more of a triangle that shouldn’t be.

On a whole this was an extremely enjoyable season. There wasn’t one bad episode or any truly questionable acting. As always I appreciate the show using modern music despite being a period drama. However I am going to note they needlessly butchered the opening intro. I’m not a person who really pays attention to Netflix titles & am thankful for the existence of ‘Skip Intro’, but with Spanish shows? The intros are just as exquisite and beautiful as the episodes content. Given the tonal shift this season, I do get why they felt the need to change things up. Many shows get by quite easily displaying the names of their cast over the opening scene without any fanfare. There isn’t really a need to display their names and then also have the opening title feature separately at a cut down rate. It can be a little jarring for the viewer and ruin a bit of the excitement for the episode.

My favorite characters this season were probably Lidia, Carlota, Francisco and Carmen because I appreciate a good villain. Favorite twists were the reveal that Eva AND Elisa were both alive, saddest moments were Uribe being shot because he honestly deserved better and Carlota being attacked. The moment that made me cry the most was Francisco being shot and the flashbacks intertwined, because this show really loves to play with my heart strings. Finally the amount of episodes Netflix gives to any show is always a hotly contested debate. Are there too many episodes, are there too little? Cable Girls is a show that benefits massively from only being 8 episodes long. It's enough episodes to keep the drama running along nice and smoothly, odd twist thrown out there, but next to no filler. Even the hostage situation being spread over 2 episodes didn't feel as though the plot was being stretched out. Sometimes less is most definitely more. For those wondering, the show has according to Nadia de Santiago been renewed for a 4th season to be released in 2019.

Feel free to share all your thoughts on the season in the comments below!

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