The Great Heist season 1, episode 1 recap – “The Big One”

August 14, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
3.5

Summary

The Great Heist gets underway in “The Big One”, as a hapless grifter reunites with an old associate and some cutthroat criminals for one last score.

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3.5

Summary

The Great Heist gets underway in “The Big One”, as a hapless grifter reunites with an old associate and some cutthroat criminals for one last score.

This recap of The Great Heist season 1, episode 1, “The Big One”, contains spoilers.

Check out our spoiler-free season review.

Check out all our episode recaps.


It’s only fitting that The Great Heist episode 1 opens with a heist — though admittedly it’s far from a great one. In Bogotá, Colombia, in 1992, four men in white coveralls turn over a museum with all the sweeping camera work and dramatic dun-dun-dun music you’d expect. But the job’s a disaster. On their way out, the men are accosted by a security guard and a shootout ensues. One of their number is shot dead. The other, Molina, is badly hurt but tells his associate, Chayo, our protagonist, to leave.

Two years later, we catch up with Chayo, now working in a jewelry store and having exhausted a line of credit for some sparkly items presented to him by an associate. The place is quickly turned over by robbers, but the precious diamonds stay locked safely in the briefcase of Chayo’s armed associate. The robbery’s a failure, and we learn quickly that Chayo was in on it — the perpetrator was his son, Sardino. He’s just one component of Chayo’s current, quite difficult home life, which includes Luisa, a teenager with expensive taste who wants her 15th birthday party to be a swanky shindig. With his store about to be repossessed and his home to surely follow, Sardino’s stick-up was Chayo’s last chance to start settling his debts.

In desperation, Chayo meets with “Boris”, a fixer who offers him a shady job robbing eight billion pesos from the Bank of the Republic in Valledupar. He thinks there’s something off about the job; some dodgy guy wants to take a hefty advance and be in charge of it, but he can offer Chayo a cut and a contact, to do with what he will.

His first move is to see Molina, aka “The Lawyer”, who is on dialysis after the botched job in the opener and still blames Chayo’s lack of urgency for its outcome. They haven’t spoken in two years, and Molina is bitter, resentful, and closed-off to the idea of another job, however wonderful it might seem on paper. Chayo, though, isn’t about to take no for an answer, so he tells Mrs. K, a local wrong-‘un who operates out of a junkyard and to whom he owes a great deal of money, that Molina is in. He also asks her to put up the cash for the bank job, and tries to sell her some jewelry to fund Luisa’s party — in response, her associate pins him down while she shoves a knife up his nose. Luisa, who is in the car outside, sees right through Chayo’s story of a nosebleed, but she wants her party, so agrees to repeat after him: “Roberto had a nosebleed.”

Chayo’s next move in “The Big One” is to finesse Molina’s medical records by impersonating a doctor, and in so doing he learns that the Lawyer is dying. He can’t afford the candidacy tests for an organ transplant and so has been rejecting them, content, presumably, to die with his pride intact. Chayo confronts him about this at home in front of his wife, Romy, and uses it as a sales pitch for the bank. Does anybody not know about the job at this point? Either way, Molina still isn’t convinced, but later Romy talks with him and is pretty insistent about him not dying alone.

Thus, the next day, Molina meets with Chayo and Mrs. K at the latter’s junkyard, where he presents her a list of charter flights hired by the Bank of the Republic — the last of the year will be carrying twelve billion pesos, which is a conservative estimate, so Mrs. K puts up the money, which Chayo passes on to an associate.

The Great Heist season 1, episode 1 closes in a hotel room, where Chayo, Sardino, Molina and Mrs. K meet with Ulises, who is one of those classic heist characters who explain how impossible a job is while cutaways show security teams and cameras and vaults — classic genre business. But all of this was information that everybody already knew, and he took 120 million pesos for it, with the promise of a contact at the bank who can provide more details. Mrs. K doesn’t think this is great value, and she’s already annoyed about Ulises’s sexist remark earlier, but Chayo talks her down. Molina, due to the absence of real intelligence, walks away.

It’s time, then, for a last-minute bombshell, as Mrs. K explains to Chayo that while she’s got money, she tends not to have 120 million in cash laying around. So she had to borrow that from “The People”, meaning that she and Chayo are now in a worse position than they were before. The heist has to go ahead regardless.


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