Recap/Review: ‘Party of Five’ 1×02

In the second hour of Party of Five’s two hour premiere, Valentina struggles to sleep at night after the recent loss of her parents. This takes a toll on Beto, who is left to comfort her. Val turns to religion in the hopes of getting her parents back while Lucia denounces that same religion, believing it is only harming her younger sister. Meanwhile, Emilio tries to do right by his father by dismissing Oscar of certain duties, which only offends Oscar and leaves Emilio to run the restaurant on his own.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Freeform/Gilles Mingasson

Beto and Lucia

Beto is exhausted, so much so that he falls asleep on his books while he’s trying to study at the restaurant. When Vanessa asks him about it, he comes clean and tells her that Val wakes him up every night when she can’t sleep; she ultimately is able to fall back to sleep after Beto talks her through her nightmares and he can’t. Vanessa agrees to help him find some potential solutions to his issues since she’s studying to get her masters in psychology, even though adolescent psychology isn’t her specialty. 

Back at home, Beto begs Lucia for help to study for their big physics test the next day. He has ______. But since she takes the test the period before Beto does, Lucia comes up with the idea to meet between periods so that she can give him all of the right answers.

Lucia is on her way to meet Beto when she gets stopped in the bathroom by one of her old friends that she’s “abandoned”. As a result, she ends up blowing off Beto. After the class, Lucia catches up with him to try and apologize but he wants nothing to do with her.

The tension between all 4 Acosta siblings come to ahead during their nightly FaceTime session with their parents. Beto calls Lucia out for not being there when he needed her. “I’m in trouble,” he tells her. “Only now it’s everyone’s problem because if I can’t cut it academically then they’re going to be on all of our asses. That just makes the pressure a million times worse. But you know what? Last night I actually slept, even with Val’s elbow in my ribs. I slept because my really smart sister was going to give me the answers.”

Beto’s comment really gets to her so Lucia decides to make her wrongs right. She goes to Beto’s teacher’s house late at night and begs her to let him re-take the test. “To be honest, how well my brother understands physics has very little to do with the rest of his life,” she says. “What has everything to do with it is how well he – we – can keep our family together. The world hasn’t been very kind to us lately and it’d be nice if someone could show Beto a little forgiveness.” 

Unfortunately, their teacher is a complete and total hardass who not only isn’t going to cut Beto some slack but also takes a swipe at their parents in the process. NOT COOL. NOT COOL AT ALL. 

When she gets home, she goes to see Beto. She doesn’t mention that she went to talk to their teacher. Instead, she just tells him that she’s going to help him study every day after school. He doesn’t say anything in response; all he does is leans in and hugs her. Cue all of the *awwwwws*

Freeform/Gilles Mingasson


During one of their nightly FaceTime sessions with their parents, Javier grills Emilio about restaurant related business. “I don’t mean to seem like I don’t trust you,” he tells him. “It’s just that no one listens to me around here. And why should they? It’s their restaurant. I’m just a waiter. I only want to help, Emilio.”

His father then asks him to take over the bank drops instead of having their employee Oscar do it. He tells Emilio that over the years some money here and there has disappeared, but he’s never said anything to Oscar because he’s a “good man” and “makes up for it with how hard he works.” Emilio is stunned to hear this but agrees to do what his father has asked of him.

When Emilio brings up taking over the bank drop to Oscar, he’s taken aback and offended at first. But he later on says he understands and says he’d rather be treated like any other employee. So he’d like to be paid the overtime he’s owed — $800 — by Friday. 

Val happens to be going through Rafa’s drawers looking for clean socks and finds a huge wad of cash in the back of one of them. She casually mentions this to Emilio when he picks her up from school later that day, but he pulls the “parent” card and tells her that she can’t use it to go visit their parents in Mexico like she wants to. 

After the heated FaceTime call with their parents, Val storms off and Emilio goes to find her. She’s still mad about the money and says that their parents should get the chance to decide what to do with it. 

But Emilio steps up and tells her he already spent it; she’ll still see her parents at Easter, just like they had planned. 

Later that night, Gloria calls Emilio and he tells her why Val was so upset earlier. When Emilio mentions the money that Val found, everything comes back to Gloria and she comes clean about where the money actually came from.  As it turns out, she was the one taking money from the bank drop pouch — not Oscar. She tells Emilio that she did it for him, so that he could continue to live his life the way he wanted.

This storyline wraps up with Emilio, clearly feeling terrible about how he’s acted towards Oscar the last few days, going to find him at his AA meeting and apologizing to him. I’m glad Emilio apologized and hopefully this situation will help him realize that as much as he wants to respect his parents’ opinions, it’s now time for him to step up and take charge independently of them.

Freeform/Gilles Mingasson

Val and Religion

Life has changed a lot over the past few weeks for the Acosta family and everyone’s figuring out what works best for them in terms of how to deal with all of these changes. Since faith was really important to their mom, Val turns to religion in the hopes of dealing with life and ultimately getting her parents back.

Val goes to confession and starts rambling about all of her siblings’ various sins that they’ve committed over the past few weeks. But then she gets serious. “Do you think if Emilio is 100% without a sin that it has an effect on God changing the DACA rules?” she asks Padre Jimenez through the screen. Realizing that this innocent 12 year old thinks that she and the rest of her family have be on their A-game every second of every day in order to be on the same playing field as everyone else was a very sobering moment for me as a viewer.

Lucia is waiting for outside of the church because she has no intention of turning to God during this whole thing. However, Val calls her out for lying to their mom about going to confession when she’s really not. “What’s the point?” Lucia says. “It’s not going to change anything.”

Val continues to pray every second of every day, which seems to annoy Lucia to no end. So Lucia goes and confronts Padre Jimenez later on, not only about telling her parents that she’s not actually going to confession like she said she has, but also about lying to Val about the fact that prayer will bring their parents back. “She’s scared and you’re selling her on some, forgive me, bullshit miracle, giving her hope when there isn’t any.” He says that he never told her that, instead telling her that the only thing that can bring their parents back is changing what this country believes in. “All a 12 year old can do is hope for that.”

Although it’s never clearly stated, I think that comment, along with her conversation with Beto’s teacher, changed her perspective on Val finding comfort in prayer. This is why it was so heartwarming to see Lucia join her in church at the end of the episode for a prayer. 

Episode Notes

  • The woman mistaking Beto and Emilio as a gay couple raising Rafa was comedic gold. A definitely highlight of the episode for sure.
  • “All I know is that being angry feels better than feeling sad.” PREACH LUCIA
  • After talking about life, Emilio and Vanessa end up making out in Emilio’s van outside the restaurant. I’m kind of shipping them?!?!?!?!
  • Beto opens up to Vanessa about how he’s feeling like a failure, both in school and at home. “What you don’t realize is that not one of those kids in that school can do half the things that you do,” she tells him. “At 16, you’re doing the job of a mother and a father. And compared to that, physics is a piece of cake.” She tells him that she thinks he’s “incredible” and you can tell Beto’s crush on her grew tenfold with just that one comment. 
  • Val introduces Lucia to Matthew, who recently moved to town from the east coast. Lucia tries to connect with him later on because they’re going through similar things. But he’s not completely open to hanging out because one clear difference between them is that she still has her family and he does not. This storyline intrigues me and I’m excited to see where they go with it from here.
  • Emilio hanging his guitar up at the end of the episode as a way to represent what his mom did for him by setting aside that money had me all up in my feels. 

What did you think of the episode? Let me know in the comments below!

Party of Five airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.

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