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Series / El barco

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"It's very probable that, right now, we are the last inhabitants of the planet..."
Julia Wilson

El barco is a Spanish sci-fi mystery TV series, that started on 17 January 2011. It tells the story of the Estrella polar, a school ship that goes into the Atlantic Ocean for what's expected to be a voyage of two months. At the helm of the ship stands Captain Ricardo Montero (Juanjo Artero), who comes into the ship with his daughters, 20-year-old Ainhoa (Blanca Suárez) and 6-year-old Valeria (Patricia Arbues), whose mother has recently died. Julia Wilson (Irene Montalá) is the ship's scientist, Julián de La Cuadra (Luis Callejo) is the captain's right hand, Salomé (Neus Sanz) is the cook, with "Burbuja" (Iván Massagué) helping her, and some of the pupils are Piti, Estela, Ramiro, Vilma and priest Andrés (Bernabé Fernández), among others. A special guest comes in the form of stowaway Ulises (Mario Casas), who is looking for his father, Julián.


At first, it seems that, after some scuffles between the pupils, everything will be going OK. However, the people at the ship, save for Julia, don't know that the LHC is being turned on. Things go very awry, very soon, when the LHC starts working and accidentally recreates the Big Bang, apparently killing everyone in Geneva and expanding all over the world. A gigantic storm washes over the Estrella polar, soon acquiring the look of a hurricane, but the ship survives miraculously thanks to being in a series of coordinates where they are protected from the storm thanks to a submarine fault line. Soon, it becomes apparent that the disappearance of the other ships from the radar isn't a coincidence: it soon becomes apparent that the ship might be the only sign of human life resting in the world.


This series features examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: In the first episodes of season 3, neither Vilma, nor Julia, nor Valeria nor Ulises appear at all.
  • Actor Allusion: Ulises mentions that his favourite film is Fuga de cerebros, a Spanish film in which his actor is a main character. When Estela replies that it did not have a sequel, it is a clear reference to the fact that the film actually had a sequel in real life, Fuga de cerebros 2, but Ulises's actor wasn't involved in it.
  • After the End: The whole series is based on this. An accident created a new Big Bang, making all land disappear, and the ship is one of the few places that was somehow protected from the effects of this.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 3. An accident in the LHC in Ginebra which created a new Big Bang, is the cause of the disappearance of all land. The place where the ship was one of the few places that was somehow protected from the effects of this. Later on it's revealed that some land has survived, so it might be a bit smaller in number.
  • Big Damn Villains: The people in the submarine inject something radioactive into Julián to heal his cancer.
  • Brainy Brunette: Julia Wilson is the ship's scientist and a brunette.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Julia is very drunk, having a shower, in the middle of a cyclone, getting ready to do an appendicitis on Ricardo, an operation she has never done... and Piti, who is reading to her how to do the operation, is also trying to apologize for giving her a kiss while they were drinking vodka.
  • Class Clown: This is Piti's mask, which he wears because his life before coming into the ship was really bad.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: After suffering an accident, Palomares' heart stops. They use a lightning to restart it. Although his heart has been stopped by ten minutes, and he is hit by a lightning, he has no visible injuries or brain problems from the lack of oxygen.
  • Christmas Episode: They have one, in which Valeria makes a wish list for the Three Wise Men, Gamboa has a A Christmas Carol-like series of hallucinations, Palomares decides to return to being a priest and Julian discovers that, while he was kidnapped, he has been injected with something radioactive to deal with his cancer.
  • Cliffhanger: The series ends in one.
  • Dark Secret: Julia has one: She's on the ship as an emergency measure to help the ship survive should the experiment at the LHC go bad. Gamboa, the Survival teacher, also has a big one (the first trailers show a corpse in his car's trunk). Turns out that the corpse is the real Survival teacher, who Gamboa killed to take the position.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: It turns out that Gamboa killed the man who was actually going to be the Survival teacher at the ship and impersonated him - turns out that's the body he hid in his car before the ship departed.
  • Eye Scream: Gamboa suffers a gun detonation near his eyes, and nearly loses his sight.
  • Eyepatch of Power: After nearly losing his eyes in the above mentioned incident, Gamboa starts to wear an eyepatch.
  • Freudian Excuse: Before becoming the ruthless person he was, Gamboa had a wife and two children, who were killed by someone who ran them over and did not stop. He was also taught by his father that, to become a survivor, he had to be ruthless.
  • Genius Ditz: Burbuja is an Manchild with an IQ of 212.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The LHC was built to study the Big Bang. They got it working, only to have it go out of control.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When the ship gets stuck on a rock, and the only way to save it is to flood one of the rooms, the room where Ricardo, Julián and Piti are stuck in, Ricardo decides that the only thing they can do is to sacrifice their lives to save the others. Fortunately, Ulises manages to Take a Third Option.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ricardo and Julián. They have been working together for eighteen years, after all. Mixed with a bit of Ho Yay, when Julián tells Ricardo that, if he were a woman, he would be in love with Ricardo.
  • Hot Scientist: The ship's scientist Julia Wilson is really hot.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Julián brings his son's mother's ashes to the bridge, Ricardo tells him that the bridge is not place for someone's ashes. When, during the storm, Ricardo brings his wife's ashes to the bridge, Julián remarks that the rules must be different for the captain.
  • Idiot Ball: Characters take turns in holding it.
    • Ricardo when he tries to keep important things from the pupils and crewmembers. Also when he decides to trust Gamboa despite the latter's attempts to undermine his authority and even kill him. And when he decides to keep the ship's motors working despite knowing that they could need it since now fuel is a bit scarce.
    • Julia when she holds the fuel hostage despite the fact that it is fundamental if they want to survive.
    • Ainhoa when she starts a relationship with the man that almost killed her father, and then when, after Gamboa threatens to kill Ulises and her family, she leaves Ulises instead of telling her father.
    • Ramiro when he decides to support Gamboa despite perfectly knowing what he has been doing.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: After Palomares' heart stops, the crew straps him to a contraption to catch a lightning and restart it. It works.
  • Love Dodecahedron:
    • Quite the huge dodecahedron. Ricardo likes Julia, who is interested in Ulises, who likes Ainhoa, who is having a relationship with Gamboa but also likes Ulises. Amongst the pupils, Ramiro is between his on-earth-and-now-dead girlfriend Pilar and Estela, Piti is between Estela and Vilma, and it also looks like Andrés likes Vilma some way.
    • This is getting settled down by now. More or less. Ricardo still likes Julia, who still likes Ulises, Ulises and Ainhoa like each other but Ainhoa leaves Ulises because Gamboa is threatening to kill Ulises and her family if she continues to be with him, both Piti and Andrés like Vilma, and it seems Vilma is starting to return Piti's feelings. Estela see-saws between several of the people at the ship (so far, she has liked Ramiro, Piti and Ricardo), and Ramiro is too concentrated in helping Gamboa to actually be with someone.
    • Things are going better. Ricardo and Julia are finally together, after some snags related to Julia's job with Project Alexandria. Ulises and Ainhoa get together again and, after trying to keep it secret, decide to escape on a ship they encounter on the way. Julián and Salomé are going to have a kid, but after she learns Julián had cancer, which was healed, she decides that she cannot be with someone that lied to her like that. After Vilma and Palomares kiss, and Piti hears, Vilma and Piti talk and they decide to stop being together. Palomares goes back to being a priest, because he cannot deal with the fact that he helped break his friend's heart.
  • Manchild: Justified. "Burbuja" suffered an accident that left him with the personality of an eight-year-old boy.
  • May–December Romance: Ainhoa and Gamboa had one. Despite the fact that he threatened to kill her father. Several times.
  • Meaningful Name: Or nickname;: "Burbuja" is nicknamed like that because he has a bubble on his brain ("burbuja" means "bubble" in Spanish).
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Mario Casas on a ship? Where he likely will have to pull his shirt off? Girls are gonna throw themselves at him.
    • And Juanjo Artero, despite his age, is still quite handsome.
    • The guys at the showers.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • The girls in any scene where they are having a shower.
    • Also whenever the girls put on some bikinis and go to the deck to sunbathe.
  • Multidisciplinary Scientist: Julia has degrees in Medicine and Biology.
  • The Mutiny: When Vilma seems to be in danger of dying and Ricardo seems reluctant to go back to the nearest port (because there isn't one that they know of), the pupils stage this. Gamboa joins them and threatens to kill Ricardo. The situation is defused when Ulises proves them that indeed, most of the Earth's solid ground has disappeared.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: A variant of this: Ulises manages to get Gamboa to stop pointing at Ricardo with a gun when he reveals he pulled out all the bullets before from.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Burbuja is far more intelligent than what it looks like. He is an Manchild who was a Harvard graduate and worked at the CERN before his accident. And pretty much designed the LHC experiment that made the world disappear, as well as develop the scientific part behind Project Alexandria.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • What must have been going through Julia's mind when she lost communication with her boyfriend.
    • The moment when the radar stops detecting the SOS signals.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Julia. Physician, physicist... anything physis-related.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Burbuja's true name (Roberto) isn't revealed until chapter 1x09.
    • Piti's name is not known until chapter 2x13: He is called Pedro.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Piti suffers froms this Up to Eleven. It is quite clear he really likes (or loves) Vilma, but his hot blood and slight lack of common sense make him say or do things that he really shouldn't have. He is quite fortunate that Vilma is willing to forgive him for those.
  • Product Placement: Taken to such a blatant extreme that it defies the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The isolated crew and passengers somehow enjoy a steady supply of fresh products way After the End. Especially Coca-Cola.
  • Reality Warper: We don't get to see it, but it is revealed that the God Particle can give this kind of power. Because obviously Higgs' Boson was nicknamed like that for its god-like power.
  • Running Gag:
    • If Ricardo is entering his room without looking down, he will always hit his shin with an open drawer.
    • Piti referencing the fact that he got a piece of chewed chewing gum on his forehead in the first episode. This saves his life in the last episode: When the bad guys try to get him killed by his friends by putting a gasmask on him. In a flash of inspiration, he pulls out a piece of chewed chewing gum and sticks it on his forehead. Julián recognizes him in the nick of time (with a flashback to the first episode, no less).
    • Burbuja asking what a particle accelerator is.
    • Piti making stupid comments.
  • Shipper on Deck: Loads of them. And they are on deck, too. Ainhoa ships her father with Julia, Valeria ships both that and Ainhoa with Ulises, Andrés ships Piti and Vilma...
  • Stalker with a Crush: Gamboa is interested in Ainhoa. This eventually wanders into May–December Romance... but when you take into account that he has a big book full of photographs of Ainhoa walking on the streets, meeting with her friends and much more, and he also seems to have written down every damn thing the girl has done in the last several months, it goes from the weird to the really creepy. It is eventually revealed that he is not interested at all in Ainhoa, he just had all the info on Ainhoa to find a way to control her.
  • The Talk: Ricardo and Salomé attempt to give Burbuja "the talk" after he wonders about Salomé's baby. Hilarity Ensues when it turns out that Burbuja knows more about how women get pregnant than the other two.
  • Title Drop: Every chapter's name is referenced by the characters. For example, chapter 1's title, "A un millón de millas" ("One Million Miles Away"), is where Ricardo tells his younger daughter Valeria her mom is.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The shorter list would probably be the list of those who aren't this. Among those that are: The Captain that tries to hide the fact that all land is missing from the sailors and pupils and only reveals it when they are about to mutiny, admits amongst his advisors the guy that threatened to kill him and tried to overthrow him and has the ship use up all their fuel very soon instead of saving it for emergencies (especially idiotic since the ship has sails); the girl that starts a relationship with the man that threatened to kill her father, and when the same man says that if she doesn't stop seeing the guy she likes, he will kill the guy and her family, instead of, you know, telling her father, the Captain, what's going on, she does what the man who threatens her orders her; the scientist who takes her sweet time to tell the truth to the others in a critical moment and withholds home-made fuel when they are minutes away from having a submarine volcano erupt from below them; the guy that is in love with the pregnant girl constantly screws up his chances to stay with her... and many, many more.


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