It’s a vulnerable episode for the kids as they open up about their issues with their parents while dealing with the pressure to find Lil’ Ricky.
|Directed By||Lauren Iungerich|
|Written By||Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Kendra||Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson|
I Got My Eyes On You: Kendra, Jamal
The girl in green who has been following Jamal? Her name is Kendra, and she notes she is plotting on him. Now, as for why and to do what? That’s hard to say. While Jamal has encountered people who range from weird to eccentric, Kendra is aiming to take the prize, so whether she has a crush or is a threat, only time will tell.
The Fight For Our Lives: Jamal, Jasmine, Monse, Abuelita, Ruby, Ruben
Being that Jamal doesn’t have a whole lot going for him, his success in the various mysteries and scavenger hunts he and his friends have gone on are a source of pride. Hence why Jasmine stepping in, with her access to police materials, it is frustrating and upsetting for Jamal. But, with Monse on Jasmine’s side, and Ruby willing to betray him, Jamal is on his own.
Well, not completely, as always, abuelita has his back, but you never know with her. Plus, considering her and Ruby are dealing with the family issues they have, who knows if her focus may not go elsewhere. For with Ruben still sleeping in the same quarters as Ruby, and Ruby learning the family is in medical debt because of him, things seem dire.
Daddy Drama: Oscar, Cesar, Jamal, Ray, Dwayne
With Ray being around comes Oscar feeling uncomfortable, sulking, and being more agitated than usual. But, due to Cesar not having the same issues Oscar has with Ray, he is trying to bond and maybe create a connection. Something Oscar doesn’t get in the way of since he likely figures his brother will come to understand why he isn’t close to Ray nor made any real effort to see him.
But, with Ray talking about going to Bakersfield, it seemed Oscar figured Ray’s time with them would be short. However, with Dwayne getting tired of Jamal being lazy, privileged, and entitled, he gets fired, and Ray gets a job. One that Oscar isn’t too happy to hear about for that means Ray sticking around longer.
A New Side To An Old Face: Monse, Jasmine
Monse and Jasmine have never really seen eye to eye. Jasmine has never understood Monse being a tomboy and Monse, well, Jasmine has been foreign to her for a multitude of reasons. Be it because she is wholly herself, feminine, extroverted, overtly sexual, a line stepper, and so much more, Jasmine has long seemed like the reason why Monse hasn’t really pursued female friendship. But with Cuchillos scaring the daylights out of Monse, and making her feel unsafe in her own home, she decides, rather than have Cesar sleepover, to have a sleepover at Jasmine’s.
Which, for both, leads to a similar moment to what we saw with Jasmine and Ruby in the last season. In it, Jasmine gets deconstructed, and we’re reminded behind her goofiness is a real person. Someone who has gone through so much yet figures a way to smile and be bubbly. If not for her own sake than for the sake of others. And this time around, it is for Monse. Someone who is still reeling over her mother’s rejection and questioning if it was even worth seeking her out.
This leads to Jasmine opening up and pushing the idea she too has issues with her mother. Yet, she reminds Monse to appreciate those moments when she did get along with her mom, felt loved, and the love was secure. And with that said, Monse and Jasmine’s relationship reaches a new level.
- It’s still 2018 on this show based on Ruben’s age (43 and born 2/10/75)
Jasmine and Monse Having a Moment Like Ruby and Jasmine Did
Jasmine, to me, is what I hope we see more and more with characters and actors who aren’t Monse’s aesthetic. I want them to be whole people, with personal lives, and who easily, if not outright, are, the lead. For the more we see of Jasmine, the more you can imagine and hope their actress’ career doesn’t end with “On My Block” and rather, similar to Ruby’s actor, once this ends, they move onto something bigger.
All things considered, Jamal’s family is rich. His dad has a shop, possibly a franchise, and lives in a house that has come off far more extravagant than everyone else’s. Also, as shown by Jamal’s personality, he is allowed to be as weird, goofy, and himself unlike most of the people around him – especially Black boys.
Think about it. If Jamal’s life was exchanged with Monse, he’d likely be forced into a gang for protection, wouldn’t be this adorable brat we know, and there is so much that comes with that. It is, to us, goes beyond showing us a Black guy who isn’t concerned about coming off hard, it shows how much money, or lack thereof, influences a notable, and visible, segment of Black culture.
Ruben, Gena, and The Cost Of Keeping A Child Alive
With the focus of Ruby’s trauma being his PTSD and how that changed his outlook on life, we didn’t necessarily get how it affected his parents beyond worry. That has hit now as medical bills roll in, and we’re reminded the cost it takes to keep someone alive. Much less, how much Ruben and Gena are punished due to not having the right job and living in the neighborhood they do. Thus their marriage is on the rocks, and the family may remain strong, but isn’t without deepening fractures.
The Complicated Dynamics Between Ray and His Boys
It isn’t 100% clear, offhand, when Ray exited his sons’ lives. All we know for sure is Oscar didn’t make an effort to keep Cesar in contact with Ray, and it doesn’t seem Ray did much either. Instead, he was just absent. Thus this divergent outlook between Oscar trying to be nice but likely wanting to kick Ray out on his ass and being reminded Cesar is a child. One who still has hope and, in many ways, likely is going on the path we saw Monse go on in terms of getting to know this stranger who she may share blood with, but he has very little idea how much they are connected.
But that’s half the fun, right? Seeing the two connect? Like over what they do and don’t like on their food, and surely other neurosis as time goes on.
On The Fence
Would I love a weird Black girl to match Jamal? ABSOLUTELY! However, it is hard to say what Kendra is right now. Is she a prophet left behind, just a girl who doesn’t know how to convey her crush or something else altogether? It’s hard to know how to feel about a character who is so isolated and comes off like she escaped Jordan Peele’s “Us.”