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Series / The Refugees

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Refugiados (The Refugees) is a Spanish-British drama series with an interesting Time Travel background: what would happen if people came from the future, trying to run away from a catastrophe?

Starring Natalia Tena, Will Keen, David Leon and Dafne Keen, the main story is centered in the Cruz family, formed by Samuel (Will Keen), Emma (Natalia Tena) and Ani (Dafne Keen), when the world is struck with one of its worst crisis ever: 3 billion people appear all of a sudden, having run away from the future because of some unknown catastrophe, and now have to live in the land of their parents and grandparents, while, in the meantime, being forced to follow two rules, lest they be arrested by the Secret Police:

  1. They cannot tell anyone why they escaped from the future.
  2. They cannot contact their past families (the best they get is fifteen minutes before the Secret Police finds them).

Among the time travelers (the "refugees" that name the series) is Álex (David Leon), who has illegally come to the past with a special mission: Future Ani will send Álex's family back in time too if he saves Samuel and Emma from being murdered, something that took/will take place a few days after the refugees arrive.

However, saving Samuel and Emma is but the beginning of problems, troubles and strange situations as the world is forced to accomodate to a much greater population and the shock of the changes brought by the refugees' arrival.


This work contains examples of:

  • Can't Take Anything with You: The refugees arrive to the past naked, Terminator-style. As related by Natalia Tena, when they filmed the scene of the naked refugees arriving to the town, most of the local people were quite shocked.
  • Con Man: One tries to pass himself as Samuel and Emma's future son, Tomás, in order to get some money and supplies.
  • Death of a Child: Álex's background is that he killed a man that had killed his (Álex) son. Emma miscarries after Óscar pushes her against a piece of furniture. Ani dies when Sam accidentally shoots her when he was trying to kill Álex.
  • Disappeared Dad/Missing Mom: What prompted Future Ani to send Álex back in time was the possibility of saving her parents, who died when she was very young. Sara, Álex's daughter, loses her mum when a hunter kills her by accident, having thought it was a deer.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: Álex steals several weapons from Óscar's shop. Óscar becomes almost crazy in his hatred of Álex (who he tries to kill several times) and all the refugees.
  • Distinguishing Mark: All the refugees have a chip on their chest that shines a red light and which is used to make sure the refugees don't break the rules. Álex, having come back in time illegally, does not carry it.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The series draws big parallels with many real life issues, such as immigration, racism and other related points.
  • Driven to Suicide: Sam, after accidentally killing Ani. Also, the hunter who killed Álex's wife.
  • Fan Disservice: The intro sequence shows people of all ages and sexes completely naked (the only kid is only shown from the eyes up).
  • Fantastic Racism: Due to the strained resources and problems, many of the present people start to hate the refugees. In the town, they are represented by Óscar.
  • Foreshadowing: When Óscar and Luis force Hugo to renounce his position as police chief, he tells Óscar that he knows his actions will blow up in his face soon. The finale features an enormous riot caused by his attempt to kick all the refugees out of the town, and Óscar himself dies because he is so concentrated on his hatred for Álex that he does not pay attention to his surroundings.
  • Irony: Álex was sent by Future Ani so he would save her parents. The chain of events resulting from this leads to Ani's and her father's deaths.
  • Ironic Echo: When Sofía lets the refugees into her parents' house, she uses the same words her mother used when she got rid of Sofía's refugee boyfriend and his parents.
  • Jerkass:
    • Óscar, the gun shop owner. He does have a reasonable quibble with Álex after he stole from his shop, but it soon becomes full hatred of all refugees, and he does his best to drive the townspeople against them. He is also responsible for Emma losing the baby she was pregnant with, which he never apologizes for.
    • Samuel evolves into this.
    • Félix, who keeps several refugees as slaves in all but name and hates that his daughter Sofía is involved with one of them.
  • Plot Hole: A few happen during the series, mostly due to the rules of how the time travel works, and how events in the changed past affect the future.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Hugo, the police chief.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The intro sequence shows many species of animals that fight among themselves, pretty much like the human race.
  • Secret Police: One seems to have come from the future to ensure that the refugees do not break the rules.
  • The Plague: The reason why the refugees came from the future is a mortal mutation of the common cold virus.
  • Time Travel: The source of the extra 3 billion people that have come to live to Earth.
  • Title Drop: Every chapter, of course.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: At no point is there mention of where "the town" is, not even what it's called.