‘Gangs of Galicia’ Is A Sub-Par Crime Thriller With A Silly Ending

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: June 22, 2024 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
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Gangs of Galicia Season 1 Review and Ending Explained
Gangs of Galicia | Image via Netflix

You can have too much of a good thing, and Gangs of Galicia proves it. The drug-fuelled international crime thriller is a beloved streaming mainstay, but there’s only so much room in the thumbnails. How the recommendation algorithm manages to sift through it all is anyone’s guess.

Those who get directed to this seven-part Spanish series might wish they’d been offered one of its countless contemporaries instead. Tropey and tedious, it makes the fatal mistake of assuming that what we really want in our gangland fiction is a dull romantic arc, and it builds to an ending that is very difficult to take seriously.

A Romance Masquerading As A Crime Drama

Gangs of Galicia was filmed on location in the Galician town of Cambados, where lawyer Ana moves after the death of her secretive father. The place is a bit dubious, though, despite its picturesque scenery. A crime family runs the place, and its scion, Daniel, may have a connection to Ana’s late father.

What better way to get to the bottom of the matter than to strike up a long-winded romance? Maybe it’s a Spanish thing. Then again, there are enough great Spanish shows on Netflix – hello, Money Heist – that it’s probably just a bad writing thing.

You can tell right from the start, too. The exposition is dense and bland. The characters are cardboard archetypes. And there’s far too much time and space afforded to these boring people and their dull machinations. Seven episodes isn’t as bad as eight, but it’s worse than six, and much worse than the three or so that were needed to get the main points across.

But it’s the genre thing that confuses me. Why sneak a romantic drama into a crime thriller? Nobody wants a sexless 365 Days, and similarly, nobody wants a show about drug trafficking and crime families to grind to a halt all the time for soppy nonsense. This middle-ground approach pleases nobody.

It doesn’t help that Gangs of Galicia isn’t good at being either thing. The plot and character dynamics strain credulity on a logical level, but there isn’t enough charisma on display for you to care anyway. The plot’s odd fixation on a tenuous link between two very different and equally uninteresting people feels too limiting.

The cliches come thick and fast as things progress, lessening the potential impact of the obligatory twists and turns. The most fun you’ll have is trying to justify some of the decisions being made, though I’m not sure “fun” is the right word. But that late-game stuff is worth a conversation, so let’s just spare a moment for a quick analysis of the climax.

The Ending of Gangs of Galicia Is Very Silly

Gangs of Galicia Season 1 Review and Ending Explained

Gangs of Galicia | Image via Netflix

Note: Major plot spoilers will follow from this point on, so do be warned.

The big dramatic question of Gangs of Galicia is who killed Ana’s father, Jose Silva. The answer to this question turns out to be rather complicated but to be clear, it isn’t Daniel.

Throughout the course of Season 1 Ana discovers that her father was secretly the right-hand man of Daniel’s father, Jose Padin. Yes, they’re both named Jose and yes, it makes writing this a bit annoying.

Anyway, Jose Silva was compelled to turn state’s witness after what is implied to be deft manipulation on the part of the police. In making Silva believe that Padin was having an affair with his wife and was secretly the biological father of his daughter, Laura, the police were able to get Silva to testify against Padin. It landed him behind bars.

And this, understandably, upset young Daniel, who became hell-bent on revenge and endeavored to track Silva down to enact it. He was never able to, though, since Padin’s goons killed Silva before he had the chance.

By Gangs of Galicia Episode 7, Daniel knows that Ana is Jose Silva’s daughter, and Ana knows that Daniel intended to kill him, and yet in truly romantic fashion, neither of them is going to let these minor details get in the way of their future.

What might get in the way, though, is the fact that Daniel’s in prison. The series ends with them having a heart-to-heart in a brief visitation slot, in which Daniel’s absolved after his bloodthirsty revenge plot by claiming he probably wouldn’t have killed Silva if he had the chance. He’s a nice guy deep down, you see.

This is why Ana seems determined to stick with Daniel – that and the fact she’s pregnant by him, which is always a good motivator. Gangs of Galicia ends with Daniel still in prison, and the future unclear for both of them, though it’s hard to imagine anyone caring about what happens next.

Gangs of Galicia Fails To Deliver On Any Level

Isn’t that awful? The whole thing’s a mess of flat characters and illogical motivations, happenstance, and cliché. Where is the excitement? Where’s the personality? Gangs of Galicia has none of the essential ingredients that define a really good crime thriller.

It’s a shame, really, since there’s always a market for these things, and Netflix is best positioned to serve that market. But this is overlong and confusing slop with an ending so perfunctory that it barely seems worth the effort to get there.

Not to worry, though. There will be another one of these out next week.


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