As On My Block prepares to become Freeridge, we get one last season with the OG characters, and, for the most part, they will be missed.
|Created By||Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, Jeremy Haft|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Crime, Drama, Romance, Young Adult, Family|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Isabel (Andrea Cortés)
Vero (Nikki Rodriguez)
Cesar’s new girlfriend
Ricky (Benito Martinez)
The owner of the rehab facility Oscar went to, and Ray works at, who is also the famed Lil’ Ricky, who has long been a ghost in the series.
It’s senior year, and after a 2-year time jump, we again find the crew broken up. Why this time? Well, with Oscar ending his run as Spooky came Cesar stepping in, especially due to him believing Oscar stole the Rollerworld money from him and his friends. With that came Monse breaking up with him due to seeing him trying to be what the Santos wanted him to be, not who he is, and then with Jamal and Ruby tired of Cesar’s life as well? The friendship disintegrated more. Add in Jamal feeling like a third wheel between Ruby and Jasmine, and Monse butt dialing Jamal and saying harsh words? Every friendship was fractured, and Monse eventually stopped working on keeping it together.
Because of this, Jamal became popular, Cesar found a new girlfriend in Vero, Jasmine began to take over Ruby’s life, to a certain degree, and Monse? She slowly but surely became someone everyone used to know. But during winter break, she returns, possibly permanently, and with Cuchillos corpse being found, Oscar prepping to move to Portland, with his wife Isabel, and the Santos beginning to experience a power struggle, s*** is getting real again in Freeridge, and the crew are forced back together through multiple forces.
Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs
You can know everyone and still know no one. I went from being alone to being loney.
— Jamal (4.3)
You can’t evolve without conflict.
— Jasmine (4.4)
Purpose comes after the destination. Your purpose is the point of the journey, not the motivation for it.
— Abuelita (4.10)
Purpose can be a mystery your whole life. Sometimes it isn’t revealed until you’re gone.
— Abuelita (4.10)
We’re not the girls who catch breaks. We’re the girls that just don’t break. We’re resilient and strong because we don’t let experiences define us. We define our experiences.
— Jasmine (4.10)
Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Did Monty ever find a new job?
- So, what is going on with all the gang activity with the Prophet$ out, Cuchillos death revealed, and the Santos under new leadership?
- Who killed Oscar?
- Ultimately, what happened to the Rollerworld money?
- So, Mario just doesn’t come home anymore?
What Could Happen Next
- With a spinoff, Freeridge, announced, it should be interesting to see whether anything not revealed this season may carry over in the next show. Never mind if they repeat any of the patterns and formulas.
The majority of the best moments and relationships in the show all include or are because of Abuelita Marisol. Her humor, her advice, the relationships she forms with Ruby and Jamal, they are what help make On My Block. And while, yeah, there is another mystery this season, it is easy to set aside as Jamal rekindles his relationship with Abuelita, and they joke and carry on. Also, as we see Abuelita deal with her mortality head-on, it creates a handful of teary-eyed moments that make it impossible to imagine another season with this cast and making you glad it’s ending here.
Just About Everything Gets Wrapped Up
Is every last plot you can think of wrapped up? No. Like some mentioned above, many stories go without resolution, but that gives you a sense of us seeing real lives play out and not just a story for our entertainment. To find out who killed Oscar would require a full-length investigation, and, as Ray said, that journey would likely only lead to more death. Especially as members of the Prophet$ come out and the Santos’ rivals go back to trying to make a name for themselves.
Alongside that, we’re getting a sequel series, and with the legend of Rollerworld gone, there are new things to investigate and an entirely different perspective on the events of On My Block. So while it is unfortunate that we don’t get to know what happened to third parties, I feel Jamal, Monse, Ruby, Jasmine, and Cesar’s chapters come to a proper close.
I know everyone thinks Jamal carried this show, or at least a lot of the social media posts I see, but I disagree with that entirely. I don’t think anyone carried the show, but some were definitely notable highlights, and for me, Jasmine was that person.
In my mind, Jessica Marie Garcia gave me That So Raven vibes in terms of giving us a girl who doesn’t fit the look Hollywood refuses to not see as the de facto lead. As Jasmine, even though she was never the lead, she was one of the most notable characters on this show.
As an individual and as Ruby’s girlfriend, she had more layers to her and a better arc than nearly all the characters. Jasmine went from this seemingly sex-crazed girl, who was comic relief, to gaining so much depth.
When we first met her, she seemed like she’d be the heavyset best friend who was more so someone to laugh at than with. Yet, over the next two seasons, she became more than that. So by this season, Jasmine has become a young woman who is used to people depending on her transitioning to someone trying to figure out a way to put herself first.
Her entire arc, across the show, I would say, is the best one crafted of all the stories. Jasmine, revealed different layers to us, grew in terms of discovering herself and was able to be everything needed to present a full human being to you. One who wasn’t defined by one thing that happened to them or by a gang or group. Never mind wasn’t geared to be not like the other girls as one of their defining traits. Jasmine was a whole ass person who will be sorely missed.
Other Notable Highlights
- Latrell’s Sad Life (4.8): In many ways, what Ray was warning Cesar about, we saw in Latrell. Because of one moment, he was lonely, locked up, and will not experience many of the normal things a person should. He lost years of life over something that took place in a few minutes. Add in he seemingly has become forgotten by the outside world, and you can already see the possible recidivism. That is, unless he ends up at Ricky’s place and rehabilitates.
- Jamal’s Struggle With Purpose: For most of Jamal’s life, he was the weird kid, maybe even the weird Black kid, to be specific. With that, he found things, like Rollerworld, to give him purpose, for the outside world didn’t offer him much beyond his father’s footsteps. So to see him struggle with meeting vapid people while trying to reconcile who he is with this new life he enjoys was quite a treat and makes me wonder what this storyline would have been like under a different tone.
The reason Vero is a low point has nothing to do with the actress’ performance but rather how she was written. Vero is made to be this ride-or-die girl but isn’t really fleshed out. She is Cesar’s girl, point blank, period, and nothing more. We don’t learn how they got together, there are few, if any, cute moments, and we don’t meet her people. Pretty much, once she exits Cesar’s orbit, she ceases to exist.
This is a shame since there is something about Nikki Rodriguez that makes you think she could do so much more if given the material. So let’s hope, similar to Jason Genao, she’ll start off being introduced to Netflix’s audience in a small, almost forgettable role, then end up on a series that lets her shine.
Monse, The Third Wheel
Monse’s character feels stunted. She is in a perpetual loop with Cesar and, unlike him, seemingly didn’t get to explore a relationship with someone else. Then, for most of the season, nothing notable happens to her. If she isn’t under Jasmine, being a third wheel, she is dealing with Jamal’s feelings, from hating her to crushing on her.
Heck, a part of me almost wants to say Monse barely was above being a love interest this season, but that would discount her time with her mother’s husband and that storyline that was a bit anti-climatic. Yet, through him and seeing her deal with possibly not going back to her private school out east, there was something there. It’s just, like Vero, it seemed being involved with Cesar suck all the life and potential out of Monse. Thus leaving her stuck in an end-game couple situation that didn’t really allow her to thrive as an individual.
On The Fence
Killing Off Characters
Did Oscar need to die? Was Abuelita’s death necessary? It’s debatable. Oscar dying did wake Cesar up, but it also opened up the doors for a gang war we can only assume will hit the sequel series, Freeridge. As for Abuelita? I get it – On My Block operates on multiple loops, and the big loop, of how Ruby and his friends started the series and how the next generation will was integral. But Abuelita really was the heart of the show, and seeing her gone hit harder than the show ending, to be honest.
Oh, and on a side note, I refuse to move past Oscar talking about having sex with Monse in season 1 – even if he might have been messing with Cesar. So as much as it was sad he was gunned down, when you consider he was just another sacrifice for Cesar’s story? It lessens the effect.
Drastic Chances & Stunted Characters
Perhaps the main takeaway with knowing this is the end is that we ultimately got two stunted characters in Monse and Ruby, while we got drastic, short-term changes in Jamal and Cesar. To me, if you look at a character by the season, they come out okay, but in terms of a whole? Monse feels like the same character, but now with information on her mother and now having a second family. Ruby has barely changed at all. Yes, he got shot, and that caused great trauma, but that feels more like a reaction than anything else. And while we appreciate this season pushes him beyond that, it almost feels like a step back as well. Especially since sex and accolades are the main things Ruby focuses on.
Then with Jamal and Cesar, I feel like they got the fan-favorite treatment. Cesar has long been stunted due to his association with the Santos, and things didn’t get better when he became one. Tinoco did his best, but Cesar’s storyline was consistently monotonous. It was the same thing in and out, and while they had it reach a fever pitch this season, with Cesar being a peacock than a real, murderous thug, you don’t get to see and understand how someone vulnerable, who grows up in a gang-infested area, becomes a hardened thug. Instead, Latrell got that story, while Cesar got the Hollywood version.
Lastly, Jamal, with him becoming suddenly popular, it was a cute story but not a good one. It seemed to be just about the benefit of making the former best friends, Ruby and Jamal, have a reason to face off. For the best thing about Jamal was that he was a weird Black guy who could work to be your generic, cool Black dude but didn’t because that wasn’t who he was.
Now, I’ll admit, his struggle with the life he could have had if it wasn’t for his group, combined with loving the stimulation which came from being around Abuelita, Ruby, Monse, and Cesar, was one of the most interesting looks into a character’s psyche. However, On My Block is a light-hearted drama, so it doesn’t dive too deep.
Rating: Mixed (Stick Around)
On My Block doesn’t necessarily end triumphantly. Rather, as it has throughout its four seasons, it fizzles out after a dramatic peak, but now with the cliffhanger being the prospect of a new generation. This isn’t to say the season was terrible but certainly, as a whole, On My Block doesn’t feel like it lived up to its potential. It did take positive steps forward through Jasmine and Jamal, with the assistance of abuelita, but while it has its place within coming of age shows, it doesn’t necessarily deserve a pedestal.
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