In Three Words: Sobering, Juggling, Final(?)
The kids of Freeridge are back once again and like the previous two seasons, begins right where we left them. The ending of S2 left us wondering who the hell kidnapped the core four?! As it turns out, it was the matriarch of the Santos, Cuchillos. (Ada Luz Pla)
The people at OMB know me so well because the first thing I heard was Little Simz' "Offence". Major W there. The season's premise was crystal clear before the first title credits even came! The core four has to find Little Ricky or die. Seems simple right? But of course the creators of this show, Lauren Iungerich, Eddie Gonzalez & Jeremy Haft had plenty of subplots for us to chew on as the main human McGuffin is out there to be found.
There's two flag ups I want to give before I get into the character progression. The first. The "Life or Death" element of this season's narrative was a little pointless. Apart from wondering whether Spooky died, we know the core four aren't dying, they'd have some big courage if they cut Jasmine off. Maybe I'm being nitpicky but if there's not a genuine threat to the main characters, why do it?
The second (& whether this is positive or negative is up to you...) There is a lot of juggling here. The amount of subplots to account for makes the previous seasons seem slow in hindsight because every scene in this season needs to push somebody's arc along. When looking at the series in the broadest of lenses, I like to see it in the vein of grading players after a game.
The biggest winner, by a country mile, was Jasmine. (Jessica Marie Garcia) This season, she became a member of the main squad and no longer that crazy side character. Jasmine as a character just beams off the screen with with authenticity. For me personally, she had the best lines in maybe the entire show regardless of season. When she schooled Ruby on having feelings for somebody.
As a person who still remembers life as a teenager vividly and someone lacking in emotional intelligence even more vividly, that scene was smooth, straight to the point and, most importantly, real. The amount of people that get into relationships for the wrong reasons!
Anyways. Next for me is Spooky. (Julio Macias) I've always rated Spooky as a character and in this season, in somewhat bittersweet fashion, had a complete arc. With the introduction of his absent father Ray, (Ian Casselberry) Spooky had the opportunity to embrace the light that Cesar has tried to live throughout the past two seasons and close the open book that his father left open all those years ago. I'll get back to Spooky when I talk about the final montage that caps off the season.
Past those two MVPs of this season, I would then split the core four into two: Jamal & Ruby (Brett Gray & Jason Genao) ended up with significant changes, mostly for the good. Monse & Cesar, (Sierra Capri & Diego Tinoco) however, I was left feeling pretty flat about both.
Starting with the couple, I felt like their arcs were a little predictable and I'm not just talking about the end goal which I liked, the journey to that end felt flat to me. Or maybe I just think its obvious they shouldn't be together. Take the death of Monse's mother for instance. That was a great chance to swerve but they didn't do much with that apart from helping Ruby's arc.
But with all that said, I personally can't really think of another way to slice it when thinking about the overall story.
Jamal, as always, has a fascinating arc that always deviates the most out of everyone else. Hooking up for the first time with newcomer Kendra (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson) who was basically Sheldon from 'Big Bang Theory' but wanted to smash for research. I liked Kendra. Her ambiguous character and kooky nature poses an interesting case study to explore next season.
Ruby, finally into Jasmine but for most of the season for the wrong reason. Whilst his arc was okay, I found his learning curve post-Jasmine-setting-him-straight scene a little too easy. Like, he went from messing up to enlightened very quickly. A nitpicky low point for me.
Which brings me to that final montage. The execution of which was very nice. I think I can speak for every person above the age of 19 that when they were promising each other that "nothing was going to change", we ALL knew that shit was going to change...
Like I said before, Cesar & Monse's 2 year flash forward was predictable but realistic, Spooky became Oscar WITH A FULL HEAD OF HAIR which freaked me out more than the fact that he had a girl with a baby on the way. Ruby became that friend that focuses on his relationship and let's the friendship die. Jamal found a new squad and I assume still hooking up with Kendra. (The lack of knowing confirmed to me that Kendra will be an important plot piece next season.)
Which now leaves us wondering what will happen when Monse returns? Reality would state, as we all know, that they would maybe link up a couple of times but most days focus on their new lives but because this is a TV show, they'll try to get the gang back together and it'll not go well for whatever reason.
Because of that potential path, I kind of wonder whether I'd even want a fourth season. Don't get me wrong, I'll watch and I'll probably enjoy it as much as I have so far. I just think, because this is a Dramedy, they have to balance the drama and the teenage coming-of-age comedy and with Cesar basically becoming Spooky 2.0, Jamal having nothing to sleuth over, Ruby has finally smashed, I'm wondering what are the motivations now?
I'll be very interested to find out, but I won't cry if I never do.