Netflix’s On My Block is a coming-of-age story; a dramady about a group of friends growing up in South L.A. Navigating their daily struggles for survival, this show blends culture and race with laughs and tears. The final season finds us two years later after our compas have gone their separate ways. It’s senior year, and if you know anything about this show, it’s far from normal.
Why On My Block Is Always On My Must-List
If you feel like On My Block is just another high school show, think again. This show gives black and brown kids a voice; an opportunity to see themselves as real people. These kids are just like you: they have anxiety about living up to their parent’s expectations, they experience love and heartache, they live in self-doubt and struggle with what means to grow into their own. They are constantly placed in tough situations where they have to decide who they want to be versus who they have to be.
We’ve watched Cesar come to terms with his destiny, Ruby survive his near-death experience, and Jamal go from conspiracy theorist to neighborhood hero. We’ve witnessed Monse finally let her guard down just to pick up the pieces, and cheered Jasmine on when she finally defined love on her own terms. We’ve rooted for these friends through all of their ups and downs. After four years—we’ve grown with our compas, and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
The Final Season
The vibes are different senior year, our compas are grown. No longer the best friend group we know, everyone is on their own. Take some time to adjust to their new personalities and remember—it’s been two years. They are teenagers trying to figure themselves out. What brings our team back together? Let’s just say buried bodies don’t always stay that way. I suggest re-watching the first three seasons (or for newbies to start at the beginning) before binging the final chapters. It’s worth it.
The first half of the final season is all about the reunion (even the gnomies are back) but things seem a little too happy. On My Block likes to pull the trigger (pun intended) when things are going a little too smoothly. After Christmas and everyone forgives each other, shit goes down. Cesar’s storyline started it all, and his redemption takes some loss and heartache. Before you watch episode five, make sure you have some comfort food with you because I wasn’t ready. I’m telling you this as a compa—you can cry, let it out.
The final season does a great job of tying everything together (and there’s a lot to package up). We’re constantly reminded how this show is about the relationships we have with those we care about the most. While there’s tension between all the compas, the plot moves them towards stubborn resolution. Jamal and Ruby’s power feud will make you laugh, but the relationship that stuck with me the most was Oscar’s (Spooky) relationship with Cesar—it’s that eldest child’s parental push and pull from Oscar that will always hit close to home for me.
One of my favorite themes this final season was self-love. In our community, self-love is often an afterthought. It’s hard to navigate, let alone define. Monse helps remind Jasmine to put herself first, giving her permission to learn how to love herself. After being her father’s main caregiver and putting all her energy into Ruby, Jasmine seems to forget about herself a little more than she thinks. When you have someone like Jasmine’s character—always positive, full of energy and love, it’s easy to forget that their needs might not be getting met.
One of my favorite scenes is when Jasmine is giving Monse a pep talk in the bathroom at prom. She tells Monse, “We’re not the girls who catch breaks. We’re the girls who just don’t break. We’re resilient and strong because we don’t let experiences define us. We define our experiences.” It might be one of my favorite Jasmine pep talks because she’s right and it perfectly defines these characters throughout these past four years.
We Need More Shows About The U.S. Latinx Experience
Latinas are the least represented group in media when compared to our actual population. I am hungry for our stories to be shared with the world. On My Block is one of the few shows that captures the essence of one U.S. Latinx experience, but there are so many more.
Whether it’s Jamal feeling the need to abandon his weird side, Ruby wanting a basic prom after everything he’s been through, or Cesar pleading that he wants to be somebody—these kids just want a chance at a life without violence and it kills me. We all deserve to be seen. No matter what path we take, what neighborhood we come from. We all deserve to be somebody.
This show has heavily influenced the characters I write about. It has given me permission as a writer to show our resilience, our messiness, our imperfect, complex lives to the world. I’m gonna miss my compas but they’ll always be there for me. (Gracias, Netflix.)
I’ll leave you with Abuelita’s wise words: “Your purpose finds you.” My gnomie says, “Writing about our stories is my purpose.” Do you know what yours is? Let’s make our own block and share our stories with the world. Juntos, just like our compas.