Previously on Vida, “Episode 1″
This week’s episode is about connections and how those connections affect, not just the Hernandez sisters, but the world around them. The first connection we see is with Mari. She is not afraid to take her cause to the next level. With the soundtrack of “Release the Hounds” behind her, she is moved to provoke the colonizers of her community. As she bikes through the neighborhood adding to her video blog, she runs into Tlaloc. Of course, this man is handsome, passionate and driven like Mari, and it seems that she has been admiring him for awhile. Mari is surprised to learn he has been following her work as well. We instantly see the hearts in her eyes for Tlaloc, and I, for one, cannot blame her.
Eddy is attempting to make a connection with Vidalia’s daughters and often, the best way to the heart is food. Eddy is very much the nurturing type and pays attention to the little things. For example, she made note of Lyn being a vegan and was able to make a delicious breakfast for her and Emma. Lyn is beginning to soften, but Emma is still on fight mode. There is conflict within Eddy; she wants to stand her ground but because she is such a gentle person, Emma tends to stomp all over Eddy’s voice. Though there is somewhat of a truce over a table filled with flan, I suspect that it will be more than food that will cause Emma to warm up to Eddy.
Lyn loses her boyfriend and financial backer, Juniper also known as Jupiter. Lyn was warned by Doña Lupe that her gringo boyfriend was going to dump her, but she was shocked nonetheless. Of course, she goes running back to Johnny to upset his life, and of course, he cannot truly say no to Lyn. There is precedent set by Lyn. She is incapable of being her own person without the attention of men and this was the message that Doña Lupe was trying to convey, but Lyn is not ready to listen. The toxic relationship between Johnny and Lyn can only end one way and I cannot wait for the fallout.
The plot is getting thicker with the reveal of each piece of Emma’s history. While Emma is plotting her next move, she encounters Cruz. Cruz is a beautiful, smoky voiced activist. She is a door opening us up to an intimate view of what Emma was like years ago. Emma is reluctant, but her defenses weaken over a “sweet thing” (suddenly I hear Mary J. Blige singing in the background). It seems clear that these two smart and beautiful women had a very close relationship. The question that we (and Emma) are asking is, can she let herself go enough to let Cruz back in? Emma has more pressing things driving her and she does not want to let her desires get the best of her.
News travels fast and everyone is, in some way, connected to each other. When Emma finds out about her mother’s business, through a bitter Señora Benitez, she is set on edge. The knife is twisted when the increasingly slimy developer, Nelson, tells Emma of how he finagled Vidalia into taking out a second loan on her property. Business was down, Vidalia was desperate, and Emma is now boiling with anger. Of course, Nelson had to make a pass, which drove Emma to address Vidalia as “my mother” while letting him know that she is going to keep the property. We see that blood can be thicker than water, in this instance. The daughters Hernandez are now faced with overwhelming debt while still mourning the loss of their mother.
I continue to feel at home with the Hernandez sisters and the community that raised them. I cannot help but see that this is not only a battle to reclaim the daughters’ identity but it is a fight between the old and the new. The older faction of the community seems to be stuck on the limiting thoughts of tradition and on holding grudges; yet the new blood wants change without losing their rich cultural history. Though I sometimes struggle with the portrayal of Eddy by the actor, I am endeared by the character. Again, Eddy is the nurturer who just lost what looks to be the love of her life. It seems as though Eddy cannot quite figure out how to digest the force that is Emma. As this story unfolds and we find out who Emma really is, I hope to see some camaraderie between these two people. The realness of the scenes, male frontal nudity, post sex clean up, unapologetic flirting and machismo within an already predatory environment give me pause but only in that we do not often see a story told this way. I am pleased to see another perspective. I look forward to seeing more interaction between Cruz and Emma and more revelation on how much the Hernandez sisters truly missed their home.