Wednesday, January 15, 2020

REVIEW: 'Party of Five' - Emilio Learns About a Business Deal His Father Had With the Restaurant in 'Long Distance'

Freeform's Party of Five - Episode 1.03 "Long Distance"

Emilio discovers that his father was being taken advantage of by the owner of a restaurant across the street. Beto lives with the frustration over Emilio's new relationship. Lucia attempts to help her new friend Matthew get a job.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides 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 Freeform's Party of Five.

"Long Distance" was written by Amy Lippman & Christopher Keyser and directed by Eva Vives

The Acosta family is trying their best to maintain a sense of normalcy. Javier and Gloria have been deported back to Mexico. However, genuine attempts are made to have them remain an active and daily part of their children's lives. This is the life that Javier and Gloria built as well. It's the life that their children are now living instead. As such, there is a profound sense of loss on their part. They are missing out on seeing their children grow up and experience the world. They built a business and they still have a vested interest in its success. But all of this can come across as living in denial as well. It can be seen as keeping the lines of communication so open that they are failing to accept and adjust to their new realities. Val would much rather be talking to her mother on the phone instead of doing her schoolwork. Her mother has long been a constant source of support. And now, Beto has to shoulder that responsibility. He doesn't know how to prevent her from coming into his bedroom every single night. The only solution may be in severing this connection with their parents a little more. These children aren't orphans like the family from the original series. However, they have still suffered a significant loss. It's up to the siblings to ensure that the lives they are living in Los Angeles are completely their own while always looking out for each other. Sometimes, that presents through incredibly petty drama. It's clear that Beto only shows an interest in female friendship if there is the understanding it could lead to romance. Emilio may operate in the same way. But it's easy to accept Emilio and Vanessa as a couple because they are peers who understand all the emotional weight that comes from being in a relationship. Right now, Beto is projecting a lot of feelings onto this situation while only awkwardly displaying them to his family. He is furious that his brother has taken this woman away from him. He didn't have any ownership claim to her. In fact, it's awkward and forced when he keeps showing up in her life trying to present as a viable romantic option even though he is still in high school. He should focus on his studies. It's easy for him to get distracted though. That happens here through family friend Louie allowing Beto to drive a car around whenever he wants. Emilio soon comes to learn that Louie has been extorting money from his father for as long as he's had the restaurant. Javier always saw this as a loving and honest friendship. However, Emilio may have the clarity to know that this is cutting into the profits that are necessary to keep the business afloat and the family together. Javier was more than willing to be critical of Oscar in order to provide more money to his family. He doesn't extend the same courtesy to this friend. It's because he is having difficulties letting go. This is still his restaurant. He is just prohibited from being in the United States to run it. Emilio has had to step in. It's his turn to make mistakes. It doesn't feel like this is a mistake either. Sure, he has his own immigration status to forever be worried about. The law could change at any moment. That only adds to Val's anxiety. It's easier for Lucia's new friend Matthew to buy a social security number instead of believing the system will work for him. These are the choices that are actively being made even by the young generation trying to find their way in the world. It's heartbreaking for this family to place some more distance in their relationships knowing that's what's for the best. It's difficult. They don't want to say this goodbye. It may be what's necessary to ensure that everyone can live full and rewarding lives. It's simply tragic because Javier and Gloria have lost everything they have and are starting over with nothing. They take pleasure in maintaining these connections too. As adults, they know how to manage these responsibilities. They don't want to burden their children. And yet, that's what the world has conditioned them all into accepting no matter how traumatic it may ultimately become through the sheer fear that an earthquake could kill any of them at any moment.