PARTY OF FIVE

Party of Five 1×09 Review: “Mexico”

The first season of Party of Five has been many things: insightful, real, and emotional. It has hardly been surprising, though, not that it had to be. This family has dealt with the issues we expected them to deal with, struggled in the ways we imaged they would. Party of Five 1×09 “Mexico,” however, throws a curve-ball our way, and we’re not sure we can recover in time for the season finale next week.

Hell, I’m not sure I can recover in time for the second season I really, really hope they get.

If there was one thing I’d taken for granted, one thing latinos in general take for granted a lot, is that our parents will stay together. Sometimes my generation is guilty of failing to look beyond the obvious, because we’re just …so used to parents that stay married, no matter what.

Things are, of course, changing, even within a community that is, in so many ways, still beholden to the Catholic Church. Women are finding their voices more and more, and that means that, sometimes, they’re walking away from situations that they wouldn’t have walked away from before: from abuse, to neglect, to the simple “I’m not sure how I feel anymore.”

Even so, if you’d asked me how this story was going to go I might have mentioned the social worker, I would have seen Natalia coming, and Valentina’s crisis of identity. Even Ella wasn’t that hard to predict, and neither was Emilio finding his own voice, his own path. But this? The parents breaking up?

PARTY OF FIVE – An unexpected family reunion in Mexico exposes cracks in the happy faades both the Acosta children and their parents have put up. Back in LA, Emilio collaborates with Natalia on a new song and bond over their romantic histories. This episode of “Party of Five” airs Wednesday, February 26, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/Erin Simkin) NIKO GUARDADO, FERNANDA URREJOLA

Yeah, I did not see that coming.

And yet, the more I sit here, in my anger and disbelief, the more I appreciate the story this show is telling. Yes, what happened to this family was super unfair on the kids, in different ways, but it was also unfair on the parents. I have been guilty of thinking: well, at least they have each other, like that somehow makes it better. Like that somehow makes up for the fact that they lost their kids.

Except it doesn’t. Nothing really. And the adjustment isn’t just hard, it’s impossible sometimes. There’s no going back to how things were, there’s not even going back to being fine. Javier, Gloria, Emilio, Lucia, Beto, Valentina and Rafa will never be the persons they could have been without this happening.

That’s just not in the cards anymore.

PARTY OF FIVE – An unexpected family reunion in Mexico exposes cracks in the happy faades both the Acosta children and their parents have put up. Back in LA, Emilio collaborates with Natalia on a new song and bond over their romantic histories. This episode of “Party of Five” airs Wednesday, February 26, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/Erin Simkin) EMILY TOSTA, BRUNO BICHIR, ELLE PARIS LEGASPI

For Emilio, for example, he’s got kids now. He didn’t ask for kids, he didn’t want them, but he has them. And that means his entire worldview, what he wanted out of life, has to necessarily shift. It is an obligation, yes, but in many ways, it’s also the only thing that makes sense to him right now, the one thing he can do to be good and helpful and the kind of son his parents raised.

And yet, does that mean Emilio disappears? Or does it mean, instead, that he must find new dreams; new ways of going forward that include his family? Does that mean that he can, in this new path, find the love that his other life might have made difficult to hold onto? I hope the answer is yes, and I hope that person is Natalia.

I’m getting OTP vibes from them, and trust me, I have a pretty good eye for this.

Then there’s Javier and Gloria, but especially Gloria, the person who was always part of this entity, of this family, and that now finds herself having to discover who she is, once again, when they’re all gone. Who is Gloria? What does she want?

PARTY OF FIVE – An unexpected family reunion in Mexico exposes cracks in the happy faades both the Acosta children and their parents have put up. Back in LA, Emilio collaborates with Natalia on a new song and bond over their romantic histories. This episode of “Party of Five” airs Wednesday, February 26, at 9:00p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/Erin Simkin) FERNANDA URREJOLA

“No tengo otra nueva vida en mí, solo tengo esta,” she tells Javier at one point. She doesn’t have it in her to change again, to start over. Except, that’s just talk. What she doesn’t have in her is a life of being the same thing she was before, a quiet wife and mother – and part of the reason why is that she isn’t a mother anymore, not full time.

Which leaves her thinking, does she want to be a wife if she doesn’t get to be a mother?

Does Gloria know the answer? Right now, it seems like she does, or at least, that she knows herself enough to understand that she’s never really going to figure out if Javier is what she wants unless she takes some time to find Gloria again. Which is, of course, when the kids come complicate it all.

But this part of the story – this decision – is finally Gloria’s. All hers. And hopefully, she gets to make it, even if they (and us) never saw it coming.

Things I think I think:

  • “No te quita nada que ella quiera ver a su mamá.” Sometimes girls want, need, their moms. That’s not a reflection on the dad.
  • Lucia and Valentina finally having a moment of understanding was good to see.
  • So often Valentina is forced to act older than she is, and it’s good when she doesn’t have to.
  • WHO enjoys the golf network?
  • “Are you real?” broke me.
  • That the parents fight in Spanish WHILE in Mexico is such a real thing, and not every show would have taken the care to do it right.
  • Emilio already gave Beto the talk, Javier, because Emilio is the parent now. That’s just the way it is.
  • Love isn’t always about being everything to the other person.
  • “Could you please be here now?”
  • Fair, valentine. Fair.
  • Ella having dinner with Emilio and Natalia gives me feels. She doesn’t have any real family, this poor girl.
  • Valentina’s anger at her mom was super hard to see.
  • They’ve all had to grow up so fast, and it’s heartbreaking to see the results of what the US government did.
  • DANCING IN THE KITCHEN IS MY OTP KRYPTONITE.
  • Never getting over the mom being like, I’m out.
  • Really, just …wow.
  • This show. Wow.

Agree? Disagree? What did you think of “Mexico”? Share with us in the comments below!

Party of Five airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.

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