PARTY OF FIVE

‘Party of Five’ 1×10 Review: “Diaspora”

Party of Five 1×10 “Diaspora” is a truly emotional experience, the exclamation point in a complete and dare I say it – almost perfect – season, with very few missteps and many more lessons than we ever expected.

This was always meant to be about family, about growing up and finding your place in the world. Amazingly, the show managed to marry that with a feeling of authenticity to the experience their characters were going through, and with a real sense that these characters whose journeys we followed, they weren’t just fictional people on a screen, no, they were our friends.

And that’s why we cared about them.

More importantly, the show did all of this without every shying away from the issues. I’d even dare say it did so without being preachy – even though at times it legitimately was – because when you have as many reasons to preach as the Acostas have, what else are you going to do?

Party of Five - Diaspora
PARTY OF FIVE – “Diaspora” – Val makes a surprising request, with lasting repercussions. Ella surprises Beto in Mexico, and her presence brings up unexpected truths. Lucia goes out of her comfort zone. Emilio leans on Natalia when the family’s social worker returns. This episode of “Party of Five” airs Wednesday, March 4, at 8:30p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/Eric McCandless) ELLE PARIS LEGASPI

This is, after all, their reality.

Bringing that to the screen couldn’t have been easy. Balancing a burgeoning romance between Emilio and Natalia, the collapse of Javier and Gloria’s relationship, and the transition from one kind of family to a very different type of unit, while giving each other kids their own voice, their own personality, was always a tall order, and one of the reasons this show batted a thousand in that regard is that it never felt like it was trying too hard.

It just was. No stereotypes, no flags on the wall meant to show the characters were something they never showed themselves to be, just …people going through life with the knowledge that the country they call home thinks of them as second-class citizens.

When this show first premiered, I remember some people expressing that this iteration of the show was too political. Even then the criticism felt hollow. The Acostas lives are political, the plight of people in their circumstances, is political. And yet, their lives, like the Acostas, aren’t all about what they lost, what they could still lose. That’s just not how life is.

No, instead, life is a collection of moments: the good and the bad, the ones that make you rage, the ones that make you doubt, and yes, the ones that make you happy. Because even in the darkest moments, the Acostas found some happiness in each other, just like we expected them to.

Party of Five - Diaspora
PARTY OF FIVE – “Diaspora” – Val makes a surprising request, with lasting repercussions. Ella surprises Beto in Mexico, and her presence brings up unexpected truths. Lucia goes out of her comfort zone. Emilio leans on Natalia when the family’s social worker returns. This episode of “Party of Five” airs Wednesday, March 4, at 8:30p.m. ET/PT on Freeform. (Freeform/Eric McCandless) EMILY TOSTA

From now on the journey is different, even if it’s the same. And though Freeform has yet to announce a season 2 renewal, I really, really hope this show is given a chance to grow, a chance to get on a streaming platform and gain more of an audience while season 2 is being prepared, and most importantly a chance to continue telling authentic stories that don’t need to proclaim their authenticity.

Diversity is many things. It’s telling the important stories right when they need to be brought to the screen, when it will make a difference. It’s bringing other experiences that the ones we’ve, for so long, considered standard, into the forefront. And it’s doing it with the right actors, the right writers, the right attitude. Party of Five did all of those things, and it didn’t just check the boxes, no.

It also delivered outstanding, smart, emotional episodes.

Sometimes I feel like I’m shouting into the void when I tell people to watch this show. Hopefully, Freeform is with me in making sure we give this show a chance to fill that void. Hopefully, this isn’t the end.

We – they – deserve more.

Things I think I think:

  • Of COURSE Natalia had to run into this woman. Of couuuurse.
  • You admit there was a moment, then.
  • I like that Javier is still trying to defend Gloria.
  • “I can’t face God after what I’ve done” is such a latinx thing. Putting herself first feels like sin.
  • This isn’t on you, Lucia. Your mom’s decisions aren’t on you.
  • “None of us is who we were before.”
  • Exactly, and you need to stop acting like you are.
  • Ah, Lucia. Who you are doesn’t need to be “escaped.”
  • Can I hug Emilio?
  • Having a baby to replace their babies is a BAD idea.
  • I like this idea of moments adding up. I also like the notion of picking someone you feel good jumping off a cliff with.
  • “I was always gonna fall short in this job.”
  • *WEEPS*
  • Ooops Ella.
  • Valentina is being so mean and manipulative. I know she’s 12, and I know she’s hurt, but 12 year olds aren’t innocent little angels. They know what they’re doing.
  • And there’s no reason for the things she’s telling Lucia. I know it comes from a place of not understanding, but Lucia is still her sister.
  • Aaaaw, Rafa knows Ella.
  • Why, Lucia. Why?
  • Good on Ella for telling. That wasn’t her secret to keep.
  • “A girl from a broken home indeed.”
  • Now Emilio has lost something. Now HIS heart is broken.
  • GAH, THIS IS HURTING ME.
  • “You should be a father when it’s your time.”
  • But he’s already been a father for all this time, and you can’t take that back.
  • I can understand and appreciate that, despite how hard it is for Gloria to understand Lucia in this moment (it goes against everything she was taught to believe), her love for her daughter shines through.
  • “Taking care of those kids actually gave me a life.”
  • STOP IT, EMILIO. I CANNOT HANDLE THIS.
  • Gah, I really ship Emilio and Natalia. Do we have a ship name?
  • Lucia, you don’t have to be what everyone wants you to be.
  • FINALLY HAHAHAHAHA
  • “I’ll always recognize you.”
  • Aww.
  • Matthew is like the best friend ever.
  • It is a little manipulative, Beto. It’s hard to blame you for it, though.
  • To be fair, Ella, emancipation doesn’t sound so bad. Your parents suck.
  • See, and now I’m tearing up again at the stupid car seat.
  • “I’m home.”
  • Are you, though?

Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Party of Five 1×10 “Diaspora”? Share with us in the comments below!

Party of Five aired Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform. It has yet to be renewed for season 2.

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