Moctezuma and Hernán Cortés, seated. Moctezuma and Hernán Cortés, seated. Watching is La Malinche.

First episode promises compelling viewing, according to one review of Hernán

Amazon Prime Video's series about Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés goes live Thursday

Bloody battle scenes, an exploration of love and a cliffhanger ending await viewers of the first episode of Hernán, a new television series that will premiere on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service on Thursday.

The release of the eight-part series based on the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire comes just after the 500th anniversary of the first meeting between conquistador Hernán Cortés and Aztec emperor Moctezuma II.

A review of the first episode by television news website vertele! said there was enough evidence to conclude that Hernán will be compelling viewing.

The start of the episode makes it clear that battle scenes depicting gruesome violence and featuring lots of blood will be a key part of the narrative arc of the Cortés story, vertele! said.

However, the episode also explores love, strategy and human relationships as it morphs into viewing that is more period drama than action film.

Cortés’ close relationship with La Malinche, an indigenous woman who became his interpreter, advisor and lover, is central to the drama but action lovers shouldn’t despair: the cliffhanger ending in the first episode indicates that there will be plenty more battles and gore in Episode 2.

The first episode jumps between two different time periods, vertele! said, explaining that much of the action and drama takes place when the Spaniards are already in Tenochtitlán, but there are also flashbacks to the conquistadores’ march to the inland Aztec city from the Gulf of Mexico coast, where they first stepped on Mexican soil.

The plot device allows viewers to understand how the protagonist and secondary characters changed over time, the website said, adding that there are also moments of humor despite the heavy subject matter.

Spanish actor Óscar Jaenada (who appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and starred in the Mexican biopic Cantinflas) is convincing as Cortés, inducing empathy when revealing both the conquistador’s wild and more humane sides, vertele! said.

Mexican actress Ishbel Bautista plays the role of La Malinche and is predicted to be the “great discovery” of the series.

The 24-year-old’s performance in the first episode is successful in portraying an intelligent and empowered woman, vertele! said, at a time when the Spanish conquistadores’ main interest in indigenous women was to take advantage of them sexually.

Among the other actors in the series are Michel Brown, Almagro San Miguel and Víctor Clavijo, all of whom play Spanish conquerors.

After premiering on Amazon Prime Video, Hernán will also be shown on the History Channel and TV Azteca. Filming for a second season of the series will begin in 2020.

The series will be streamed in Spanish with English subtitles.

Source: vertele! (sp)

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