is a Spanish TV series that tells the story of the "family" Castillo Rey, a group of people that are actually unrelated to each other but must pose as that because they have one secret: the children have special powers, and there is a group of people that is going after them.
Everything starts on a calm neighbourhood in an unnamed city. Jimena (Angie Cepeda), a married woman, is with her daughter Blanca, preparing her for bed. The girl tells her mother that she had a nightmare: two men took her in the middle of the night, and the latter could only run after the van they had taken her in. Jimena calms her worries, tells her to sleep and goes to her own bed, with her husband... and that same night, a van comes, and two men take Blanca in the middle of the night, while Jimena can't do anything but run after the van
Nine months later, Mario (Antonio Garrido), a widower, works in a police station and takes care of his only son, Carlos (Daniel Avilés), a socially awkward boy who wears glasses and likes books. However, this is not the only problem he has: when Mario starts to talk with him, after having gotten into a fight with some kids at his school, Carlos unexpectedly reveals that he has Telekinesis
, which he demonstrates by throwing a pair of scissors into the wall.
In the last nine months, Jimena has divorced, and now spends her free time looking for her missing daughter. However, it's only recently that she has started to tell the people about the dream her daughter had. When Mario hears this, he decides that maybe he could talk with Jimena in order to ascertain what to do, but Jimena, although initially spooked by his awkward manners, finally tells him that she can't do anything.
The next day, Jimena also meets Silvestre (Patxi López), a man who apparently knows what happened to Blanca. Silvestre brings her to meet his adopted daughter, Lucía (Priscila Delgado), a girl that can apparently read minds
, as well as a teenager he knows that lives on the street, nicknamed "Culebra" (Luis Fernández), meaning "Snake", who can become invisible
and uses his power to steal money and support himself. Apparently, there is a group of people
that are kidnapping children and teenagers that have special powers
, and want to use them for unknown but clearly nefarious purposes. "Culebra" is the only one Silvestre knows that has managed to escape. Silvestre still remembers a boy he had taken in until a pair of "policemen" arrived and took him away, and is now working to find the children and free them, while at the same time preventing the knowledge of the special children
from spreading into the main populace.
Meanwhile, Sandra (Ana Fernández), a teenager, gets into a fight with her younger sister and accidentally electrocutes her
, knocking her out. Scared, she runs away to avoid having to face her family, and that night, while attempting to sleep in a metro station, she meets "Culebra", who, after discovering her power, takes her to see Silvestre. At the same moment, Jimena decides to call Mario, and both of them with Carlos go visit Silvestre at the same moment.
However, a pair of men from the group that looks for the special children has arrived to Silvestre's house, looking for Lucía. It is only through Lucía's power that Silvestre manages to get his daughter to leave the house. Mario, Jimena, "Culebra", Sandra and Carlos find Lucía in the park, and then they find Silvestre dead. The six are then forced to run away from the men that killed Silvestre, and find they can't go to Mario's house because the bad guys know where it is. Using a series of clues Silvestre had in a journal and that Jimena took, the six go to Valle Perdido, a suburb. There, they rent a house, posing as the "Castillo Rey" family, while they attempt to why was Valle Perdido so important, as well as hiding from those that wish to kidnap the children.
Provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Culebra's father hit him, and pulled him out of school when Culebra accidentally started to demonstrate his powers of invisibility, to force him to steal.
- Arguably, Lucas' parents could be also abusive. The first time he shape-shifted into someone else - his mother - they took Lucas to an hospital and left him there.
- Rosa in a way. She is constantly pushing her children so that they get perfect marks and are the center of attention at all situations. At one point, she forces her son to play Snow White at a school play.
- Alternate Ending: it plays out like the normal ending, but, after Sandra accidentally destroys the plant, Julia tells Mario that the children will, inevitably, turn evil as they become used to their powers. Culebra's eyes then turn entirely black for a few seconds...
- An Aesop: most chapters end with an aesop about how the difficulties the Castillo Rey are facing can be overcome if all of them work together.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Culebra manages to do this three times: one, when they are in a room that is about to come down on Sandra and Leo; the second, as he lays dying after being hit by a car, and the third after they are captured by the Elephant organization and try to escape from where they have been tied.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: averted. Culebra and Sandra love their younger "siblings" Carlitos and Lucía.
- Ax-Crazy: The Body Snatcher kid seems to be this.
- Big Bad: The Elephant Organization, led by Padre and Madre, who wish to have all the special children under their control for some unknown purpose.
- During the first season, people thought that Andrés and Nuria (two of the teachers at the school the kids go) had something to do with the Big Bad and that they had Jimena's daughter due to their suspicious behaviour. It's a Red Herring: in fact, they suspected the Castillo Rey were the Big Bad because they had come with Lucía, whom they knew was Silvestre's daughter. That was why they were investigating the kids, because they thought they would have to free them. And the girl they have in their house is Elena, Andrés' daughter, who accidentally killed her mother.
- Big Brother Instinct: Culebra, especially towards Lucía and Carlos. Turns out he already felt this way towards Lucía when she still was a baby, but he did not remember until he found a video where he appears and in which Lucia recognises some things too.
- Big Damn Kiss: Sandra and Culebra in the series' finale.
- Blessed with Suck: Hoo, boy.
- Sandra is practically unable to touch anyone without electrocuting them. She can only do it when she is totally calm. She always wears gloves to prevent harming someone.
- This does not stop her from keeping most of her leg exposed (to be fair, the school uniform includes a short skirt) as well as most of her arm, though she constantly does wear gloves. She also can't swim, shower after gym or do anything involving water and people in close proximity (though in the latter episodes she starts to be able to control it).
- In the end, Sandra manages to control her power completely, and is able to touch people without electrocuting them.
- Lucía can't stop hearing what others think, unless she wears a pair of headphones.
- While Lucía does occasionally wear headphones to drown out thoughts, it is usually an adult that puts them on her to stop her from reading their thoughts. Like Carlos, she has surprisingly good control over her powers, but because of their age, both children often use their powers inappropriately and in front of other people.
- Elena can pass her heart illness to someone if she is touching a person and is nervous.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: averted, especially with Claudia, who seems quite vain, but is an intelligent girl constantly pressured by her mother to excel.
- Brick Joke: in the first season, Borja tries to fly like Superman after reading a comic, and breaks an arm. At the end of the series, when Rosa's family finally knows about the kids with powers, Borja jumps from his house's second floor and naturally falls, probably breaking a leg.
- Broken Aesop: the series' main Aesop is that, even if you are different, it does not mean anything, that the important thing is what you choose to do with what you have. The Alternate Ending totally breaks that, because apparently the children with powers turn evil as they get used to the powers, whether they want it or not.
- Cain and Abel: Ángel is planning to ruin his brother's new life and then kill him, because when they were little kids Culebra ran away and left him behind. He starts with Sandra.
- Can Not Spit It Out: Mario never manages to convey his feelings for Jimena. Nor Culebra his for Sandra.
- In 3x06, Culebra manages to confess his feelings to Sandra twice: when they were about to die trapped by a falling ceiling, and when he dies after being driven over by a car.
- Cassandra Truth: poor, poor Borja. He is constantly seeing things related to the superpowered kids - the main characters' house disappearing, Elena floating in the air, the super-fast girl running in front of him, seeing Lucas shapeshifted into him - and his mother never believes him. He is vindicated by the end of the series.
- Catch Phrase: Rosa's "¿Sí o no?" which means "yes or no?" to the point that Mario frequently uses it when talking about Rosa.
- Celebrity Paradox: In chapter 2x05, Claudia has a photograph of Maxi Iglesias, who plays Ángel.
- First season also had a couple of images of Maxi Iglesias during the previous series he worked at, Física o Química
- Chekhov's Gunman: remember Culebra's brother, who happened to witness how their father hit Culebra before he ran away? Ángel is that boy.
- Chekhov's Skill: sometimes, Culebra's ability to steal things gets put to test. For example, he once manages to steal a set of keys from a baddie's pocket while he is distracted.
- In the first season, Mario's work in a police station gives him the knowledge to falsify the Castillo Rey's ID cards by using the police office's facilities.
- Cliff Hanger: the first season ends with Mario suffering a heart attack, Sandra ready to go back to her family house and Carlos and Lucía discovering the truth about Andrés and Nuria.
- The second season ends with Blanca back with her mother, Ángel dying in the arms of Culebra after getting hit with an hyper-fast steel ball, and Blanca "seeing" that the whole Castillo family is apparently dead.
- Contrived Coincidence: it turns out that when they were kids, Culebra, Sandra and Lucía were going to the same cardiologist, which was Leo's mother. And Sandra told Culebra that he would want her to kiss him.
- Creepy Child: the Speedster girl. It's certainly because of the whole Stockholm Syndrome thing, but, damn...
- Curse Cut Short / Last-Second Word Swap: when Borja discovers that his father had a girl with other woman, he says "Hijos de la gran..." (Sons of the great...). When his father looks at him, he says "... Bretaña," (Britain) which is a typical substitution in Spain.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Or rather, Dead Little Brother, which is the reason Culebra ran away... only the little brother didn't die then.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Mario is the master of this, due to his Motor Mouth.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Rosa manages to prove her innocence and becomes the mayor of Valleperdido, Sandra can control her powers and is in a relationship with Culebra, the children can use their powers more openly, Mario opens a school in Villa Dorita for children with powers and he is happily married to Julia.
- First Girl Wins / Last Girl Wins: both of them are shown. Sandra is the first girl with powers Culebra meets, and they end up together. Julia and Mario meet in the last season, and they end up together.
- Foreshadowing. See Power Incontinence, Lucas
- Freudian Excuse: why Ángel wants to kill Culebra. He was lied to, though.
- Green-Eyed Monster: in the first season, Jimena doesn't like that Mario is getting near to Nuria.
- In the second season, Sandra thinks Culebra's dislike of Ángel stems only from the fact he is always near her. Turns out he was right, mostly.
- Happily Adopted: averted with Claudia. While it is clear her parents and brother love her, her mother is constantly pushing her to be perfect, and she gets angry when Claudia doesn't manage to reach perfection.
- Heel-Face Turn: At the start of the series, the bad guys plan to have Lucas infiltrate the family disguised as Lucía's father, but he soon decides to join the family.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Ángel had been planning to kill his brother and betray the others. When he realises he's falling for Sandra, he decides to help the family instead. When Sandra tells him she loves Culebra, he continues his former plan.
- And when he learns that Culebra had come back to get him away from their abusive father, not knowing he had sold Ángel to the bad guys, he definitively stands with Sandra and Culebra.
- Leo is initially sort-of-opposed to Culebra in a school rivals' sort of way (well, that and Claudia left Leo for Culebra). After he starts to show signs of having powers, he becomes best friends with Culebra, who shows him about the whole power thing. He is later lied to by the Elephant organization and turns against the Castillo family. In the end, when he realises that he was lied to, he decides to take Michelle and Martín with him and burns them both and himself with fire.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: when Culebra goes with Sandra so that she can see her sister (who is at the hospital) a guy manages to corner Culebra in a small room which he closes from the inside. Fortunately, Ángel helps him get out of the room - and Culebra had the keys to the room.
- Hollywood Nerd: Lucas and Hugo are Type 1, without the glasses.
- Hypocritical Humor: Rosa is the mistress of this. A recent example: she is arguing with her husband and her ghost-costumed son (or so she thinks) is in the same room. She tells her husband that because of his laid-back attitude their son isn't as obedient as he should be. When she turns around and the kid has disappeared, she accuses her husband of scaring the kid with his shouting and she immediately starts to shout even louder than what her husband had done.
- When Mario feels curiosity over a noise in Rosa's house (Antonio's illegitimate daughter banging on the kitchen's door) Rosa pushes him out of the house, claiming that he should not snoop around other people's houses.
- Rosa tells her children not to lie, and then she lies to the police about what happened to Tita. In the end, she decides to tell the truth after the children try to make a witness of Rosa's accidental confession look like a thief.
- Idiot Ball: Culebra seems to be holding it most of the time, especially in regards to Sandra.
- Also, Culebra, Sandra and Carlitos like to hold it. There are several times when they could use their powers, but they choose not to do it for some reason.
- Kick the Dog: at the end of the second season, after Culebra learns that Ángel is actually his younger brother Víctor and they reconcile, it seems that in the end both brothers will live together. Padre orders one of the girls to kill Culebra, but Ángel does a Diving Save and dies on Culebra's arms.
- Kid Hero: lampshaded by Lucas, when he tells Carlitos that neither of them are suited up to the role of hero, because they are the ones laughed at in school. And then it's both of them that save the day.
- Killed Off for Real: Silvestre, Andrés, Ángel, Padre, Leo's parents, Julia's parents, Michelle, Martín, Leo, Madre, the Chinese girl and Estrella.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: one of the Elefante kids can erase people's memories by drawing them and then erasing the drawing's heads. It is not perfect: if the paper is destroyed, the memories return, which may also happen if the person who lost his/her memories meets someone that can help kickstart them.
- Line-of-Sight Name: when the school's headmaster asked them about their name, Carlos happened to be carrying a book called "El rey del castillo" (The King of the Castle), so Jimena came up with Castillo Rey (Castle King).
- Also the name they pick for Culebra, Policarpio, shortened to Poli, which Jimena picks when she sees Antonio wearing a police uniform
- Long-Lost Relative: thanks to a flashback, the audience discovered that Ángel is Culebra's brother.
- Love Triangle: first season had the square Culebra-Sandra-Leo-Claudia.
- Second season has Ángel-Sandra-Culebra.
- Third season, it is Michelle-Culebra-Sandra.
- Mistaken for Gay: Lucas tells his friend Hugo that he was kicked out of his parents' house, and the professor immediately rounds on him to determine why he did that. In order to avoid telling him about his power, he had to say that he was homosexual. Hilarity ensued.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: at a later chapter, Hugo tries to have a date with a girl he has always liked, who is leaving for the US, but it has been everything a prank of the class' bullies. Lucas manages to meet the girl before she leaves, and then meets his friend disguised as the girl. He proceeds to talk with his friend, and he tells him that he likes "her", and later proceeds to kiss him - disguised as her, of course.
- Motor Mouth: Mario's main problem, which tends to put him in problems as he says things he doesn't mean or shouldn't say.
- Mundane Utility: most of the powers are a bit difficult to find an use for, but some have interesting uses:
- Sandra can use her electromagnetic powers to light a bulb (which can be a replacement for torches) or heat things like popcorn or tea.
- Carlitos can use his powers to reach things he can't reach on his own.
- Lucía can use her power to learn what she is getting for present.
- Nervous Tic: Lucas eats his nails when he gets nervous. Helps the audience identify Lucas when he shapeshifts.
- Never Learned to Read: Culebra actually knows how to read and write. His problem comes when he has to read aloud, because his father pulled him out of school when he was very young, and thus he didn't get the usual training kids get at school.
- New Superpowered Kids As The Plot Demands: The villains' modus operandi.
- Nice to the Waiter: subverted, because Rosa is not nice to anyone she may consider to be socially below her. This bites her in the ass when the school's cleaning lady hears Antonio and her talk about the corpse they had to hide, and the lady declares against Rosa when the police suspects she had something to do.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Culebra. No one knows his real name at the start, but when they have to write a name in his ID card, they call him Poli (Policarpio) because they see Antonio (Rosa's husband) while he is dressed like a policeman (which is usually shortened to "poli" in Spanish).
- Seems that his true name is Ángel. Ángel (Maxi Iglesias) used that name as a homage to his brother. His real name is Víctor.
- Padre, called that way even by his Mooks. He uses a false name when he meets anybody else.
- And his female counterpart, Madre.
- Phlebotinum Overload: Leo, who is dying of the illness he contracted after the accident that gave him his powers, takes a dose of the magical plant's sap in order to increase his powers after realizing that the Elefante organization has been lying to him. He apparently dies, but revives and manages to save Julia.
- Poor Communication Kills: hoo, boy. More than half of the conflicts in the series are due to this.
- Special example is third season's conflict. If Julia had told Mario and the kids about who she truly was and about the danger Martin and Michelle posed for the family, most of that season's problems would have been avoided.
- Power Incontinence:
- If Sandra gets upset, all electronic and electric appliances around her will start to go haywire. Reach a high enough level of upsetting and... Stuff Blowing Up becomes the norm.
- Lucía can't help but hearing what people are thinking. Constantly. All the time. She always carries a pair of headphones with her to drown out the "sound" of thoughts, but she seems to be used to it.
- Elena provokes an illness into anyone she touches when she is upset.
- If Lucas starts to sleepwalking, he will start to shape-shift into anyone he has ever touched. This was already known before the third season.
- Culebra loses control over his invisibility if he is REALLY upset.
- When one of the kids gets ill, they suffer Power Incontinence Up to Eleven. Carlos is unable to control his power - resulting in everything around him to float around - while Lucía projects her thoughts into other people's minds.
- Power Perversion Potential: half the powers the kids have can be used for this. Especially Culebra's, Ángel's, Lucas' and Carlitos'.
- Put on a Bus: several characters have left the series.
- Claudia left to look for her biological mother.
- Hugo was sent to a boarding school after his mother caught him snooping around (actually a shape-shifted Lucas).
- Jimena left with her daughter Blanca to avoid Blanca's vision (in which most of them would have died) from becoming real.
- Leo left to find for his parents (who are deceased, but he does not know that).
- The Bus Came Back: Leo was caught by the Elephant organization, who tried to kill him. He was actually caught and told that the people who killed his parents were the group of Los Protegidos, but Julia managed to convince him otherwise.
- Real-Life Relative: Sandra's sister was played by Ana Fernández's sister.
- And Rosa's sister is played by Gracia Olayo's twin sister.
- Redemption Equals Death: after Leo realises that, by helping the Elefante organization, he has helped the people who killed his parents, he locks himself in a room covered with petrol with Michelle and Martín and throws a turned-on lighter to the floor, burning himself and the other two alive.
- Romantic False Lead: Nuria was this through the first season.
- Self-Made Orphan: opposite to what is the norm, Elena became this accidentally when her power activated and her mother touched her.
- Shaggy Dog Story: The main plot of Season One.
- Snowball Lie: as they can't actually tell people what they did before coming, the Castillo Rey family has to make up most of their past. So far, Mario has been a stock broker, a professor, a magician and much more.
- After Tita dies after choking due to a cashew in her house's living room, Rosa attempts to cover it up, fearing her popularity will wane if others think she killed Tita out of spite (as Tita and her were rivals). All attempts to cover it only result in her having to make up lies about Tita and what happened the day the latter died, and, in the end, the police arrests her, but she manages to prove her innocence and eventually becomes the town's mayor.
- Stockholm Syndrome: what most of the kidnapped children are going through. They call their kidnappers "Padre" (Father) and "Madre" (Mother).
- Street Urchin: what Culebra has been most of his life.
- Superpower Lottery: most of the children are involved in this lottery.
- Oracular Urchin: Blanca, Jimena's daughter. She dreamt of how she was going to be kidnapped.
- Invisibility: Culebra. It taxes him physically, as if he had to run. He can turn completely invisible or only partially. With a greater effort, he can turn objects invisible too.
- Shock and Awe: Sandra can generate electricity into her body. Someone touching her can be electrocuted unless she is totally calm. She can also change electrical fields surrounding her.
- She eventually manages to "shoot" electricity in the form of balls or rays at anyone, and in the series' finale she can create a electric shield to protect herself and others.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Lucas can change his body's shape into anybody else's. It only works for the last person he has touched, but it also changes his clothes, so there is no problem. He always wears a special pendant that is the only thing that doesn't change at all.
- Since the beginning of the third season, he can morph into any person he has ever touched.
- Mind Reading: Lucía can hear what people are thinking, and if she concentrates she can drown out nearly everyone, to hear what one person thinks.
- Her power now allows her to project her thoughts into other people's minds. She discovered this after she got ill and her power got out of control.
- Telekinesis: Carlos can move objects with his mind. At first it is very shaky, but with time his control improves, allowing him, for example, to move several objects at the same time.
- Ill Girl / Tyke Bomb: Elena, when upset, if she touches a person that person gets her heart illness, but much worse. Basically, they get a heart attack, and, even if they recover from that one, they will get a second heart attack later. However, she can cure that person if she touches them when she is happy.
- Intangible Man / Made of Iron: Ángel (starting in the second season) can change his body's density (and other people's), allowing him to either go through walls or making his body as hard as steel.
- Back at Padre's house, there is also a girl that can run very fast, and a boy that can read very fast.
- At the end of Season 1, a whole wall with photographs is shown, and a character implies that all of these children have special powers, too.
- Mental Time Travel / Time Stands Still: after an accident with a plant, Leo can do this. It becomes quite handy when Culebra dies and their Masquerade is broken. And also when Michelle and Martín attempt to burn him and Julia alive.
- There is also a kid that can draw people and harm them by erasing their drawings, another that can imitate other people's voices just by looking at their photos, others that can throw things from their hands...
- Takahashi Couple: Culebra and Sandra.
- The Gloves Come Off: if Sandra has to pull off her gloves (which she uses to prevent her from accidentally electrocuting someone), expect something impressive to happen.
- The Mole: at the start of the first season, it looks like the Big Bad will use Lucas as a mole, in order to get him to find the others. He does a Heel-Face Turn (not that he had much of a Heel) quite soon.
- Ángel is being set up in this way.
- Title Drop: after three seasons, the series' title (Los Protegidos) is finally dropped: it is the name of the group that is fighting against the Elephant organization to save the children with powers and probably heal them.
- True Companions: what the Castillo Rey attempt to become in order to survive. And they do it! It is what helps them recover their memory after one of the Elefante kids erases it.
- Tyke Bomb: what the Big Bad seems to be planning for the kids his group captures.
- Verbal Tic: Mario tends to talk too much whenever he gets nervous.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: when Culebra manages to distract one of the bad guys by punching him into a room (attempting to get Sandra to leave unharmed) the bad guy suddenly reveals his power: he can make two copies of himself. Culebra practically says this trope.