The third season of Netflix’s “On My Block” balances plot holes with an enjoyable and nuanced story
The third season on Netflix’s On My Block was released on March 11, and with only eight episodes — as opposed to the previous ten per season — it is easily bingeable. This is especially so considering the current global circumstances.
For those who aren’t familiar with the show, On My Block is a coming-of age tale that follows the lives of Monse, Cesar, Jamal and Ruby, four high schoolers who are navigating life in inner city Los Angeles.
They have to navigate some typical teenage stuff like awkward crushes, school dances and first kisses. They also confront some grittier challenges like gang initiations, shoot-outs and kidnappings.
The nuances of teenagehood and the realities of gang culture are intertwined within the plot, and come forward in this season more than ever.
As it stands, the fourth season of the show has not been confirmed for renewal, but honestly, I’m not sure it needs one anyway.
The first season ended with a fatal shooting, and the second season ended with the four friends, also known as “the core four,” being kidnapped by a gang leader. Despite the previous cliffhanger endings, the third season ended quite differently.
In the final minutes of the season three finale, a two-year time jump shows the group grown up and broken apart.
Every character is in a position they swore they’d never end up in, and sadly, some realities are bleaker than others.
Monse went away to boarding school and seemingly has forgotten about her Freeridge friends — their last photo together has been pushed to the back of her dresser to collect dust.
Jamal is on the football team once again, despite previously expressing his dislike for the sport. On the upside, though, it looks like his team appreciates him more than the core four did, as they’re all surrounding him and laughing as he tells jokes.
Ruby and Jasmine are seen holding hands as they pass by Jamal, and it appears that their fashion preferences have both changed (for the worse, might I add). From this scene, it’s clear that the three of them no longer are associated with one another.
Spooky has inexplicably escaped gang life and is seen manning a grill and embracing his pregnant girlfriend.
Cesar’s future is the saddest, yet not entirely unexpected. The time-leap shows Cesar involved with the Santoses once again, and he appears to have taken on the role of gang leader. Him and the Santoses are jumping someone, and his body is adorned with several gang tattoos.
The show represents the reality of gang affiliation, and Cesar has no choice but to remain caught up in it — forging a path out isn’t easy. In the first season, Cesar himself said, “once you’re jumped in, you can’t get out. Unless you get jumped out, and that’s not, you know, an option.”
What’s sad about this is knowing that Cesar would have had to sacrifice his character and integrity to even have gotten in this deep with the gang. His gang loyalty overpowered his ability to escape the cycle. As heartbreaking as it is, it almost seemed predestined.
In terms of what can be expected for a fourth season, I have to say that I’m also not entirely disappointed to see Monse and Cesar broken up. Their plot line was moderately superficial, and boring at best.
It was clear that they were no longer (or ever) compatible, and were always looking for petty reasons to start problems. As much as they express their love for each other, their character’s are better off broken up.
All in all, I don’t feel like this is a horrible way for the show to end. Although I’d like to stress how much I love the show and want it to be renewed, the season didn’t really end on a cliff-hanger, and the plot has yet to be watered down by a poorly planned or overly-extended storyline, as often happens when shows are continuously renewed.
The conclusion was bittersweet but the time jump represents the reality of growing up and growing apart from friends.
Season three’s ending leaves a few things unaddressed. Like what happens when the Prophets are released from jail, where do the Santos’ and 19th Street truly lie with each other? Who killed Cuchillos? And perhaps, most importantly, what was the significance of Kendra’s character, like, at all?
While the end of the season was definitely not a preferable one, was definitely a realistic one. On My Block consistently does a good job of representing the universality of teenagehood, and season three is no exception.