Feria: La Luz Mas Oscura (The Darkest Light)
is a Spanish series about two sisters uncovering their parents' unpleasant association with a murderous cult. Maybe there are some hot guys.
Prologue: A Spanish village on a mountainside with a castle on top, 1975. The camera descends into a mine, with drenched water and rocks, to a half-naked old guy chained up. (Not very attractive). Suddenly there's an explosion, and he's incinerated.
Scene 1: Same picturesque village, 1995, twenty years later. People walking up and down the steep streets, chatting, doing laundry, sitting in cafes. We move to the town square, with three little kids eating candy and gazing lustfully at a bikini lady on a poster. The same lady, Eva, appears, in short-shorts, with a bare midriff Everybody grins and gawks as she sashays and jiggles her way to a boy-girl couple. The girl steps aside as she says "You owe me 20 pesos!" and kisses the boy (Carlos Scholz, top photo, who stars in the Spanish series Toyboy, which I'm investigating next).
Bikini Eva addresses the left-out girl: "10:00 at the reservoir, Mar?"
Scene 2: A room full of mounted dead bugs and other scary mementos. A teenage girl named Sofia feeds her pet lizard. Mom knocks: it's time to go to the reservoir. Sofia doesn't want to: Midsummer Festivals are always the same, people getting drunk and making out. But Mom talks her into it.
Downstairs: Sofia is Bikini Eva's sister! Dad reminds them to not stay out too late, and Mom hugs them. After they leave, Mom and Dad look guilty. Wait, Sofia criticizes Eva: "You're so basic!" That's a 2020s expression, unknown in 1995. Maybe it's the subtitle translator's fault.
Mom and Dad receive visitors: an old guy and a long-haired guy in a wheelchair. They stare ominously.
Left: another view of Carlos Scholz and some of his friends. Sigh. Maybe I'll switch over to Toyboy right now.
Meanwhile, the reservoir. A brief glimpse of a muscle guy jumping over a bonfire. Bikini Eva is going to college in Seville, and invites Raul, the kissing guy from earlier, to share her bed there. Mar, the third wheel from earlier, glares at them and gets drunk.
Sister Sofia wanders off to where the Nerd Chisco (Jorge Motos) is making a video: "St. John's Eve, the shortest night of the year. The youth of Feria are oblivious to the danger that stalks them. The Fair of Blood is about to begin!" Foreshadowing? He sets off a bottle rocket, startling the bully Rubio, who chases them into the woods. Darn, he forgot to press "record," so the footage is lost!
Jorge Motos, looking decidedly femme. But he's apparently cisgender and hetero.
Scene 4: Bikini Eva finds Mar, the third wheel from earlier, and asks why she's been so weird laterly. They play with each other's hair, then grab and smooch. Wow, Eva really gets around!.
Uh-oh, Raul sees them. Unaware that they are an item -- obviously it's not a three-way relationship -- he stalks off. Presumably he's upset over Eva cheating, not homophobic. I was in Spain in 1995, and it was perfectly gay-positive.
Meanwhile, Sister Sofia wants to go swimming -- she wades into the water in a boob-showing bra and panties. Nerd Chisco strips (a brief chest shot, no below-the-waist nudity) and joins her. They dive down to investigate a bike at the bottom of the reservoir. Ugh, close-ups of Sofia's boobs and butt, nothing of Chisco! Suddenly Sofia is grabbed by an unseen force; blood flows around her.
Scene 5: Sofia awakens in her bed. It was all a dream! She puts on a jiggly outfit, goes downstairs, and asks Bikini Eva what happened last night: "You passed out underwater. Poor Chisco almost had a heart attack." Why are you being judgmental? She didn't do it on purpose! By the way, it's 3:15 pm: where the heck are our parents? Maybe they went to Cadiz, and didn't tell us because we were asleep.
Later that day, Sophia is watching the movie Society, about a boy who discovers that all of the parents in town are space aliens intent on eating their kids. Foreshadowing, anyone? Suddenly 84 Civil Guard soldiers burst in, guns drawn, and force the screaming girls into a corner. "Where are your parents?" they shout.
Marcos, an officer they know, comes in. What a relief. "Call them off!" the girls yell. "Just answer the question!" Uh-oh, he's not an ally.
At the police headquarters, they meet Lieutenant Guillen, UCO (Issak Ferriz), who has just moved to town -- his office doesn't even have chairs yet.
He explains: at 6:30 am, he was called from Cadiz to investigate "something strange" outside the old mine. He arrived to find the police, the military, Hazmat suits, and 23 middle-aged people scattered around a pond, naked, dead. (Several penis shots! It's ok to gawk, they're not really corpses.)
"We haven't identified the bodies yet, but don't worry, your parents aren't among them."
So why are you looking for them? There's a surveillance camera at the old mine's entrance, to keep trespassers out. Last night at 1:09 am, it taped the 23 dead people plus your Mom entering the mine, fully clothed. Your Dad stayed back, watching. Two hours later, they left, naked, gasping for air (and with more penises swishing around!). Not Mom, though.
"So," he concludes. "Did your parents belong to a club...organization...cult?"
"Yeah, we go to Mass!" Bikini Eva snarls.
Scene 7: A lady cop from Madrid and local cop Marcos investigate a nearby building: pockets of methane! "That must be what killed them." So they got a lethal dose of methane in the mine, and stumbled out to the pond to die? Except methane isn't poisonous; in a high concentration, you suffocate from lack of oxygen, so if they were able to stumble out of the mine into fresh air, they shouldn't have died.
Uh-oh, a clattering noise behind a locked door. They burst in to find -- Eva and Sofia's Dad.Pablo (Ernesto Villegas. If this is the same one, he got his start in porn.).
Sorry, I mispoke: it's a teenager. But I'm not taking the porn pic down.
Scene 8: The girls have no relatives in town, so Child Services places them in a juvenile shelter. They get their own room; there's a giant teddy bear in the corner; but there are bars on the windows!
Meanwhile, the teenage survivor has no id and won't speak. Madrid Cop ask Officer Guillen to interview him. Plot dump: the two are brother and sister. This may become important later.
His name is Halid (Lazar Dragojevich). He came to Feria four days ago with his brother, who said he had found a job in town. They went to the mine to meet his employers -- the girls' mom and dad! -- but Halid "wasn't supposed to be there," so they locked him up. He heard some praying and chanting, and then nothing. So they went into the mine to pray to some eldrich gods, and accidentally suffocated? Or was it a death cult?
Scene 10: Loading up the body bags. Madrid Cop flashlights her way into the mine, down a dark passage, past rats. She hears a screech, so high that it hurts her ears, and falls unconscious. A green monster approaches.
She awakens back at the base camp: "Are you alright? Why did you go into the mine by yourself?
Scene 11: Nerd Chisco overhears Local Cop telling his Dad something about the mine. He looks upset. Probably that his mother was among the dead.
Scene 12: A line of ambulances heading down the mountain, while the townspeople look on. Meanwhile, Officer Guillen visits Madrid Cop, who is sick. They discuss the case: he had to let the survivor Halid go, and they're still looking for the parents. When he leaves, Madrid Cop starts squeaking.
Switch to headquarters: Nobody in town has any idea who the 23 victims are. The only one to be identified is Olga Velazques, Chisco's Mom, a heroin addict who disappeared three years ago.
Scene 13: Chisco and his Dad arrive at their video store to get the condolences of their friends and employees. "Blame Pedro and Elena!" they yell. "They caused everything." At that moment, Officer Guillen drives past with the girls in his car. Chisco glares at Sofia.
They continue to the house. Officer Guillen asks the girls to pack some stuff before they are sent to a new juvenle center in Sevilla. "Wait -- we want to stay here!" "With the townsfolk blaming your parents for the 23 deaths? It isn't safe." But he agrees to let them stay for a few days.
More clues: the officers found letters to Mom hidden in an upstairs closet, from members of a group called the Cult of Light: "we are moving on the path toward perfection. We've fulfilled the five veils of light, and you, Elena, are the key."
Obviously Mom convinced her followers to commit suicide by going into the methane-filled mine.
Scene 14: Madrid Cop squeaking and panting and screaming. Then the screaming stops. She smiles. Officer Guillen muses over the letters. Nerd Chisco arrives at the juvenile center, looking for vengeance. And the girls discuss what happened to Sofia on the night she almost drowned. The end.
Beefcake: Some stray penises, some shirtless guys.
Hetero Male Gaze: The sisters get LOTS of boob and butt shots.
Gay Characters: Bikini Eva is canonically bisexual, and her girlfriend Mar is gay or bi. Maybe some others will come to light.
Gay Subtext: Except for cops saying "You should see this," I don't think any male characters spoke to each other. Almost all interactions are boy-girl.
My Grade: B, if you fast-forward past the boobs. Othewise C.
Update: The second episode begins with a long, pervy shot of a woman's naked body. I figured that it be brief, but it lingered on her lady parts and boobs. By the time I reached the fast-forward button, it was over. But if this series is going to be 10% plot, 90% hetero porn, I'm out.