Ramblings, TV Shows

Friday’s Freeform Round-Up: Finale Edition

So, yes I did not post a Friday’s Freeform Round-Up piece last week which obviously sucks, but I’m back this week! And I have a lot of thoughts on the finale episodes of some of my favorite Freeform shows. So let’s jump right in.

Slight spoilers ahead.

Party Of Five – “Diaspora”

In the finale episode of Party of Five, the four youngest Acosta children have made it to Mexico and are spending time with their parents at a hotel. Everyone seems to be going through the usual motions and trying to pretend that everything is the same but clearly it’s not. Beto pulls away from his family slightly when he finds out that Ella has come down to see him. Lucia struggles with her sexual identity after accidentally outing herself to her mom. And Val struggles with the feelings of being angry at her mother but also wanting to be with her.

Meanwhile, Emilio is back in the United States dealing with problems of his own. When the family’s social worker makes a surprise visit, Emilio is shocked to learn that he has made a big mistake sending the kids to Mexico without clearing with Child Protective Services first. He leans on Natalia for support as she struggles to prove himself a worthy parent for his siblings.

I’m gonna be honest, I thought the finale episode was anti-climatic, especially given last week’s amazing episode — which I didn’t write about, but hope to eventually. To me, this week’s episode didn’t bring any closer and instead raised a lot of questions and possible plot holes.

Let’s start with Lucia. Last week, Lucia had a fake heart-to-heart with her mom about what’s been bothering her that ended up revealing she might be into women. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being gay; however, it’s clear that Gloria might have a problem with this because of how she was raised. While I do think this is an interesting angle for Freeform and the Party of Five writers to explore, since it is a reality for many, I felt it fell to the back burner. They did circle back to it briefly when Gloria pulls Lucia aside and tells her that she’s going to love her no matter what but again, I felt it was lacking something.

Instead of having a real conversation about what’s going on, Lucia pulls away and instead decides to prove to her mom and herself that she’s not gay by having sex with some random kid she met at the hotel. I’d imagine this is a relatable story for LGBT teenagers too but again it felt a bit half-assed.

I understand Lucia is a reserved person who’s not quite sure what is going on with her. This is clear when she tries to tell Matthew she might not be straight but can’t get the words out. And luckily, Matthew understands and doesn’t push her to say something she’s not ready to admit. That scene was the strongest of Lucia’s in this episode in my opinion.

Even though Lucia is a reserved person who’s questioning her identity, I still think we could have seen her try to explain or grapple with her feelings more in this particular episode. It’s something I definitely want to see more of if the show is renewed for a season 2.

Moving on, Beto didn’t really take as strong of a lead in this episode as he has in the past. He’s admittedly kind of distracted since Ella is the picture. The episode did continue to a shine a light on his nurturing side though. He wants to be there for Ella, he wants to support his parents, he gives his mom the pep talk she needs to figure out her marital problems, and he ultimately is strong enough to let Valentina go.

I really enjoy Beto as a character because he’s a teen, Latino boy who’s in touch with his feelings and emotions. It’s something that’s so important for young Latino boys to see because so much of their representation is characters who suffer from toxic and hyper-masculinity.

Honestly, I think the purpose of Beto’s story this episode was to serve as a comparison to his parent’s love story. That’s extremely clear on the bus when he looks down at Ella who has put her hoop earrings on her ring finger. We see Beto realize that maybe Ella can be his person. I honestly think we see him contemplate making the same choices his own parents made, as in, getting married young.

Val has been the driving force of the last two episodes. She’s the reason the siblings made it to Mexico and she’s the only trying to hold everything together, sort of. She’s still mad at her mom and rightfully so and at the same time, she’s annoyed that she’s mad at her mom because she’s supposed to be her best friend.

Thus, she decides to ask her parents if she and baby Rafa can stay in Mexico with them since they still need their parents. When Val tells this to Beto and Lucia they both have opinions and things get heated as Val throws Lucia’s lack of feminine traits in her face. Once again I felt this was an extremely powerful scene that deescalated itself too quickly. I wanted more of a debate. For Lucia to stand up for herself because she’s not less of a woman because she doesn’t want to cook and clean, just like Beto is not less of a man because he’ll take care of his siblings and nurture them. There was so much depth there but we barely scratched the surface of it.

In the end, Val and Rafa do stay in Mexico in a decision that I felt was extremely interesting. To me, it felt like it discredited Javier and Gloria’s original decision to come to the United States all those years ago with Emilio. They wanted a better life for him and even though things went terribly wrong, they truly believe they made the right decision for their kids to succeed. In my opinion, Gloria and Javier agreeing to keep Val and Rafa has less to do about the well-being of their children, and more to do with the well-being of their marriage. A few scenes before Javier was begging Gloria to have another baby to save their marriage which is never a good idea, but maybe using your own living children is?

In my opinion, Val staying with her parents is a mistake she’s going to regret in some form. Put the different countries aside, the fact of the matter is her parents are not the same people she knows and loves. Val wants the parents Emilio, Lucia, and Beto grew up with but those parents had different struggles than current ones Gloria and Javier are experiencing. What happens when Val’s picture-perfect parents argue in front of her? What happens when Val realizes her mother probably can’t quit her nannying job because they need the money since Javier isn’t the manager of a restaurant anymore. These are the questions that no one considered when they agreed to this arrangement and if there is a season 2, these are the questions I hope are addressed with Val.

And then there’s Emilio who did have an interesting episode, though I prefer his plot from last week’s episode more. This week we see him struggle with his parental decision making when the family’s social worker comes back into the picture. Emilio is forced to take a parenting class where he explodes because he shouldn’t have to be a parent to his siblings.

To be honest, I was all-around confused with this storyline. Obviously, sending the kids to Mexico was the right thing for him to do because they needed to see their parents. And yes, he probably should have cleared it with the school but clearing it with the social worker just seems odd. To me, it enforced this idea that the US government wants to be responsible for these parentless kids even though they’re the precise reason the children are parentless. It’s almost like the social worker is saying it’s irresponsible to send them to see their parents in Mexico because they’re not responsible parents since they’ve been deported, which obviously is not true.

The story did show Emilio take on a parenting role though. His refusal to want Val to speak to CPS didn’t come from a place of fear, but rather a place of parenthood. He didn’t want to have to put her in a position where she has to explain and plead for her family, again. That scene right there cemented Emilio as a fatherly figure for this family and Val.

And yet, all that progress is taken away shortly after when Emilio decides to road trip to New York with Natalia for the songwriting competition. Honestly, it made no sense. He just spent an entire episode getting reprimanded for not taking care of his siblings and now he’s going to leave Beto and Lucia alone to go to New York. Correct me if I’m wrong but 16-year-olds still need parental supervision in the eyes of the state.

By far my biggest concern for this finale episode is the lack of suspense for a possible season two. Right now, if this were to be the show’s final episode I would be slightly disappointed but mostly fine with it. Val and Rafa are with their parents, Emilio is back to chasing his dream, Lucia is finding her place in activism, and Beto has Ella. Even though I’d have questions, their stories do feel resolved. That’s extremely concerning for a finale episode.

We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. For now, you can catch up or rewatch the entire first season of Party of Five on Freeform, Hulu, Youtube, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime Video.

Good Trouble – “Trap Heals”

The characters in Good Trouble are once again up to trouble. As the gang gathers at the Trap Heals even that Malika is hosting, secrets and relationships are put to the test partly due to an anonymous confession tree and partly due to the characters themselves. There’s a lot going on in this episode and I don’t want to ramble forever so I’m going to try to stick to the main points of the relationships — aka I’ll be leaving somethings out.

Mariana and Raj are finally honest with each other about their feelings towards other people. Mariana admits that she does have feelings for Evan but that she doesn’t want to act on them because she loves Raj. Raj, on the other hand, admits that he has feelings for Isabella and he’s not so sure he doesn’t want to act on them. Nice going Raj, we were all rooting for you! Mariana confronts Isabella and tries to kick her out but Isabella refuses and throws the lease that she has signed in Mariana’s face. Things go from bad to worse when Davia reveals that Isabella wrote a confession at the Trap Heals event that reads, “I slept with my roommate’s boyfriend.” This sends Mariana spiraling and she ends up having sex with Evan after hours at the office.

In my opinion, this is typical “jump to conclusions” Mariana behavior. Isabella’s confession wasn’t about Raj but instead was about her previous roommate. Think about it, we know Isabella was forced to move out and didn’t have another place lined up. She ran into Gael, flirted a little, and then ended up at the coterie where she prayed on vulnerable Mariana who needed a roommate. Why do you think she was so adamant about being on the lease with Mariana? Let me tell you, it had nothing to do with her finances and instead had everything to do with her landing a permanent roof over her head no matter what she did in the future.

Isabella is a vindictive character and Mariana fell right into her trap. Now, Mariana is going to have to deal with the repercussions of her actions. She of all people should know that you can’t take sex back once the deed is done. She really did it this time.

Honestly, I’m just hoping and praying that season 3 will put an end to the damn love triangle. Newsflash, Mariana doesn’t need a man to be a kickass character!

Moving on, Callie is still at odds between her boyfriend and doing the right thing. In true Callie fashion, she chooses to do the right thing over her own safety and security. In doing so, she has jeopardized her relationship with Jamie. Callie ends up back at the coterie only this time she’s forced to sleep on the couch since Isabella is apparently there to stay. Unable to sleep, Callie goes to the roof to get some air when she runs into none other than Gael.

Cue, another useless love triangle.

For the love of God can we please let these girls be happy and secure in their lives and relationships!

To be honest, I wasn’t all that invested in Callie this episode. Her actions were predictable and there wasn’t anything really new about her storyline. It’s no surprise that Callie and Jamie are fighting over the political differences — it’s something we’ve seen them explore before.

While I do agree with Callie’s reasoning, I do really like Callie and Jamie’s relationship. I think it’s important to showcase that being in a relationship with someone that has different political opinions than you isn’t easy but it can be possible. And I hate to break to all the Callie/Gael shippers out there, but the actor who plays Jamie has just been promoted to a series regular so he’s going to be sticking around in some capacity next season.

Less focused on this episode was Malika who is the reason everyone is together somewhere other than the coterie. This week we see her tell her boyfriend that she’s going on trial and see her push her father and brother together. Perhaps, this is her way of tying up loose ends while her future hangs in the balance.

Alice also got a little bit of screen time this week where she finally grew in her self-confidence and stood up for herself in the face of Lindsay. It’s about damn time girl! I really hope we continue to see Alice grow in her self-confidence next season.

In regards to Dennis and Davia, all I can say is finally! Thank god we don’t have to see these two hopelessly pining for each other for another season. Going forward I want to see that happy and continuing to help each other grow.

One more thing. I do think Good Trouble does a good job of exploring platonic relationships as well. I’m glad we got to see Gael agree to help Dennis out and that Mariana and Callie finally made up and realized they are each other’s best friends.

Catch up and binge watch season 2 of Good Trouble on Freeform, Hulu, Youtube, Sling TV, and Amazon Prime Video.

The Bold Type – “The Space Between”

The Bold Type is the only show in this round-up that did not air its season finale episode, but I’m still going to discuss this week’s episode which was a lot deeper than last week’s episode.

So what were our favorite Scarlett employees up to this week? After finding a lump on her breast Jane rushes to the doctor’s office to get it checked out. Once she’s given the all-clear her and Ryan have a ditch day to enjoy life. Meanwhile, Sutton continues to struggle with her assistant position and Kat deals with bisexual erasure from Adena.

A bit of a brief summary this time but it gets the job done. So, what did I think?

Let’s start with Jane. I found her anxieties around the 30 Under 30 interview to be really interesting and unique. So many people would kill to be on a list like that because it proves that they’re successful and yet Jane sees it in a completely different light. Since her mom died at 32, Jane fears this list is going to be the last chapter of her own story and that scares her. She tries to distract herself from her fears but at the end of the day, you can’t run from your fears.

I found Jane’s road to a decision regarding the double mastectomy appropriate and I applaud Freeform and the writer’s for exploring it. Ultimately, this was the right decision for her and I support it. I completely understand her reasoning for it and feeling like having the surgery will allow her to worry less about if she’ll live to be 30, 40, 50 years old.

The strongest scene for her storyline this episode was when she told Ryan her decision and told it that she wouldn’t fault him for leaving. I’m so glad Ryan was having none of that. Even though they’re not married and Jane has given him an out, Ryan has agreed to love Jane in “sickness and in health” no matter what. It was a nice moment for these two who have had a rocky relationship all season.

Sutton’s storyline was a bit hit or a miss with me. I understand she’s frustrated with her current position and wants to do more but it kind of felt like the same old story again. Especially when you couple it with her missing Richard. Sutton is such an interesting and complex character and I want to see more from her.

By far the strongest storyline and one that got me the most fired up was Kat’s. Last week she came to the realization that she might be bisexual — which I thought we already knew — and is now living in that new identity. She’s happy and thriving again until Adena comes back into the picture.

Look, I know the internet loves to ship Kat and Adena and I did for a long time too but I’ve officially disembarked that ship. This episode was the final push I needed.

Kat and Adena’s relationship has always been complicated and Adena’s always been skeptical of Kat. Apparently, that skepticism hasn’t gone away. When Kat tells Adena that she identifies as bisexual now, Adena is taken aback. She tries to warn Kat that some lesbians are uncomfortable with bisexuality and that she should stay away from a party tonight. A quick pep talk with Oliver (I loved it) later and Kat and Oliver show up to the party and discover the only person who has a problem with Kat’s sexuality is Adena.

Kat confronts Adena about it the following day at work but Adena does what she does best, gets defensive. She claims she doesn’t have a problem with bisexuals and just felt hurt because it made her question if what they had was real. Bullshit, Adena knew what they had was real! She just doesn’t believe people can be “on the fence” in terms of their sexualities.

I’m glad that Freeform is exploring the realities of bisexual erasure and I’m sure fans are mad that it’s coming in the way of their ship, but it needs to be addressed. I just hope Kat doesn’t double down for the sake of Adena.

You can watch The Bold Type on Freeform, Hulu, Youtube, Sling TV, or Amazon Prime Video.

Grown-ish – “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number”

Even though there have only been 8 episodes so far and Grown-ish just came back, they’ve decided to go on a hiatus until summer. I don’t understand but whatever.

This week Zoey finally turns 21 which is played as a big deal (despite the fact the gang has been drinking since the minute they got to Cal U). After a heart-to-heart with Aaron goes wrong, Zoey announces that she won’t be attending Cal U for her final year. Meanwhile, Jazz struggles to redefine her relationship with Doug in the face of her track future. As for the other characters, well, they make appearances but nothing too memorable happens.

Honestly, I was super annoyed with this episode. I understand that the writers are trying to distance the characters from Cal U so the show can live beyond four seasons but right now, I feel that plan is backfiring.

They’ve figured out how to keep Aaron around, they got rid of Nomi, and now they’re taking their lead character out of Cal U. It’s an extremely dumb move and one that’s probably not even going to pan out when the season returns in the summer.

I know characters tend not to change a lot in half-hour shows, but I feel like everyone has gone through some kind of transformation except Zoey. She continues to be the same reckless and selfish girl she was in the first season and now it’s getting old.

I felt this episode was trying to cram too much into 23 minutes. I wanted more from Jazz and Doug. I wanted more from Ana. And I really wanted more from Vivek who continues to be MIA.

Overall, I was extremely disappointed but will still be counting down the days until the summer premiere.

Catch up with Grown-ish on Freeform, Hulu, Youtube, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, or Vudu.

And that concludes this week’s edition of Friday’s Freeform Round-Up. This will probably be the last segment for a while until these shows return but we shall have to wait and see. Let me know what you think by commenting below or by tweeting me @3RsBlog.

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