One Day At A Time

One Day At A Time 4×04 Review: “One Halloween at a Time”

One Day At A Time 4×04 “One Halloween at a Time” is the kind of episode that cements the idea of family because the people you are related to by blood, yes, but also the people you choose, and in the end, that’s always been the most important lesson of this show.

I say this as someone who has always had a soft spot for the idea of Penelope and Schneider as a romantic couple. I think they could have made a good one. I think there was enough for the writers to take them there. It seems clear to me, however, that the writing has decided to go another way, and as much as I will miss what could have been, there’s another part of me that’s immensely glad for what we do have.

Family.

Schneider is important to the Alvarez’s for many reasons, and the fact that the show chose to highlight his importance, the fact that he is a member of their family, without making that about a romance with Penelope, is not just refreshing, it’s a celebration of the kind of makeshift families we see every day.

There are no rules to what makes people family, and Schneider has a special relationship with Lydia, Elena, Alex and Penelope. He is a part of the family, he already was, there’s no test that he needs to pass to become one them.

One Day At A Time
(L-R): Todd Grinnell as Schneider, India de Beaufort as Avery, Rita Moreno as Lydia, Isabella Gomez as Elena and Sheridan Pierce as Syd in ONE DAY AT A TIME, “One Halloween at a Time”. Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/POP TV.

And the proof is in that moment, at the end, after Avery announces she’s pregnant, where Alex suddenly remarks: “I’m gonna be a tio,” which Elena echoes. And they are. Because Schneider is like their uncle, and their friend, and their father-figure. It doesn’t matter that he’s not filling a particular, pre-designed role, because families don’t have to be a mom, a dad and kids.

Family is about the people who love you, and the people who stand by you.

And yes, that means Schneider is part of the Alvarez family, and right now it means Avery is too. And I hope that means that we’re going to see a little more of Avery bonding with the family, because so far she’s a little bit of an add-on, sort of like Syd and Nora. Family-adjacent, if you will.

Which brings us to Max, who is …I don’t know. That’s been my thing with Max, I don’t know what he is, other than insanely hot and good for Penelope. He might not want kids anymore (does he not? what changed his mind?), but he hasn’t, to this point, made any effort to truly be part of the family either, which is understandable. He’s in a relationship with Penelope.

One Day At A Time
(L-R): Justina Machado as Penelope and Ed Quinn as Max in ONE DAY AT A TIME, “One Halloween at a Time”. Photo Credit: Nicole Wilder/POP TV.

But, here’s the thing with family, and why I feel like if he’s ever going to be even family-adjacent, he’s going to need a little more time with Lydia, Elena, Alex and Schneider: you can’t escape them, and you don’t want to.

You can’t, and you shouldn’t let your family dictate your relationships, but it’s naïve to think that the people around you aren’t impacted by who you’re dating, and that you can somehow keep your dating life completely separate, forever.

So maybe, the message of patchwork families needs to be expanded a little. Not by having Max try to take Schneider’s place (there’s only one Schneider), but by Max finding his own place in this family. If not, why is he back?

Also, what’s the over/under on Schneider giving this kid a name in Spanish? I’m sure abuelita has a baby book she can lend him.

Things I think I think:

  • I swear, I’m gonna need the show to give me more about Max.
  • Elena and Syd are kinda cute in how committed they always are and how it never works out the way they think. And yet they never get mad at each other.
  • Bobo in the White House indeed.
  • Sorry, Schneider, your costume sucks.
  • Avery is back! I like you as Avery much more than as Jessica on Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.
  • “You won at life.”
  • FAIR.
  • THE HAIR.
  • It was kinda obvious that Avery was the one that was pregnant. Called it.
  • Abuelita as Belle is probably the highlight of this show, like, ever.
  • The guesses on Elena and Syd are hilarious.
  • She pulled out the Alejandro.
  • “You do know you need a man for that?”
  • Awww, the way Alex and Elena went “I’m gonna be a tio/tia.”

Agree? Disagree? What did you think of “One Halloween at a Time”? Share with us in the comments below!

One Day At A Time airs Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c on Pop TV.

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