The Netflix Original “On My Block” follows the lives of four high school kids — intellectual Ruby, softhearted Jamal, rugged Cesar and logical leader Monse — all living in a rough neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. I first stumbled upon the sitcom, which premiered last March, when I had a bad cold and was itching for something to do. My decision proved worthwhile, as I was taken on a thrilling ride of suspense and plot twists.
Because Season 1 ended with a cliffhanger, fans were waiting eagerly for the release of the 10-episode second season, which finally dropped on March 29. The new season provided equally riveting and intense moments of life in Freeridge, their neighborhood. However, before I break down “On My Block” Season 2, let’s start by recapping Season 1.
Season 1 Recap
The series follows three teenage boys (Ruby, Jamal, Cesar) and one teenage girl (Monse) as they adjust to high school life and deal with the rough surroundings of their block, including the presence of two rival gangs: the Santos and the Prophets. Cesar’s older brother Oscar (or Spooky) is the leader of the Santos, and to gain the gang’s respect, Cesar threatened rival gang member Latrelle to leave town, though he doesn’t.
During the season, Cesar and Monse become romantically involved, and Monse begins babysitting for a woman named Julia. Shortly after, Jamal makes it his mission to uncover money in the neighborhood that was originally from a place called Roller World, which they eventually find.
In Ruby’s family, his older brother Mario gets into college and makes plans to attend. Meanwhile, Ruby falls in love with their family friend Olivia and tries to throw her the best birthday party ever, leading to the eventful moment at the party where she and Ruby are hurt by Latrelle, who came to confront Cesar.
Season 2 Key Plot Points
Several plot points drove the entire season. First, the Roller World money, which Jamal had hidden his closet, suddenly goes missing. After the squad gets the cash back, they keep it on the down-low while they figure out what to do with it. As the season progresses, the friends figure out how to divvy up the loot and end up spending it on a good cause.
Shortly after, Cesar’s brother Spooky cuts ties with him after the fallout with Latrelle, which left him more vulnerable than ever. Cesar finds out that he is no longer welcome in his brother’s gang, the Santos, putting the teenager in a predicament for living arrangements. As a result, the high schooler turns into a wanderer, though Monse and Jamal provide him with temporary places to crash.
To make matters worse, Latrelle makes an appearance in town, which forces Cesar to scramble to avoid a confrontation with his enemy. Eventually, the tough teen finds a solution to his problems.
As for Ruby, who was distressed in the aftermath of the Season 1 cliffhanger, the adjustment to normal high school life is tough for her, as she experiences flashbacks to the traumatic incident during Season 1. In addition, he struggles with the loss of his love interest, Olivia, who is no longer in the show. Although his recovery is slow, Ruby receives constant support from his friends, which restores the group’s synergy.
Meanwhile, when Monse abruptly learns that Julia (real name Selena) is her biological mother, she is forced to choose between staying in Freeridge or moving to Brentwood, a much safer area, with her mother. Monse’s upcoming decision led to some “difficulties” with Cesar, which prompted a stay at her mother’s lavish home. In essence, she was faced with choosing friends or safety.
Character Relationship Tensions
Several character relationships were tested during Season 2. For starters, Ruby’s older brother, Mario, returns home from school, only to drop the bomb that he impregnated his girlfriend, Amber. As a soon-to-be father, Mario strains his relationship with his mother, Geny, who grows irritated with her son slip-ups and when Amber starts calling her “mom.” During her grandchild’s babyshower, Geny reaches a soft breaking point (after a few too many drinks). Thankfully, in a surprising turn of events, the situation works itself out.
Next, after Monse discovers that Selena (Julia) is her mother, her romantic relationship with is deeply affected. A boiling point occurs at a school dance, when Cesar proposes an ultimatum, forcing Monse to choose between him or her mother. It’s an emotionally intense scene, and I will leave it there.
Cesar, meanwhile, is kicked out of his brother Spooky’s gang and his life, which leaves the abandoned teenager to survive on the rough streets alone. No matter how emotional Cesar gets, Spooky is unfazed and remains adamant about his decision. At the end of the season, an endearing moment brings the brothers together to possibly reconcile.
Life Lessons and Themes
Season 2 of “On My Block” explores several relatable themes and in doing so, teaches important lessons. First, the season confirms that growing up as a teen, figuring out who you are and going through high school is a tough process. For the main characters in the show, living in a rough neighborhood adds as another stressor. Nevertheless, characters like Ruby demonstrate thankfulness for what they have, and adjust to living in their given circumstances. Life is beautiful, but you miss out if you constantly fret. Every moment in life is cherished and precious.
In addition, the sitcom shows the effects of violence on neighborhoods, which scales large enough to split a neighborhood into separate zones. However, the value of friendship is heavily emphasized, as the four main characters are as tight as (dare I say) the group from “Friends,” on and off the screen. Although the crew may feel trapped with no escape, they have each other’s backs. The characters prove it’s worth fighting for who and what you love, no matter the circumstances.
Furthermore, “On My Block” provides individualized perspectives of Hispanic-American and African-American teens, groups who are underrepresented on the large screen, but are deserving of representation to tell their stories and connect with various audiences.
Season 2 ends with a cliffhanger (again) and viewers are left to ponder potential scenarios. Unfortunately, there has been no official word on a Season 3 renewal. In the meantime, the main cast has appeared in several YouTube videos for channels such as Teen Vogue, MTV News, Seventeen and even Netflix. As much as fans like myself would love to see the squad return, one can only hope.
The intriguing plot, drama and cliffhanger from Season 2 of “On My Block” has once again left many viewers eager to see what will happen on the crew’s next block.