This week’s episode of Party of Five is all about identity in some way or another. Lucia finds her voice as she decides to host a fundraiser at the restaurant; Emilio faces an identity crisis as he struggles to let go of his music past; Beto goes behind Ella’s back to prove to her dad he is who he is; and Val struggles to maintain her false identity.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Lucia is training to be a phone banker for Dream for Justice and can’t quite seem to get the script down. Sully reminds her that it’s not like selling people car insurance. “You are selling people the chance to right a terrible injustice,” she tells her. “That requires passion, which you have plenty of.”
And when she starts making her phone calls for real, they go just as terribly. She goes into the other room and starts venting to Emilio, asking him how people raise lots of money at once. “You gotta give them a reason to show up, then you take their money,” he advises.
Lucia then gets an idea: she decides to throw a fundraiser at the restaurant on behalf of Dream for Justice. Lucia admits to Sully that she’s not quite sure exactly what she’s doing, but then proceeds to give Beto a detailed plan for how she wants the chairs arranged, which proves that she’s got a better handle on things than she thinks.
At the fundraiser, Lucia meets another Dream for Justice employee Allison. Allison simultaneously annoys Lucia and motivates her when she mentions that she can’t wait to hear Lucia’s story. “I just thought you of all people would have something to say,” she snarkily says before walking away.
Lucia then gets the confidence to go on stage and opens up about how she’s been feeling lately. “The people’s stories in those scripts, I trust them more than my own story because I’m not sure my family suffered enough to give me the right to speak for people who suffered more,” she says. “I don’t live day to day with the terrible not knowing how it’s all going to turn out for my parents. They’re gone. They’re in Mexico, learning how to live with their broken hearts. In 10 years, they can apply to return. I’ll be 26 years old before there’s even the possibility of them walking through those doors again.”
She continues: “Cruelty is the point. Withholding anything that allows people to feel cared for or understood is the point. So that’s the fight. It’s not the biggest fight, it’s not the ultimate fight, but it’s tonight’s fight.”
Everything about this scene is raw, emotional and powerful. Emily Tosta deserves all the awards for her beautiful delivery of this speech.
Afterward, Allison simultaneously compliments her and disses her again by saying her speech was good “for starters” and wanting to know what she’s going to do next. So when the police show up and want to see Emilio’s ID, Lucia tries to act like Sully did when they first met at the hardware store but it’s not necessary and just so awkward.
Lucia apologizes to Sully for the incident, but she shakes it off. The event might have ended early, but they still reached their fundraising goal. “You’re a rookie,” Sully reminds her. “You got to start somewhere, and you did. Tonight. Using your own words.” Sully tells her she thinks she already has all of the courage she needs, which is all Lucia needs to hear.
Emilio goes to see his old band, who has just returned from Europe, play a gig with their brand new singer. The whole interaction is awkward because you can tell how much Emilio wishes he was playing with them.
He goes home and vents to Natalia about his night out. She suggests that he try doing some solo stuff or find new people to play with, but Emilio shoots that suggestion down, saying those guys are his people. But it’s not solely about not wanting new bandmates. It’s a deeper insecurity about not feeling left behind. “It’s happening again,” he tells her. “Another bus is driving off with people I love leaving me behind… I’m just standing there watching them go.”
Emilio gets even more upset when his friend Micah has a meal at the restaurant and tells him that they’re going into the studio to record some of the songs he wrote. In order to stop even more change from happening and dealing with his insecurities, Emilio has this crazy idea to come back to the band, even though nothing about his situation has changed. “I gave up everything to do them [his two full-time jobs], every part of my own life,” Emilio tells Micah. “And I think that was more than I needed to do.”
Micah goes along with Emilio’s idea and the band plays at the fundraiser Lucia put together. But when they get on stage, everything goes wrong. They’ve barely started playing before Emilio unplugs his guitar and walks off stage, saying that it didn’t “feel right”. Micah is pissed and starts yelling at Emilio when a drunk bystander tells him to lay off. The two of them get into a fight and the police show up because someone called in a disturbance complaint. The band ends up leaving after the police show up and Emilio chases after them to try and apologize.
Natalia finds Emilio sitting in the backyard when he gets home. She tries to tell him about Val, but he’s too preoccupied with trying to get Micah to call him back so he can apologize. Natalia is honest with him and tells him that maybe his reaction, and the band’s reaction to his reaction, says that things have run its course. He says that she doesn’t understand because aside from his family, these are the longest relationships he’s had. “Being on that stage with those guys is the only time that I felt like I was where I meant to be. I spent the past few months just wanting to get that feeling back, being a part of something, being good at something. Even if I have that or the possibility of that, I can handle all of the things, all of the responsibilities I never asked for, all the stuff I suck at. I need to work it out with them because what do I have if it doesn’t?”
Natalia doesn’t say much in response to that, just that he should sleep and try again in the morning. But Emilio is determined and stays outside to keep making phone calls.
Beto has decided that he’s going to meet with Ella’s dad and try to win him over — behind Ella’s back. And already, I can tell this is not going to go well.
As Mr. Barnett pulls into his parking space at work the next day, he’s greeted by Beto. Beto tells him that the two of them got off on the wrong foot and apologizes for how things went down at the party. But her dad is not sympathetic, saying that he’s confident in his initial assessment of Beto based on the effect he’s having on Ella. Beto mentions that he’s responsible and Mr. Barnett tells him to prove it by doing things like making sure Ella is occasionally home for dinner, that she’s in bed before 2 AM, that she’s going to class, that she’s pulled up her grades “You want my respect, you’re going to have to earn it,” he tells Beto.
Ella shows up to the fundraiser uninvited and is pissed at Beto for not initially inviting her. He lies and tells her that the reason he didn’t invite her is because he didn’t want her to feel the pressure to donate since the last time she paid for something he got mad. Ella handles it surprisingly well and isn’t mad at him.
Since Beto’s working, Ella offers to take the extra drink wristbands to the front for him, but not without stealing one for herself first. After the police show up, they decide to check IDs to make sure that everyone who was drinking was over 21. Ella, of course, is not so Beto calls her father, thinking that she’s going to get arrested. But as it turns out, Ella has a fake ID so she got by without anyone getting in trouble.
However, Mr. Barnett shows up and is pissed. Beto tries to explain himself and says that he was doing everything that he asked, but Mr. Barnett says that he doesn’t get points for trying.
Val is lying to everyone. She lies to her dance friends about the reason she can’t have anyone over and she lies to Natalia why she can’t bring Rafa by her dance practice.
This blows up in her face during Lucia’s fundraiser at the restaurant when she runs into one of her dance teammates. When Natalia finishes her poem, she goes over to where Val and her friend are hanging out. Val introduces Natalia as her babysitter and her friend says that she knows “Amanda” through dance. Natalia goes along with it, but the look on her face is one of concern.
When they get home, Natalia and Val have a heart to heart about why she goes by the name Amanda in dance class. Natalia thinks it’s because being an Amanda feels safer than being a Valentina, and Val goes along with it, although viewers know that she’s still lying. I’ve said this many times before and I’ll say it again: I’m worried about Val. I know Natalia has started to suspect something but sooner rather than later, Val is going to need a major intervention.
- Micah asks Emilio whether there’s anyone he should steer clear of and Emilio dismisses the question at first. But after Natalia finishes doing her poetry and gives him a look, Emilio mentions that Micah should stay away from her. I already ship this SO HARD.
- I was full on balling at the detail Lucia remembers of her dad always being clean shaven vs. the first time she felt him have stubble was at the detention center. Again, kudos to Emily for delivering such a powerful moment.
- Matthew tells Lucia, “I can tell there’s something good coming. I feel ready for it”. Every time a character says something along these lines, it really means that something bad is going to happen. Can we not?!?!
What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below!
Party of Five airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.