Previously on Vida, “Episode 5”
This episode gave the sisters a limpia; a good washing off of the denials and some of the fears they have had. The first scene shows a ritual of cleansing that Dona Lupe performs on Lyn. She feels revived and full of “openess” and though Dona Lupe tries to explain to Lyn that she has washed her of everything, Lyn is still on a high and not paying much attention to Lupe’s real meaning. As Lyn goes into the world, she begins to realize that she was the problem. She was the one holding on to garbage and that was keeping her in doubt and pain. Johnny is having pie-in-the-sky ideas about their future together while Lyn is coming face-to-face with their reality. The realization drives Lyn to break up with Johnny during their post-coitus moment. This is when we see a physical manifestation of growth within Lyn. The best example of her growth is when Eddy ends up in the hospital and Lyn becomes the focused, calm, sharp sister who supports Emma in her time of anger and fear.
Emma is still trying to find someone to buy the bar and when she finds a potential buyer we can see that her heart is not in it. She is trying to be strong and stick to her guns, but that method is beginning to eat at her. Lyn points out that Emma always takes on the responsibilities for others’ messes and she doesn’t need to.
Lyn asks poignantly, “What do you want, Emma?” and this forces Emma to accept her deep and true love for the bar and her community. Meanwhile, Emma is slowly facing her feelings for Cruz. It is apparent that she and Cruz not only have an attraction, but also respect for each other. Emma goes to Cruz and in their intimate moment, Emma tries to push Cruz away but Cruz quickly and elegantly recovers Emma. This moment gives us the possibility that they may have a future together and that Emma is beginning to open her heart.
Emma and Eddy struggle with the fight over the bar and as Emma says some truly disparaging things to Eddy, Eddy leaves and takes her posse of women with her. This turns out to be a pivotal moment for the characters when Eddy is sucker jumped by male fragility at a local unfriendly bar. Her attack puts her in the nearby intensive care unit and signals a moment of unity. The daughters go to her and for the first time claim her as a part of their life by calling her their stepmother. This is what Eddy wanted, but unfortunately she is not conscious to witness it. After some tears and anger, Emma and Lyn are back at the bar and they decide to keep it. The hope and dream is to make it a better version of what Vida had created; a safe space for, as Cruz puts it, “mujeres like me”. Emma with love and admiration for the bravery that Eddy and Vida had, has kicked started her drive to carry that pride forward.
This season was short, but tightly written. The cinematography never stopped tantalizing all the senses that made this little East L.A. community come alive. Though the acting, particularly by Ser Anzoategui and sometimes Mishel Prada, would get a bit heavy-handed, the overall performances were touching and relatable. The Hernandez sisters are complicated, witty, smart women who are trying to deal with their mother’s death but more than that, the life she left behind. The occasional close-ups of Eddy’s tattoo of Vidalia solidifies the love this couple had and how this love was not only tested by the community but by Vida’s daughters. It seemed that the strength and vigor Eddy loved in Vidalia shows through in her daughters and perhaps that is why Eddy had such tenacity in trying to cultivate a healthy loving relationship with Emma and Lyn.
The fearless nature of the storytelling whets my appetite for more. Will Johnny go back to Karla? Just how down and dirty will Nelson, the slimy developer, get? If the bar becomes successful, how will the community react? What is Mari’s future and does it link up with the Hernandez daughters eventually?
The exploration of sexuality and how it is written not as a punchline but with humanity, is one of the main draws of this production. It is a fresh perspective that is so sorely needed in contemporary television. I would like to send a special shout out to the fantastic music. Closing the season with “Latinoamerica” by Calle 13 was a great cap to this season of storytelling. Let’s cross our fingers in hope that there will be a season 2.