Home » 30 COINS S2Ep5: “The Arcane Symbol” | Review

30 COINS S2Ep5: “The Arcane Symbol” | Review

by Jef Dinsmore
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Yeah, I know we got a bit behind, but the What’s On post needed to be addressed. 30 COINS’ fifth installment came with a lot but I intentionally want to treat it lightly as I don’t want to spoil everything. The biggest takeaway from “The Arcane Symbol” is that we are finally shown just how this battle of Good vs Evil is being played out.  


Think of it as playing Magic: The Gathering. One player plays a spell or character, and the other side tries to one-up it with a stronger spell or character. Barbrow has accumulated his demonic powers and plays them against his opponents, Elena & Paco, in this case. Those two, in turn, though less knowledgeable on how to play the game, counter Barbrow with their best move. Back and forth they will go until one side wins.  

We learn that Barbrow has the ability to control the minds of people. All the townsfolk who have turned on Elena & Paco in the past two episodes did so under the influence of Barbrow. The evildoer has fashioned clay molds of people and placed them on a gameboard like the gods of Greek mythology. He, due to the powers he has amassed, has manipulated them to do his bidding, which is to prevent Elena & Paco from understanding & using the powers of the sacred book they obtained. All this is being done with Merche, with a full smirk on, looking over his shoulder. So, you ask just how are Elena & Paco countering his moves?   


Well, so far, they have been dodging and scrambling each and every possessed foe through the streets out of sheer desperation, determination, and pluck. They can only keep that up for so long. We see how Barbrow has harnessed his powers via his collection of the Coins; our two scrappy heroes don’t have a single Coin in their possession let alone multiple ones. They, and we, do not know how to assemble any level of divine power at this point. All they have is a musty old book and cryptic advice from Padre Vergara.  

How do they counter Barbrow’s move? That is where the knowledge of Antonio and the wit of Haruka come into play. They meet up with our heroic couple with reinforcements. Through the ramblings and visions of Antonio, he has been able to learn that a random symbol they all have been seeing is an ‘arcane symbol’ (thus, our episode title) that will give them the power to at least temporarily hold back the manipulated citizenry. To put the symbol to its maximum effect, Haruka has her YouTube followers show up in mass wearing t-shirts with the symbol emblazoned across them. This wall of symbols blocks Barbrow’s move and the team is able then to get away. Fight numbers with numbers and block the spell to put the enemy in check. A great move, and a fun scene to watch. In anger, Barbrow smashes a clay figure and we see, ever so briefly, how that translates for the poor soul on the street – flattened as if by a steamroller. 


The other two members of the good team, Salcedo and Lagunas did not get as much airtime this one around, but we do see Lagunas being boldly persistent in snooping deeper into the lab, which is all run by people under Barbrow’s payroll. There is far more going on there than just deep immersion VR torture and Coin retrieval. At the conclusion of the episode, the team is left with one more action to play out. They learn that the word ‘Lombardi’ that Vergara shouted to Elena as she fled Hell, is the name of a clergyman that they must seek out. He must know what relevance the ancient book has to their cause. They go to seek him out, but unbeknownst to them an evil doppelgänger has replaced Lombardi. The game continues.  

Two more episodes of 30 COINS left. Will we be seeing a strong conclusion to this battle for ultimate power, or will there be a grim cliffhanger moment to leave us guessing? 30 COINS Monday nights at 10:00 pm on HBO and streaming on Max.  

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