Recap/Review: ‘Party of Five’ 1×10

Freeform/Eric McCandless

Party of Five’s first season concludes with a strong episode that simultaneously brings the family closer together and fractures it even further. 

Let’s dive in, shall we?


There’s a lot going on in Emilio’s world during the season finale. The social worker shows up to the restaurant looking for Emilio after he was alerted about Val being stopped at the border. The whole conversation just turns more awkward when Emilio has to admit to him that he hasn’t booked any of the kids’ return trips back to the US. 

The social worker also told Emilio that he has to attend a parenting class because he has to demonstrate a “willingness to work on his shortcomings.” As you can imagine, Emilio is not too thrilled about this. He attends and it goes worse than anyone could even imagine. Emilio essentially yells at the leader about how he’s never going to be the parent that “his child” deserves because he’s not the parent – he’s the brother. “My sister has two parents, great parents who want to be taking care of her but can’t,” he honestly shares. “I’m not the problem. This country, what they did to my parents and to their children, that’s the problem and that’s never going to get fixed in her.” 

Although Emilio shared how he he was honestly feeling, the social worker tells him that he handled the situation all wrong and now the juvenile dependency court will have to determine whether or not any kind of intervention is warranted. He mentions that they’ll want to interview all three of his siblings when they return from Mexico, especially Val as her testimony will carry the most weight. 

Val calls Emilio and before he can even get words out about needing her to come to his defense during this investigation, she tells him that their parents are letting her stay in Mexico. As soon as she tells him the news, you can see the heartbroken look on his face. He tells her he’s not mad at her – which I wholeheartedly believe – but he’s still upset. She tells him that he should be a father when it’s his choice and when that time comes, he’ll be great at it – the “thing in your life that you’ll be best at.”

Emilio gets a little tipsy at the restaurant after learning the news that Rafa and Val are staying in Mexico with their parents, so Oscar calls Natalia to bring him home. But before she can leave, he admits that he’s feeling lost now that he doesn’t have kids to support, especially since Beto and Lucia don’t need him in the same way. “I used to complain that the deportation totally derailed my life,” he admits to her. “But what if the truth is that taking care of those kids actually gave me life?” 

She tells him that everything he’s learned about himself in this past year will change what he does next, from the goals he sets to the music he writes. “I know that something inside of you will tell you what’s next for you,” she says. In response, Emilio asks her what if what he wants next is her, which leads to the two of them FINALLY kissing.  

The next morning, Natalia checks her phone in bed and finds an email saying they landed an audition for the songwriting competition. Emilio tries to come up with an excuse as to why he can’t travel to New York for the audition, but leave it to Natalia to convince him. “Of course nothing is going to come out of it, Emilio,” she says. “We’re #7263 out of #10000, and we’re not that good, not yet. But it’s something that’ll get you out of the house for a few days, get out of your head, and start thinking about what’s coming next.”

Gloria and Javier

Things between Gloria and Javier are not good. The episode picks up with Gloria not wanting to go to church. Lucia stays back with her and is afraid that the reason she won’t go is because of her. Gloria reassures her that it’s not because of her; she says she can’t face God after having failed her kids. “None of us are who we were before and I didn’t stop that from happening,” she tells her. “That was my job and now I think it’s too late. It’s too late to make things right.” 

As Javier and Gloria are laying in bed that night, Gloria admits that she misses every moment of their life before. “I don’t know if this time helped or made things worse,” she says. “I know what’s coming. It’s like I feel my heart waiting to be broken.” Javier proposes that they have another baby.  However, she’s not thrilled with the idea. “I already have a daughter who feels replaced. And Rafa? How would he feel in the years to come? I left him behind but made another child to keep with me?” Also, I know it wasn’t Javier’s intention, but how inconsiderate of him to ask her whether she would forgive them if he gave this to her. 

One of the motel maids tells Javier that she found Val’s passport in the dumpster in the parking lot. When he confronts her about it, she said that they haven’t had enough time together and tries her best to convince him to let her stay. “We could be together, here,” she pleas. “If not all of us, then Rafa and me. Maybe not forever but for now.” 

Javier knows that it’ll make Gloria happy, so he says yes right away and basically puts the decision on Gloria, which is soooooo fucking unfair. But after talking with Beto of all people, Gloria ultimately decides to let Val and Rafa stay with her and Javier for the foreseeable future 

As they’re checking out the next day, Javier asks if the two of them okay and Gloria says she doesn’t know. “Are you going to pretend for the sake of our children that we’re good?” he honestly asks her. “Or are you going to try?” 


Ella shows up in Mexico to surprise Beto and apologizes for how they left things at the border, a gesture you can tell means a lot to him from the look on his face. Because Ella’s parents only seem to pretend to care about her and her whereabouts, Beto is easily able to convince her to get a room in Mexico for the night so that he can sneak over there once his family goes to bed. 

I typically hate on Beto and Ella for the lack of depth in their relationship, but this episode actually showed quite a few profound moments for our young lovers. As Beto and Ella lie in bed after some sexy time, Beto admits to her that everyone seems to be acting that everything is just as it was before the deportation when it’s clearly not. 

Ella overhears Gloria and Javier arguing in a diner and barely manages to escape, only being noticed by baby Rafa. 

When Beto comes clean about this to Gloria, she gets mad, saying that she doesn’t know what kind of girl would not let her boyfriend spend time with his family that he never gets to see. Beto stands up for Ella though. “A girl from a broken home, a girl that saw two people that she loves most in this world not love each other and try hard enough to work it out or that’s beautiful and smart and insecure and needy and lost,” he says. “She’s always trying to find a home. She’s just lucky she found a guy who grew up with two parents who love each other.”

On the way home, Beto admits that he has doubts about whether or not he did the right thing, but Ella tells him he should let himself off the hook because it was a good for his parents. He also admits to her that he’s worried about his parents marriage but Ella tells him she’s not because she’s seen firsthand what a couple on the verge of splitting up looks like. Ella also opens up about what’s been her mind; she admits to looking into emancipation but Beto’s concerned about how that would actually work. 


Lucia is continuing to majorly struggle with her identity this week. She’s worried that she’s upset her mother when she accidentally let it that she was upset about a woman, not a man. 

So to try and prove something, both to herself and her mom, she invites the maid’s son that she met in last week’s episode back to the pool after hours for a makeout session. He freaks out mid-makeout session that one of their moms might see them, so Lucia suggests that they get a room. He secures the room and decorates it with rose petals to make it more romantic, but Lucia freaks out when he talks about the possibility of them continuing this “thing” between them when he comes to the US in a few months, so she up and leaves. 

To make Lucia feel even worse about herself, Val says that Lucia doesn’t need a mother the same way that she does. “Not to show you how to be because you’re not like mommy, you never have been. I’m not saying it’s your fault. Maybe something got mixed up in the womb and Beto got all the girl qualities and you got all the boy ones.” Lucia pushes back but Val holds firm that it’s true; Beto is the one snuggles with her, braids her hair, buys her bras while Lucia has never so much as wanted to play dolls, talk about makeup etc. “Maybe that’s why you can’t understand why it’s so important to me to be with someone who’s going to teach me how to be a woman,” Val tells her. 

After Val’s comments, Lucia doubles down on her earlier plan and has sex with pool boy. However, after she’s done, she looks like she immediately regrets it. 

Before she leaves Mexico, Lucia and Gloria have the heart-to-heart that Lucia’s needed this entire time. Gloria tells her that she’s trying to be open about certain things, but it’s hard when you’ve been taught to believe certain things your whole life. “But I want you to know this,” she tells her.  “There’s nothing you could ever do, no way you could ever be, no one you could ever love that would make me love you any less. You will always be my child.” 

She’s hanging out with Matthew when she comes back from Mexico and asks him a question that’s clearly been on her mind: “How did you figure out who you were?” He simply tells her that there came a point in his life when he couldn’t be anyone else. She tells him she’s not there yet but he calms her down and tells her she’ll find out who she is soon enough. 

Other Thoughts

  • When Beto and Ella were looking at wedding gowns, I was 100% convinced that one of them was going to suggest eloping and we were going to be forced to see them actually follow through with it. 
  • “What if next time if I have pecs like Emilio?” Yeah, keep dreaming Beto. 
  • Beto and Val saying “see you later” ABSOLUTELY BROKE ME. “Scarecrow, I think I’ll miss you most of all.”

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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