‘See You In Another Life’ Review: A Mediocre Show About A Despicable Crime That Changed Spanish Society

There are many shows and movies out there that extensively describe the events leading up to a ghastly terrorist attack. The Looming Tower, United 93, and Hotel Mumbai are TV shows and movies based on the attacks that killed many. Black Friday, an Indian film directed by Anurag Kashyap, takes the viewer through an investigation into the several bomb blasts that happened in Mumbai in the year 1993. See You in Another Life is a six-episode miniseries that is based on an interview with one of the accomplices involved in the March 11, 2004 bombings of the trains in Madrid. This Spanish-language show was released on Disney+ Hotstar and is based on the interview book by Manuel Jabois.


The show covers Gabriel Montoya Vidal, aka “Baby,” and his narration talk about his experience working with Emilio Trashorras leading up to the bombings in Madrid that took place on March 11, 2004. See You in Another Life also covers the actual interview that happened between Gabriel and El Mundo journalist Manuel Jabois, who asked questions about how he got involved with Emilio and the terrorists. The show covers the story of Emilio’s involvement in the bombing and what made him decide to meet the terrorists and offer them the supplies required to carry out the ghastly crime.

The title See You in Another Life is based on one of the statements made by one of the terrorists days before they carried out the suicide bombings. It also casts light on the sentencing received by the culprits after a very public trial. Since this is based on a true story and the actual interview as well, there can’t really be a twist in this show. Spanish viewers are especially aware of the aftermath of this terrorist attack, and one Google search would help people around the world understand how the planning was carried out. One Spanish citizen helped a bunch of terrorists, knowingly or unknowingly, in his greed for money, but had to pay a huge price for it. 


To begin with, the narrative of the show could have put some work into the emotions it was trying to capture. An event of this magnitude has scarred a nation for generations, yet that emotion does not translate well on the screen. One is supposed to feel disgusted after learning how people helped a bunch of terrorists from the start until the end, but the screenplay does not generate enough sentiment. The structure of the screenplay is also erratic, as evidenced by the number of times it goes back and forth between three different timelines. One timeline shows Gabriel and Emilio’s mentor-mentee relationship. Another timeline has Gabriel put through the trial after the crime. The third timeline has an older Gabriel speaking to the journalist about his feelings toward what happened and whether it mentally affected him. 

There is no seamless transition between these timelines, which sadly hampers the viewing experience. The show is only six episodes long, as mentioned above, but the story has been stretched long after it has been established that Emilio was a bad influence on Gabriel, but the makers took their own sweet time to work around it. The show lacks pacing, which further hampered the curiosity to know what happened leading up to the incidents of March 11, 2004. Emilio’s character, too, has not been carved out well for the audience to understand his mentality. There are only a few times his mental health has been mentioned, but beyond that, it is hard to understand his intentions behind helping the terrorists. The writing is as erratic as Emilio’s character, and it tends to get too loud when translated on the screen. The show could have handled the story with some sensitivity, keeping in mind the subject matter. Thankfully, the creators, Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo and Alberto Sánchez-Cabezudo, and the writers do not glorify any of the parties involved. They also do not try to justify the act of terror that killed many. It only tries to offer the perspective and mindset of the people who were accomplices in the crime that shook Spain as a nation to the core. 


As a viewer who is intrigued by the drama surrounding the events that took place in the past and seeks to understand the chain of events that had so many painful repercussions, See You in Another Life is very dialogue-heavy with nothing to offer when it comes to the actual occurrence that took place 20 years ago. The character Antonio Toro, Emilio’s brother-in-law, is barely introduced in the show and is completely forgotten by the writers. His involvement, as understood from the show, is crucial, yet he is kept out for the most part of it. 

Adult Gabriel’s arc is far more empathetic, and there is depth seen in the way the writer layers his character with many complexities around his pain, guilt, and his need to lead a normal life after his jail sentence. His arc has many poignant dialogues as well that would stay with the viewers. Gabriel’s father is introduced as an abusive criminal, but halfway into the show, there is hardly any mention of him. There should have been some comparison between the lives Gabriel and his father led in two different eras, but sadly, the writers forgot to explore this side of the story, which would have been interesting. The makers really tried to make the direction seem seamless, but the screenplay is such that it went haywire quite early in the show. The direction of Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo and Borja Soler does not add anything significant to the narrative, which is sad. The subject matter had to have scope to become extraordinary if the direction had the strength to power through an unnecessarily intricate screenplay. The camerawork by Gorka Gómez Andreu does do the job of transporting the viewers into that decade. Besides that, the cinematography is not extraordinary.


The production design of the show is excellent. See You in Another Life is a period drama; the set, costumes, makeup, vehicles of that decade, and the kind of technology experienced in that decade are all done with excellent detailing. Lately, there have been many period drama shows and movies, and the emphasis on the production design is very high. They must decorate the sets with era-appropriate items to take the viewers into that decade. Diego Modino’s production design stands out, and so do Giovanna Ribes’s costumes. These tiny elements help the viewer remain glued to the show because there is a sense of nostalgia attached to it. 

The show has many characters, but there are only a few that stand out and make the show watchable till the end. Quim Àvila as the adult Gabriel Vidal, is excellent as the man who is marred by endless guilt and has been partially responsible for the deaths of 192 innocent people who were unfortunate enough to be on the train. His guilt could be felt just through his eyes, as could his worry about how society in general would accept him. He wants to lead a normal life, but his history with crime stops him from pursuing one. Pol López is excellent as the schizophrenic Emilio Trashorras, whose erratic life caused problems for many around him, especially Gabriel, Ramon, and Hermana Toro. See You in Another Life could have easily become a blockbuster show if the emotions were captured the right way. The show is nothing beyond average fare.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
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.

Latest articles