Sunday, February 10, 2019

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Penelope and Lydia Confront Schneider About His Sobriety in 'Drinking and Driving'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 3.12 "Drinking and Driving"

After putting Alex in a difficult position, Schneider gets tough love from Penelope. Dr. B consults Lydia's bouquet list for "non-iversary" gift ideas.

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.

"Drinking and Driving" was written by Dan Signer & Andy Roth and directed by Gloria Calderon Kellett

Schneider has suffered with addiction for a long time. However, it has never been his prominent characteristic on the show. There have been passing references to it. He has talked about it openly regarding how the family has helped him. But he has mostly been the wealthy owner of the building who is too close with the Alvarez family. They love him even though he can be a lot at times. Addiction is simply one part of his identity. Him falling off the wagon though makes that one character trait all consuming to him. It dramatically changes his personality. It makes it so its scary to watch him. He is casually lying to his family. He relies on Penelope and Lydia so much. And now, he has started drinking again and deflects when they confront him about it. They didn't want Victor to be right with this information. They wanted to believe that Schneider was stronger than that. They can't believe that he has been doing this since his father came to town. It started that night. He was only able to stand up to him because he took a drink beforehand. As such, that has empowered him. However, he is no longer the drinker he was in his youth. Now, he is completely powerless to this disease. Sure, he can still hide it well. But once it becomes clear, it's so destructive to the people closest to him. He is willing to lie just in order to avoid confrontation. He knows that Penelope and Lydia are disappointed in him. He doesn't want to hear that lecture. He knows that it's coming. He believes he has a better handling on things. He doesn't want to attend meetings and admit that he has a problem. This has all happened very suddenly as well. It's just been a quick relapse. But even that can be so destructive. His eight years of sobriety are quickly thrown out the window. He doesn't call his sponsor throughout any of this. Penelope is the one who ultimately gets him back on the program. It's nice that Joe Manganiello makes an appearance as Nick, Schneider's sponsor. However, it's just a brief cameo at the end with Penelope also hitting on him. It ensures that there is an uplifting moment at the conclusion of this dark story. But it's scary for most of the running time as well. Penelope and Lydia don't know what to do when they know that Schneider is on the loose and drinking again. They don't know who to contact or where he could possibly be. When he is found, it's not by anyone who understands the situation. But the reaction to it is surprising and shows just how much the family has grown. Schneider is scared that this relapse will destroy all of the love and trust he has built with the family. That is certainly true to an extent. And yet, they are all willing to help him as well because they love him and know that he is so much better than this disease.

Elena and Alex just want to celebrate her passing her driver's test. It's a big occasion for her. Instead, Alex spills the beverage on his shirt and immediately races down to the laundry room. That's where Schneider is found. Penelope and Lydia didn't think to look there. But he's a drunken mess. Alex doesn't know what's going on. He stepped up earlier in the day to help Elena and Dr. B through their anxiety attacks. In fact, this episode proves that people can count on him even though he is still casually flirting with girls everywhere he goes. He loves this family. But here, Schneider puts him in a heartbreaking position. He is asking Alex to lie because his drinking isn't a big deal. He doesn't want Penelope to have a big reaction like she did when she learned about Alex smoking. Alex is still grounded at this moment. And yet, Schneider can't use that to his advantage because it appears that Alex has learned his lesson from his past behavior. He understands where Penelope was coming from. As such, he has a level head when it comes to handling the situation with Schneider. He knows that his friend needs help from all of his loved ones. It's not right to keep this a secret. He is spiraling and shouldn't be left to himself to fall even further down this path. It's the right decision. It makes it clear to Penelope that her son has matured thanks to the lectures and the grounding. That punishment is lifted here. He is free to explore the world once more. Elena can even drive him now as well - as long as Lydia is also in the vehicle. That creates the situation where it's just Schneider and Penelope left in the apartment. Schneider is defeated and no longer feels like a welcomed member of the family. He doubts his place in the world. He understands exactly what he lost. He knows that the Alvarez family never saw him as an addict. They welcomed him in as one of their own. And now, he'll have to continually work hard to prove that he is trustworthy again. He lied to them for a long time. He put Alex in a compromising situation. Trust will be difficult to rebuild. But again, there is that hope. No one is going to abandon Schneider. They know that's not what he needs right now. But again, this represents a possible yet significant change to the dynamics of the show for the foreseeable future. How the show handles that should be very interesting.