The finale of Telemundo’s RELACIONES PELIGROSAS (10 p.m. ET) is this Monday, info the network inexplicably waited until Friday to make public, leaving minimal time for promotion. Finales almost always see a rise in the ratings, but how will viewers be aware Monday is the finale with only the promo at the end of Friday’s episode to alert them of that fact?
Friday’s episode of RELACIONES PELIGROSAS was a staggering example of the briskness with which a telenovela can tie up loose plot threads. A two minute scene saw Victor Andrade (Ariel Texido), one of the central villains, done in by a wiretap that leads to his arrest while simultaneously getting Joaco (Christian de la Campa) out of his murder charge. Another scene, lasting only about four minutes, saw Gilberto (Jorge Consejo), drunk, come on too aggressively with Elizabeth (Ana Lorena Sánchez), the teenage girl he hoped to seduce for the fortune she inherited. Teresa (Jeanette Lehr) arrives to save Elizabeth from a potential rape. As Teresa orders Gilberto out of her house, she literally stumbles upon a folder he dropped containing evidence of the financial frauds he perpetrated against her. So in a single scene, both Gilberto’s swindles were exposed and the strained relationship between Elizabeth and her guardian Teresa was mended.
While amusing to see how many plot threads can be tied up and condensed within a single scene, the speed at which the plot careered also meant the resolutions were rather limp, story beats were missed and payoffs were flat or entirely absent.
A montage in the middle of the episode moved the story five years forward. There were brief glimpses of where the characters were in their lives: Mauricio (Gabriel Coronel) becoming a lawyer and getting Miranda (Sandra Echeverría) released from prison halfway through her sentence; Patty (Ana Layevska) and Joaco a happy family with three kids; repressed homosexual Diego (Jonathan Freudman) in a loveless marriage with Nora (Cristina Mason); bully and drug addict Gonzalo (Oscar Priego) improbably opening a restaurant; Santiago (Carlos Ferro) and Ana (Maritza Bustamante), their children healthy but struggling to make ends meet financially; Santiago’s ex-wife Julia (Dayana Garroz) making it big in Hollywood.
Friday’s episode nicely set the stage for the finale, a big finish on seemingly three fronts: JP (Gonzalo García Vivanco) plotting to murder Miranda and kidnap her and Mauricio’s daughter for a big payday in Mexico; a party planned where the ex-students of the Cervantes Academy will meet again and no doubt resolve their final conflicts and find their final pairings; and I imagine some comeuppance is in store for Julia for the murder of Santiago’s father and poisoning of Ana.
As for what is going to follow RELACIONES PELIGROSAS, Telemundo will air episodes of their anthology series DECISIONES EXTREMAS at 10 p.m. for at least this week, the network’s usual stopgap program to fill a timeslot until a telenovela is ready. It looks like the Colombian series PABLO ESCOBAR: EL PATRÓN DE MAL, an ambitious biographical novela from Caracol Televisión about the infamous drug lord, will eventually take the 10 p.m. slot with promos announcing a premiere sometime in July.
Whodunit on CORAZÓN VALIENTE
This week CORAZÓN VALIENTE (weeknights at 9 p.m. ET on Telemundo) launched a whodunit story as Bernardo del Castillo (Manuel Landeta), the villainous master manipulator in the novela, was plugged by an off-camera shooter. The manner in which the story was set up – a half-dozen characters given, in quick succession, a rage-inducing motive to kill the victim and means and opportunity to commit the act – is commonplace on American television. One of the best examples was on THE SIMPSONS which provided an entire city of suspects in the “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” two-parter. This storytelling device is especially prevalent on American soap operas – it’s almost an annual occurrence on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, and DAYS OF OUR LIVES recently used it with Stefano’s shooting; but I simply cannot recall a telenovela ever doing a whodunit in this style before.
Of course, telenovelas employ murder mysteries. One common type has the protagonist accused of a murder they didn’t commit, often serving out the prison sentence for the crime and upon their release, devoting their life to finding the real killer, as happens in LA MADRASTRA (2005). The past decade also featured several serial killer telenovelas – the Grand Guignol Venezuelan productions written by Martín Hahn featuring costumed killers like LA MUJER DE JUDAS (2002) and LA VIUDA JOVEN (2011), or modern procedurals like the Chilean novela ALGUIEN TE MIRA (2007). But the classic, Agatha Christie whodunit format featuring a primary target and a host of obvious suspects who want that target dead, and the not-so-obvious real killer – it’s entirely possible CORAZÓN VALIENTE is the first telenovela to utilize this device so rampant on American soap operas it’s become a cliché.
- TELENOVELA WATCH: No Spanish? Our New, Weekly Column Makes Telenovelas Fun for Everyone! (April 21, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: A Look At RELACIONES PELIGROSAS; Plus, Short Takes! (April 28, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: MIA MUNDO And Product Placement On Telemundo (May 5, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: EMPERATRIZ Coming To Azteca America; Plus, Short Takes! (May 12, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: OJO POR OJO and UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR Coming This Week; Plus, The Upfronts! (May 19, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: Compelling Debut For OJO POR OJO; New Series AMORCITO CORAZON; Plus, UNA MAID EN MANHATTAN, EMPERATRIZ & More (May 26, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR Improving; Plus, OJO POR OJO (June 2, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: The End of RELACIONES PELIGROSAS; Plus, UNA MAID EN MANHATTAN, UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR, EL TALISMÁN, EMPERATRIZ (June 9, 2012)
- TELENOVELA WATCH: Gabriel Porras Joins CORAZÓN VALIENTE; Wedding Fireworks On UN REFUGIO PARA EL AMOR; Plus, Schedule Changes (June 16, 2012)
- EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Ana Brenda Contreras On Her Career, The Telenovela Process & More!
- VOTE: Daytime Soap Best of the Week Poll (June 18-22, 2012)
R.G. Morin writes a weekly column for We Love Soaps, "Telenovela Watch: A weekly look at the world of telenovelas for non-Spanish speakers." For feedback or questions, you can email R.G. Morin at firstname.lastname@example.org.