Recap/Review: ‘Party of Five’ 1×03

On this week’s episode of Party of Five, we see Emilio discover that his father was being taken advantage of by the owner of a restaurant across the street and tries to correct it himself. Beto is jealous over Emilio’s blossoming relationship with Vanessa, while Lucia tries to help her new friend Matthew get a job and learns in the process that he hasn’t renewed his DACA status.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Freeform/Tony Rivetti

Emilio and Beto

Beto is riding his bike when he runs into Uncle Louis, who owns the restaurant across the street and has been friends with the Acostas for many years. He’s got a brand new car and has no longer has any use for his old one, so he offers to let Beto use it for the remainder of the lease. 

Beto tries to use the car to his advantage when it comes to his crush on Vanessa and offers her a ride home. However, she says she’s already got a ride home as we cut to her and Emilio back at her place making out. Things get steamy but they soon get interrupted by Emilio’s constant sneezing. Turns out he’s allergic to her cat, so they can no longer hook up at her place anymore. 

When Beto calls Emilio to ask him a question for Val, he hears Vanessa’s voice in the background and realizes that Emilio is lying about where he is and who he’s with. When Emilio comes home, Beto calls him out for stealing his girl, even though she’s *technically* not his girl either. “You could have any girl,” he tells his older brother. “You pretty much have had every girl. In the end, none of that means anything to you. This one is not going to be any different. But she could have meant something to me.”

Later on at the restaurant, Emilio is looking through the books and notices something suspicious. Apparently, his parents agreed to a deal where Uncle Louis would get 30% of the bar in perpetuity in exchange for putting the liquor license in his name. So now, they owe him a lot of back pay. 

Beto waits for Vanessa at her bus stop and offers her a ride yet again, which she willingly accepts. When they get to her final destination, Beto uses this moment as a chance to throw Emilio under the bus by telling her that he dated his driving instructor back in the day, who was 24 at the time. She asks him if there’s anything he wants to ask her, to which he responds is there anything she wants to tell him. She comes clean about Emilio and the two of them have a little fun, flirty banter with Beto trying to get her to change her mind before Vanessa gets out of the car.

Emilio finally gets the liquor license in his name and meets with Uncle Louis to have him sign off on the proper documents. But now that the deal is complete, Louis is willing to only willing to walk away after clearing out his share of the bar for this quarter. Emilio wants to call it even but Louis isn’t okay with that. “I risked my own neck to help your dad build the business,” Louis tells him. “That’s worth something, right? Now you want to put a stop to the arrangement, I got no problem. But I do have a problem with you re-negging on what I’m owed to date.”

That night, Vanessa tries to sneak out of the Acosta house without anyone knowing she was there, but Beto is playing video games on the couch downstairs so she gets caught red-handed. Not much comes of their conversation except for the whole interaction reminds Beto that he doesn’t have the girl he wants, which makes him even angrier.

The next day, Emilio tells Beto that he can’t borrow Uncle Louis’ car anymore and Beto is p-i-s-s-e-d. “Why do you assume the worst in people?,” Beto yells at him. “That nobody can be on our side? Not everyone is out to screw us, not the guy who’s trying to make my sucky life slightly better by driving his car.” Although Beto is mad about Emilio not letting him drive Louis’ car, it is clear that some of his anger has to do with the whole Vanessa situation. We’re only 3 episodes in, but these brother scenes between Emilio and Beto have already become my favorite part of the show. Niko Guardado and Brandon Larracuente play really well off each other and I’m excited to see what’s to come. 

On FaceTime later that night, Emilio is trying to explain to Javier that Louis is not who they thought he was. Javier wonders if maybe Emilio’s paranoia is covering up his guilt for going back on a deal he and Louis made a long time ago, but Emilio rejects that idea, saying that he’s just trying to protect the family. When Javier pushes back saying that protecting the family is his job, Emilio tells him that it’s “clearly not anymore.”

Beto overhears this conversation in the hallway and steps in to defend their dad. “Leave him with some dignity,” he tells Emilio. But before Emilio can get defensive with him, Vanessa chimes in and tries to smooth over the situation. Javier is not happy about the fact that she’s been sleeping over in his house while his kids are around, but Emilio finally stands up for himself.

The next day, Emilio calls their dad and apologizes for their conversation the night before. “Whatever mistakes you made, those were yours to make,” he tells him. “Now it’s my turn to make my own, but you need to let me… You can’t expect me to live in your house, run your restaurant, raise your children and leave me no room to have anything, anyone, of my own.” 

Beto knows he needs to return the car to Louis, but not before the episode ends with him and Lucia getting one last ride of ‘freedom’ in.

Freeform/Tony RivettI

Lucia and Matthew

Another day unfortunately means another ICE pickup. This time, it’s one of the restaurant’s employees. So on top of trying to figure out how to run the restaurant’s day-to-day operations, Emilio also now has to hire a new dishwasher. Once she learns about the job opening, Lucia immediately chimes in and suggests her new friend Matthew for the job. 

Emilio interviews Matthew and essentially offers him the job on the spot. However, there’s a slight problem. As it turns out, Matthew doesn’t have ID because he’s undocumented, so he can’t fill out the paperwork necessary to get a job. Emilio is hesitant to offer the job considering everything going on; Matthew understands this, but Lucia stands up for him and calls Emilio out. “If I get in trouble for looking the other way, it could affect my DACA status,” Emilio says. “Are you really asking me to risk that?” 

Matthew leaves, clearly embarrassed by the situation, but Lucia follows him, wanting to know why he didn’t just tell her. “I told you the stuff that matters most,” he says. “That I left home, that I’m on my own. My list of problems goes, ‘Where am I going to sleep? Where is my next meal coming from? Are my parents going to come after me?’ And then all the way at the bottom, ‘What does the government say about my citizenship status?’” Lucia tells him that she’s just trying to help him and soon realizes that he’s never really had anyone in his corner before. 

As it turns out, Matthew’s parents got him DACA status when they first came to the US, so he and Lucia head to renew it. Matthew doesn’t want to though. He’s a little paranoid that the people who say they’re there to help are just ICE officers in disguise. But before Matthew can run away for the second time, they get approached by a woman who offers to sell him her baby’s social security number. Lucia is wary of the situation, but Matthew is determined to go through with it. “It’s solving a problem without risking being exposed,” he says. “I get this, I don’t have to hide… It opens every door for me.”

Now that Matthew has a social security number, Lucia tries to convince Emilio to hire him again. “Why do you even care about this kid so much anyway?” he asks her. “I want to do for him what people did for Papi, give him a leg up,” she honestly shares with him. Emilio eventually comes around and gives Matthew the job. 

Later on, the restaurant is in full swing for dinner and Matthew is going about his business on the first day of his job. Oscar answers a phone call from across the street: ICE is in the neighborhood. Matthew gets fidgety but Lucia reminds him he has his papers now. After a few minutes, Emilio realizes that the call was a false alarm. ICE isn’t actually in the neighborhood; Louis was just playing with them.

Freeform/Tony Rivetti


One night when they’re at the restaurant, Val is trying to call her parents for their nightly phone call, but they don’t pick up so she’s annoying everyone with her worry.

The next morning, nobody’s still heard from their parents so now Val and Lucia are both worried. Beto comes in and says he saw that there was an earthquake in Mexico about 100 miles north of their parents. At that moment, Beto just so happens to get a phone call from an unknown Mexican number. It’s their parents! They’re fine; apparently the grid went down so they weren’t able to charge their cells and borrowed one from a police officer that lives in the building. Despite hearing the good news, Val’s still upset about the entire situation.

From then on, Val is constantly talking to her parents. She sneaks off at school to the bathroom to call Gloria before she gets caught by her teacher. She even claims that she’s “sick” and needs to stay home from school just in order to have Gloria keep her company via FaceTime.

Beto can’t sleep cause Val is still getting in bed with him every night, so he goes outside and runs into Vanessa. They talk about the Val situation and she points out that all of the phone calls with their parens are not healthy. “When she can’t reach them, her anxiety spikes and she crawls into bed with you,” she points out to him. “And then the next day, you’re exhausted and it’s that much easier for you to pawn her off to them again.”

She continues on. “Without meaning to, when you send her off, you’re telling her that’s where she’ll find her comfort,” she says. “And what she gets from your parents, over the phone, a country away, it’ll never be enough to fully sustain her. It’s not you she needs less of, Beto.” 

Beto says he can’t tell Val that she can’t call her parents all the time anymore and Vanessa suggests not putting it on her, but on them. “I need you to find a way to make her need you less,” he tells their mom when he calls her to explain the situation.

Gloria talks to Val and is clearly emotional, something that Val picks up on right away. She creates this “fake situation” that she asks Val to help her with. “I’m just living for the time we speak,” she says. “And the times in between, I’m just waiting. And it’s very lonely… Can you help me so I’m just not living to hear you and see you?” 

Val is smart for her age so she quickly catches on. “Are we not going to talk anymore?“ Val solemnly asks, which Gloria is quick to dispute. “Maybe just not every time we think of each other because if we do that, that’s all we have,” she explains.

Episode Notes

  • Even though it’s not on Good Trouble, it warms my heart to see Danny Nucci pop up on another Freeform show. Boy have I missed him.
  • Beto, I love you but you can’t just wait for girls at their bus stop. Not a good look, bro.
  • “I’m a nice person!” – Lucia is honestly such a mood, every episode.
  • The way Beto tries to calm Val down when they think ICE is going to invade the restaurant makes me cry EVERY DAMN TIME. This show really is going to surpass This is Us as the show to make me shed the most tears each week.
  • Also, Vanessa trying to calm Val down by asking her to help pass out menus absolutely warms my heart. 

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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