On My Block Review: Love, Loss, and Gang War

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Cuchillos isn't playing around.

The group is on a hell of a deadline to track down Lil' Ricky, and despite everyone juggling a host of personal issues on On My Block Season 3 Episode 3 and On My Block Season 3 Episode 4, Cuchillos made it known that she's not a patient woman.

Cuchillos wants Lil' Ricky, and she wants him now.

Cuchillos - Tall  - On My Block Season 3 Episode 1

The group agreed to use Chivo's DNA to help them track down Lil' Ricky since he's his cousin. But while they're waiting on the results from a larger database, they used an ancestry one and cross-referenced with dates that match up with Lil' Ricky's date of birth.

The time is winding down for them, and if they thought they had a moment to rest on their laurels a bit with days at the pool or going to Carnivals, Cuchillos found ways to remind them of what was at stake if they didn't appease her in a timely fashion.

I am many things, but a patient woman I am not.

Cuchillos

Of all the people she's choosing to threaten the most, it's heartbreaking that she chose Ruby. Her reasoning is the same for why we sympathize with him the most.

She's taking advantage of his genuine fear, previous experience getting shot, and his PTSD, and the poor kid can't rest. Her calling card seems to be sneaking into their homes when they're unaware of it and fiddling around knives.

Ruby Blues - Tall  - On My Block

She left Ruby a burner phone knowing he would the most susceptible to her threats, and she stole every knife in their kitchen, which she later used to puncture the tires of the exterminator they thought was Lil' Ricky.

They all have a lot at stake here, but Ruby and Jasmine are the ones who aren't getting the most distracted, and Ruby feels like he has the most at stake.

Surprisingly, Monse hasn't taken the threat more seriously herself after Cuchillos threatened her father's life. Maybe it's a matter of out of sight, out of mind for her.

Ruby is feeling the pressure, and it doesn't help that he's concerned about his parents' marriage too. Ruben is still staying in his room, and he and his wife are arguing nonstop about finances and not even hiding it.

Jasmine Catches Rays - Tall  - On My Block

Ruby put a lot of pressure on himself to help out however he could, and he's a natural hustler, but that pop-up BBQ idea at the pool was foolish.

It's one thing to scam people, but by the time they started grilling chicken in the parking lot -- have these boys lost all sight of salmonella? It's a wonder they didn't kill anyone.

When I come back, I'm going to bring some booty and some boundaries.

Ruby

Their pool day turning into them poisoning half the attendees and projectile vomit flying everywhere was a lot. Dwayne is catching all kinds of hell this season between his son's antics, those of his friends, and this gang stuff too.

When Ruby isn't worried to death about his family, he's having fantasies about Jasmine. Ruby's tried and true method to manage stress typically involves masturbation, and hey, not only is it in line with a teen boy, but it's also scientifically sound, so whatever helps him out.

Abuelita - Tall  - On My Block

However, now Jasmine has crept her way into his fantasy, and he doesn't know what to do about that. It took time before he considered her a friend, and he cares for her the more he gets to know her.

He never came across as though he was attracted to her, though. It was the one thing that stood in the way between them. She liked him, but he never saw her that way.

Ruby: God, I'm stressed.
Abuelita: Meeee toooo.
Ruby: What are you looking at?
Abuelita: Dicks! I'm just kidding. I don't do that at the dinner table.

It's changing now where his fantasies are catching up with his feelings, and if these two aren't official by the end of the season, it would be a surprise.

They are a couple worth rooting for, but Jamal and Kendra have thrown their hat in the ring with their delightfully weird dynamic.

Kendra and Jamal  - On My Block

The two of them are strange as hell, but one of the best parts about Jamal is that he has the space to be a quirky black boy. He met his match with Kendra, but he doesn't know how to handle it either.

He assumed she was a Prophet, but it didn't stop him from embarking on his first sexual experience with her, and it became a repeat thing for them.

You can get jumped into a gang, but can you get humped in?

Jamal

So, wait, does this mean Ruby is the only virgin out of the bunch? WHO saw Jamal losing his virginity before Ruby?

Anyway, as silly and funny as it was, they did touch on what sex means to him as he pondered if he was someone who needed to be in love when he had it.

Kendra  - On My Block

He didn't know what to make of his experiences and his reactions to them, and it bothered him at first that Kendra was keeping notes and took a clinical approach to sex.

She's home-schooled, and her folks believe in hands-on learning, so she took it upon herself to stalk the heck out of Jamal and have sex with him as part of her sex-ed class.

Jamal: Oh no. Do you think I'm one of those people who can't enjoy sex without love?
Abuelita: God, I hope not. Those people are the worst.

Jamal hashing all of this out with Abuelita was another highlight, as their relationship is an unsung hero of the series.

Abuelita is the coolest grandmother around, and the casual way she talks about and listens to the kids' every issue -- especially those that would be shut down by others is the best.

Abuelita - Tall  - On My Block

Does anyone else joke with their grandmothers about dick pics and blow-up dolls?

I mean I do, but we're both adults. The type of conversations and adventures Abuelita engages in with Ruby and Jamal are as unusual as they are refreshing.

Kendra: Oh, you're already wearing a condom?
Jamal: Always be prepared.

Tea time with Abuelita is lit.

The way the adults are being utilized during this season where the stories expand to them more is making the series more interesting and broadening the world of On My Block.

Making Money  - On My Block

It's also leading to some exploration of dynamics that we never thought about or experienced as much in previous seasons.

Oscar is a gem; there was always something alluring about the bad boy who is a secret softie. He got into this life with little choice, but he's doing the best that he can to keep his people and his hood safe.

He believes that, and he's often scowling and grunting so much, you sometimes forget that he's not much older than the others.

He's still a kid, too; he had to grow up faster than he should have, and Ray's presence has reverted him to that angry kid pissed at his father.

Monse's Stressed - Tall  - On My Block Season 3 Episode 1

Maybe that's why it's hard for Monse to see him as anything other than a hoodlum. She saw him as out of his element at the pool and hanging with his brother's friends.

Monse, like most people, forgets that Oscar is human and more than the gang member. When we catch glimpses of Oscar enjoying himself or having fun, you realize how much depth he has and how he feels compelled to play the role dealt to him.

Cesar: Oscar has a lot on his plate right now. I'm not the only one dealing with our dad.
Monse: How's that going?
Cesar: Not great. They can't even be in the same room together which puts me in a weird position because I want to get to know my dad, but I also feel like I'm somehow betraying Oscar.
Monte: Did he say that?
Cesar: No, but he doesn't have to.

It's particularly fascinating, and excellent microexpression work by Macias, when Oscar slips from a laughing, relaxed guy to the hardened gang role with his guard up.

It must be exhausting. The flickers of vulnerability when he gives more than he usually lets on are mesmerizing.

Oscar Reflects - Tall  - On My Block

It's interesting how he's willing to be the emotional punching bag for Cesar and his friends. He gives them a hard time, no doubt, but he also gives them the space to air their grievances.

Monse's drunken tirade, where she blamed Oscar for every terrible thing happening to them right now, was similar to Ruby's outbursts.

Oscar: You done?
Monse: Everything bad that has ever happened is because of you!

Her animosity toward Oscar was mostly misplaced. But they connected when she started speaking of her mother. If anyone could understand her position with a disappointing parent, Oscar could.

It was such an intimate moment, and Ray peering out at them, and drunken Jasmine didn't break the spell between them. Frankly, their chaste kiss didn't either.

Monse Kisses Oscar  - On My Block

It was a drunken error on Monse's part, and Oscar brushed it off without making her feel like an idiot either, and honestly, Oscar is the best.

The moment Ray thought he could hold it against him, he told Cesar the truth to clear the air. It didn't mean anything, and it was no big deal, so it was nothing scandalous.

Oscar: These young ones coming up will shoot you for no reason. Ain't no code anymore.
Ray: I can see that.
Oscar: What's that supposed to mean? 
Ray: Kissing your brother's girl?
Oscar: Is that a threat? Don't think you got anything on me.

Ray probably underestimated how close the Diaz brothers are. And he has no idea what he's stepping into with the 19 gang.

Jamal's black and white, private detective intro was amusing for many reasons, but he's not wrong about the block being too quiet.

The Diaz Men  - On My Block

It's more ominous when the block is quiet; it means something is on the horizon, and whatever it is, it's not a good sign.

The Santos gang has moved the Prophet$ out and taken over their territory, but now it means other rival gangs will want a piece of the pie.

The 19 gang is willing to challenge the Santos over this new territory. They want to take over, and they don't want the Santos to reign supreme.

So he has daddy issues, and you have mommy issues, and if you don't stay away, y'all will have baby issues. 

Jasmine

The munchkin lead of theirs was starting something when he approached Spooky at the carnival. He was doing it again when he came to his house.

And while Ray is down to back his son up, Spooky was right to warn him off a bit. Everything has changed since he was last on the streets. The young kids will bust a cap in him for looking at him wrong or stepping on their shoes; there are no rules anymore.

Ray  - On My Block

Codes have all but gone out the window, and there is some commentary to dissect regarding how gang violence across the country has gotten so bad.

Without codes and established rules, even within an illicit culture, there is chaos.

The 19 gang is a problem, and Ray is a hothead. So far, Ray has been there without starting anything.

Cesar insists on bonding with his father, and so far, it's nothing to be opposed to given their interactions.

Cesar: Oscar has a lot on his plate right now. I'm not the only one dealing with our dad.
Monse: How's that going?
Cesar: Not great. They can't even be in the same room together which puts me in a weird position because I want to get to know my dad, but I also feel like I'm somehow betraying Oscar.
Monte: Did he say that?
Cesar: No, but he doesn't have to.

Ray is genuine with Cesar for the time being, and the only thing we have to go on here is Oscar's reluctance to embrace his father.

It's standard, though, and it wasn't fair of Monse to call him selfish for trying to protect his brother. It doesn't take much to figure out that Oscar is trying to save his brother from heartache.

Rival Gang  - On My Block

Ray has been on the up since he's returned, but he was eager to jump into the gang squabble, and he was about to take his apron and go to town the 19 punks when they showed up at Dwayne's.

If Ray wasn't on paper, he could have beaten the hell out of those little pendejos, but he is, so Dwayne was right to keep him away.

But Ray doesn't seem like someone who backs down, so he's in this fight. Maybe Ray isn't a bad guy, and he's here to be with his boys.

Maybe he won't be a letdown, but instead, he'll end up killed or getting sent back to jail trying to protect his boys and the neighborhood.

Sons and Fathers - Tall - On My Block

Spooky was trying to sit on things, and he was reliant on the streets settling down after the Prophet$' demise.

He should've known better, though. Whether he wants to or not, another gang war is brewing over territory, and it never ends.

I need protection.

Dwayne

Dwayne put up a good fight when those jerks came back with a baseball bat. He went years not having to pay a tax for daring to own a small business one some gang's turf, but now he has gone to Spooky seeking the protection of the Santos.

Before, the gangs and their territory were firmly established. We heard about what went into making it that way, but we didn't get to see it.

Dwayne Seeks Protection  - On My Block

Now, we get to witness it firsthand as Freeridge is at the heart of a gang turf war.

And of all the prospective storylines this season, this one is the most exciting and captivating.

Of course, the most shocking moment was when Monse picked up the phone and discovered that her mother is dead.

Cesar: Hey, where what's wrong?
Monse: My mom's dead.

She spent the past few installments grappling with her feelings for the woman. She wished death on her when she spoke to Jasmine, and she told Oscar the woman was dead to her.

Cesar and Monse at the Pool - Tall  - On My Block

Little did she know, her mother did pass away. No love is lost for Selena, or whatever she called herself, but poor Monse is going to be experiencing tremendous guilt.

She beats herself up for so much. She was pushing Cesar away again because of his forgiveness for her innocent kiss with Oscar.

We've been running the bases backward from the start. We were hooking up before we even had a date. Maybe what we need is just that. A date. An epic one to recalibrate everything that went wrong and everything that's still right...

Cesar

She wanted him to blame her and be as angry as she was with him. She felt his anger would validate her own.

It's a good thing the two of them decided to start over. They went from friends to sex buddies and a relationship, but they didn't go through the dating and courting process.

Their group has endured so much; the kids barely had time to date. But Cesar is going to either lean into his friend role or the boyfriend one.

Monse is going to need all the support as she processes her mother's death.

Over to you, On My Block Fanatics.

What are your thoughts on the impending gang war? Will they find Lil' Ricky in time? Hit the comments below!

Chapter Twenty-Three Review

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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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On My Block Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

Cesar: Oscar has a lot on his plate right now. I'm not the only one dealing with our dad.
Monse: How's that going?
Cesar: Not great. They can't even be in the same room together which puts me in a weird position because I want to get to know my dad, but I also feel like I'm somehow betraying Oscar.
Monte: Did he say that?
Cesar: No, but he doesn't have to.

So he has daddy issues, and you have mommy issues, and if you don't stay away, y'all will have baby issues. 

Jasmine