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YMMV / Águila Roja

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Is Gonzalo a good-natured man with a desire to pursue justice and help people in need who makes human mistakes, or a man who is so mentally scarred that he cannot live anymore without being Águila Roja and butchering people for his ideal of justice? The ordeal is pointed out by Sátur in some instances, but it is never really brought up the least until Season 9, and they dismiss it pretty fast.
    • Malasangre firstly tries to cover up the story with his concubine Jimena in order to avoid being sentenced to death, but later decides he doesn't want to live anymore and accepts his death warrant - yet at the end changes his mind when he sees Jimena's distraught face in the crowd, and makes an elaborate act to get pardoned. His only explanation to the king is that her face reminded him of how many women he could enjoy by keep living, but this is clearly meant to be a lie and doesn't explain his continious switching of intentions through the episode. Was it altogether an incredibly complex Batman Gambit? Did he decide that he didn't want to leave Jimena to her remorse for his death? Or did everything happen that way because he is, well, crazy?
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    • Malasangre's Suicide by Cop at the series finale is not much clearer. Did Sátur's words affect Malasangre enough to switch to Death Seeker mode, or was it a conscious, personal decision? Was he thinking that life would be boring for him again, or did he feel remorse for his role on the fate of Gonzalo, a man he had stated to consider somewhat of a friend?
    • Is Hernán's megalomania in Season 9 actual insanity caused by the grief from being rejected by Lucrecia for Gonzalo?
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: One of the biggest examples ever, period. Critics were skeptical at best and mocking at worst even before Águila Roja's release, citing its silly premise and shoddy production, and prophesied a dire first season cancellation. However, while they were technically right about those and more problems of the series, the latter was not cancelled. It worked so well with the audience that not only did it get a second season, but its success skyrocketed shortly after and ir became RTVE's TV juggernaut, gaining eight more seasons (and a movie) and the distinction of being considered one of the peak TV productions in Spain ever.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • The Cossack from the movie is portrayed as a powerful antagonist, and while he is certainly tough, he receives the classic Águila Roja treatment almost at the beginnign of the film (it doesn't help that the trailers built him as much more important to the film than he actually was). In comparison, his twin brother puts a much better fight later in the series.
    • Many viewers found Cardinal Mendoza's death scene somewhat jarring for how unceremonious and easy it was for an antagonist who had disposed of Agustín (possibly by himself, nothing less) and kept an iron hand over the kingdom's politics for most of the series.
  • Arc Fatigue: One of the show's main issues, consistently pointed out but never corrected, was the way in which the producers seemed to forget everything about the seasons previous to the one that was airing at the time, thus dragging out the remaining open plots until the audience forgot about or got tired of them. Some of the most important arcs, like the relationship between Hernán and Irene or the love stories between Gonzalo and Margarita and Irene and Nuño, weren't resolved or even given progress at all for many seasons.
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  • Audience-Alienating Premise: A ninja in the Spain of the Austrias. Enough.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • How many fans see the way Hernán gets his job back, as it happens due to a bizarre and unrealistic coincidence even for this show, where bizarre coincidences are the norm. It is especially jarring considering that the King had specifically stated not to care about him (it is naturally implied that he changed his mind, but the fact that it happens off-screen makes it look like it came out of nowhere).
    • Hernán and Lucrecia hook up at the series's grand finale, finally contenting all the fans of the pairing who were unsatisfied on how the final season attempted to sink it for good. However, it brings its own problems (see Broken Base below).
  • Badass Decay: Hernán stopped being portrayed as a competent soldier around the midpoint of the series, and it only went downhill from there.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Trinidad. Some consider him an interesting fresh character, other see him as a horridly failed attempt of a fresh character.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • An episode from Season 7 opens with Sátur accidentally discovering popcorn by putting corn into a fire. This oddity has no discernible relevance to the episode's plot and is never mentioned again.
    • In the same season, an old hag sneaks into the Santillana palace and curses Lucrecia, who later suffers an accident and almost dies. Leaving aside the apparent effectivity of the curse, this comes literally out of nowhere and has no explanation or relevancy other than the couple of moments she gets with Hernán. Who is the hag or why exactly she wanted to curse Lucrecia is not revealed.
    • The hooded rider who attacks Águila and Sátur in the ruins looked like he was meant to be an important character and possibly an antagonist, but with the Emperor's son story-arc being thrown aside (assuming that the rider was related to it, which is not even clear!), he was completely forgotten by the plot. The audience never got to discover his identity, alignment or goals.
    • In Season 9, the royal guards who chase Trinidad are inexplicably able to deflect Gonzalo's shuriken with their bullets, a trick which enters the field reserved to canonically nigh-superhuman characters like Águila himself. How or why two common guards were skilled enough to pull such a stunt goes to no explanation.
    • In the final season, after Águila's true identity is given away by Anais, a bunch of seemingly ordinary people are seen surrounding his house in daylight. One of them opens a jar full of guns and distribute them, revealing that they are all Cardinal's agents who are likely just about to assault Gonzalo's house. However, this never happens: Gonzalo is arrested much later by regular guards, and the agents are never brought again.
  • Broken Base:
    • Irene evolving from The Ingenue to yet another Manipulative Bitch throughout the series. Some think it is interesting and justified considering the people she has to live with, while others think it makes no sense and is just an attempt to get another Femme Fatale on board.
    • The Christ's successor(s?) arc and the insertion of supernatural elements were divisive among fans, with some seeing them as unoriginal, out-of-context and inconclusive, while others considered them vaguely interesting at the least. The slightly confusing development and spectacularly abrupt ending of the arc, on the other hand, were panned by everybody.
    • The Fake Águila Roja arc. It was praised by fans and critics alike and widely considered to be the best storyline the show had featured in many seasons. However, some believe they should have let it continue for more time than the meager, rushed-feeling two episodes it received, while others think one of the best points of the arc was precisely its breakneck pace.
    • Was Sátur's supposed rape of a girl a very aptly and powerfully played arc, or was it absolutely idiotical and offensive to the audience to try to play such a plot on a beloved hero like Sátur? Or, in case it was good, would it have been better not to resolve it so fast?
    • Was the 100 episode a funny, entertaining Bizarro Episode, or a total disaster and yet another insult to the audience?
    • The Season 8 finale managed to divide quite definitively the fandom with regard to the terrible resolution of Gonzalo and Margarita's wedding and her departure, and Lucrecia's decision to save Gonzalo's life over Hernán's, causing Abandon Shipping reactions for both couples among many fans, and even Fan Disillusionment for some.
    • As of Season 9, while some liked the focus put on the fan favorite Malasangre, many people were fast in pointing out how just plain incoherent was the apparent intention to turn him, the most vicious non-episodic villain in the entire series, into a character in the heroic side of all things. It only went in hand with the even more controversial decision of sinking definitely the uber-popular Hernán/Lucrecia ship and turning Hernán into a ravaging madman.
    • Águila Roja's Grand Finale in 2016 was as divisive as the series itself. Detractors point out that the episode felt both rushed and erratic, as well as that its events contradicted the recent development of basically all the characters (not to mention the unceremonious way some of them were killed), while defenders maintain that it was the only way to close all the hanging plots and that, for good or bad, everything happened in the series's signature plot style after all.
  • The Chris Carter Effect: One of the reasons of the declining audience ratings in late seasons.
  • Creepy Awesome: Malasangre. There is something about him which brings memories of The Joker from The Dark Knight.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A common consequence of the emphasis on drama and Darker and Edgier is that viewers tend to watch the series more out of curiosity about how the producers are going to torment the characters the next time than out of sympathy towards the characters themselves.
  • Ending Aversion: A increasing trend among viewers through the series's run, given how many arcs had no ending or received a vapid one.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Sátur is at least as popular as Gonzalo himself, if not more. Reasons for it range from the Spanish audiences's love for comedic characters like him (as he is basically the only character who provides any kind of comedy to the show) to the fact that the guy who plays the character, Javier Gutiérrez, ended up blossoming out as the best actor in the show.
    • On the critics's part, Santiago Merino was very well received for an episodic character. It's no wonder, as he had great lines and significance, was played by a cult Spanish actor, and his featured arc is considered the peak of the late seasons and one of the highest points in the entire series.
    • Malasangre was unanimously seen as one of the best points of Seasons 7 onwards, with people citing his chilling poise, refreshing plot influence and terrific performance by Eusebio Poncela.
  • Epileptic Trees: Both before and after the revelation of sorts about the Fake Águila Roja, fans brought out their own theories about it.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Gonzalo/Margarita, though the couple lost fans over the years due to the increasingly unpopular opinion towards Margarita's character and their relationship becoming very dragged out.
    • Hernán and Lucrecia, fan-nicknamed the "dark side" of the show, were also amazingly popular, and actually surpassed the Gonzalo/Margarita fandom for a long time.
  • Genius Bonus: Sátur once talks about a friend of his who mistook his wife for a hat. This is a reference to the Oliver Sacks neurology book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.
  • Growing the Beard: There is not consensus about which season marks the beard growing for the series, but the third and fourth are serious contenders. However, for some the show starts declining in quality in those same seasons.
  • He Really Can Act: The show was the launching platform for Javier Gutiérrez (Sátur), who got to show his acting talent in Águila Roja more than in all of his previous works combined. His casting on the film La Isla Mínima, which gained him the Goya Award for the Best Male Performance, is widely believed to have been granted thanks to his work in this series.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • With the show having been accused so many times to be a ripoff of Assassin's Creed, one of its main actors, Javier Gutiérrez, ended up acting in the videogame's film adaptation.
    • Ironically, at the beginning of the series, all the main cast members but Gutiérrez were getting awards and prizes for Best Actor right and left, which made his own posterior breakout even more surprising.
  • Ho Yay: Some is featured between Gonzalo and Sátur, but considering that it's a Spanish series, it is not unusual. There is canon Les Yay between Soledad and Lucrecia.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Hernán and Lucrecia.
    • Cipri becomes a version of this in later seasons, after being turned into The Chew Toy in such a sad way.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: There are so many examples of characters who end up in imminent death situations, only to be always miraculously saved, that the whole concept ceased being believable rather fast. The earlier seasons, however, actually averted this quite a bit.
  • Magnificent Bastard: There are really many in Águila Roja, but Malasangre outwits everybody in the series after his debut, including Gonzalo, Hernán, the Cardinal and the King, who are the biggest examples themselves of this trope in the show.
  • Narm:
    • In Agustín's introduction episode, the leap he does across the entire cloister to evade Águila (which is used to show to the audience that the monk has ninja training as well) is so obviously wire-performed that it looks more like a stunt from a Corey Yuen film than a serious attempt to keep up with the series's already inconsistent physics.
    • Adolfo Fernández's own acting as Agustín can get unintentionally hilarious due to his facial and verbal hamminess. He seriously looks like he is on something in his worst moments.
    • The death of the kid who thought that Sátur's training wings were enough to fly could have originally been meant to be a true sign of Adult Fear, but the fact that he jumped to his death off a balustrade that is no more than ten feet over the ground makes it look terribly silly and improbable.
    • Malasangre's repeated knockouts of people by karate-chopping them in the back with his clasped hands are really fake-looking. Even worse, the strike was apparently established as an actual signature move and not just a random piece of bad choreography.
    • In Season 7, Águila frees off-screen two men who were going to be unjustly executed. Only the outcome of the battle is shown, with Gonzalo and Sátur talking about how he managed to save two innocents. The moment could have been deep and serious had it not been for at least twenty corpses of guards lying on the ground around them. Eh Gonzalo, What Measure Is a Mook?
    • From the same season, the Cardinal Mendoza's execution of his mercenary lieutenant for failing at killing Malasangre and his team could have been a characteristic misdeed of a villain like him. However, it happens that a) he kills the mook by drowning him in a bathtub, b) specifically the very bathtub in which Mendoza himself is taking a bath at the moment, c) he kills him by pulling down his head roughly against Mendoza's lap, making it look unintentionally lubricious, and d) he does it one-handed and very easily despite the mook being younger and surely much stronger than him. Audience is pardoned for breaking laughing hysterically at that scene.
    • In Season 7, the discovering of a supposedly cursed sword. It came so from nowhere (and is discovered, in true Águila Roja fashion, by random chance!) and it was so obviously inane for the plot that every time someone wielded it many a viewer probably broke laughing.
  • Narm Charm: Let's admit it, the acting is wildly inconsistent, the plot is predictable at certain points to the verge of reaching a Cliché Storm, there is a total lack of research (or respect) in the historical aspect, and the attempts at a Multiple Demographic Appeal may at times seem to fail and make it look like the series doesn't fit in any of the genres that compose it... But even with all that, there were many, many people who genuinely enjoyed this series for all that. The fact that it got multiple seasons, most of which with high rating numbers, as well as a movie, demonstrate this.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Pepe Carabias playing Sátur's father.
    • José Luis Barroso, of La Hora de José Mota fame, playing the peasant who chants for Águila Roja when the imposter is gonna be beheaded and gets killed by the guards shortly after.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor:
    • Due to how terribly handled the relationship is by the writers, Gonzalo and Margarita could be seen as this.
    • The love triangle Margarita/Gonzalo/Lucrecia/Hernán could arguably be considered this too.
  • Rooting for the Empire: A lot of fans sided very fastly with Lucrecia and Hernán, the villainous couple of the show, over Gonzalo and Margarita, the heroic one, who was seen as bland and badly developed.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Sagrario and Jacobo were disliked for being a pair of unsympathetic Fat Bastard intruders, although they improved their reception a bit after some slow character development.
    • Cipri later took this mantle, due to the fans seeing his antagonism towards Sátur as unjustified and petty, and the fact that even his late character development seemed explicitly oriented towards changing him from The Woobie to a Jerkass Woobie. Only with his death he was fully Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • Seasonal Rot: Águila Roja started as a quite narmy but genuinely elaborated product, and viewers were willing to forgive its most improbable elements in order to see where the series went to. The next seasons increased the fantasy points through derivative plots-of-the-week, but it was forgiven again for also adding character depth and a new overarching plot. In late seasons, however, Águila Roja started to show clear signs of bad writing when they made a routine out of opening interesting plots and forgetting them after a few episodes, even if some of them were well received and liked anyways, and opinion started to go sour. Then, after RTVE failed notoriously at handling the series's schedule and the writing problems only became worse and worse, a big part of the charm faded away and almost all the audience entered So Bad, It's Good mode until the end of the series.
  • Signature Scene: Águla doing a forward backflip off a roof.
  • Squick: The implications of Manrique being a pedophile. And, of course, Hernán and Irene's marriage.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Inevitable with the assorted characters who show up and are put on a bus in every episode given the main Monster of the Week nature of the show. Sung-Yi, Eva de Almeida, Sátur's Evil Twin, the midget jester and the Fake Águila are some examples.
    • Many people would have wanted to see more of Sátur's father instead of the Bus Crash that followed his sole appearance. The writers made up a bit for it by exploring Sátur's thoughts of him after he died, but this plot had little effect compared to how interesting a full arc about the two would have been.
    • Matilde was also missed by a big part of the crowd after she was Put In A Bus for the second and final time. Even if she had little personality outside her Puppy Love with Alonso (and her teased Love Triangle with Nuño), her background as the daughter of a pursued witch was still promising, and she was also the last plot element that managed to give gave Alonso color, depth and a reason to be sympathetic to someone. The fact that her ultimate fate remains unknown (she was not even mentioned during the dramatic return of Inés, who had shared Bus with her, and we could only speculate about what happened to the poor girl) also adds to it.
    • Emilio de Montalvo is a special example, because despite having a puzzling background and some interesting interactions with other characters, it was painfully clear from the beginning that the writers didn't have a bloody clue what to do with him. His death felt both contrived and inevitable given his lack of plot relevance.
    • The deaths of both the Cardinal Mendoza and Malasangre at the finale stand out for how perceivably senseless they are for such a pair of Magnificent Bastards, especially considering that the former's death is pretty glossed over while the latter's was a random character decision that went unexplained. Some fans would have prefered their teased Mutual Kill in Season 9 as their actual demise.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Possibly the biggest sin of the series. Many viewers were understandably critic with the fact that some of the most anticipated arcs, like the successor of Christ or Hernán's quest to get his job back, were resolved very abruptly and/or in a vague and unsatisfactory way in order to leave space for the next story-arc.
    • The relationship between Alonso and Nuño. They went from having an interesting, changing and multi-layered rivalry, based on their opposite upbringings and background, to just stop interacting at all, to the point Nuño apparently left Gonzalo's school altogether.
    • Speaking of Alonso and Nuño, their tenure in the fencing academy went unexplored further despite being a potential source of action and growth for the two youngsters.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Even the series's staunchest defenders usually had this view as part of its charm, especially in later seasons, where the writing quality started to plummet and the show became more of a narrative freakshow than anything. Some of the storylines of the last season were pure Bile Fascination fuel.
  • Strangled by the Red String:
    • Gonzalo and Lucrecia's sudden hookup and (one-sided) Romantic Arc in Season 6 and onwards.
    • Hernán' and Lucrecia's incoherent Last Minute Hookup in the series's finale.
  • Too Cool to Live: Agustín and Santiago (though in the latter it was admittedly his point).
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Mainly Javier Gutiérrez and most of the guest stars.
  • True Art Is Angsty
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: In late seasons the writers took delight in making Hernán and Lucrecia pay for their misdeeds at the hands of the commoners, and this includes her getting publicly humiliated and him being beaten up by an angry mob in at least two separate occasions each. However, it's actually hard for the viewer not to side with them after having been repeatedly shown throughout the series what a bunch of horrible people the entire population of the city seems to be in the first place. Eventually the show itself seemed to realize it as well.

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