Wednesday, March 4, 2020

REVIEW: 'Party of Five' - Val's Impulsive Decision Shakes Up the Acosta Family Once More in 'Diaspora'

Freeform's Party of Five - Episode 1.10 "Diaspora"

Val makes a surprising request, with lasting repercussions. Ella surprises Beto in Mexico, and her presence brings forward unexpected truths. Lucia goes out of her comfort zone. Emilio leans on Natalia when the family's social worker comes back.

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 season finale of Freeform's Party of Five.

"Diaspora" was written by Amy Lippman and directed by Patricia Cardoso

Where does each member of the Acosta family have to be in order to feel rewarded and uplifted in their personal journeys of self discovery? At the start of the series, the argument was made that the five siblings needed to remain together in America. Javier and Gloria were being deported to Mexico. That was a significant trauma but their children could stay together and protect each other. That was a comforting thought. The season that followed showed how each of them has struggled because of this arrangement and just how tight these bonds actually are. They aren't on the same journey. They don't all have the same answer to that central question. Plus, they are all given the opportunities to make unique choices for themselves. Val proposes staying in Mexico with her parents. It's a choice she feels she needs to make because her siblings don't understand her and what she has been going through. It's difficult to leave them behind but she needs her parents for as long as she can get them. A long weekend simply isn't good enough. Emilio saw that his siblings needed to reunite with their parents in order to get that reassuring clarity about being loved as a family. And yes, that did motivate Val into making this decision. It may help Javier and Gloria with their struggles as well. They lost everything. It was easy afterwards to be spiteful of the other person who was in that situation. Gloria doesn't want to move past that loss of her whole identity. She doesn't want to embrace Javier fully believing that having another baby can fill the void that their deportations caused. She also has to be willing to accept that her family can be whole again. She can have Val and Rafa back in her life. That may be tied too closely to accepting Javier as her husband once more. But it's not unreasonable to say that she could try to make this work because there is so much love. Yes, he has been presumptuous and opinionated without really considering all that she has gone through. But she also has the chance to get back some of what she lost. That makes it easy for her to accept this. Meanwhile, Beto only needs to know that his relationship with Ella is safe and secure. He has found peace with her. Plus, she has found someone who can help fix the messiness of her life. Lucia doesn't like that at all. She just sees Ella as taking advantage of her brother's good nature. He is loving and nurturing in that way. That's who he is at his core. He protects people. That makes it difficult for him to say goodbye to Val. And yet, his life belongs in Los Angeles. That's where his path takes him. It doesn't come at the expense of his family though. That stands in sharp contrast to what is going on with Lucia. She felt that she essentially had to put on a performance in front of her parents. The moment that she slipped up a little bit she was absolutely terrified. She isn't ready to accept her own sense of identity. She isn't there yet. She also feels as if it's impossible for her to get to that acceptance while staying with her parents. She comes to that clarity and knows that she has to leave early. Her mother says all the right things that should make Lucia feel loved and accepted. It isn't enough because Lucia doesn't know how to be proud and accepting quite yet. It's an ongoing journey for her. She feels as if she has to lose her virginity in order to prove that she is feminine in a way that others need. That's heartbreaking because it's a choice made not for herself and her desires. She may find love and support through Matthew's friendship and her activism. However, her uncertainty still lingers over how to be herself in this world while remaining a part of this family. And finally, Emilio has been judged and essentially condemned as a parent. This was a responsibility forced onto him. And now, it plays as if he is being punished by the court because he fails and screams out against an unjust system. He wants to protect Val from feeling responsible for destroying this family again. She holds strong in her decision to stay in Mexico. Emilio has to feel the exact same way by embracing independence. The restaurant is fine with Oscar running it. Lucia and Beto don't need him to parent them. He can go on a cross-country adventure with Natalia knowing that it's where he needs to be. It's the right step on this crazy and twisty journey called life. The family feels like they have found home once more. That may not last considering the premise is based around five siblings having to live without their parents. The drama may only intensify as they have to deal with the harsh realities of these choices. But it's easy and concise as the show lays out all the evidence for why this all makes sense right now while rewarding the characters at the end of their journeys for the first season.