Friday, February 8, 2019

REVIEW: 'One Day at a Time' - Penelope's Brother Visits During a Brief Family Vacation in 'Hermanos'

Netflix's One Day at a Time - Episode 3.04 "Hermanos"

Sibling rivalry rears its ugly head when Penelope's brother, who can do no wrong in their mother's eyes, shows up during a family getaway to San Diego.

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.

"Hermanos" was written by Becky Mann & Audra Sielaff and directed by Phill Lewis

After three seasons, One Day at a Time introduces Penelope's brother, Tito - played by Cold Case and Law & Order: SVU alum Danny Pino. Now, it could seem odd that he is only now being introduced simply because of all the previous celebrations and tragedies that have brought the family together. He wasn't at Elena's quinces. He didn't visit when Lydia had her stroke and was in a coma. And now, that becomes a part of the actual story here. Lydia loves Tito so much. To her, he can do no wrong. She is perfectly fine explaining away his absences as him being too busy working and traveling. That's simply who he is. And yet, that's not a good enough explanation. Sure, Penelope has her own problems and shortcomings. But she has still been there to see her family go through some tremendous highs and crushing lows. That's what makes it so devastating when Penelope learn that Tito was only two hours away when Lydia had her stroke. He absolutely could have come to the hospital to be with his mother should that have been the end. Instead, he was completely missing. His initial explanation isn't good enough either. He believes his mother wouldn't want to be seen in that way. And yet, everyone else in the family had to see her like that because they seriously thought that they could lose her. That's what makes Tito admit here that he is weak and selfish. He couldn't bear to see his mother in that position or deal with the collective grief from the family. That's the same pattern he has followed for his entire life. He is successful. He doesn't have to combine deals together just to afford a nice vacation for his family. He can just hand money to Elena and Alex. But that's not the kind of brother, son and uncle the family needs right now. They want him to be a part of their lives. He appreciates everything that they do together. He understands that Lydia may pit her children against each other but she would still save Penelope if the situation demanded it. This may be a family where it's difficult to break from the patterns of stubbornness and admit that things need to change. However, Tito promises to be around more. He wants to experience the good and the bad with the rest of the family. It should be interesting to see if he keeps to that promise as well. He could continue making appearances this season so that there is a new voice amongst the family with a new perspective. Or he could still only show up during special occasions. All of this also forces Alex and Elena to have a conversation about what they mean to each other. They are fighting and getting on each other's last nerves. However, they don't want to end up like their mother and uncle. They want to be in each other's lives for as long as possible. They don't want disagreements to get in the way of them being family. Of course, it doesn't take much before the family is once again just making fun of each other and returning to their usual patterns. And finally, it's amusing to spend time with Schneider and Dr. B while the Alvarez family is away. Sure, it's weird that they are in the apartment without the rest of the family there. However, it's fun to see the two of them bond as father and son. It makes it so that the emotions land when Berkowitz says that he is proud of Schneider for staying sober for eight years. That comment ultimately leads to the kind of appreciation both of them have needed in their lives for a long time.