Sunday, February 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Schneider Is Faced with Some Difficult Decisions When His Father Visits in 'The Man'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 3.10 "The Man"

Schneider makes a big decision in order to please his visiting father - at the expense of Penelope's family. Lydia finds Alex's confiscated pot.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's One Day at a Time.

"The Man" was written by Becky Mann & Audra Sielaff and directed by Kimberly McCullough

Schneider is still desperately seeking love and approval from his father. The Alvarez family supports him unconditionally. They love him exactly as he is even though he can often be infuriating. It was also a huge victory for Schneider earlier this season when Dr. B said he was proud of him for staying sober for eight years. That meant something because he has always wanted to hear that from his father. Lawrence hasn't even seen his son while he's been sober. He has been absent for Schneider's life for the past eight years. That's horrifying to realize here. It makes it seem as if his sobriety has meant absolutely nothing. Lawrence expects to be appreciated for paying for Schneider's rehab three times. And yet, he still arrives bringing a gift of expensive alcohol. He doesn't really want things to change. He doesn't want anything in the world to change who he fundamentally is as a person. And yet, he's a despicable human being who manages to offend everyone in the family upon first meeting them. He is a man who is only concerned about his own personal wealth. Money has never been able to fill the void in Schneider's life. Drugs and alcohol were able to do so for a little while. But that wasn't healthy for him. It's been a struggle for him to stay sober. There has been a more consistent effort as the series has gone on to tell stories about this disease and how it has shaped him as a person. He was so grateful that Lydia helped him get sober and stay that way. That's what forged their initial connection. It's why he comes over to the Alvarez apartment so often. And yet, he doesn't think about them when he just agrees to his father's demand of turning the apartment into condos. He knows that gentrification is bad because that's what Elena is always telling him. He just doesn't associate himself with being a part of the problem. He just sees it as being great that Penelope can own her own house and doesn't have to pay rent to him every month. She has had a good deal in this building as well. Schneider has never once risen the rent. That's miraculous. It's further proof that he's not the best building manager. He asks Elena to make all of the repairs around the building. Sure, he has upgraded the laundry room recently with smart technology. But that's the only fundamental change he has made so far. He's a man who doesn't want his life to change either. He is already satisfied with what he has. As such, it appears easy for him to stand up to his father. He doesn't want to be just like him. He already has more money than he knows what to do with. He doesn't want to force his friends and tenants out of this building just so he can make money. Penelope celebrates that. She once again feels confident in seeing Schneider as a friend. In that moment though, it's all about her struggle. She celebrates because she doesn't have to worry about her finances and possibly getting kicked out. But she also doesn't recognize just how brutal this decision actually was for Schneider. He is rejecting his father. And now, it's so easy for him to be tempted by alcohol once more. That's such a damning final moment that could lead to some severe consequences for the final portion of the season.

Meanwhile, the Alex and Lydia subplot may force the audience to wonder how much time has passed since Penelope discovered that Alex was smoking marijuana. He has been grounded for the majority of the season. Major holidays and big events have occurred since that episode. He is still locked in the apartment unable to do anything fun. Lydia doesn't know why he has been grounded either. She still thinks it's just a minor issue that Penelope is making into a big deal. Plus, the weed and vape pen are still in Penelope's pocket when Lydia goes to do laundry with Alex. That would suggest that not a whole lot of time has actually passed this season. That may prove that secrets aren't destined to stay buried for a long time with this family. Alex didn't want to disappoint his grandmother. That was the one request he asked of his mother regarding his grounding. She understood and was willing to agree to those terms. She understands the pressure that Lydia places on her family. It's devastating to her when she believes that her daughter is hooked on drugs. She is enraged and Alex is willing to let her believe that so long as she remains quiet about it. And yet, Lydia can't behave that way. She needs to scream and shout now while letting the devastating silence work later on. That's the only way that she can hope to get through to Penelope. That's what makes Alex ultimately confess to the drugs being his. He never tries to take them away from Lydia though. He confesses and feels ashamed because he doesn't want anything to change their relationship. She understands that as well. She is closer with him than anyone else in the family. She wants to encourage this bond for as long as possible. She knows that Alex is growing up and will probably want to spend less time with her. He shakes off those thoughts. He enjoy being around her with all of the inside jokes and secrets that they carry. But it's also fascinating how Lydia is able to write all of this off as soon as she knows the truth too. She is so angry when she believes the drugs belong to Penelope. But then, everything quickly reverts back to humor when she confesses that she once took one of Dr. B's special lozenges. As such, she knows that she can't stay mad forever especially when it comes to Alex. That's a little strange. But it never takes away from the overall impact of the story.