Gang teen angst takes a darker turn in On My Block season two

Róisín Phelan

On My Block

After a long wait, season three of “On My Block” will finally hit screens in March 2020 and if you aren’t already caught up on the antics of Freeridge, this is your one-month warning to do so.

“On My Block” first appeared on Netflix in March 2018 and over the space of two seasons, viewers have fallen in love with the characters and their story. It quickly became Netflix’s most “binge-watched” original show of 2018.

The show follows the coming of age story of friends Monse, Ruby, Jamal and Cesar as they fearfully start high school, have their first crushes and deal with pressures from their families.

A typical teen storyline, aside from the fact that this group of fifteen-year-olds live in Freeridge, a gang run neighbourhood based in Los Angeles. The ruling gang, The Santos, controls the neighbourhood and entrench it in violence and crime.

Although our foursome tries their best to avoid any trouble they are pulled into the world of The Santos when Cesar reaches 15 and is forced to join the gang.

The overlap between gang activities and everyday teen life is an eye-opening concept that has sparked much thought and conversation among viewers.

We watch as this group of friends learn the hard way that staying alive in Freeridge should never be taken for granted. While watching their friends get shot, threatened and killed they go to their first dances, they fight with their parents and they find their first loves.

Although each character takes a turn to be the protagonist, much of the story follows the trials of Cesar’s new gang life when he is expected to step up and carry out violent tasks, some of which backfire and put targets on his friends.

The ending of season one displays this fact and if you have not watched it yet, you should skip the next two paragraphs.

At the end of season one, we watched helplessly as Ruby and Olivia were shot at Olivia’s birthday party. The bullets were in fact meant for Cesar, but not unusually his friends end up caught in the crossfire.

The closing scene showed lovers Olivia and Ruby bleeding out and reaching for one another surrounded by their stunned and powerless friends and family. This scene perfectly represented the narrative of the show. That no matter how hard the crew tries, violence always seems to get in the way of their happiness.

Jason Genao’s performance is particularly outstanding in the second season as he portrays Ruby’s struggle through grief and tragedy as he tries to understand the meaning of his life and his friend’s death.

On My Block excellently balances the light-hearted, comedic and genuine friendships between young teens while also shining a stark light on the dangerous world that they and so many others across the United States and the world.

The show has been praised for its representation and inclusivity with all of the characters being of non-white ethnicity. The Latina, African-American, and Mexican characters are portrayed honestly and authentically making scenes richer.

Róisín Phelan

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