Wednesday, February 19, 2020

REVIEW: 'Party of Five' - Val Remains Furious with Her Siblings for Not Understanding What She's Going Through in 'Dos y Dos'

Freeform's Party of Five - Episode 1.08 "Dos y Dos"

Lucia continues to try and impress activism mentor Sully. Natalia shares Val's secret with Emilio and, as a result, Val tries to reconnect with her parents. Beto encourages Ella to move in with her mother and discovers a secret from Ella's past.

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.

"Dos y Dos" was written by Gabriel Llanas & Esta Spalding and directed by James Larkin

All season long the Acosta family has been trying to come to terms with their individual identities. They projected so much importance onto their parents. They listened to them and followed their guidance. It has been important for the siblings to set out to achieve their own independence and understanding of the world around them. It's just something they have been forced to deal with because of the deportations of Javier and Gloria. Moreover, it's clear that this family was dysfunctional and trying to figure things out one step at a time long before that trauma occurred. Emilio is now realizing just how whitewashed his life has been up to this point. He is looked at a certain way. People perceive him as Mexican. A person who has to prove worthy of staying in America after his parents brought him here when he was a toddler. He has to be diligent with his DACA status while staying far away from anything even offering the perception of criminality. He wanted to forge his own path as a musician. His parents wanted him to have a better life of new opportunities in America. That just meant the complete abandonment of their culture. They didn't want him to be perceived the same way that they were. They made this sacrifice for him. And yet, it may be clear that he doesn't have the same privilege as his siblings. They come to the decision that they have to go to Mexico to see their parents. They need that support and clarity now. They can't wait until a major holiday comes up to reunite with them. Emilio just can't go on that journey. He feels trapped. He is only now starting to realize that his sense of identity and culture is important. He has to be responsible for his younger siblings. Val runs off and tries to cross the border herself because she needs her mother now. She believes that Gloria is the only person in the world who understands what she is going through. Natalia wanted to be understanding of why Val chose to be known as Amanda in her dance class. She knows that it can be difficult being a person of color in this world. Val is even willing to deflect by using that as some grand excuse. But the questioning of her identity runs much deeper than that. She may not totally understand what she is doing or why she has these perceptions of needing to feel secure. Her older siblings have to care for her even when they are confused as well. This family has constantly run the risk of falling apart. The siblings could easily go their separate ways because they may fundamentally believe they can survive on their own. The pressure is placed on the narrative to keep the family together. The social worker can't force them apart. And yet, Lucia and Beto spend the night away from home. They don't tell Emilio. They are too caught up in their own lives to know what's been going on with Val. She needs their support now more than ever before. Ella may understand what Val is going through because she too was once in a dark headspace because of feeling insignificant in a household with parents who were constantly fighting. She knows just how reckless and immature the decision to attempt suicide was. She is in a much better place now. But that may also be forced drama to project a new sense of uncertainty between her and Beto. She doesn't go on this journey to Mexico with him. It's an experience the Acosta siblings have to have together. But they aren't united in the end. They once again have to say goodbye because the laws of the country don't allow them to remain together. That is heartbreaking. Those are the moments that are incredibly raw and earned. Not everything in the narrative works. Lucia's apparent crush on activism mentor Sully is an incredibly rushed plot development meant to put her on equal footing with her siblings. Her storyline hasn't had the same kind of attention even though she is a fascinating character to watch. But again, everything eventually pivots around Emilio and the weight he feels to keep this family together even at the expense of his own life. He is fighting for his siblings. He wants them to be safe with him. However, he doesn't know how to live up to his Mexican heritage when he has rejected it internally for so many years. Him accepting that now is a step in the right direction. He knows his siblings have to go to Mexico. It's just unfortunate that the world always seems ready to conspire some new drama the siblings will have to endure.