The Last Lecture: Lessons from Dr. Booker

UPDATE:  After fighting cancer valiantly for 78 days, Dr. Booker died peacefully last 17 April 2014 at around noon, Netherlands time.  She is survived by her beloved Scoopgirl and their 2 beautiful kids, her mother who lives in CA, and many, many friends on both sides of the Atlantic. 
In the US, a lot of real schools have a Last Lecture series where professors give a lecture on any topic as if it was their last.  One of the most famous was given by Dr. Randy Pausch in 2007 at Carnegie Mellon University, except he really was dying and it really was his lecture at CMU. 
The idea of a Last Lecture at PepSi University seems preposterous and anti-climactic since we haven't had any posts in 4 years, most people have moved on, and the school's raison d'être - Pepa and Silvia - have all but disappeared from our collective consciousness.  We still get some visitors here and there and as long as the PepSi clips are on You Tube, there will people who will discover  the joy of this wonderful couple.
So why give a last lecture now? 
Dr. Booker is very sick.  Or rather, the real person who playfully and thoughtfully called herself Dr. Booker is dying.  She was diagnosed with sarcomatoid carcinoma, which apparently is a rather rare type of cancer that very few (real) doctors have actually seen, and Wikipedia hardly has anything written about. 
Lesson 1A rare form of cancer doesn't make one a rare person, but only a rare person like Dr. Booker can face this rare enemy singularly and valiantly. 
This is not a lecture about oncology.  Booker has already very eloquently written about it in her own blog.  And I have lost some very special people to the disease, my own mother included, and I have only one sentiment and that is:  Fuck Cancer!
No, this is about PepSi University and Booker and the intersections between fictional and real people and how real the fictional people have been, about Pepa and Silvia and everything in between.
One thing you will notice when you read Booker's blog is that she lives in the Netherlands.  No, she's not Dutch, she's from Long Beach, CA by way of Worcester, MA.  She rearranged her entire life to be with someone she met... thru yes, PepSi University. In all honesty, I was pretty pissed about the whole situation. We were not supposed to meet anyone from the university in person - my unofficial rule - much less fall in love with them.  But I was only being arrogant, it was never about me, of course.  Booker and Scoopgirl...  Screw the consequences, they made a go of it.  And they've been happy, and I have been happy for them.
Lesson 2:  While we are busy looking at all the variables in life, life actually happens and we need to grab it, because there is nothing sadder than finally figuring out all the variables only to realize that the whole model has already changed (Little geek analogy)
Have you ever wondered how Silvia would have carried on if Pepa was the one who died?  Neither have I. Five years after Silvia died, I have come to accept that that was how the story was supposed to end, like some of the greatest tragic love stories of all time:  Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala, Lancelot and Guinevere...  It is as if some of the greatest authors in history couldn't wrap their heads around the idea of a happy ending, that love could only realize its completion in another world, not in this one where pathos and tragedy reign supreme. 
Pepa and Silvia, Booker and Scoopgirl, Jane and Natascha...
Except Jane and Natascha are real people with real lives and real houses and real cars and real kids. This is so fucking unfair... why would the universe conspire to bring these 2 people together and let them be happy and then very cruelly try to rip their hearts apart?  I must admit that it would make for a compelling love story, but I would rather that Jane and Natascha grow old and boring together.
Lesson 3: A verse from Edgar Allan Poe
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
Once upon a time, PepSi University was a fun, fictional place, and Dr. Booker had a lot to do with it.  She was like a kid who found this fantastic place and made it real: she organized lectures with other contributors, she wrote with her heart on these pages with the openness of  someone seeing life and PepSi for the first time, she really IS Dr. Booker, Provost.

But more importantly, she has been my friend.  We couldn't be more different except for our shared love for Archie comics and Ted Kennedy.  If only I could have half of the kindness and patience Jane has shown me during my most annoying and judgmental times...

Who would have thought that a librarian from the sleepy town of Holden, MA would dive head first into the deep end of the pool and end up on the other side of the Atlantic to live the love she has so often spoken of?  That she did when she did... that still amazes me.

Lesson 4:  Seize the day, believe in love, and take all the happiness for you deserve it.

I do not know when the real story will end, only how it will end, and it sucks.  But I have this feeling that I am still missing a big chunk of the book, The Book of Booker, that it is a story that will have no ending, at least here in PepSi University. 

Lesson 5:  Life is short, but the Internets is eternal.  No, it should be:  Life is short, live it.

Thank you, Dr. Booker, for everything you have done for PepSi University and its students, now scattered in the four corners of a round world.  And thank you for being my friend. 

Lessons from Dr. Booker (to me):

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails.
- William Arthur Ward

Post Script

It has been over 4 years since Silvia "died" and over 3 years since Kalike's last post.  While we still get occasional comments from those who have just discovered Pepa and Silvia, we have moved on.

So for now, let this be the last lecture at Pepsi University - unless there is something else worthier of being the absolute last lecture.

We had one hell of a ride, I and my "lecturers": 198 posts and over 150,000 page views.  We have made friendships, some confined to this blog, others extended beyond.  We've exchanged phone calls and private emails.  Yes, it was one hell of a ride.

And it was engendered by an obscure (to US viewers, at least) Spanish TV drama, and by 2 actresses who made it so real.  Pepa and Silvia.  PepSi.  Pepa.  Their relationship was like a meteor shower which briefly lit the sky.  What a trite analogy.  It was a dark and stormy night...

Marian Aguilera has done a play, a few movies, a new TV show.  I actually even met her and confirmed for myself that she's really a nice, shy, gracious person away from the cameras.  For a self-proclaimed Silvialogist, I realized that Marian was nothing like her small screen counterpart.  Silvia was the product of some writers' minds, and that was all.  We so wanted to make her real, but Marian was simply the actress who played her.  She is not Silvia, nor would she ever be.

I follow Laura Sanchez on Twitter.  I don't know why, but I do.  She too has moved on, and even has a new guy, singer David Ascanio

"You Don't See Me"

Welcome back, PepSi peeps! It's Fall 2010, and that means it's time for a brand new year of PepSi studies here at good 'ol PepSi U. I know, I know. You're wondering what we could possibly be able to talk about given that the show ended in May. Well, PepSi technically ended over a year ago when Silvia met her tragic end, yet we still gathered to discuss PepSi and LHdP during S9, so I think that shows that we've got a few more ideas left in us here at the uni.

To prove my point, I have a brand new lecture series for your enjoyment. But before we begin, I need to give proper credit to the inspirations behind this idea. First, apparently an anonymous commenter made the following statement on my last lecture, "Without You":

"[The] reality is that Pepa as a character was not sufficiently developed to stand on her own without Silvia. That character was brought on LHdP *as* Silvia's love interest. Pepa never developed as one of 'Paco's men'. She was primarily on the show, Silvia's girlfriend. About 90% of Pepa's storylines involved chasing Silvia, seducing Silvia, supporting and taking care of Silvia, making out with Silvia, making up with Silvia, etc. etc."

This observation - an excellent one by the way, so well done "Anonymous July 24, 2010 5:15 PM", whoever you are - led to this post on LiveJournal by pepsifangirl, in which she made some more good points and observations about the show. And as I was thinking about Pepa's role (or lack thereof) on LHdP, I began to think about the other female characters on the show, which brings me back to this new lecture series. Basically, I'm going to be examining the female characters and the extent to which they were developed (or underdeveloped for that matter) on LHdP. In other words, I'm going to take a look at exactly how badly the female characters got fucked over by Alex Pina & Co.

Lecture 1: "Hey! Stripper!"

I'm going to start this lecture series off with our favorite cop who dreamed of going undercover as a prostitute and, IMO, the most overlooked character on the show: Rita Peláez. I think Alex Pina & Co. blew several opportunities when it came to Rita's character, but I'm going to focus specifically on two missed opportunities in particular.

Technically, of all the female characters that showed up on LHdP, Rita was the only one who was a "hombre". This is most clearly evidenced by the fact that she's the only female included amongst all the boys in the opening shot of the credits. While Silvia saved their asses with her forensic expertise, she was Paco's superior, not a member of his team. Pepa was an elite agent and specialized in covert ops, but that just means she spent her time pursuing and dating Silvia. Sara was briefly assigned to Paco's team, but she was never really a hombre (or an official agent for that matter), and Lola, Bernarda, and Mama Concha were all civilians. So that left us with Rita.

To me, having one female cop amongst a bunch of guys seems like a great opportunity to showcase the various differences between male and female officers, but sadly, Rita's role on the show was never really utilized in this way. Rita was simply the comic foil, and even in that capacity her role was greatly reduced, as her only "thing" was her obsession with her appearance. Pove, Curtis and Kike were the Three Stooges of LHdP, and although Rita would occasionally join them in their shenanigans, she was pretty much absent on the show. Because of this, I feel like the writers really missed out on an opportunity by failing to inject more of Rita (and a female dynamic) into the group scenes with the hombres.

The other missed opportunity I want to focus on stems from Rita's role as a mother. Before Reyes showed up in S9, Rita was the only female cop who was also a mother. Her daughter, Sabina, created the perfect opportunity for the writers put a dramedy spin on the struggles that single, working mothers have to deal with. After all, a large part of LHdP dealt with Paco's struggle to balance his family life with his job, and whenever those two paths crossed, hilarity often ensued (see Ep. 68, "Miranda al natural"). I understand that Rita wasn't a main character on the show, but still, I don't think it would've hurt to create storylines that would remind viewers that she was mother. I mean, they showed so little of Sabina over the years that if you weren't a regular viewer of LHdP, you may not have known that Rita even had a daughter.

I believe that Ep. 64, "La ratonera", sums up Alex Pina & Co.'s attitude towards Rita on the show. To refresh your memories, this is the episode where PepSi eye shagged each other during an autopsy. Before that, everyone was helping Lola out by participating in a commercial shoot for Los Cachis (aka the hangout that existed before Leo turned it into Lizarran and then promptly disappeared into the LHdP black hole). The director didn't want to shoot the commercial with "the Munster family", which included "the old guy (Don Lorenzo), the 'fro' (Curtis), the fat guy (Mariano), the gay guy (Kike), 'Mr. Beard' (Paco), and 'the teeth' (Rita)" and Pve. He proceeded to place them in the back room under the premise that he was going to shoot them later in a more "classy atmosphere." In reality, he simply intended to shoot the commercial with the "more attractive" people, which included PepSi.

Similar to that commercial, Rita was always placed in the "back room" on LHdP. She was never given any significant storylines, her relationships with others were rarely shown (if at all), and they even failed to properly utilize her in a comedic aspect to enhance the groups' dynamic. Maybe Alex Pina & Co. didn't think Neus Sanz was "pretty enough" to warrant more screentime, which is a shame IMO, because Neus made Rita quite the lovable character. Maybe they thought audiences wouldn't want to see stories about a single, working mother. And maybe the name of the show explains it all: Los hombres de Paco. Perhaps it didn't matter how funny Rita was, how much potential her character had, or that she was, in fact a member of Paco's team, because simply put, she wasn't a man.


*The title for this lecture series is based on lyrics from the song "3 Libras" by A Perfect Circle.
**The title for this lecture is based on the song "Stripper" by Sohodolls

"Without You"

Dr. Booker recently informed me that today, 15 July, marks the one year anniversary of Silvia's death. That's right. It's been exactly one year since the worst wedding ever, and the good Doc asked me to write something in memoriam of la pelirroja. Admittedly, I was hesitant to oblige her request. After all, I'm not a Silvialogist expert like Dr. Piper. But, I can never say no to a request by Dr. B, so here I am, making an attempt to put something together that is hopefully fitting and worthy of another great doctor: Silvia Castro Leon. And yes, I know she's not real, but this is PepSi U, so over here she's completely legit.

Given how much Silvia has been analyzed and discussed here at the uni - 65 Silvialogy lectures, roughly 8 Silvia-centric lectures by Dr. B, and an entire lecture series devoted solely to our favorite forensics inspector - I initially thought I made a huge mistake when I agreed to Dr. B's request (I still might have). I mean, what could I possibly say that hasn't already been said about Silvia? But inspiration struck as I was watching the World Cup semifinal match between Germany and Spain (Congrats to La Furia Roja by the way on winning their first World Cup!). One of the things the commentators focused on was the absence of German player Thomas Müller, who was forced to miss the game after acquiring a controversial 2nd yellow card in the quarterfinals match against Argentina. Much was said about how the German team would be affected by Müller's absence - what they would be losing without him on the pitch and what they would need to do to compensate for that loss. All of this got me thinking about Silvia and what LHdP lost without her on the show.

For PepSi fans, the loss was blatantly obvious - there was no more PepSi without the "Si" - and as I stated before, the uni faculty has already done an excellent job writing about Silvia's absence in that context. But if one were to examine the show at large, the ramifications of Silvia's death were much, much larger than Pepa's loss of her wife.

Silvia wasn't perfect. Her personal life was as crazy and neurotic as the rest of the Castro-Miranda family. But at work Silvia was very rational and professional, and she often brought some much-needed logic to balance out the wild and craziness that was Los hombres de Paco. Whatever problems she may have had with Lucas or Pepa, she (almost) never let it affect her professionally - her job was something she took very seriously. Perhaps it was because work was her escape, her safe haven from whatever personal issues she may have been dealing with at the time. Perhaps it was one of the few places where things always made sense or could be explained in black and white scientific terms, something she couldn't always find amongst her colorful family. Whatever the reason, Silvia's dedication to her job made her an excellent forensics inspector - the person the Pacos could turn to time and time again when they needed something concrete (and legitimate) to back up whatever far-fetched theory they concocted. And Silvia delivered every time.

Despite what you all may think about him, Deker was also a good forensics inspector. Whether you loved or hated his attitude (and his infatuation with Pepa), like Silvia, Deker was also good at his job. Now, before you all get your pitchforks out to attack me, I do have a "but". Deker was a good forensics inspector but he still couldn't fill the void left by Silvia's death, because he didn't have (and could never have) the one thing Silvia had from the start: her personal connection and history to Paco and the hombres.

Silvia grew up with Don Lorenzo as her father, so she knew all about his mannerisms and his mood swings. She knew how to talk to him to calm him down or to rationalize a point to him in order to gain his compliance. Silvia also spent a great deal of her life around Paco, and if he were to approach Silvia with the idea that Satan was killing people and only he could stop him, Silvia...well Silvia would've thought Paco was nutters. But, Silvia would have also tried to find a rational, scientific way to prove or disprove Paco's theory, and she would have talked to him in a way that would've been helpful and supportive (see Ep. 109). This is something that Deker could never accomplish no matter how good of a forensics inspector he was, because Deker didn't share a father-daughter bond with Don Lorenzo or a brother-sister bond with Paco. He was also never Sabina's godmother, nor did he spend years working alongside Pove, Curtis and Rita. This lack of a connection - the history that Silvia shared with the Pacos, both personal and professional - is what the show truly lost without her. And in some ways I think that when Silvia died, the personal connections between all the characters - the heart of the show - died as well.

Did life go on? Of course, and unfortunately we have 13 episodes to prove that. Every day until his retirement, Don Lorenzo woke up and tried his best to govern a bunch of crazy cops. Pove woke up every morning trying to overcome the daily fears that plagued his life. Curtis and Rita continued to scrounge around for some decent screentime. Aitor got up every day trying to find a new relationship he could ruin. Pepa continued to have the best job ever by getting paid without having to actually do any real police work. Paco continued to stumble his way through solving crimes. Okay, he stumbled his way through the stupidest scheme ever to get people to go to church, but there was (very minimal) police work involved. And for four months many of us continued to watch S9 against our better judgment. So sure, life went on, and the show went on. But the connections that made it great, the connections that helped make it a success? Many of those died exactly one year ago with Silvia. And eventually the show found that it couldn't go on, that it was dying without those relationships...without her.


*The title for this lecture is based on the song "Without You" from the Broadway musical Rent.

Piper's Commentary:

When Silvia died one year ago, many of us felt a visceral reaction, like someone real actually died.  I cried.  I don't know of many who didn't.  One year later, I am still flabbergasted at our collective grief over the death of a TV character.

There are some who started their Pepsilogy lessons at the end: their introduction was the death of Silvia on her wedding day, which in turn piqued their interest in this awesome love story. 

But there are also many of us who followed PepSi from the beginning.  Through the flirtations and smoldering looks, through the first kiss and the first love scene.  And I don't really know what it was, but we waited each week with bated breath for the next installment of this story.  It became more than a TV show.  Nope, we were more than mere spectators of this unfolding love story.  We claimed the pair for ourselves, like a prized secret affair that no one else in your real life knew about.  We shared their angsts, seductions, denials.  And when they fell in love, so did we.

And for some, *cough* Dr Piper *cough*, we watched the "Si" even before the "Pep" - and completely fell in love with this flawed person who was looking for redemption.  As KC said, we have an entire collection of Silvialogy lectures, beginning from when Silvia walked into the Comisaria (and into our hearts) for the first time wearing an oversized police uniform.  We watched her broken engagements, her blind devotion to Lucas, her very loving relationship with her older sister, her tepid involvement with Montoya.  We watched her get shot, we watched her finally freed from the demons of her past.  She was a study in contrast: vulnerable and brave, independent and obsessive, gentle and fierce.  And we loved her for it.

Is it any wonder then why the collective grief over the death of a TV character was so palpable? 

They say time heals all wounds.  I say time doesn't necessarily heal, it just allows you to get used to the idea of being wounded.  One year later, are still wounded.  We've just forgotten that we are.

Thank you, Marian, for giving us Silvia. 

The Geeky Story

Hello, hello!

This is Dr Bekelauer back from the shadows of oblivion. I promised Dr Booker to write this forever ago, and I have to confess I feel a little embarrassed by how long it has taken me to get back in track. So, while stuffing my face on purple Skittles (yeah, most people hate them, that’s why I get them for free), I shall write what PepSi meant to me.

For this, I am going to recall an incident that happened to me a couple of weeks ago. While riding home from work on my bike, I was pulled over by the Strathclyde police and I was asked if I were Spanish and if I could help them being the interpreter or a poor Spanish boy who did not understand a word of English and was in a care home for the homeless. Very random, yet true. I was standing there, trying to get a fellow citizen and the police communicate for like a half hour, and when I left, I felt amazing. I didn’t feel anything for the boy, who was in trouble, or ‘proud’ to be of use to the police, but happy that I had done something that for me, in these troubled times, means a lot: I translated. I was the translator.

My story and my feelings for PepSi are sort of the same now. The excuse of the TV show helped me open some mental doors and tear some psychological barriers down and despite it’s over, despite I’m sort of sad of how everything finished, at the same time I am very, very happy, because it meant something for me, in a sense that probably nobody else can feel. And that also makes me feel special – I feel for PepSi, and PepSi changed my life in a completely radical way than it did to a lot of other people. Because PepSi didn’t open my eyes to accepting myself or to normality, or to love – real life did all that for me; they, however, opened a very big door for me, and put me back in track in the translation mind. All the motivation I had lost and all the hopes that were ruined by months of ostracism from job offers, came back with even more strength ever since I became Head of the Translation Department.

Maybe you expected something different, and this will sound terribly geeky, but translation, for me, is probably the only thing in the world I genuinely have a passion for and love sincerely. With the only exception of my coffee maker hehe. People will come and go from my life, but that will always remain. And if I know that, it's because and thanks to PepSi.

So thanks very much,

Dr Bekelauer

Come to my window by Dr.Booker

Here is my confession: I have rarely watched any Pepsi scenes since Silvia died. It was too hard for me to watch them fall in love, flirt, kiss and get married. It was too hard to walk down that memory lane, because I missed Pepa and Silvia so much.

I was a fan who watched the Pepsi scenes over and over. I was also a major fan of the numerous music videos made by some very talented Pepsi viewers.

I went through a Pepsi withdrawl...cold turkey. I could have used a Pepsi Patch! But the best thing for me was not watch any Pepsi at all.

But when Dr. Piper and I discussed doing a lecture series on what "Pepsi meant to us", I knew I would have to contribute something.

There are only two things I watched to prepare myself for this lecture--the famous bathroom scene at Pepsienglish2 and "The One" video at MStrong0623. That was all I needed to remind me why I loved this show so much.

I have written many lectures and posts about specific scenes and why these characters are significant. But I have not written about how LHDP personally impacted my life. I could write thousands of words on what has happened to my life because of the people I met. But I am not going to do that.

I will tell you this--Pepsi gave me a peek into a window I never thought I would look into. Pepsi opened my eyes to seeing love in a new way. In a very silly way (now that I think of it) I wanted to be the Pepa in Silvia's life. To have that kind of connection and to cause that kind of reaction with another woman. I didn't realize it at the time, but I think that watching Pepsi wasn't just about a fantasy, I think it made me wonder who I am.

There are many reasons to love Pepa and Silvia and their storyline. It was very entertaining, it was exciting to see lesbians on TV, and it gave all of us a community we did not have before. But for me, it was even more. Of all the people I met through Pepsi and PepsiU, the person I got to know the best was me. I learned a lot about myself and it was life changing.

Sometimes a TV show is just a TV show. Sometimes it reaches into a corner of your heart and stuns you. It is up to each of us to accept or deny what has happened.

My heart and arms are open. And I have much Spain, LHDP, Marian Aguilera and Laura Sanchez, and the AE and PepsiU communities.

And we go on.

That's Entertainment

I’ve been thinking for some time now about how to sum up what PepSi’s meant to me, and I realized that first I’d have to figure out why it’s meant so much to me. It’s something that’s difficult to pare down; there are just so many good things about the PepSi storyline that I and others have discussed at length before – the wonderful actresses and their chemistry, the way their relationship was handled like any other relationship on the show, the passion and playfulness that was written and acted into each of their scenes…and did I mention the wonderful actresses and their chemistry? Outside of the show itself, there’s also been the awesome recognition that I wasn’t the only one so affected, that there are hundreds of other people – off all genders and sexuality - who were also touched by PepSi’s love story. It’s amazing to see and be a part of something that’s brought people together in a way that they would have never connected before.

I’ve personally never been overtly involved in a fandom before, and I owe it to PepSi for bringing me out of lurkdom…and it’s been a great ride since I first stepped out of the shadows. I’ve gotten to discuss, converse, and interact with people from different parts of the world – people from cities and countries that I’ve never known anyone from before. I’ve even started to contribute in my own creative way, writing my own fanfic, which is something I never thought I would do. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be a professional writer to write…I enjoy doing it, and that’s what matters most, so I hope I continue to do so for some time. Of course, I have PepSi to thank for giving me this productive outlet…and speaking of thanking PepSi for things, I also have to give this whole PepSi phenomenon thanks for helping me to improve my Spanish. Seriously. And my parents are thankful for it, too.

But after all this lofty exposition, I think what I concluded was that primarily, to me, PepSi was pure, satisfying entertainment. It was just fun to watch. It had been a long time since I had last been so engaged in a tv show, waiting with such eagerness and building enthusiasm to see what happened in the next episode. And I’ll never forget all those hours I spent in front of the computer, getting sucked into Pepa’s and Silvia’s relationship, smiling like a giant, sappy goober during their romantic scenes…or getting all worked up into a tizzy when things weren’t going well for them. I’ll never forget rushing to work the day after the Garage Frisking scene to send some of my friends links to the videoclip and forcing them to watch it just so I could gush over how magnificently sexy and sweet it all was (and lament the fact that American tv had not offered anything that was justifiably equivalent in super fantastic-ness). And that’s basically it. First and foremost, PepSi was an enjoyable story, for various reasons, on a quirky Spanish tv show…and I laughed, and I cried (boy, did I cry), and I’ll never forget how much Pepa and Silvia made me feel.

"Open Your Eyes"

When Dr. Booker first approached me about this new lecture series and asked me to write about how PepSi changed my life, I didn't have to think very hard to find an answer to that question. Simply put, PepSi opened my eyes. It's not that my eyes were closed before - PepSi wasn't the first lesbian couple I'd ever seen on TV. However, like I stated in my "First Time" lecture, they made me realize how underrepresented gays and lesbians truly were on American television. PepSi were the first gay characters I ever saw who were a part of the main cast and treated as equally as the other couples on the show. Yes, I had seen the occasional gay character/couple on TV before, but they were usually guest roles (during sweeps) or secondary (and largely invisible) characters. On the rare occasion that there was a recurring lesbian character, I rarely saw her in a relationship or saw that relationship treated with the same affection (and screentime) as the heterosexual characters on the show - "diet PepSi" as I like to call it.

PepSi opened my eyes by showing me an example of how our world can and should be today: people being allowed to love whomever they choose without judgment. LHdP wasn't a sci-fi/fantasy show (at least it wasn't until S9) where a lot of problems that plague humanity don't exist anymore. The world of LHdP existed in our world today - the 21st Century - and yet, for the most part, all of the characters on LHdP never judged or questioned the validity of PepSi's relationship or Pepa and Silvia's sexuality. Sure there was Don Lorenzo, who initially wasn't keen on Pepa and Silvia's relationship (or Pepa in general), but even he was willing to open his eyes (and his mind) and see things from a point of view other than his own: Silvia's. And by doing so, he realized that Pepa made Silvia happy and that his daughter was in love with Pepa, and it didn't and shouldn't matter that Pepa was a woman.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't be entitled to their opinions, but I do believe that in order for change to occur people on both sides of an issue need to be willing to look at things from the another's perspective. I also believe that media can be a great source for social change (and oppression) because it covers two of the most common ways that people learn - auditorily and visually - and PepSi was one of the best entertainment visual aids I've ever seen in the fight for equality. Through Marian Aguilera and Laura Sánchez’s portrayal of PepSi, we could see the love that Pepa and Silvia had for each other every time they were on screen together through every look, every touch, and every word.

PepSi changed my life in many other ways - the music it's introduced me to, the friendships I've developed through the PepSi community, etc. - but, for the most part, LHdP's honest and equal treatment of PepSi was a lesson to me that homosexuals can successfully be and should be the norm, not the "others" as they are so often portrayed as on American shows. That just as one shouldn't judge a person by their race, gender or the God they choose (not) to worship, they also shouldn't judge another by their sexual orientation. That a homosexual couple experiences the same ups and downs as any other person in a relationship. That two women and two men can love each other just as much as a man and a woman and that love is no greater or worse - it's just love. That a world of equality truly can exist as long as one is simply willing to open their eyes.


*The title for this lecture is based on the song "Open Your Eyes" by Snow Patrol.

PepSi Fan Fiction – The Power of Fandom and Why It Still Matters

Hola PepSi University chicas! (And any chicos as well!) First of all, a huge thanks to kalikeca for broaching my idea to be a guest lecturer this time around and Dr. P for allowing me to come and play. Seriously, y’all rock!

With the end of LHDP and the season 9 clusterfuck (sorry, there’s just no other word for it!) fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about all this fandom has given me. Granted, I’ve only been a fan of PepSi for less than a year – ep 104 was the first one I ever watched, believe it or not! – but my time in this fandom continues to be increasingly gratifying and rewarding. I’ve been able to witness the unparalleled chemistry of Laura Sánchez and Marian Aguilera as they portrayed one of the most beautiful, realistic lesbian relationships ever seen on screen. I’ve found a fan community that loves to analyze every PepSi look, glance, word of dialog and more – while the folks in this fandom I’ve found to be alternately hilarious, profound, silly and just plain awesome. But beyond that, one of the most important things PepSi did for me was to rekindle my creativity.

I’ve been a writer all my life, but admittedly a chickenshit one. I’ve written dozens of fanfics on various fandoms since I was a kid, but have never showed them to anyone beyond a few select friends. Until I became a PepSi fan. Something about Pepa and Silvia’s onscreen magic fueled an insatiable urge in me to create more stories – to fill in the gaps that might have happened between scenes or episodes or to take the characters in a new direction. Tentatively, and then with growing confidence, I started posting my PepSi fanfic on my
LiveJournal. I was afraid that I’d irrevocably ‘messed up’ these two beloved characters with my first attempt and wondered if anyone would hopefully enjoy or even read what I had to offer. But I kept writing more PepSi stories, unable to stop. And the feedback I received was not only gratifying, but helped give me a huge boost in my self-confidence as a writer. My PepSi fanfic entitled In Love’s Defense was not only the longest piece I’d ever written, it was the most substantial piece of writing I’d been able to finish in over 15 years – just about all of my other writing has been left by the wayside, unfinished and gathering (virtual) dust in the depths of my hard drive.

Now, I’m not only chomping at the bit to keep on writing PepSi fanfic, but have the fortitude and conviction to return to my own original novel (a lesbian romance) after having not worked on it for almost a year. And now I have the confidence that I will actually finish it. I’ve been able to have become more comfortable in my own skin as a woman who’s not only out, but is able to thoroughly enjoy the fantastical creative process that comes with being a writer.

I know that my experience writing PepSi fanfic is not unique. So many awesome fanfic writers have taken Pepa and Silvia on their own journeys – whether filling in the blanks of that missing year in between seasons 6 and 7, creating little slice-of-life domestic moments, or just plain hot, sizzling smutty ones! :D With the end of LHDP upon us, I believe that PepSi fan fiction and fan creativity in all its forms is not only more important, but more necessary than ever. Fan contributions will continue to keep Pepa and Silvia happy, alive and in love. They’re a way of healing and catharsis after the disaster of episodes 104 and season 9. But most importantly, they will keep this community engaged and lively long after the show ends.

A friend of mine who runs one of the most foremost Xena: Warrior Princess
sites wrote after the ending of the series (pardon me, I’m paraphrasing): “Rob Tapert [Xena series creator] may have created the show, but it’s the fans who hold the legacy and will carry it forward.” Like Pepa and Silvia, Xena and Gabrielle also had a similar, tragic ending to their relationship, with Xena’s gruesome death and separation from her soulmate. Fans also felt hurt, enraged and betrayed by the series they loved so much. But I think what my friend said is also true in this case – a lot of us hate what Alex Pina has done to a series and couple that started out so beautifully, but we as fans, can create the ending we want. We can write the ending where PepSi goes off into the sunset on their honeymoon, make a happy ending video or create PepSi artwork that portrays them together and eternally in love. We can keep introducing LHDP and PepSi to others, which can in turn continue to affect people on a personal level, as it has in my case.

I’ve always believed that the story of Pepa and Silvia is more than a television show – beyond the relationship portrayed on screen, it’s a socially important story that needs to be told. How many people have found the courage to come out because of watching Pepa and Silvia? How many have had their horizons expanded or their opinions broadened because of watching this couple? How many have found their muse again? Probably more than we’ll ever know. So let’s keep on writing those fanfics, making those videos, that artwork, or whatever tickles your fancy. Even if it’s the first time you’ve ever written or made a video, give it a try. It may be more of a positive change than you can ever imagine.

Thanks for reading, PepSi peeps. I love this show, but more than that, I love the community it has created.


9x13 LHdP 66.6: The Rip-off - "In the End, It Doesn't Even Matter"

There was one major rip-off in this episode, so I'm going to discuss that and get it over with before examining the S9 storylines in our last rip-off lecture together.

Ep. 117: El Acabose de los tiempos (The last straws of time)

Rip-off: Angels and Demons
Summary: After Pope Pius XVI dies, the four Preferiti in contention to succeed him are kidnapped by the secret brotherhood of the Illuminati, who promise to kill one Cardinal each hour culminating in an explosion of Vatican City with stolen antimatter - revenge for the persecution the Illuminati suffered at the hands of the Church. While the conclave remains in seclusion to determine who will be the new Pope, symbologist Robert Langdon (from The Da Vinci Code), along with physicist Vittoria Vetra are summoned by the Vatican police and Camerlengo Patrick McKenna to aid in the rescue of the Preferiti and stop the antimatter from exploding. Langdon and Vetra use clues to trace the "Path of Illumination", hoping it will lead them to the missing Cardinals and the antimatter. They manage to rescue the fourth Preferiti from death, but by the time the find the antimatter bomb, it is minutes away from exploding. Camerlengo McKenna takes the vial in a helicopter and parachutes out just before it explodes, saving everyone and becoming an instant hero. However, it is soon revealed that Camerlengo McKenna was behind the whole thing, using the Illuminati as a ploy to bring people back to the church by showing that the church, not science, should dictate moral creedence. When his plans are revealed, he immolates himself.

LHdP spin: Paco has spent all of S9 using clues to track down Damián Jr., who believes he is Satan incarnate. Each clue leads Paco and the hombres to another victim, which we learned each gave blood to Damián Sr., Damián Jr.'s father. Paco is the final donor and the last victim Damián Jr. believes he must kill in order for his reign of darkness to begin. He decides that the opportune place for this to occur is at a church - the sixth and final point on the pentagram - which results in the hombres infiltrating the church as Cardinals. During the climax of the episode Damián Jr. learns (from his father) that he is not Satan, but a mere mortal. Rather, Damián Sr. is a member of the secret organization, The Witness of the Resurrection, who "created" Damián Jr. by raping his mother and raising Junior to believe he was the devil so that he and his organization could use the public's fear of Satan to renew their faith in the church. Damián Jr. doesn't take this revelation very well and kills his father before confronting and stabbing Paco. In the end, he dies after being shot by all the hombres.

Epic fail: Angels and Demons worked (as a film and book) because its premise was both intriguing and legit. The camerlengo is a religious fanatic who believes that faith trumps science and, to prove his point, he uses the Illuminati as a ploy to get that message across. In that respect, the sudden twist that Alex Pina & Co. chose to take with the "66.6" storyline actually makes sense. Like the camerlengo, Damián Sr. is also a religious fanatic, but one who simply believes more people need to go to church. And because of that belief, he and his secret group generate a plan in which he spends his life raising a guy to believe that he's Satan in order to get that message across.

Here's the thing though. In Angels and Demons, Camerlengo McKenna hasn't spent half his life planning his "faith trumps science" scheme. Everything takes place over a short period of time and is triggered by his discovery that the late-Pope (a) considered using the antimatter research to show, through science, that Man and God are connected, and (b) used the science of artificial insemination to conceive a son. In LHdP's warped "66.6" storyline, we're led to believe that Damián Sr. has been planning this thing for decades. He and his group went through the trouble of (a) creating this plan of getting more people to go to church, (b) rape some poor girl in order to (c) raise that child, making him believe that he is the devil, including (d) manipulating thousands of Satan worshippers around the world to make it appear that Satan is on Earth only to (e) say "psyche!" in the end. And they wonder why Junior didn't react so well to the news that he's not Satan. That's a hell of a lot of planning and scheming just to get more people to go to church. I can think of several other ways they could've accomplished their goal without giving the church a bad rap - the Jehovah Witness door-to-door way, the Sister Act giving your choir a makeover way, or even the simple giving back to the community way to name a few. It also doesn't help their cause that during all this time they actively encouraged Satanists. At least in Angles and Demons the camerlengo achieved his goal: the public, unaware of his true motives, perceives him as a hero and demands that he be canonized. I don't think any of Damián Sr.'s action got more people in Spain to go to church - it certainly was a turn off for me.

Finally, in Angels and Demons, Langdon went through the trouble of trying to find each Cardinal in order to save them and stop the antimatter bomb from exploding. We didn't get anything near that with LHdP. The "66.6" storyline may have started off that way (as I'll discuss below), but it eventually developed into a Paco-Damián Jr. showdown that frankly I (and it seems most other viewers) could care less about. Despite the fact that Paco had Father Sistiaga's "journey book", which seemed to lay out exactly where each point on the pentagram was (in other words, where each death would occur), he and the hombres kept running around like chickens with their heads cut off instead of staking out each location. And, with the exception of the novice, they never came close to discovering or protecting any of the intended victims - they always arrived well after the fact.

Storyline: "66.6"
Summary: Throughout the course of this season, Paco and the hombres discovered/witnessed the murders of: a philanthropist, a negotiator, a priest, a novice, and a bomb squad expert. Initially, the hombres believe that each victim represents one of the seven virtues. However, their investigation leads them to discover that each victim donated blood to the killer's - Damián Jr. - father, and thus, that is their real connection to each other. Paco, being the last donor alive, believes that only he can stop Damián Jr. and has a showdown with him, which leads to Paco being stabbed by Damián Jr. and Junior being shot by almost every hombre before he dies. During Don Lorenzo's retirement ceremony one year later, we learn that Paco has survived his encounter with Damián Jr. and will be taking over as Comisario of the precinct.

Analysis: I don't even know where to begin, but I'll try. The entire "66.6" storyline actually sounds good in theory and may have worked if LHdP were a sci-fi/fantasy show. Well, I should rephrase. It started out as a good idea, but from the way it unraveled, it was like Alex Pina & Co. were doing a "choose your own adventure" with this arc. First, it comes off as an inverted Se7en rip-off, making it appear that each victim was chosen because they represent one of the seven virtues. They string the viewers along with this idea until Ep. 112 (I think) when we learn that Paco was a blood donor to Junior's daddy and begin to toy around with the idea that all the victims may have given Senior some blood. Then we're supposed to believe that these two things are connected - the blood donations and the virtues, which suddenly become six virtues instead of seven, and theological virtues instead of heavenly ones. *Side note: Thank you, Dr. P, for pointing out that there are, in fact, seven heavenly virtues (and that there are only 3 theological virtues). I didn't think it was possible, but Alex Pina & Co. have made me dislike simple math, because I couldn't figure out why Rita said there were seven victims (and how she got that number - if you take Amadeo into account there's only six at that point, and if you count the two dead cops Junior killed when he kidnapped Deker, that puts you at eight) or how the hell Paco could be the "final victim" when there were only five deaths. It fucking drove me crazy trying to figure it out until they revealed that they went and changed the script by saying there are only six virtues and that it was the theological virtues.*

Putting aside all the plot points they brought up and dismissed like Dr. P mentioned at the end of the recap - the elephant, the opium dream, Paco's ability to see Ghost Silvia, an invalid Senior who turned out to be faking as penance!?!, Paco's paralysis in Ep. 113, etc. - when one considers the explanation Alex Pina & Co. chose as their "big reveal", it was this season's biggest failure IMO. In the end, it didn't fucking matter what you called the virtues or how many there were, because the whole thing was one big sham in a plot to get more asses in church on Sundays. I actually think it's a good metaphor to describe this whole season. Damián Sr. and his merry band got together and decided that the best way to convince people to go to church was to stage several decades worth of Satanic acts and make Damián Jr. believe he was Satan, and while we don't know the outcome - if more people, in fact, are attending church - I'm to going to venture a guess that it probably didn't work as well as they hoped. Similarly, Alex Pina and his merry band of writers got together and decided that the best way to keep his remaining viewership interested was to create a totally unrecognizable show that focused on nothing that made viewers want to tune in to begin with - the comedy, the relationships, etc. - and we definitely know the outcome of that little idea.

Storyline: The CNI and "Zebra"
Summary: The CNI are aware of the fact that Pepa killed El Gordo and use that information (and the fact that she made Aitor her accomplice in El Gordo's murder) to blackmail Pepa into becoming an assassin for them. They make Marina Salgado Pepa's "handler", based on her relationship with Pepa and Paco. Pepa proves to be difficult, doing whatever she can to avoid carrying out her orders, forcing the CNI to bring in Aitor, who decides to carry out the job for Pepa. However, Aitor can't go through with the assassination either, and he and Pepa (along with Reyes and Deker) decide to gather intel from the intended target (a scientist) instead. They discover the CNI wants the scientist dead in order to cover up Spain's involvement in nuclear development. Salgado ends up shooting the scientist herself (with Pepa's gun in Aitor's place) but provides a cover story clearing both Pepa and Aitor of any involvement before giving Pepa all the information she has linking her to El Gordo's death. Salgado then reveals that she is a part of a secret CNI unit called "Zebra" and intends to expose them. She almost dies in the process before being saved by the mysterious Blackman.

Analysis: This was a storyline that fit better into what LHdP was about and started off very well. Sadly though, it ended as badly as the "66.6" storyline IMO. This arc began with a great backstory: Pepa was being blackmailed into doing the CNI's dirty work because she murdered El Gordo. It gave Pepa something else to deal with in conjunction with her grief, something the writers could've explored more but failed to do so. It got even more interesting once we learned that the intended target - the scientist - was the key to some big CNI secret that even Salgado was hesitant to participate in.

However, once Salgado assassinated the scientist, this subplot took a huge nosedive. Pepa and Aitor are absolved from participating in the story because Salgado gives Pepa all the the CNI's evidence that links her to El G's murder, and suddenly "Zebra" is a focal plot point which is explained and resolved all in one episode. Blackman appeared out of nowhere - as he tends to do - and injected himself into the story without explanation (although that's pretty consistent with his character, so I'll give them that). The plot then focuses more on Salgado and two new, random CNI dudes that no one cares about because (a) they're not Pepa (or Aitor) and (b) they're not part of the show in general. Everything gets wrapped up in one ugly bow and *poof* storyline over. This subplot had the potential to be really great, but it ended up suffering the same fate as everything else this season - poor writing and another failed attempt to rip-off a show/movie.

Parting thoughts:
While I was back home recently, I watched an old episode of CSI:NY with my sis who loves that show. The episode was titled "Boo", and one of the plots dealt with zombies (it was their Halloween episode). The CSIs are called to a zombie flash mob where one of the zombies has died. They determine that the "zombie" died from a blunt force trauma to the head, but his body temp indicates that he had been dead for 8h, which is inconsistent with witness reports that he died 3h ago. It makes one believe that this guy could really be a zombie, right? Well, since CSI:NY is a show that takes place in NYC in the 21st Century, viewers discovered that - surprise! - there's no such thing as zombies. Instead, the victim faked his death after being drugged to make it look like he suffered a congenitive heart failure. After "rising from the dead", he discovers his wife in bed with his doc and drugs them both, but not before being beaten on the head several times. Thus, he was able to stumble out into the street where witnesses saw him before he died for reals. While watching that episode, I couldn't help but think This is how Alex Pina & Co. should've/could've tackled the whole "66.6" storyline. At least that way, it would've actually fit into the premise of a cop show. So perhaps instead of gathering all the horror/thriller/sci-fi rip-offs they could find, they just should've watched CSI.

I've already expressed some of my thoughts on the finale here and in the latest weekend update, but it did leave me with several questions, although I'll admit they're irrelevant. Where the fuck was Blackman? They create a storyline with him and Amaia but don't resolve it in any way - he just "flys" away at the end of Ep. 116!?! Okay. Adios, I suppose. Where was WIN-E during the finale, and where does he go and what does he do when he's not at the precinct? Yes, I realize WIN-E's character is extremely minor, but I was more interested in him than the four newbies combined and would much rather know what he does during his off time than watch Lis pine over Aitor or Amaia cry over Blackman. On a positive note, one thing I recently noticed was that aside from Deker, Aitor was also absent during Damián Jr.'s takedown and he wasn't a part of the "fucking rowing team" at the end. Now, his absence from the showdown makes a little sense - he was probably with Sara - but I found it somewhat amusing that they boy who seemed to be Alex Pina's "face of the show"/Lucas replacement/boy-crush was the only character absent from the rowing team. I guess Aitor's ego couldn't fit in their boat and he had to go. It's just a shame he couldn't take his wife Lis with him.

Finally, despite the title I've chosen for this lecture, I believe that what happened this season (as well as the S8 finale) does matter. It matters because I firmly believe in George Santayana's quote that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Regardless of what it turned out to be in the end, LHdP had some really good moments and some really good lessons on the way people should (not) be treated. I don't hate Alex Pina - there's too much of that in the world as it is - but I am disappointed that he (appears to have) let his ego get in the way of being true to his show and the beautiful relationships he created. I have no idea if Alex Pina will learn (or cares enough to learn) from the mistakes he's made, but hopefully others will. Hopefully other writers, producers and execs will take the good from what this show was able to do - both in its style and relationships - and learn from the bad this show became. After all, isn't that one way change happens? And if future storytellers can create stories like PepSi and treat it with the same sincerity and honesty as LHdP did without falling into the same pitfalls, then while the S8 finale and "66.6" storyline themselves may not have mattered in the end, the message it taught us of what us not to do will have, and perhaps that will make the heartache we've endured a little worth it.


*The title for this lecture is based on lyrics to the song "In the End" by Linkin' Park.

9x13 El Acabose de los Tiempos - Complete Recap

9x13 El Acabose de los Tiempos (The Last Straw of Time)
By Drs. Bekelauer & Piper

So here we are, the very last original LHDP episode, the end of the line. For what it's worth, this last episode was not lacking in effort from ATPP, so please sit back and enjoy this last goodbye from the folks of San Antonio.

Summary Recap

Pove pulls a joke on Curtis letting him think he slept with a prostitute on his wedding day, but it's actually not true. Curtis tells Rita anyway, right when they're about to get married.  So Rita runs away, arguing that the case is more important - it's the day Junior plans to kill Paco.  Deker tries to get Pepa to his island again, he even bought tickets to Lesbos in Greece to make her journey to the other side of the sexual spectrum (into Heteroville) less traumatic. How considerate! Pepa gently lets him down, and that's the end of Peker.

Mariano drugs Paco and locks him in one of the holding cells to prevent him from meeting Junior and getting killed. Then the boys go on a mission to the last spot of the pentagram, a monastery where a secret society of the Roman Catholic Curia is going to meet. Deker finds out that Junior might have drugged Sara to induce labor even though she's only 8 months along. Sara of course gives birth - it's a boy and he looks too big for a preemie. Junior kidnaps the baby to force Paco to show up for their date. I think he is utterly infatuated with The Bearded One. Pepa lets Paco out of the holding cell and they all go on a field trip. Somewhere along, Aitor confesses to Lis that he loves her. And Deker and Reyes plan to get away (since they both have just been dumped).

At the monastery, Senior tells Junior that the society is going to hand him to the authorities as a proof that Faith beats evil, and that he is no heir of the shadows or anything, and he's nothing but a Satan wannabe. Which makes the Satanic plot a big fat lie. Which makes this season simply lame. Junior feels betrayed by his own father, so he kills him. He then gets angry because Paco is late for their date so he is going to stab Sara's baby in sacrifice.  Paco and the whole precinct arrive just in time to stop him.  Junior stabs Paco with a giant ham-cutting knife and in return, the whole cast turns him into a human practice target. Junior is wounded and bloodied with around 8 shots hitting him everywhere, but does he die right away?  NO!  He hovers around. What happened to the "best shot in San Antonio"? Just when you start to wonder whether Junior is really immortal, he drops dead. LHDP drama ensues, implying that Paco dies, but he doesn’t. 

One year later, DL is giving his retirement speech and Paco is appointed new Commissioner. Aitor married Lis, Reyes is with Deker, Pepa is with not-Silvia who looks hot (so good job, Pepa!), Paco has married Salgado, and Rita is pregnant and her baby-daddy Curtis got a haircut. And the end is just a funny gag of a rowing team, which is Paco's battlecry.

Complete Recap
Paco voice over: All things come to an end, even if it hurts. Even if we’re not ready, we know that everything goes, sooner or later. But if I look back, I can only say that my life has been worth it. Ever since I arrived at this precinct with nothing to lose and my father-in-law offered me a second chance, my life has changed. With my friends. Like a fucking rowing team. A group that has not been broken by crime, by family secrets or by my stupid protective stubbornness, not even by the Napolitan mafia. With all these people that became friends one day, and family the next. Even if they’re not the council list, it doesn’t matter, even if I have to write their names down with a pencil at the margin. It’s the way life is. We all have to die. And just because that motherfucker has me in his hitlist, I am not going to let it affect my life. Not on the day my friends are getting married. I will carry on with my day, and then I’ll go looking for him.

Mariano, DL, and Paco are at the precinct, arguing.
Mariano: What the hell are you saying, Paco? It’s not the rest of your life – today is The Day! And there’s only one spot left in the hexagram – the monastery of St Andrew’s.
DL: Paco, according to the priest’s notebook, today is when he’s going to kill the last virtue, Hope. And the last virtue is the last person who donated blood in the accident of Guadarrama. Paco, you are that person.
Paco: I will do what I have to do.
Mariano: Paco, what you have to do is go in hiding. Pray to the Lord and to the National Police Forces, that’s what you have to do! You have lost your mind!
Sara (from the bing bong thingy outside the interrogation room): Inspector Moreno, please stop harassing him or I will report you. (Piper: Translator means Public Address system)

Sara walks in pregnant. She is already dressed for the wedding. Hugs and kisses for and from everyone.
Paco: Maybe I’ll die today, but I am going to live every second. And even if something ends today, I know it will be the beginning of something better.
Junior goes to meet Senior and is astonished that his Papi, who's been bedridden the last 8 years, can now walk and talk. Junior says he’s going to finish off the job – he is so convinced that he is Satan! “I will reign in the darkness forever”... Aye right!

LHDP Intro

Curtis wakes up at the newbies’ apartment all hangovered and next to what seems to be a hooker. Score! Rita knocks at Paco’s and Pepa goes and opens the door... in her underwear.
Rita: Looook!
Pepa: What the hell are you doing all dressed already? It’s still two hours til the wedding! (Translator: Pepa, you should get dressed too. Not that I mind you in your underwear, but it’s just weird that you’re there naked, that’s all. Well, maybe not. I don’t know. Nice lingerie btw...) You are Marilyn!
Rita: It’s just I’m so nervous and I thought “go get dressed!”. Oh, I’m so lame, maybe I’m going too fast? Because with all the sex and the express wedding... Poor Curtis, he’s not going have anything brand new tonight. Unless I buy him some pyjamas... For the first time in my life I am jumping into the void...

The hooker gets dressed and tells Curtis that he needs to pay her. Then he finds a pair of X-ray films showing something... weird.

Sara walks to Laureano Vicuña and has flashbacks of Lucas and Aitor – I thought we were done with that threesome crap! However, it’s not too annoying this time. Aitor walks down to see her – Lucas seems to be in Rihad on a mission. They have a tender, awkward moment, but they are cool.

At Lizarrán, Pove, Goyo, and Dani talk about the fact that Pove has played the joke of a lifetime on Curtis, just to get back at him for all the stuff he’s had to go through all these year. Flashback of vintage Pove moments. They made him believe that he had sex with a stripper and that he’s got a miniature train up his ass. That’s... nasty. But very LHDP. Curtis shows up and is really disturbed by what he thinks happened the night before. Povedilla gets a phone call from DL to go straight to the precinct so he doesn't get to tell Curtis the truth.

The briefing room has been decorated with wedding patters and white chairs and it seems that Curtis and Rita are going to get married AT THE PRECINCT. Yes, San Antonio is like a Las Vegas chapel, the wedding venue of choice. Reyes gets a phone call and leaves. DL tells Pove and Mariano that Senior, apparently standing on this own 2 feet, has left the nursing home / residence.

Curtis walks in with his best (wo)man Pepa (who's wearing some glittery number), everybody cheers. He looks like he is about to throw his own liver up.
Someone: Long life the groom!
Povedilla: If you excuse me, I need to talk to the groom.
DL: Sit down, fuck’s sake. Paco is in mortal danger, huge, terrible things are happening here. Go and talk to someone from the clinic, see what they tell you. When you find out, come in and give me a report.
Povedilla: How do you want me to report it? Should I text you? Or should I walk in with some rice so as not to be noticed?
DL: Yeah, bring two fucking rice paellas and we invite the priest as well. (Translator's note: He says "priest" but of course he means a lay person) You moron, you’re a fucking moron! 

Reyes is arguing with someone on the phone about keeping the patrols in the last corner of the hexagram, the monastery. Lis shows up and asks her what's going on – apparently, the hierarchy of the Church is not allowing the patrols in because they have summoned ranking clergymen to pray in this dark hour when Satan is coming to the world. Aye right! Reyes also tells her that Aitor has broken up with her, so Lis apologises for jeopardising their relationship. Then they agree not to get involved with any 29-year old (Translator: I thought Aitor was my age, like 24?). Lis will get the under 28’s, and Reyes the over 30’s.  Which, mathematically, also makes 28- and 30-year olds out of reach for either one of them.

Reyes sees Deker in the lab so she goes in to check. He is butt naked - HAHA! He explains that he needs a hand to CSI his body because he spent 4 hours with Satan and there’s probably something in him to help them solve the mystery and save Paco. I think he is actually the only one who has an idea of what’s going on in here.

Curtis looks more and more like he is about to throw up all his intestines.  Rita walks in to Lo Que No Ves. Paco takes her down the aisle.  For the 2nd time in the series.
Rita: When I woke up this morning, I wondered if we were not rushing too much. But now that I see you, I feel there’s nothing else to wait for. And if I had to pick someone to trust with my life, I would pick you. I’ve know how cute you are for a long time. And I love you.
The wedding starts and Povedilla walks in with a packet of rice. How convenient. He updates DL and makes a mess – vintage Pove. Curtis needs to be honest with Rita.

Reyes and Deker are having a tender moment. In a Deker fashion, of course – he is naked and she is CSIng him. She is depressed because of the Aitor fiasco and says, “Why do we even want to start things that are predestined to fail?”. Deker summarises his (and my) point of view about life: “The most important thing is not the destination, but the trip”. Then she finds something on his back, like little needle punctures.

At the wedding, Povedilla is still being noisy, so he leaves with DL and Mariano. They find Aitor in the hallway, who tells them that Senior has his room adorned with crucifixes and other religious items and that he was a priest. It seems that Senior belongs to a secret Church society, the Witnesses of the Resurrection. Lis approaches Aitor and starts yelling at him for dumping her mother.

Curtis confesses everything to Rita in the middle of the wedding ceremony.  Needless to say, she's not happy and gives a speech before she walks away, and rightly so.
Rita: Fellows, we are dealing with a police investigation that has already taken the lives of seven people. Today is a crucial day, and while we’re here, the investigation is still going on. And it’s going on because one of us is in danger, so I’m going to ask the judge if we could please go ahead with more important things, like the criminal investigation, and we can postpone the wedding. Excuse me.

DL is holding court at the ground floor of the precinct.
DL: Right, gentlemen, there is indeed a connection between the secret society of the Witnesses of the Resurrection and the series of murders that we’ve been dealing with. We have a tip that in a couple of hours, this society is going to organise a day of prayer in the next supposed scene of crime, the sixth corner of the star.
Mariano: While Don Lorenzo is trying to get a warrant to enter the venue, stop the mass, and place units inside, we’re going to organise a mission in the surrounding area.
Salgado: As far as I know, the CNI is also pulling some strings (Really?? Do they still want her after the whole Zebra clusterfuck?)
DL: Evidently yes, but the problem is the inviolability of the temple, we’re going to need at least...
Paco (interrupting): Do you know where I have the “inviolability”? (This is a question that begs a “Por mis santos cojones” reply). It’s over! No more bullshit! No CNI, no warrants, no more crap! We’ve stuck to protocol and we have nothing to show for it except seven corpses. Seven. (He goes to his office and takes out a spray bottle of chloroform... But of course it’s Paco’s best and most powerful weapon!) Let’s do what we have to do! What we know that works! Drugs and infiltration. The important thing is to be in, not out. All together. Gentlemen, who’s with me?
Pepa is the first one to step up for her brother, followed by Marina. This is vintage badge-handing moment. DL looks disgusted at first, but he is on board.

DL: Oh come on, we’re late already!
Mariano: Paco, you’re the last victim, the last virtue. And the victim and the location (in the hexagram) can’t come together. You’re not going anywhere from here.
Paco: I am going to go, and I’m going to be the first one there. He’s looking for me and he’s going to find me.
Mariano: All right, Paco, whatever you say. (And he sprays him with chloroform) A chair, quick, he’s falling, hurry!

Salgado provides the chair and looks like she’s about to piss herself laughing at Mariano’s idea.

Deker au naturale keeps flirting with Reyes. Pepa walks in and almost bursts out laughing at the scene before her.
Pepa: Inspector... The Captain is looking for you, he’s organised a mission.
Reyes: Very well, I’m off to the lab with the evidence. See you later.
Pepa: Later.
Deker (in a sort of asking her to leave tone): Ciao.
Pepa: Now you’re trying to play hard to get? May I remind you that it’s not the first time I've seen you in “all your splendour”.
Deker: Can you hand me my clothes?
Pepa: How’s it going?
Deker: All right.
Pepa: Any news?
Deker: No, no news. Hand me my clothes, please. (Pepa teases him) That thing over there is for you.
Pepa: A present? Or an invitation to re-offend?
Deker: Since you said that I should survive because maybe you might want to come to my island again... Here I am: young, alive, fertile... in my best moment.
Pepa: Deker, you were wrapped in Titadine yesterday, and I can’t be cool in those moments. And I might have overreacted, and maybe promised too much. Look, I told you once that what happened between us was marvelous, truly, but it’s not going to happen again.
Deker: Cool.
Pepa: You understand?
Deker: I understand. Since I was about to die, you told me pretty things, but now that I’m alive... everything’s cool. Everything’s cool.
Pepa (looks at the tickets): To Lesbos?
Deker: Yeah, to make the transition less traumatic.
Pepa: Pretty one.
Deker: I will have to resign myself to this shit of being friends. Anyway, what was done, was done, and can’t be taken from me.

He reaches to slap her in the butt, but she grabs him and twists his arm instead.

Pepa (sing-songy tone):  Easy with that hand! And you can look but you can’t touch.
Deker: Mamita... 

DL is at Confecciones Puri with Dani and Amaia. Mariano, Curtis, Pove and Goyo have set up a road block on the mainroad leading to the monastery. Pove argues with Curtis, who still thinks that he has fucked up. A car with 2 bishops (violet zucchetto), a cardinal (crimson), and a driver approaches.  Curtis stops it and argues with the passengers in best LHDP vintage. Pove sprays chloroform on the cardinal... who falls on the spikes, butt first.  Goyo takes care of the rest, i.e., he sprays them.

When you go to Catholic schools long enough, you get to identify these things...

Sara is lying on the sofa when Rita walks in. She tells her that she doesn’t want to get married because of what Curtis confessed. Sara defends Curtis and says that it is good to know how to forgive. She goes back to her history of “choosing”. Aitor goes to the newbies’ flat next door to talk to Lis but she doesn’t want to. Rita is heartbroken. Aitor and Lis still blame each other, and Aitor is about to confess his love when Sara screams and she sees that her water has broken.

DL is trying to justify the lack of smoothness of the mission to the newbies. Mariano orders Goyo to take the priest to hospital. Pove confesses to Curtis that the prostitute thing was all a joke and Curtis gets so worked up that he starts the car and accelerates, runs over the road block spikes, and blows their tires out.

Paco is drugged in one of the holding cells at the precinct, then wakes up. Salgado is there with him, and tells him that he can’t leave because he needs to keep on with his life. Oh, I see Pepa is there, so...
Salgado: Easy, easy Paco. Chloroform causes a terrible hangover.
Paco: Did the mission start?
Salgado: An hour ago. How are you? How are you, honey?
Paco: Marina, I know what you’re doing, but I don’t want to hide. I don’t want to dishonour my duties because of a threat. I don’t want fear to eat me alive. I don’t want to be locked away here for that motherfucker not to go on with his prophecy. Or to close his fucking circle, or kill me. Do you understand?
Salgado: Paco, listen to me, you’re not locked here because of that. You’re locked here because you have to have dinner with your daughter tonight, and you have to take your grandson to church to get him baptised in a couple of weeks. And you’re also here because you asked me to marry you last night and I told you I needed time to think about it. But now I realise that in life, sometimes, there’s no time. There’s no time. And that’s why you’re here. Because I want to say yes, I want to marry you, and live together for many years. Because if you walk out that door, we might not have time.

Pepa is standing nearby and hears everything, because, you know, it is socially acceptable in Spain to listen  to other people's conversations, and she is duly touched and now all is forgiven with Salgado. Whatever.

Back in Laureano Vicuña, Sara is in labor and being helped by Aitor and Rita. Just when she is about to pop her baby out, Sara decides that this is the proper moment to beg for forgiveness after all she did to Aitor. About time! She says that when she saw him and Lucas at Silvia and Pepa's wedding, she instantly knew that she had to be with Lucas.

Povedilla, Curtis, and Mariano, now wearing the bishops' vestments, are walking to the monastery. Pove asks Curtis to hit him.
Mariano: Let’s see gentlemen, in this precinct pretty much everyone has had an affair with somebody else’s woman. Paco with Marina, me with Lola, Lucas with everyone... not to mention the dead, because Gonzalo and Silvia were also free spirits, may they rest in peace.
Curtis says he’s not going to hit him because he is brokenhearted. He tries to flag a passing car so they can hitch a ride, but the car doesn't stop, and he starts swearing and chasing it.  Which is supposed to be funny because he is dressed as a bishop.

Reyes walks in the locker room and sees Deker smoking. They’re both brokenhearted. Reyes starts smoking with him. Deker suggests they could go somewhere together, and after some convincing she accepts. Someone walks in with the results from the lab. Oxytocin was present, a drug given to pregnant women to induce contractions – Deker and Reyes rightly deduce that Junior has gone after Sara.

Next thing we know, Sara is actually giving birth. Aitor and Sara have a tender moment. He says that he will never hate her because he loves her. Lis silently says, “WTF?”. He says that he also admires her for being able to choose so fast, and then he says that he also has had that “fraction of a second” in which he knew what he wanted... “in an elevator, with a girl dressed up as Santa”.  Afterwards, Sara gives birth to the chunkiest preemie baby ever. 

Paco is still in the holding cell. Pepa is watching him.
Paco: Pepa...
Pepa: Don’t even ask me, Paco.
Paco: What would you do if that motherfucker came for you? Would you like to be sitting in a cell while your friends do their best for you?
Pepa: I don’t know, Paco!
Paco: Well, I know! You would go out there with your gun, with your bare chest if necessary, and you would face anything that would come, because if you didn’t, when all would be over, you would never forgive yourself not doing anything, for staying put while your colleagues defend you, or worse, die for you.
Pepa: I can’t let you go, Paco, I can’t.
Paco: Yes, you can, and you’re going to. Because no one better than you knows that I have to do it, no one better than you.

Mariano, Curtis, and Pove have "borrowed" the bishops' vestments and are now walking to the monastery. Curtis puts his hand in his pocket and finds a train with a note from Pove, saying that he didn’t know what to give them for a present, so he bought them two tickets for the Orient Express and that he loves them and wants them to be happy ever after. Aawww! Curtis is moved and tells Pover that he loves him too and they forgive each other. At that same moment, a lorry drives by and they stop it.

Pepa and Paco are leaving the precinct when the SWAT patrol intervenes and stop them. Salgado shows up.
Salgado: I know the Mirandas. Paco, the gun, please.
Paco: At your orders, Commander.
Reyes: Inspector, do you know where your daughter is?
Paco: Why?
Deker: We think Satan might have established contact with her and induced her into premature labour. Call her now.
Goyo arrives at Confecciones Puri and says he has abandoned the priests at the door of the ER. Mariano, Pove, and Curtis are overhearing the conversation because their mics are still on. DL says he is going to teach the newbies how to be professionals because he does not want them to end up like “that band of pilgrims”. Never a truer word spoken. Then he scolds Goyo with his “santos cojones” repertoire.

Rita phones Curtis and tells him he forgives her. Sara misses a call from Paco. Aitor and Lis flirt tenderly in front of the baby. Then the paramedic arrives and takes the baby to the ambulance. Alone! Who the fuck lets a stranger take a newborn without its mother?! Aitor picks up the phone - it's Paco who asks him if he can see the baby. He goes down to the ambulance and see that the paramedic has been killed and the baby is nowhere to be found.

Mariano, Curtis, and Povedilla get to the monastery and they enter with the other priests. Then Deker explains in a voice-over the main points of ATPP's stupid Satanic plot, a blatant rip-off of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons.

Deker: The balance of universe is ruled in pairs, divided in opposite forces of the same magnitude. This way, Good remains balanced if Evil exists. But in these times, Evil is has devalued. Nobody fears it, nobody prays. The Witnesses of the Resurrection have known this for a long time long and they have been carrying out their plan. Damián Vallejo, one of the group's key members, conceived his own "devil" by a rape that cost him 8 years of penitence in a hospital bed. They raised the Chosen One making him believe that he was really Satan and that if he managed to "kill" all six theological virtues*, he would rule over the Earth. The twin was a mishap fixed by destiny, they used him like a puppet, like they used the three thousand followers of the order all over the globe, to make it look like a Satanic plot, all with the same purpose – to extend the fear of Satan, and bring people back to Church.
*Piper:  THREE!  There are only 3 theological virtues, 4 Cardinal virtues, and 7 Heavenly virtues.

Random Silvia picture from the flasbacks

The strabismus guy is the presiding priest of the secret meeting. Somebody is knocking at the door of the monastery and – ta-dah! Junior with Sara’s baby. Aitor phones DL to tell him that Satan has his great-grandson.
Senior: Hand me the baby, no more deaths. And time is not going to bring a new era.
Junior: Today is the great day, father. I need to spill the blood of the virtuous on the corner of the star, to open the doors of Solomon. 
Senior: No door is going to open, my son. You’re not going to rule over anything, and you are not the Chosen One. There won’t be an era of shadows, nor will Evil be eternal. Come with me. You have to come with us. Your example will be the proof to show the world that prayers beat Evil. We will say that the power of the Church beats Satan. We will hand you to the authorities, so faith will be renewed. Come with me, give me the baby, please.
Junior: Father, why did you abandon me?
And Junior, with an amazing karate chop, pushes Senior and kills him.  Back up shows up.
Mariano: Drop the baby, drop the baby.
Pepa: You here, you, over there!

That’s when we see for the first time the girl that will end up hooking up with! She nods silently and follows with her.

Mariano: Don Lorenzo, what shall we do?

Junior takes out a HUGE ham-cutting knife and is about to carve Sara's chunky baby. He looks like a ham anyway. (Piper scolding herself: Piper!  That's a very mean thing to say about a baby!) But Paco, our hero, shows up.
Paco: SATAN!!! I am here! Were you looking for me? I am the last virtue – Hope.
Mariano: No, Paco!
Paco: Here I am. Leave my grandson alone. My life for his.
Junior: Hope is in your blood. Do you want the boy to live?
Paco: Yes.
Junior: Then you will die.

Paco goes up to where Junior is, who drops the baby and then slices Paco with the ham knife. Angels and Demons soundtrack plays in the background. Well, you've already ripped the plot, why not rip the music as well? Paco falls down. 

Everyone starts shooting Junior, who takes an awfully long time to drop dead.  You know ATPP wants us to believe that maybe Junior really was immortal.  And now he wants us to ask that age-old question: Does Paco die?  We don't answer because we don't really care.

One year later... DL is giving his retirement speech to a glum audience.  ATPP still wants us to think that Paco died, so he can surprise us and we'd be happy.  Dumbass! You could have pulled that stunt at the beginning of this season!  Silvia would be alive, we'd be really happy, and you'd still have a show.

DL: Every agent who falls in the line of duty is like an open wound that never heals. I have been a Captain for 26 years and when I look back, all I can think of are the agents, our colleagues, who lost their lives under my command. And not even success, nor medals, can compensate or ease the pain. Today I am retiring, and I would like to ask you a favour. Please, let’s take a moment of silence to remember those who were once in this precinct.

They all stand and sort of cry. Very emotional.

DL: Thank you. One day, I heard one of my men say that the end of everything was just the starting point of something new. And if this is like that, today, the Castro era is over in this precinct, but only to let in one of our best... the best Captain.

Paco is taken in by Mariano and Salgado in a wheelchair. Pepa’s tears make me cry. Everybody cheers, DL gives him a medal. Reyes tilts her head towards Aitor and then towards Lis like sort of saying that Lis should be sitting next to him, so she goes and they hold hands and they are wearing wedding bands. Pepa looks at the (short) not-Silvia girl and gives her a cute little head nudge. Paco gives his speech.

Paco: Thank you. No... When spending nine months in a hospital bed, you can do lots of things. First, you can see that your preemie grandson already weighs 10 kilos. Guapo! Second, and thanks to you all, you can pass the tests to be a Captain. Thanks a lot.
At this point, Pepa and Deker look at each other – with his eyes, Deker asks her about the girl sitting next to her, and Pepa gives him the thousand watt smile. The girl mumbles “Guapa!” when Pepa looks at her. They both smile. I am genuinely happy for Pepa.

Paco: And lastly, the opportunity, maybe because the world is crazy – crazy enough to allow a man like me, who was supposed to be a locksmith, to be in charge of the best precinct in the world, San Antonio. Chance, or, thank God, borne of this man’s stubbornness, Don Lorenzo’s. Without him, I don’t know, I don’t know where I’d be.

Deker and Reyes hold hands – Awww!

Paco: That’s why I promise you that I’m going to try to match him. And I want to thank him in front of you. I was sent to San Antonio five years ago, and I could never imagine that I would find people like you, who became my friends from the very first moment, and after five years, I know you will always be part of my family. I love you. And well, we’ve been through bad days, very bad days but also through good days, and days that have been far too much, right, Don Lorenzo? Maybe too much. And I repeat, that’s why I love you. The San Antonio precinct will always be alive.
Mariano: Ole!
Paco: Always. To defend the rights and freedom of the Spanish people. And you know why? You want to know why? Simply, “por mis santos cojones”.
Tears and cheers and more tears.

Goyo and Dani hug and kiss.  They are so together.

Pepa kisses the (very short) not-Silvia on the forehead – so sweet in a non-sexual way.

Everyone starts kissing and hugging each other. And we can see some hugging and kissing from the past, which includes Silvia and some PepSi kisses and tender moments.

Yeah, I was crying like Pepa... for what could have been...

Paco walks into his new Captain office, sits on the chair, and tries to get used to the feeling. Somebody knocks at the door and he pretends he’s working on something. It’s DL.
Paco: Come on in.
DL: Sit down. Paco, your men want to show you something.
So then we have the rowing team gag. Translator really, really thinks you all should watch it.
Mariano: Come on, gentlemen! Up! One, two! One, two! One, two! Halt! To the left! Captain Miranda, at your orders!
All: Like a fucking rowing team!
Mariano: Yes, sir! One, two! One, two!

And we have some of the best vintage LHDP funny and slapstick moments: falls, mistakes, drugs, kisses, hits, bitchslaps, songs, dance moves, action.  But most of all, we see Pepa and Silvia, and for that fleeting moment, our throats tighten, our hearts smile, and we remember how almost-perfect it all was.  Because it was, it truly was.

Piper's commentary:

For one last time,

Fuck you Alex Tiny Penis Pina! 

Fuck you for your ginormous ego which made you believe that you could kill 4 characters, especially one who has engendered Silvialogists everywhere, without squandering the fans' goodwill.

Fuck you for assuming that your loyal viewers were somehow so stupid that you could change the entire genre of the show and still assume that they would simply open their mouth and say, "Ah!" to whatever you feed them.

Fuck you for trying to be profound with your pretentious Satanic plot, which Deker explained away in about 5 sentences.  And an extra FU for ripping this Catholic mystery from Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, and the secret organization's allusion to Spain's very own Opus Dei. The Camerlengo in A&D wanted to slow the spread of science and used the Illuminati as a scary diversion.  Senior and his posse wanted to bring people back to Church and used the devil to scare them into attendance.  Either way, both stories were of misguided piety carried out by pitiful men.

Fuck you for the cop-out in explaining the seeming supernatural deeds of Junior: that there were many members worldwide to help him.  Uhm, yeah?  So did those members also manipulate Paco's psyche so he could play chess in his dreams?  And Amadeo just knew how to perfectly impale himself against a wall hook?  And what about Father Sistiaga?  Was he a member of the Witnesses who simply sacrificed himself to lend credence to the story?  And the phone in his legs?  How did it mysteriously get there?  Oh, and Ghost!Silvia? Thank you very much for that by the way, dickhead, but you didn't explain how she appeared to Paco. Was Paco simply stoned?  Where were the bodies of Amadeo and novice?  And Mama Amadeo?  And the Blair Witch house?  Hanging nuns appearing and disappearing?  And Junior in Sara's communion picture?  You didn't close those loops either.

Fuck you for the lazy conclusion of the CNI sub-plot.  I still don't know what its purpose was.  To blackmail Pepa?  To destroy then salvage the Salgado character?  I don't know, but that was just lazy.

Fuck you for not-Silvia's taunted underwhelming appearance. Didn't your press release say that she was going to blow the case wide open?  She didn't utter one fucking word!

Fuck you for imposing Blackman on us, and plastering Amaia all over him.  One goth character was enough, but two? 

Fuck you for the 4 newbies who didn't do much other than to annoy the heck out of us.  And for the characters whom we have learned to love but you have blown up, exiled, shortchanged, or simply sent to TV limbo: Lola, the 4 casualties of Episode 104, Bernarda, Pig Noise guy, Mama Concha, Quoque (Bernarda's son), Lucas... They were good, you know.  They were The DNA of the show.

And lastly, FUCK YOU for killing Silvia.  Yes, Marian wanted to leave the show.  Yes, she was able to display her amazing acting and dying skills. But your smug and unapologetic demeanor afterwards just sealed your dickheadedness, so fuck you.

But THANK YOU as well, for giving us PepSi in the first place.  Really, thank you.

And FUCK YOU for taking it away. 
PepSi University | TNB