On this week’s episode of Party of Five, we see the Acostas face their first real challenge in the wake of their parents’ deportation. Rafa ends up in the hospital and the family comes together to care for him. But their situation worsens when a social worker shows up to check in on them in light of recent events.
So let’s dive right in, shall we?
Lucia picks up Rafa from daycare and Inez, the woman who runs it, mentions that things might be a little easier if there was one person who consistently picked him and dropped him off, especially considering the fact that it seems like messages about Rafa’s health and well-being are getting lost in translation between the four siblings.
Later that night, Emilio rushes home because Rafa is sick. Val insists that something is really wrong since he didn’t eat all day, according to Inez, and he slept for 14 hours the night before. Emilio is quick to dismiss it as a stomach bug but Val finally convinces him that they should take him to the ER. I get Emilio’s hesitancy about going to the ER, especially since he probably fears that someone will split up the family if he “admits a weakness”, but you also have to take the necessary precautions when it comes baby Rafa’s health – or the health of any of the kids for that matter!
When they arrive at the ER, Val continues to worry and says she won’t stop worrying until she hears from the doctor that there is nothing to worry about. “It’s not healthy,” Emilio tells her. “The way you catastrophize everything.” She’s pissed at him, so she snarkily tells him, “Maybe you should worry more because if you haven’t noticed, things don’t generally go our way.”
Lucia’s mad too, but not at Emilio. She’s mad that other patients are being taken back to be examined after waiting for less time than they have. So she goes up and yells at the charge nurse, who isn’t sympathetic to her concerns at all, especially since the patient Lucia was referencing was having a heart attack. Emilio smooths over the situation by flirting with her and ends up getting her to check Rafa’s vitals again.
But not even a few minutes later, Val starts freaking out because Rafa is having a seizure. Lucia tries to call Beto but he’s too busy making out with Ella to pick up his phone. Once he finally does, Lucia fills him in and Beto immediately starts getting his shit together to rush to the hospital. Except there’s one small problem: he and Ella are locked in because Emilio installed Beto’s new lock wrong. So Beto goes all karate kid and knocks the door down, not letting anything get in his way of getting to his family.
As it turns out, Rafa has lead poisoning which is what caused his seizure. They won’t release him until they know for sure that there is no lead in the house. So the next day, Emilio has poison control stop by the house to make sure it’s all clear.
But while that is going on, Mr. Nichols, a social worker, stops by to come check on them for a routine. The house is an utter mess and you can tell immediately that Val and Beto are both worried by what the social worker might think of their situation as a result. It also definitely doesn’t help that Ella comes downstairs right at the worst moment possible and that the social worker sees Beto’s door still broken from the night prior.
Emilio returns home and he lays it all out for Mr. Nichols. “Look, there’s laundry in the hamper and dishes in the sink, and maybe we’re a date on the phone bill, but that little boy is loved and cared for,” he says. “He’s happy, which under the circumstances is kind of a miracle. I hope that you can see that however much better we could be at taking care of him, right now we’re good enough for him to come back home to.”
Mr. Nichols does ask him the important question: whether or not their parents are aware of the situation. They’re not and Emilio begs him not to call them, saying that its so hard with them being so far away. “I’ve got this,” he assures Mr. Nichols, who simply compliments him and the job he’s doing by saying that that is exactly what a parent would say.
As it turns out the lead poison came from the daycare from a crib that Inez bought at a yard sale. Emilio has a brief freak out because this is easily something that could have happened under his watch, but Lucia tells him that he wouldn’t be expected to know that; Inez, however, is to blame because it is quite literally her job.
Later on, Val spots Emilio crying over Rafa’s crib in his hospital room. He opens up, saying that he doesn’t seem to have the parental instinct. “I don’t have time to get better at parenting,” he tells her. “I need to get good at it now. Cause what if I miss something else?” She encourages him, saying that he’s better at parenting than he thinks. And I would agree with Val. Emilio, who seems to have lacked a certain level of responsibility prior to assuming responsibility for his siblings, has done a great job of taking care of them and is becoming more like a “parent” as the days go by.
Mr. Nichols shows up to the hospital right before Rafa gets discharged and says he’ll be in touch since a case file has now been opened. “A single visit doesn’t give me a clear picture of how you and your family are managing a very tough situation,” he informs Emilio. “That’s something that can really only be assessed over time and with continued observation. The welfare of these children is your responsibility but now it’s mine too.” This ending is cliché and totally expected, but also makes the most sense in their situation. Mr. Nichols is not saying Emilio has done anything wrong. But being responsible for four kids out of the blue is not easy and it doesn’t hurt to have someone check in on them every now and then.
Beto and Ella
The episode picks up with Ella and Beto hanging out in Beto’s room because Ella has been staying at the Acosta house. Immediately, I want to know how much time has passed between last episode and this episode, because they seem to be moving pretty fast especially if it’s only been a week or so. Since they’re alone in Beto’s room, things get steamy pretty fast but not before Val comes in and interrupts them.
Emilio comes upstairs to check on the kids and stops by Beto’s room, throwing a value pack of condoms at on his bed. He’s shocked to learn that Beto and Ella haven’t had sex yet, and even more shocked to learn that Beto is still a virgin. Emilio got a talk two years too late from their dad, so he ends up giving Beto the talk that he actually needs to hear. “Make sure she’s good,” Emilio tells him. “You know what I mean.” The Beto-Emilio relationship has been such a breath of fresh air so far and this scene was no different.
Later on, Beto and Ella return home to the Acosta house and quickly realize they are home alone, so they get right to work making things hot and heavy. But they are once again interrupted, this time by Lucia calling him to tell him about Rafa.
Beto, with Ella in tow, finally makes it to the hospital and the four Acosta siblings get into an argument about how things escalated to this point. Ella nicely suggests that they all calm down, but Lucia and Val start yelling at her that its none of her business. Beto sticks up for her after Emilio says that “she” is right about everyone needing to calm down, reminding them that her name is Ella.
Ella wants to help so she goes and picks up magazines, snacks, etc. Beto suggests that she should go home since it’s going to be a late night, but she says she wants to stay and help however possible. She asks if it’s okay to wait for him at the Acosta household, and Beto says yes.
Ella’s dad shows up at the hospital after he saw a picture of her in a wheelchair at the hospital on Instagram and got worried. He tells her that he wants her to come back home with him but she refuses. Beto encourages her to go with him, especially because the hospital is no place for drama. She agrees but not before planting a big wet kiss on Beto in front of her dad and Emilio. “But just so you know, Beto and I are in love and there’s nothing you can do about that,” she tells dad.
I have so many questions when it comes to Beto and Ella. Does nobody find it concerning how much time Ella wants to spend at the Acosta house, especially since she’s only known Beto for such a short period of time? This brings me to my next question: does she really care about Beto or is she just using him to get back at her dad? There are moments where I feel like the two of them really connect but there are other times where I feel like she’s just using him.
Lucia and Matthew
After they get Rafa’s diagnosis, all four Acosta children decide to sleep at the hospital. Lucia steps out of the room momentarily and runs into the woman who sold her son’s social security number to Matthew. But it was all just a scam – she doesn’t even have a kid.
So when Matthew comes to the hospital to visit Rafa, Lucia starts freaking out about what she found out – in typical Lucia fashion of course. But Matthew doesn’t really care.
Matthew goes to visit Lucia and Rafa at the hospital and she tells him what she found out. But he doesn’t really care. “Are you really surprised that someone who claimed to be selling me her child’s social security number turns out not to be a model citizen?” he says to her, going on to say that continuing to use it doesn’t make it “any less riskier”. She tells him that she thinks he should still apply for DACA, but he counters saying that that’s dangerous for him in a “totally different way.”
Lucia then goes on to say that while she wants to help Matthew, she also has to think about Emilio in this situation. Matthew suggests quitting his job at the restaurant, but she doesn’t want that either. “I just want everyone to be safe,” she tells him. “You, Emilio, Rafa.”
At the end of the episode, Lucia is walking back from the cafeteria when she sees a body being wheeled out after being declared dead. She gets an idea and decides to take a picture of that patients chart, which contains his social security number. Listen. I love how big Lucia’s heart is but this move just screams “trouble”.
- Ella tells Beto that he doesn’t have to keep asking if he can do something every step of the way but I stan a respectful king.
- “So many people need advocates. You knew I’d be good at this.” Lucia is definitely one of those people that could be President if she wanted to be. She’s determined as hell and I love seeing her “social justice warrior” side of her.
- The image of Emilio, Lucia and Val looking through the door at the hospital as Rafa is wheeled away is absolutely heartbreaking.
- One of the other minor plots from this episode is Emilio looking out for Val and encouraging her to get more involved in an after-school activity instead of looking at her phone. What Emilio doesn’t know is that Val’s not playing mindless games on her phone or anything like that; she’s looking at the girl her mom babysits’ Instagram profile, clearly still upset over the fact that it feels like her mom is replacing her down in Mexico. After going through the entire Rafa situation, she sees that Emilio was right and says that she wants to try dance.
- Favorite moment of the episode, hands down, is when Emilio tells Beto that he had know idea he and Ella were in love and Beto’s like “me either.” Too funny.
- It’s been one week but I already miss Vanessa. BRING HER BACK PLEASE.
What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below!
Party of Five airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.