TV SeriesPositive (Watch This)Season Review

On My Block: Season 1 – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Community Rating: 87.33% (33)

On My Block balances what it means to live in an urban gang area, while never forgetting these are but 13 – 15-year-old kids. Of whom are just trying to make the best of a, sometimes, bad situation.

CreatorLauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Noted Cast
MonseSierra Capri
RubyJason Genao
JamalBrett Gray
CesarDiego Tinoco
AbuelitaPeggy Blow
OscarJulio Macias
OliviaRonni Hawk
JasmineJessica Marie Garcia
ChivoEmilio Rivera
JuliaLisa Marcos
RoséAngela Elayne Gibbs


6 kids, between the ages of 13 and 15 are residents of Freeridge. A city in which two gangs, the Santos and Prophets, a Latinx and Black gang, have been beefing for years and this often leads to gunshots and deaths. But, for Monse, Ruby, Jamal, and Cesar, those gunshots are damn near a game. Well, after they run from where they think it is happening and feel safe. At that point, they are trying to guess the gun and laugh about it. Strange to many, I’m sure, but everyone figures out a way to cope the best they can.

However, it should be noted the entire show isn’t about gang bangers putting a damper on these kids’ lives. For the most part, it is actually their relationships. You see, Monse likes Cesar but since Cesar is a Santos, I’m talking it’s a multi-generational thing, he comes off as unsafe. On top of that, while neither Ruby nor Jamal are into Monse, there is this fear that her dating Cesar – openly – could ruin everything. Though, all things considered, no one is paying as much attention to Monse as she believes they are.

For Ruby, his play cousin Olivia is all he thinks about. Especially as she and Cesar get friendly and he worries Cesar is stealing his girl. Then in terms of Jamal, he is all about this Rollerworld money. Something that Ruby’s abuelita ends up giving him all the necessary clues, advice, and transportation, to go on a wild goose chase which fills his storyline.

But, while a lot of the season focuses on that, we haven’t talked about Cesar’s storyline. Outside of the Monse and Olivia love triangle, there is also being a Santos. Something he does not want to be part of, especially the more violent aspects, but despite what Monse, Ruby, and Jamal try to do, he goes deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. Leading us to wonder if there is the possibility of him getting out.


Awesome Cast

For a good portion of the cast, this is their first starring role and in the case of Sierra Capri, this is her first role period. So for them, when it comes to what we see of them, bring about this funny, loveable, relatable at times, and very real characters was something. Especially in terms of handling a storyline which was a dramedy.

I especially say this because there aren’t necessarily a huge amount of opportunities for young people of color to take on starring roles outside of being someone’s kid or sibling. Much less them being the focus. So considering the pressure, the fact they are working for Netflix, meaning they will be exposed to somewhere close to 100 countries, and what this show could mean for their career, the fact that they all brought it is applaudable. Though, of course, some were a little, perhaps just to my taste, more noteworthy than others.


Ruby giving the type of line which should become legendary and often imitated.

The first one being Jason Genao. I stand by the statement made in a recap that he could be something in the vein of John Leguizamo and if Leguizamo ever decided to adapt his stage plays into mini-series or an anthology, Genao is his guy. For Ruby is arguably the most charismatic character and while this is an ensemble cast, you can foresee Genao eventually playing a lead on something. This especially can be seen as he interacts with Ronni Hawk’s character and romances her to the point you are in tears because of how beautiful the moment is sculpted.

And hey, considering you don’t see a whole lot of mainstream Latinx romantic comedies, or just plain romance movies, Netflix has seemingly found the right one for future casting. It isn’t like they haven’t shown the liked the young man with this being his second Netflix production, after his role in The Get Down.


Monse explaining she has no filter and no gene for giving a damn to Olivia.

For this being Capri’s first role, you have to admit she held her own well. Especially in terms of dealing with her character’s first love, being a persona which takes a leadership role in the group, yet still being a bit of a softee. To put it simply, Monse isn’t allowed to be one note. Yes, she is a bit of a tomboy, yes she is a bit of an around the way girl, but she still wants to be romanced, get to know the mom who abandoned her and sheds some tears. Life is hard out here for a little bi-racial girl in the hood. Especially considering the catcalling and pedophiles like Oscar being around.


I gotta admit, at first I wasn’t that fond of Jamal because of how weird and borderline ridiculous he is. Yet, seeing a weird, anxiety-ridden, Black kid, who was allowed to be young, wasn’t burdened by some need to be machismo and chasing girls, and things of that nature, I grew to love it. For you don’t really see characters like Jamal who aren’t the best friend we don’t learn a damn thing about. You know the type. Usually on some Nick or Disney show he is the token Black kid who is weird and loveable, may have a small crush on the lead, but that crush and one notable quirk, is as developed as the character gets.

Things are different here for Jamal. There is no love drama in his life but it is made clear he got desires and feelings too. His puzzle solving skills show a form of intelligence not often afforded to characters like him but in rare moments. Then you have to add in the fact we get to see him come from a loving family and lastly what really matters: He has an entire storyline.

Yeah, despite Ruby often dragging him into his stuff, Jamal has a full life between pretending he is on the football team to later his Rolleworld adventure. Thus presenting, once more, each character could very well be the star of their own program and with this comes the sense this is a true ensemble. Meaning all characters are made equal and you have an equal opportunity to fall for each and every one.

The Maturity

There is what I would like to call a love triangle in the show, but it avoids the storylines you usually see. We don’t see the boys or girls fight each other, or call each other sluts or anything like that. With each relationship being built off love and not a sense of lust, while they may get angry or disappointed in one another, there isn’t any over the top, soap opera theatrics. Something which may throw you off at first, but then you learn to appreciate since their type of maturity is rarely seen in teen or adult productions. Especially with romance as a storytelling element.


Abuelita noting she feels like a side piece.

A part of me wondered, for a bit of the season, where are everyone’s parents? These are teenagers and all their parents are rarely seen, but then a friend pointed out this is a working-class show. Monse’s dad is a truck driver and with her coming into her teens, he is learning to trust her to be on her own as he heads out across the state or country. Ruby’s parents make it clear, around Olivia’s quince, they have to rearrange their work schedule for the party. Jamal’s parents own a restaurant, perhaps a chain, so that consumes all their time and Olivia’s parents are deported so, she doesn’t even have a means to talk to them.

Making Abuelita’s role as the adult figure, outside Cesar, such an important role and Peggy Blow nails it. Mostly through comedic moments, which at least half of the .gifs made for this show come from, but there is also the sweet moments too. Such as when the squad reaches a point of desperation and that last minute save they were hoping for didn’t come true.

But, where Abuelita really shines is her relationship with Jamal. As the rest of his friends pair up, and he brings up being alone, Abuelita comes in his life and presents herself as an encouraging figure. Someone who may not fully understand Jamal at times, but supports what he does and pushes him to go further. Which, again, you don’t see that often for young, weird, perhaps better worded as “care-free” Black kids.

Is Actually Made To Binge & The Finale Was Jaw Dropping

While Netflix is known for dropping a whole season at once and popularizing the idea of binging a show, arguably a lot of their original programs seemingly are written to be consumed week to week. Whether half hour or a full hour, made in-house or a co-production Netflix erases their partner’s identity of, there aren’t that many that push you to watch the next episode out of excitement vs. because you have gotten this far.

On My Block is different. The best way to put it is, On My Block is treated almost like a movie that got chopped up and made with the type of transitions to work as a show.

On The Fence



Meet your new Joi.

Here is the thing about Jasmin, she is as ratchet as a person can get and for those of us who grew up in urban environments, there is no doubt this is an authentic person. The issue is, Jasmine, as much as we may know someone like her, we don’t really get to know her past being a comical character. Jasmine never evolves from being a punch line or joke. Whether it is her being dogged as a potential love interest, no one really wanting to be friends with her, and her always being treated as some kind of last resort, the character ultimately feels shallow.

Which is a shame for in a time where supposedly messy means complex and complicated, showing a girl like Jasmine as something more than a joke could have been big. And arguably, from the few moments we get when Jasmine isn’t being ghetto, there is something more than that could have been explored.

Monse and Julia

Speaking of being explored, there is this constant balancing act between how you think a situation would be handled, what is realistic, and what is done for the sake of entertainment. When it comes to the Julia situation, there is this desire for the entertainment angle. You getting this sweet reunion between a mom and daughter, as well as her addressing why she left and never reached out. Yet, realistically, if she could go 11+ years without communicating with Monse, knowing she exists, and she has two kids a new life, why would she go backwards, for a lack of a better way of putting it?

But then there are other elements to the situation which are weird – at least from my point of view. From Monse Facebook stalking Julia rather than talking to Rosé, Julia’s friend, and then there is Julia giving Monse a couple of hundred of dollars. That, to me, should have set off a whole bunch of flags, even if Monse came to believe Julia isn’t her mom. But, even with that said, there is that inability to say whether you can imagine Julia reaching out again. Especially considering Monse used a fake facebook account and unfriended Julia after what happened.

Yet, really thinking about it, similar to how the love triangles didn’t go as expected, you have to appreciate how this storyline didn’t as well.

The Gangster Life & Oscar

Cesar saying, "You're opening my eyes, homes."

Similar to Jasmine, one could argue how the gangster life and Oscar were presented didn’t give us the depth we should of. Now, this isn’t to discount Oscar establishing the sacrifices he made for Cesar. Much less we being able to put together how bringing Cesar in was just for his protection and the gangster stuff Cesar did was to pay his dues. Yet, a part of me kind of wished they pushed the idea further. Showing that the Santos, as a whole, were a family and it wasn’t just about gang banging.

Take Chivo, for example. It would have been nice to see Chivo, who seemingly just ran the flower shop, being visited by Santos, Oscar included, especially when he was in the hospital, and it being like extended family. For if there is one thing perhaps not shown enough is how gangs build a community.

An idea I know may sound weird to some, but the heart of gang culture isn’t always money, drugs, and sex. Often times it is creating a family to make up for the dysfunctional or absent one you have. Coming together for the sake of protection, and making it so certain individuals, like when Jamal was doing well, they get extended a certain amount of protection so they might get out of the hood.

The Police Presence

It was kind of weird we only saw the cops in one episode despite all the gang activity and gunshots going on. Then for that cop to be used for a gag, it was sort of nice because it showed not all cops in an urban area are a**holes but also left a weird afterthought, as opposed to aftertaste. But again, the show arguably does is best to not fall into every expectation and you have to respect that.

Overall: Positive (Watch This)


On My Block | Netflix Official Site

While there are some elements I just didn’t get, and you may not understand, they all can be written off as areas for improvement. Whether it is Jasmine, how the gangster life is presented, or whether or not Julia appears again. However, the good doesn’t just outweigh the bad but eclipse it. For between such an awesome cast, of which each character is written as if they could have a spin-off with their own story, combined with their chemistry, how can you not be in love?

Also, with it fully harnessing the Netflix binge culture and figuring out ways to throw you off from your expectations, but not so much to turn you off, you have to give props to the writers for that. So, with all that said, check out On My Block only on Netflix.

Has Another Season Been Confirmed?: Season 2 confirmed per Shadow & Act.

Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 2, Episode 10 “Chapter Twenty”Like season 1, we’re left on a cliffhanger, but that’s just the icing to a rather gourmet cake.
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Lauren Iungerich
Air Date3/29/2019
  • When The Adults Step In: Oscar, Cesar
  • An Ultimatum: Monse, Cesar, Ruby, Jasmine, Jamal
  • And Then There Was Darkness: Monse, Cesar, Ruby, Jamal
Season 2, Episode 9 “Chapter Nineteen”Cesar does what he believes he has to so that he’ll stay alive, Monse is safe, and the rest of the crew aren’t haunted by Prophet$ for the rest of their lives.
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Air Date3/29/2019
Introduced This Episode
Ruben Sr.Eric Neil Gutierrez
  • On The Run Again: Latrelle, Cesar, Oscar
  • You Got To Move On: Ruben Sr., Ruby, Geny
  • Desperate Choices: Oscar, Ruby, Jamal, Cesar, Monse
Season 2, Episode 8 “Chapter Eighteen”Chivo reveals the meaning behind his gnomes and with Latrelle’s return, and the truce over, comes an increased fear of The Prophets.
Director(s)Ryan Shiraki
Writer(s)Adam Starks
Air Date3/29/2019
  • A New Way To Protect Cesar: Chivo, Jasmine, Monse, Cesar, Ruby, Jamal
  • Money Bunny: Jamal, Jasmine, Monse, Jasmine, Ruby
  • Sometimes You Have To Make A Hard Choice: Cesar, Ruby, Monse
Season 2, Episode 4 “Chapter Fourteen”With Jasmine’s help, Ruby tries to pursue normalcy as Oscar gives Monse an ultimatum.
Director(s)Ryan Shiraki
Writer(s)Christopher Encell
Air Date3/29/2019
  • You’ve Got Options: Ruby, Jasmine, Monse, Monty, Julia
  • An Ultimatum: Cesar, Monse, Jamal
  • You’ve Got A Friend In Me: Ruby, Jasmine
Season 2, Episode 5 “Chapter Fifteen”Oscar tries to be the saint Ruby expects him to be, until Ruby says something to incite the Santos and Cesar makes a mistake.
Director(s)Jeremy Haft
Writer(s)Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Air Date3/29/2019
Introduced This Episode
AngelicaKendra Michelle
RosarioBelita Moreno
PaulaMaleah Ann Goldberg
  • Someone Has To Worry About Your Health: Jamal, Marisol (Abuelita), Rosario
  • It’s Been A Month: Paula, Cesar, Monse
  • The Return of Ruben – With The Big Mouth: Ruby, Mario, Angelica, Oscar
Season 2, Episode 6 “Chapter Sixteen”Monse’s new life in Brentwood is comfortable, but does she want to stay permanently? Ruby and Jamal, as well as new friends, help her make a decision.
Director(s)Erica Watson
Writer(s)Lauren Iungerich
Air Date3/29/2019
Introduced This Episode
SaharaDana Gaier
JaneBrooke Sorenson
  • The End of the Truce: Cesar, Dwayne, Monty
  • M.I.A.M.I: Ruby, Marisol, Jamal
  • The Answer To All Your Problems:Monse, Jamal, Julia, Ruby, Monty, Cesar, Jasmine, Sahara, Jane
Season 2, Episode 7 “Chapter Seventeen”Major and minor secrets are revealed as Amber’s baby shower comes about. Also, an old problem resurfaces.
Director(s)Ryan Shiraki
Writer(s)Sonia Kharkar
Air Date3/29/2019
  • I Want Her Back: Chivo, Jamal
  • Baby Shower Drama: Mario, Amber, Geny, Ruby, Jasmine, Monse, Cesar
  • Free From The Curse, But Still In Freeridge: Abuelita, Jamal, Cesar
Season 2, Episode 3 “Chapter Thirteen”For those who wondered about Jasmine’s backstory, you have to watch Chapter Thirteen.
Director(s)Ryan Shiraki
Writer(s)Jamie Uyeshiro
Air Date3/29/2019
  • Reunited & It Feels So Good: Abuelita, Jamal, Cesar
  • Selena: Julia, Monse
  • You Are Your Own Universe: Jasmine, Ruby
Season 2, Episode 1 “Chapter Eleven”It’s New Year’s Eve and months have passed since the tragedy in the season 1 finale. Leading to the question of how is everyone?
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Lauren Iungerich
Air Date3/29/19
Introduced This Episode
AmberShoshana Bush
  • Mario Has Some News: Amber, Mario, Geny
  • A Party With Very Little To Celebrate: Caesar, Oscar, Monse, Ruby, Jamal, Geny, Abuelita, Monty
  • What Could Have Changed It All: Jamal, Abuelita, Caesar, Ruby, Monse
Season 2, Episode 2 “Chapter Twelve”Ruby and Oscar, of all people, have a heart to heart, as Jamal tries to get his money back – from a cop.
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Air Date3/29/19
Introduced This Episode
Office HamillBrent Werzner
  • Spending The Day With Oscar & Evening With Geny: Oscar, Geny, Ruby, Amber
  • The Money and Explorer Program: Officer Hamill, Jasmine, Cesar, Monse, Jamal
  • Communication Is Key: Monse, Cesar, Jamal, Dwayne, Coach, Jamal’s Mom
Season 1/ Episode 10 “Chapter 10”For the last few recaps I questioned whether the ending was going to be ideal or realistic and, well I got my answer… which ends up being both.
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Lauren Iungerich
Air Date3/16/2018
  • Never Gonna Give You Up: Jamal, Chivo
  • Changing Places: Cesar, Ruby, Monse, Olivia, Jasmine
  • Bittersweet Tragedy: Latrelle, Cesar, Jamal, Ruby, Monse, Olivia
Season 1/ Episode 9 “Chapter 9”The treasures of Rollerworld are finally found and just when Cesar needs them the most.
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Air Date3/16/2018
  • In Search of Gold: Cesar, Olivia, Ruby, Monse, Abuelita, Jamal, Latrelle
  • Halves Cannot Revoke Wholes
Season 1/ Episode 8 “Chapter 8”Cesar learns what it will take to keep having precious moments with his brother as Monse takes an opportunity to get to know Julia better.
Director(s)Steven Tsuchida
Writer(s)Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft, Lauren Iungerich
Air Date3/16/2018
  • Dress Freakout: Monse, Cesar, Olivia, Abuelita, Ruby
  • In Pursuit of a Better Life: Cesar, Oscar, Jamal, Chivo
  • Is She or Isn’t She?: Monse, Cesar, Julia
Season 1/ Episode 7 “Chapter 7”Ruben continues to prove he is husband material for Olivia, despite her dating Cesar, as abuelita gets Jamal another clue which could lead to the money.
Director(s)Steven Tsuchida
Writer(s)Lauren Iungerich
Air Date3/16/2018
Characters Introduced
ChivoEmilio Rivera
  • Julia Whitman & The Boy Fresh Out of Prison: Monse, Cesar, Latrelle
  • Cesar Is Just My Placeholder: Ruby, Cesar, Monse, Olivia
  • The Gnome Holds All The Secrets: Jamal, Abuelita
Season 1/ Episode 6 “Chapter 6”With the secret dropped, now comes the question of how to move forward. Though for Jamal, it becomes time to reveal his secret as well.
Director(s)Ryan Shiraki
Writer(s)Adam Starks, Francesca Gailes
Air Date3/16/2018
Characters Introduced
Jamal’s MomRaushanah Simmons
CoachRob Murat
Monty (Monse’s Dad)Reggie Austin
  • I Can’t Live A Lie… Unless You Help Me: Ruby, Jamal, Olivia
  • Nobody Wins When The Family Feuds: Ruby, Jamal, Olivia, Cesar, Monse
  • Ending Things On Top: Jamal, Oscar
Season 1/ Episode 5 “Chapter 5”Just as Monse is finally coming around to wanting to be official, this Olivia kiss could ruin everything. Will she find out and if so, because of who?
Director(s)Ryan Shiraki
Writer(s)Jamie Uyeshiro
Air Date3/16/2018
  • Secrets Are Deadly: Jamal, Cesar, Ruby
  • My Girlfriends: Jasmine, Olivia, Monse
  • Lockdown: Oscar, Cesar, Olivia, Ruby, Jasmine, Jamal
Season 1/ Episode 4 “Chapter 4”Jamal’s relationship with Abuelita gets him one step further to Rollerwood fortune and with tagging along with Jamal, Monse sees a ghost.
Director(s)Steven Tsuchida
Writer(s)Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Air Date3/16/2018
Characters Introduced
RoséAngela E. Gibbs
JuliaLisa Marcos
  • Get You an Abuelita: Jamal, Monse, Ruby, Olivia, Cesar, Abuelita
  • Straight Outta Brentwood: Olivia, Ruby, Cesar, Oscar
  • Can You See Me?: Monse, Cesar, Ruby, Olivia
Season 1/ Episode 3 “Chapter 3”Objectification is the issue of the episode and it ruins Ruby’s chances with Olivia and might be the final straw for Cesar.
Director(s)Steven Tsuchida
Writer(s)Robert Sudduth
Air Date3/16/18
  • Don’t Worry, Abuelita Believes In You: Jamal, Abuelita
  • I Feel So Objectified: Cesar, Ruby, Monse, Olivia
  • This Isn’t Fun Anymore: Cesar, Ruby, Monse, Olivia, Oscar
Season 1/ Episode 2 “Chapter 2”As a fourth member is added to the squad, Monse has to deal with Cesar manipulating her and Ruby has a date with Oscar.
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Lauren Iungerich
Air Date3/16/2018
Characters Introduced
OliviaRonni Hawk
AbuelitaPeggy Ann Blow
GenyPaula Garces
  • The New Girl In Town: Olivia, Monse, Ruby, Cesar
  • Digging A Deeper Hole: Oscar, Cesar, Monse, Ruby, Jamal
  • Jealous?: Monse, Cesar, Olivia
Season 1/ Episode 1 “Chapter 1”On My Block has an almost Fridayir?source=bk&t=amaall0c 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=64d2fd2c2e36dd99ce74b5f80fffee13& cb=1521205273599 vibe to it. It’s comedic yet, with its urban setting and gunshots, you know things can go left in any moment.
Creator(s)Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Director(s)Lauren Iungerich
Writer(s)Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft
Air Date3/16/2018
Noted Cast
CesarDiego Tinoco
MonseSierra Capri
RubyJason Genao
MarioDanny Ramirez
OscarJulio Macias
DwayneEme Ikwuakor
LatrelleJahking Guillory
JasmineJessica Marie Garcia
JamalBrett Gray
Awesome Cast - 90%
Ruby - 95%
Monse - 91%
Jamal - 89%
The Maturity - 92%
Abuelita - 93%
Is Actually Made To Binge & The Finale Was Jaw Dropping - 96%
Jasmine - 75%
Monse and Julia - 74%
The Gangster Life & Oscar - 73%
The Police Presence - 72%


The good doesn’t just outweigh the bad but eclipse it. For between such an awesome cast, of which each character is written as if they could have a spin-off with their own story, combined with their chemistry, how can you not be in love?

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Amari Allah

I started Wherever I Look back in 2011 and have aimed to be that friend who loves watching various forms of media and talking about it. So, from bias, strong opinions, and a perspective you may not have thought about, you'll find that in our reviews.

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