‘See You In Another Life’ Recap & Ending Explained: Did Gabriel Feel Guilty?

See You in Another Life is a Spanish-language miniseries based on the March 11, 2004 bombings of the trains in Madrid that killed over 150 people. One of the accomplices, Gabriel Vidal, was interviewed by journalist Manuel Jabois, which formed the source of the screenplay for the show. The show chronicles the events leading up to the blasts, how the trial unfolded, and who was convicted.


Spoilers Ahead

Why was Gabriel Vidal arrested?

See You in Another Life begins with Gabriel Vidal being arrested by the civil guard on the count of being involved in the transportation of materials that caused the March 11 bombings in Madrid. Gabriel somehow saw this coming since many of his accomplices, guilty or not, had been brought in for questioning about the workings of Emilio. Emilio was the main guy who was arrested along with the conspirators of the attack, who hailed from Morocco. The arrest happened a while after the attack, and Gabriel was informed about Emilio being diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of sixteen. This declaration was a setback for him, as he’d considered Emilio to be his mentor, who spent a lot of time grooming him to be a criminal and helping him aid the terrorists. 


How did Emilio get young kids involved in the crime?

Emilio was a retired miner with a lot of money on him and was known to flaunt it. Gabriel and his friends were attracted to his lifestyle, which included having a luxury car and having money on him to loan several people. Emilio was also a loan shark, and many mistook his erratic behavior as being that of a tough guy who wanted to get things done his way. Emilio spent most of his time with Gabriel and Koala, in the hope of brainwashing them into joining his world of crime. Gabriel’s father was a crook himself who was sent to jail; the young boy was enamored by the attention given to him by Emilio. 

How did Emilio meet Rafa?

Emilio met Antonio Toro and his sister, Hermana Toro and was followed by Emilio dating the latter. The siblings soon decided Emilio’s unpredictable nature helped the siblings decide to offer him a job in Antonio’s crime ring. Antonio was sadly on the local police’s radar and was caught by them with stolen cars, narcotics, and dynamites, which he claimed belonged to Emilio. Emilio was brought in for questioning, and he offered to divulge information if he was given immunity for his crime. Emilio chose to become a police informant and shared all the data with officer Ramon. 


Emilio soon took over Antonio’s business, became a local mafia kingpin, and established a monopoly over several crime rings. Antonio Toro was out in a few months, thanks to Emilio’s contacts in the police and his influence on the streets. Through his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Emilio met with Rafa and his Moroccan accomplices, who wanted some 50 kilos of dynamite. Emilio assumed they needed it for some robbery and was willing to agree to the deal.

Why was the adult Gabriel not willing to talk to Manuel?

The adult Gabriel had worked on construction sites for years after being released from jail. He was leading a quiet life away from the limelight because he was filled with a lot of pain that he had not processed. As mentioned very early in the show, Gabriel was only given a six year sentence but it gave him some perspective. 


Manuel, a journalist, was keen to speak to Gabriel about his take on the events leading up to the blasts on March 11. Initially, he was not willing to talk because he never wanted to think about the dreadful event, which changed not only his life but the lives of many families as well. He was not keen on sharing details of his life up to March 11 because he was probably embarrassed by it. Manuel revealed Emilio was planning to speak to him, and this made him wonder if he should divulge his side of the story as well. Gabriel eventually agreed to speak in detail about his life with Emilio until hell broke loose in March 2004. 

Was Emilio initially testing the Moroccans’ patience?

The show goes back and forth between several timelines around March 2004. Emilio had the dynamite and played hard to get with the Moroccans, which deeply affected the boys who were assigned to deliver the dynamite to them. Emilio’s unpredictable behavior sadly affected the business deal because somehow, they were convinced he was the only one who could provide them with 600 kilos of dynamite without questioning their intentions. The Moroccans’ plan was put in motion slowly and steadily.


Where did Emilio take the Moroccans to procure dynamite?

Emilio, along with Gabriel, accompanied all the Moroccan conspirators to the Conchita mine in the region of Asturias to steal the dynamite. On this trip to the secluded mountainous region during the peak rainfall, despite all the obstacles they faced, the Moroccans and Emilio were able to procure the dynamite for their mission. They had to make several trips, and Gabriel, along with his mentor, carried many kilos worth of dynamite in their car back to the city. To their luck, they were never caught by the local police or the civil guard. Emilio was overconfident about this deal he had taken up and refused to ask questions about it since he had received a good amount in return. 

Was young Gabriel worried?

A sixteen-year-old Gabriel had begun to worry about what these Moroccans could be up to. When Emilio was asked about it, he was not bothered by it and tried to keep Gabriel at bay. Emilio never had any proper answers for Gabriel because the former probably just wanted to make some money out of it. Gabriel was not sure on many occasions if he should continue working with Emilio; even though they were cornered by police on certain occasions but barely managed to escape. The Moroccans also requested nails and many shrapnel-like objects along with the dynamite, and yet it did not dawn on Emilio, or he chose to remain in denial about their actual job. 


What happened to Emilio after the blasts?

On the day of the blasts, Emilio was startled by the number of casualties, and it only kept increasing by the hour. As the government thought the act of terror was done by a separatist group in Spain, Emilio was aware of who was behind the blasts. Petrified and filled with guilt, he approached Ramon after a long time to inform him about the involvement of the Moroccans in the blasts. Emilio and Gabriel also briefly met, and he discussed his concerns regarding Rafa and their gang, who were responsible for the blasts. Emilio decided to surrender to the police and offered to share information with them. In return, he expected protection for himself and his wife and demanded a ticket to a local football match. The police were perplexed, but they weren’t willing to make any compromise as the number of people who were killed in the attack went above 150, and anybody connected to it would be arrested.

Who was proven guilty by Gabriel?

Once Emilio was arrested, there was an air of silence on the streets of Madrid as the police were after every suspect that was connected to the Moroccans. Everyone known to Gabriel, including his friends Koala, Roberto Reis Palacios, Emilio’s wife Hermana Toro, and her brother Antonio, were arrested. Rafa, just like Emilio, was also revealed to be an informant for another department, yet he was arrested as well. Many were proven guilty, including Emilio’s brother-in-law, along with Gabriel and Roberto Reis Palacios. 


Gabriel was given only six years in jail after having spoken in detail about how the dynamite was transported. Emilio and Gabriel had a silent falling out as he realized Emilio was lying about his mental health condition and was trying to use that as his gateway out of prison. Emilio also requested that Gabriel not take his name during their questioning, but the young boy had changed his mind and was willing to go against his mentor. Gabriel claimed to have written a letter to Emilio after he was initially arrested, but the boy never received any response. 

Despite Emilio claiming to be suffering from schizophrenia, the court was not lenient with him. Emilio was aware of his mental health conditions and yet chose to help the anti-national elements carry out bombings that killed 190 innocent people. He was given a sentence of life imprisonment for 35,000 years and above, along with the conspirators. He was the only Spanish citizen to have ever been given the longest life sentence in Spain.


Did Gabriel feel guilty?

See You in Another Life ends with the adult Gabriel giving the last bites of the interview to Manuel, who kept asking about how he felt as a young boy and the role he played in the bombings. Gabriel’s eyes gave out a lot of pain and guilt. He revealed he did not feel bad for the work he did, but he regrets what happened because of it. Gabriel was a young boy who wanted to earn money, and just like his father wanted to get involved in the criminal life, his family had also never stopped him from working with Emilio, who was clearly a bad influence on him. Gabriel felt guilty for the number of innocent casualties who died for no fault of their own, but he could not bring himself to ask for forgiveness from them because the crime was too brutal. Gabriel stayed away from the limelight only because he chose not to be recognized based on the crime he committed. 

Gabriel was revealed to have had a horrible childhood, as he was witness to his mother being put through abuse at the hands of his father. They had no way to make money, and they wanted to get out of the life of crime eventually. But his life was never like he wanted it to be. Gabriel also revealed that he constantly thought about the passengers who died because he was involved in the transportation of the dynamite that killed them. He was asked about Emilio, but the man made it clear he wanted no information about his former mentor and had chosen not to keep track of him. 


Emilio changed his life for the worse, and it was only right for Gabriel to focus on the guilt, process the pain, and keep Emilio far away. The last shot of the show was a memory of the toddler Gabriel having a conversation with his father back before they ever lived in the city but were away in the countryside as a homeless family. This proves his family was highly dysfunctional, and yet years later, Gabriel as an adult chose not to be like this father and now wants to live a normal life. 

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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