‘Vida’ 1×04 Review: Sorry, Not Sorry That I’m Not Easily Defined

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Every week I am astonished and blown away by how much Vida is kicking stereotypes right in the cara! The fourth episode of this Starz series follows in that tradition and presents a story of three vastly different women and their fight to not be defined by others. They get to choose their paths and if there is none in sight they will scorch, plow, and cut their way through this earth until they make one of their own.

These people, these Latinx voices, are the ones that we should see more often in the media that we consume and I’m just so damn proud to be part of this ever evolving journey born out of two sisters finally facing their past and coming home.

Let’s break down this week’s Vida!

Emma and Queer Guilt

The queer guilt cat is out of the bag and we finally know what fuels Emma’s anger. (We had an inkling before but now we have confirmation.) Vidalia was a scared hypocrite who saw her daughter experiencing the same confusion that she was facing inside. Instead of trying to work through it, try to understand it, by her daughters side, she sent her away.

Vidalia made Emma feel expendable, like she didn’t matter, and that her sexuality was something to be ashamed about, hidden, and taken control of. I see it now in every encounter she’s had with other women. She’s the aggressor. She’s the one in charge. And she has no room in her mind or in her heart to let anyone make her feel less about who she wants to fuck or the desires she has.

It’s destroying her.

Right now Emma is so focused on having control of everything in her life, including who she wants to fuck, that she doesn’t see that she hasn’t fully worked past the guilt that her mother has put upon her shoulders for being gay. Going back home is an opportunity is a chance for Emma to forgive herself and understand her mother as a means to moving on.

This isn’t me advocating for Vidalia to be be forgiven. This is me looking at the wild haired, makeup smudged, drunk Emma walking back home after a possible panic attack, and seeing that seh could use some peace and acceptance for herself. Her mother is dead and there will be no closer that seh can get directly from her. But she can get some closer and acceptance for herself. She deserves it. We deserve it.

Because no one, not even the person who gave you life, should make you feel anything less than the brilliant, badass, land mermaid that you are. And you can quote me on that.

The Ethnic Maid Stereotype

The subservient maid/help of color is something that I didn’t understand well into my late teens. My young and ignorant mind saw the Latina cleaning up as a woman with a job that looked like me and the rest of my family, and that I was proud to see being included in roles on TV. It felt normal to me. And it’s not until I saw ACTUAL LATINAS in MAJOR roles that weren’t the help, did I realize that was I was being given were scraps and how my mind has been conditioned to think it the subservient/help of color was normal.

In a way, I think Lyn had this realization. She’s coasted through life, ignorant of what has being going around her, and on a high of never taking responsibility for herself or her world. Losing her mother, coming home, having her boyfriend breakup with her, and everything that’s happened after, has been building up to this point. The rose colored glasses are off and she has come to realize that she doesn’t want to be the woman she was before or the kind of douches that she has spent her young adult life with that think of the help as second class or there “to do their job.”

She’s Latina. She will always be Latina. And as a Latina it’s her job to say “fuck you” to stereotypes and those who’d like to place her in a tiny and understanding box where they can admire her eyebrows like she’s some god damn pet in a zoo. And I think she’s there. In that last clip with her on the bus with the maid that had cleaned every throw up and mess that these petulant and exhausting rich gringos made, she realized that the degrees of seperation aren’t that far apart.

That maid is what people think Latinx are.

And Lyn, Emma, Mari, and every other person on Vida are here to show you how very wrong the world is about us.

I can’t wait.

Mari is More Than a Rebel

From the first moment you saw Mari she was painted as the rebel, the one that would do anything for her community, and the one you’d expect to light the fire under everyone’s asses without having anything happen to her. It lulled you into this false sense of security that you knew who Mari was and the role that she’d play in this show. You were wrong. I was wrong.

Mari has been fighting a violation of her community and after this episode she is fighting a violation of self. She trusted someone that she thought had the same motivations and aspirations as her. It was a shock to everyone that he just ended up being a pig like everyone else. And this violation, as disgusting as it is, makes Mari’s character more dynamic and well rounded.

She doesn’t fit in your easy cookie cutter box of the neighborhood rebel with a cause. She’s a sister pissed off that her brother is choosing a fling over her and her father. She’s a worker trying to survive and make ends meet. And she’s a woman who had her trust broken by some big haired loud mouth that she admired.

No matter how much I hate that she spray painted the sisters bar, I’m so excited to see what’s coming next. Before the frizzy haired puerco that shall not be named, I thought she was the leader of this rebellion/fight to preserve things as they are in the neighborhood. Now she’s ready to take a stand and never end up in anyone else’s shadow again. No more small tactics, no more meetings.

Mari has a neighborhood to save and she doesn’t need anyone’s counsel on how to do it.

Vida airs Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on Starz.

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