Wednesday, February 5, 2020

REVIEW: 'Party of Five' - The Acosta Siblings Feel the Burden of Determining to Do Things on Their Own in 'Patch Job'

Freeform's Party of Five - Episode 1.06 "Patch Job"

After Rafa's ER visit, Emilio realizes he needs help and finds himself opening up to a new babysitter. Beto tries to impress Ella and falls short. Lucia becomes inspired by an immigration activist. Val enrolls in a dance class and takes on a new persona.

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.

"Patch Job" was written by Mary Angélica Molina and directed by Alonso Alvarez-Barreda

The Acosta family has gone through a trauma together. As such, they are all coping by putting up these defensive mechanisms. They can't always explain what they doing or why they are doing it. But it's a way to protect themselves even if it comes at the expense of the people around them. They know that the future isn't guaranteed any more. They have to be protective of one another. Emilio finds it difficult to leave Rafa's side after his stint in the hospital. He doesn't want anything bad to happen to any of his siblings. He wants to protect them from it all. He saw his parents as so noble and successful in that regard. He holds onto that idea even though their actions have disrupted this family in such a dramatic and emotional way. Their deportations have had this profound effect on their children. Javier and Gloria still want to be actively engaged in their lives. They demand to be treated with respect when it comes to parenting decisions as well. And yes, Emilio is probably making a mistake in withholding details of Rafa suffering from lead poisoning. He needs to be honest with his parents. They have a right to be worried as well. It's just difficult because Emilio is the one having to step up and be the guardian this family needs in order to stay together. He feels that pressure so severely. It may become a crushing weight on his shoulders. He basically micromanages new babysitter Natalia. He also props up this idea that his parents came to this country with nothing and built this entire life themselves. That may be nothing more than a fantasy though. In fact, they may have only lived through putting small patches on things in order to delay the inevitable. They were just filling time instead of actually living joyfully. They couldn't have those rewarding lives. They gave that up for their children. They had happiness for awhile. But it all came at a cost. And now, Emilio finds himself having to pay for his parents' mistakes. Their opinions mean so much to him. But he also sees how they didn't maintain their house very well. He now has to figure out how to pay for a professional plumber to come in and address all of those issues. That's what makes Natalia an engaging introduction to the family. She comes in with the expertise of how the immigrant experience actually works. The Acosta family was largely shielded from that. They didn't have to be worried about their parents being deported. That never seemed like a concern for them. And now, they have to be extremely cautious with everything they do. But they shouldn't just turn away when someone offers them help. They don't have to do everything by themselves. Emilio can welcome it and understand that this is what makes a community of immigrants strong. It's fundamentally the idea of taking care of one another no matter what they are going through. Meanwhile, Beto doesn't have to be the person who treats Ella to a fancy dinner for their anniversary and pay for it. She may use money in order to buy love from people. But she genuinely appreciates how good Beto is. She wants that quality in her life no matter how dramatic her mood shifts. Elsewhere, Lucia has to accept that she wants Matthew to renew his DACA status because she wants to shield herself from any more pain. Her being honest with him in that regard also allows him to open up about being transgender and coming from a household that wasn't accepting. Renewing his status means facing off with the person he was once designated to be but no longer wants to recognize. That is harrowing but so uplifting because he has Lucia for support no matter what. These moments help these characters strengthen their bonds even though it's just as likely that things could fall apart in an episode or two with these relationships outside the core family. Val may embrace dance believing it will help her escape to a new life where she has a loving maternal figure. But that too may be nothing more than a false choice that doesn't enrich her life whatsoever. Matthew needed to build a new identity because it was who he was meant to be. With Val, she wants a sense of escapism even though that could come at the expense of her connection to this family and their current reality.