The Mess You Leave Behind episode 5 recap – “The Secret Place” Raquel's day off

December 11, 2020
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
2

Summary

The pace begins to flag a little in “The Secret Place” as we get some typical midpoint thriller, but the mystery still has some legs for a while yet.

Previous EpisodeView all
2

Summary

The pace begins to flag a little in “The Secret Place” as we get some typical midpoint thriller, but the mystery still has some legs for a while yet.

This recap of The Mess You Leave Behind episode 5, “The Secret Place” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Check out our spoiler-free season review.


It takes more than a crash to keep Raquel down, it seems, especially when she has a mobile phone to investigate. After returning to work out of sheer stubbornness, she’s sent home, which thankfully gives her the opportunity to go and visit her friend Tere and a computer whizz who can unlock Viruca’s phone. Its contents don’t exactly spell things out, but they do contain topless photos of Iago, which even in this weird little town it’s probably frowned upon for a teacher to have. Imagine people knew what was really afoot, which the flashbacks in “The Secret Place” spell out for us. Oh, wait — they did know! And seemingly didn’t care at all.

But anyway, yes, as we all guessed a while back, Viruca was sleeping with Iago. Here, he turns up at her house – after, by the way, e*********g on the face of her giant portrait, which I forgot to mention – and they have a little argument that eventually gives way to raw but ill-advised passion. They sleep together, and Iago is so painfully smug in the morning that a part of me was hoping he’d bump his head on the way to the shower and forget the whole experience.

No such luck, though. In the present, Raquel and Mauro – who had given her a lift to meet Tere – visit the spot where Viruca was murdered, though it’s quite a ways beyond the distance someone hopped up on pills would have been able to drive. After this brief excursion, Raquel returns to work, much to the surprise of the students, and opens up about how the connection to literature was one of the last things she thought of when she believed she was going to die. At this point, Iago stupidly reveals that Nerea used to supply pills to Viruca, which is one of those dopey moments that exists purely to keep the plot moving.

In another flashback partly prompted by Raquel going through Viruca’s phone, we’re treated to Iago and Viruca walking through the woods while she tries to find a way to kindly pump the brakes on their relationship. Iago, though, takes this terribly, and sprints to a nearby bridge, threatening to jump into the rushing water below if she doesn’t agree to leave Tomas and be with him. That’ll do it!

In a throwaway scene, “The Secret Place” also shows Raquel and Viruca’s mothers both being hospitalized at the same time – a connection too far, in a metaphorical sense? Like, haven’t we gotten the point about small-town interconnectedness already?

Whatever. Predictably, Viruca finds her way back to Tomas for an evening, and even more predictably, Iago spots her leaving. I’m sure he’s stable enough to take that well! The secret place of the title might well be the GPS coordinates Raquel is led to by Viruca’s phone, which lead to the last place she was before she died – a lake that she must have visited fairly regularly, given the familiarity the people there have with her and the bag of notes she keeps there.

When Raquel returns home, she discovers that the house party she told German to organize is being attended by all her students, including Iago, who rather openly attempts to threaten and intimidate her. To make matters worse, when Raquel dials the last number Viruca called, it’s German’s phone that starts ringing.


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