Recap/Review: ‘Party of Five’ 1×08

This week’s episode of Party of Five is arguably one of the most emotional ones to date. Natalia shares Val’s secret with Emilio and, as a result, Val tries to reconnect with her parents, Beto encourages Ella to move in with her mother and discovers a secret from Ella’s past, while Lucia continues to try to impress Sully. 

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Val & Emilio

Emilio picks Val up from dance class after finally listening to Natalia’s concerns. Val, of course, is mad at Natalia, although Emilio tells her that she can’t blame Natalia for being concerned. “Mommy and Papi are never going to show up to see me dance,” she tells him. “And when you have the name Amanda Davis, nobody thinks maybe the reason your parents aren’t there is because they got thrown out of the country.”

Emilio invites Padre Jimenez over to their house and he immediately figures out why Emilio called him: he wants him to talk to Val for him. And he does talk to her, but before doing so, Padre Jimenez teaches Emilio a lesson using the “disaster” that happened with the band at the fundraiser the night before. “Your sister does not have those alarm bells that go off when who she shows herself to be doesn’t match who she truly is,” he tells Emilio. “But you have them, Emilio. You might not want to listen, but they’re sounding.”

When Emilio gets home from making up with Micah, Val tells him that after listening to Padre Jiminez’s lecture she called her friends on the dance team and they called her a liar. She yells at Emilio and tells him to stay away from her. “You act like you understand but you don’t understand,” she tells him. “No one understands.” 

Emilio goes up to Val’s room the next morning and finds that she’s gone. As it turns out, Val is in a police station down by the border. So all of the Acostas – plus Ella – get in the van and head down there to get her. On the long journey there, Emilio finally fills them in on what went down with Val’s dance team. When Beto hears that she was using the name Amanda Davis, he puts two and two together and tells everyone that that’s the name of the little girl that their mom started taking care of down in Mexico.

They finally get to Val and Emilio tells her he’s not mad at her – he understands why she did what she did. “Look how brave you were,” he tells her. When Val asks what happens now, Emilio tells her that she keeps going on her journey. In fact, he sends his four siblings through the border gate to continue on to see their parents while he unfortunately has to stay behind. The scenes where Emilio and Val hold hands through the gate and Lucia looks back at Emilio on the other side of the gate made me emotional, especially because they serve as a stark reminder of what families in this country go through everyday.

Beto & Ella

Beto wakes up to find Ella just hanging out in his room. She tells him that she was so worried about any trouble she might have caused his family the night before, but couldn’t have texted him to check in because her dad took her phone away. Beto asks her, especially considering how her dad feels about everything she’s been through in the past few weeks, whether or not she’s considered living with her mom, to which she replies that she has. “It’s complicated,” Ella explains. “She’s not very good at taking care of other people.”

Thanks to Beto’s urging, Ella decides to move in with her mom. Beto stays over during Ella’s first night there and wakes up in the middle of the night to find Ella’s mom sewing curtains in the hallway. The two get to chatting and her mom mentions that Ella seems “so much better” with Beto around. Beto, of course, is confused by what she means by that. Her mom mentions that Ella was in the hospital and Beto tries to play off like he’s been in the know this whole time when clearly he wasn’t. 

Beto asks Ella about it the next morning but Ella says that she doesn’t want to tell him the real story because he’s going to jump to conclusions about her that aren’t true. However, they’re interrupted by Emilio’s phone call before they actually get anywhere.

On the road trip to Mexico, Ella indirectly opens up about what really happened when she mentions that Val might have done everything for an attention in a “I’m sad – I don’t know what else to do” kind of way. “Something’s broken and she doesn’t know how to fix it so she tried this…  It’s irrational, immature and totally magical thinking. Only thing is sometimes it works,” she says as she looks at Beto, clearly speaking about her own experience. 

Beto leaves Ella behind as he heads on to Mexico and tells her he’s not really sure where they stand after all of this. I’ve been pretty critical of Ella, but this episode definitely made me see her in a different light. She’s not as superficial as I once thought. I still don’t think she and Beto are meant to be, but I don’t mind her as much as I did. 


Lucia shows up to Sully’s place and apologizes for how the fundraiser turned out. Sully tells her that after every fundraiser, they have a dinner meeting to discuss distribution of funds. Lucia, of course, immediately volunteers to help out, especially since she loves to cook. 

Sully and Lucia are cooking dinner when Allison shows up. Allison and Sully kiss when she walks in, which completely throws Lucia off guard. Sully is getting ready in the other room, and Allison mentions that her relationship with Sully is complicated. She also offers Lucia a glass of wine, even though she knows Lucia is way too young to be drinking. 

Lucia ends up drinking too much wine and Sully finds her sick in the bathroom. Lucia is still clearly drunk and starts revealing everything Allison told her about Sully and Allison’s relationship. She also mentions how Sully is so committed to everything. “When your with someone, you’re with them,” Lucia drunkenly says. “Like you are with me.” Sully suddenly realizes the meaning behind Lucia’s words and tells her to go sleep it off in the guest room and they’ll discuss in the morning.

While she’s on the road trip to Mexico, Sully calls her and Lucia reluctantly picks up. Sully tells her she shouldn’t have let her into her private life and asks whether or not Lucia has feelings for her. Lucia doesn’t really say anything so Sully tells her while she’s flattered, she may have confused her affection for something more. Lucia apologizes and Sully tells her not to be sorry, just understand what kind of relationship they can have moving forward. Maybe I’m naive but I have to be honest: I never once thought that Lucia might have had a crush on Sully, so this whole storyline seemed very out of the blue for me. 

Episode Notes

  • Natalia suggests that she and Emilio team up and collaborate on music. He’s hesitant at first because the things she writes about are so “big and important”. But after his own experience at the border, he calls her and asks her to read one of her poems to him.

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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