Party of Five’s “Patch Job” does a great job of straddling the fence between the small concerns, like we talked about last week, and the bigger ones, the ones that change lives. They do that by focusing on the repercussions of Rafa’s illness – as they should – but also by allowing Matthew the chance to tell his story.
Rafa is easier, in so many ways. He’s a kid, and kids get sick. Of course, that’s incredibly hard to process for Emilio, now suddenly thrust into the position of responsibility, one he feels he’s done nothing to deserve. His parents didn’t pick him to take care of his siblings, his parents simply had no choice.
But that misses the big picture that his parents raised him, and as hard as leaving was for them, the reason why they thought they could get through that, but leave Rafa, was because they thought their kid could – would – handle it.
He was the only choice for his parents, yes, but that doesn’t change the fact that they wouldn’t have chosen anyone else if they’d actually had choices.
That’s what family is.
As for Matthew, the show had been dropping hints about the secret he reveals in this episode for quite some time, and it is especially poignant to see him confess to Lucia what his actual fear is about, and to see Lucia embrace him wholeheartedly, despite it. The latinx community has grown a lot, and new generations are increasingly more open and accepting, but it’s impossible to escape that reality that a community that is very tied to the religious edicts of the catholic church will, in some cases, turn out to be much more discriminating than it should be.
I guess, in many ways, it’s about the way of embracing that religion. I grew up in it too, so I understand how hard it can be to let go of specifics, but I’m immensely grateful that I was taught it was mostly about compassion and love and doing good than about following a specific edict.
Maybe that’s why I relate to the Acosta children so much, because even though they’re anything but perfect, and even though I’ve never been in the situation they’re in, I feel like, if I were, I’d be the same way. I’d get angry and I’d find it unfair, and yet I’d keep trying and loving and going on, because what else can you do?
Not everyone is as lucky. Not everyone has my family – or the Acostas. There are people like Matthew who need the found families life brings to your path when the blood family fails you. And both types of family can be important, as the show is so clearly showing. Family is family.
And Matthew fits. Natalia fits, hell, even Ella can fit. Because family isn’t about being alike, it’s about caring for each other, first and foremost. That’s the message.
It feels like an obvious one, but if you think about it, in the political climate we actually live in, it’s kind of revolutionary.
Things I think I think:
- It is actually funny that parents get to decide something so important about you without knowing you. Not that it’s practical to go without a name till you’re like 10.
- Emilio’s EYES as he stares at Rafa.
- He went from 0 to parent overnight.
- Natalia is the best just because she called Rafa gordito.
- And Emilio called him Rafita.
- MY FEELS.
- “Acostas, in the kitchen, now.”
- “You can sit in a room and worry about what the next bad thing is, or you can sit in a room, play pool and worry.”
- Fair point, Beto. Fair point.
- I really like Natalia.
- And I really like Lucia finding her way with being this social justice warrior. That word is often used with a negative connotation, but it’s a good thing, with Lucia is trying to do.
- “I like my life hard, makes me feel like I’m actually living.”
- Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not it, Matthew.
- The dad crying kinda broke me. Also, what was he drinking?
- “Because its’ 2020 and women don’t need men to pay for them.”
- I actually do like Ella for Beto, despite how messy this whole thing has been.
- But the Acostas family feels are what I’m here for. Like Emilio coming to rescue Beto.
- “That’s what immigrants do, they take the hand that’s offered, then reach back and extend their own. And they know there’s no shame in it.”
- I had a feeling about Matthew, from the beginning. I just can’t believe he really has to go back to being who he was to get his papers in order.
- Oh, Valentina. I just wanna give you a hug.
- Bye pool table. It was swell.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of “Patch Job”? Share with us in the comments below!
Party of Five airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.