If you want to experience cheap thrills in luxurious swimwear, the Netflix series ‘Toy Boy’ could prove to be an apt international fix. The Spanish language television series presents a skin-heavy tale of murder mystery set in the pristine coastal town of Marbella. While the show proves to be appealing to look at (for everyone except heterosexual males), it makes the case for squandering money on “populist” web content.
Here, the word populist refers to how ‘Toy Boy’ seemingly attracts millions of viewers by checking all the boxes of popular modern streaming content. Firstly, ‘Toy Boy’ is heavily sexualized as if it were hellbent on eroticizing Spanish surfer boys. There is superficial diversity (yay, progress) and inclusivity (both racial and gender/sexual). It attempts to be feminist-ish. And lastly, it boasts of high production value.
‘Toy Boy’ revolves around a male stripper, Hugo who is imprisoned after being found next to the burnt body of his client’s husband. After spending seven years locked up, Hugo is released from prison as a big law firm takes up his case as a pro-bono act.
Toy Boy Episode 13 Recap:
The thirteenth episode of ‘Toy Boy’ is titled ‘Ángeles caídos’ or ‘Fallen Angels.’ Inspector Zapata tells Macarena that he has Andrea’s confession video in his possession and demands 2 million Euros for it. Hugo discreetly clicks pictures of the two of them conversing.
Germán’s contact (the woman who gave him information about the Irishmen) tells Germán that she thinks he (Germán) used her to rob the Irishmen. She warns him of tough consequences and advises him to return whatever he stole to the Irishmen. When Germán relays the warning to the rest of the boys, they do not seem to take the threat seriously.
Hugo and Triana visit Benigna and inform her of Zapata possessing Andrea’s confession video. Benigna invites Zapata and asks him to name a price for the video. On the other hand, Andrea dreams of Jairo and wakes up. He leaves his house.
Zapata hands the video to Benigna without any monetary reward. Later, the video is televised. In the video, Andrea says that Hugo was the one that raped him and killed Alvaro. It was Mateo who televised the video after receiving it from Zapata since he wanted Hugo to be caught. Macarena tells Mateo that she wants Hugo to be killed.
Hugo notices marks of the intravenous tube on Andrea’s hand in the video, confirming the fact that it was not the original confession. Hugo gets a text message saying that he will find a clue in Andrea’s house. He goes to Andrea’s house. Andrea has been tied and made to stand on a chair. Then, Mateo arrives with a shotgun in his hand.
It is revealed that Mateo had raped Andrea and subsequently killed Alvaro with a trophy. Andrea manages to kick Mateo’s gun away. Hugo fights Mateo. Hugo takes Andrea to the basement and escapes through a window. Mateo shoots and the bullet hits Hugo in the leg. Mateo is about to shoot again but gets hit by Triana.
Triana puts Andrea in her car. Mateo catches up with Hugo but gets shot by Zapata. Later, Zapata records Andrea’s testimony. Andrea reveals how his father owed a large sum of money to the Rojas. To avoid a scandal due to Alvaro’s death, Andrea’s father had faked his own death and passed off Alvaro’s body as his. Then, Triana confronts Zapata about not asking Andrea more details regarding who had been involved in the cover-up.
Six weeks later, Triana hangs out with Hugo and his friends at Inferno. Suddenly, there is an explosion. Triana dies…
Toy Boy Finale Review:
As mentioned earlier, ‘Toy Boy’ seems to check all the boxes of a popular and successful web series. Moreover, it also features a breakneck plot with several shocks, twists and turns. On paper, I would commission ‘Toy Boy’ if I were a Netflix executive. However, it is the show’s obsession with pleasing the audience as opposed to telling a compelling story that proves to be its downfall.
To begin with, the entire series feels staged and theatrical. The writing is quite sub-par as if it were written as a prose piece rather than a screenplay. Most of the twists and turns feel extremely unconvincing for this reason. In this episode, for instance, the final reveal does not pack as much of a punch. I wonder whether something is being lost in translation. As a story, it does seem to be an effective conclusion and revelation. However, when executed, it falls flat like the show’s characters.
Speaking of the characters, all of them either prove to be one-dimensional or unrealistically complex. Despite the raw sexuality oozing out of most of its frequently-naked characters, viewers would find themselves not being able to root for a single one, let alone the protagonist. This is the biggest weakness of the show as it ceases one from being invested in it. The acting performances do not turn out to be mesmerizing either. They are average at best.
For example, all the scenes where Andrea is depicted to be having an anxiety attack (or some kind of mental trouble) feel extremely fake. In the final episode, for example, the scene wherein Andrea limps out of his house comes off as thoroughly imitative. Such scenes highlight all the problems with ‘Toy Boy’ at once: hasty writing, poor characterization and lazy execution.
The season finale does prove to be a briskly paced episode. For viewers that manage to reach this point (presumably having enjoyed something or the other about the show) might find it to be an apt conclusion. It does tie the overall narrative together and also provides a decent cliffhanger to attract viewers for a second season.
In a nutshell, ‘Toy Boy’ could easily pass off a web series created by Artificial Intelligence: featuring everything that defines quality television mechanically. Just like the numerous sex-and-striptease scenes in the show, ‘Toy Boy’ is all physique no heart.
To be fair though, it can be counted as a progressively feminist-ish show as it objectifies men more than women (women are objectified too, don’t worry). Plus, there is LGBTQ+ representation as well since almost all the characters turn out to be intrinsically pansexual, engaging in orgies and unrealistic sex scenarios without a second thought. If you want to watch erotica (but not porn) with a murder mystery premise, ‘Toy Boy’ could be your fetish.
Read More: Toy Boy Ending Explained