'On My Block' Season 3 Spoiler-Free Review: The show hits most of its marks but is a lot less believable
How does one make a show about gang violence fun? For two seasons, 'On My Block' has managed to do that very thing without making light of the situation, balancing a high energy coming-of-age comedy with some very heavy subject matter. The two drastically different tones are not easy to juggle and in Season 3, things have definitely started to slip.
Using the RollerWorld money to both pay for Cesar Diaz's (Diego Tinoco) protection as well as take down the Prophet$ has brought Cesar, Monse Finne (Sierra Capri), Jamal Turner (Brett Gray) and Ruby Martinez (Jason Genao) the attention of the leader of the Santos, Cuchillos (Ada Luz Ola). Cuchillos admires the youths' competency and tasks them with finding L'il Ricky, as she believes he only faked his death. Teaming up with Jasmin (Jessica Marie Garcia), the kids work to unravel the conspiracy while trying to deal with the complications of their personal lives and their families.
The show definitely still has its stronger moments. The kids are dealing with their respective traumas. Though the threat targeting Cesar has been dealt with, gang violence is still an inescapable part of life in Freeridge. The weight of what the kids have gone through hasn't been abandoned and the show deals with all of it with humor, heart, and the seriousness it deserves. The fleshing out of Oscar Diaz's character is particularly notable this season - as is Jasmin's, as she becomes closer to the group.
The show's silliness, however, takes more of a lead this season. The introduction of Cuchillos raises the stakes in a way that makes the show a lot less believable and a lot harder to connect to. It's one thing for plucky teens to be trying to save their friends from gang violence, it's another thing when a rich, villainous gang leader wants her own personal teen sleuths to uncover a decades-old mystery.
'On My Block' Season 3 feels a little lost. What was once a comedic distraction - the L'il Ricky conspiracy - has become Season 3's central plotline. While the comedy works, it can make it hard to take the rest of the show as seriously. For dedicated fans of the show, Season 3 still has everything that makes the show what it is - but on its own, the season feels like it's on shaky ground. Without going into spoilers, this might have been what led to a major shake-up setting up Season 4, but it might be just what the series needs.
All episodes of Season 3 of 'On My Block' are now available to stream on Netflix.