Gang Related Review: Living Lies

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What did Ryan trigger when set up Carlos' shooting? A gang war.

After being on the Gang Task Force and growing up with the Acosta family, it's surprising he didn't understand the deadly ramifications of texting J-Dubs. He wanted vengeance for his partner and to protect his family from Carlos, but instead he created more danger and derailed plans for the Acosta family to go clean.

It was shocking to find out that Carlos survived the attack. There were so many bullets flying around his car, it's a miracle that he didn't die immediately. Ultimately, Ryan failed and only made matters worse for him and his family.

On Gang Related Season 1 Episode 2, Ryan and the task force attempted to contain the situation and prevent a gang war from hitting the Los Angeles streets. Ryan was somewhat successful in calming down Javier. The gang leader didn't immediately go after the Lords' leader's son. 

Through J-Dubs, the task force got the names of the three shooters and captured them in a raid. It wasn't without trouble. An older lady alerted the community to the police presence because she viewed the police as a threat rather than protectors. One man even jumped out a window to his death rather than go back to prison. 

Cassius was suspicious about the text message tip that J-Dubs received. Who would want Carlos dead? J-Dubs assumed that Cassius sent it and wanted retaliation for Tanner's death. He wasn't too far off with that guess. His partner hasn't found evidence he sent the text, but it's just one more thing Ryan has to worry about hiding.

He's working as a cop for Javier, he's covering up the details surrounding his partner's killing, and now he also has to keep from being outed as the one who set up Carlos' shooting. If the truth about any of those are revealed, he's done. Best case scenario, he'll lose his job, but more likely he'd go to jail or be killed.

After Ryan helped arrange for J-Dubs to marry his partner, he commented, "Must be a relief for him to stop living the lie." It would be a dream come true for Ryan, especially since his lies are much more complicated and dangerous.

After the shooters were taken into custody, Ryan and Javier's wife successfully pleaded with Javier to not retaliate. Acosta had the shooters beat up in prison, but he didn't go after Levar's son or family. The situation settled down with the culprits getting punished.

Until ... Carlos woke up and couldn't feel his legs. Javier couldn't let his son's anguish go unpunished and he made the call to take action against the Lords, "Sangre por sangre." A full-fledged gang war now appears to be inevitable which is disappointing. Realistic perhaps, but it goes against everything we initially learned about Javier in Gang Related Season 1 Episode 1

Javier wanted to leave the criminal life behind for his family. He supported Daniel's banking career path and told Ryan that his double life would come to an end. He wanted a better and peaceful life for his wife and daughters. Instead, he threw that all away and put his family in greater danger to get vengeance. That was not the cool-headed, businessman Javier, but an angry and impulsive gang leader.

I'll be disappointed if a gang war breaks out, especially this early in the season. I was looking forward to seeing Ryan work on the task force protecting the Acostas while his family worked on legitimizing their business. Instead of exploring fresh stories, the series looks to be going into territory that's been done on many other shows before.

Odds and Ends

  • Vee's syringe stabbing will complicate things for her. She showed her smarts at getting the fingerprint from the syringe and getting a blood sample. It will be a difficult six-months for her especially since she lied to her partner.
  • "Even a bad cop is good 95% of the time." - Paul Carter is determined to figure out the truth about Ryan. That's dangerous.
  • Ryan lied about what happened with Tanner, while taking responsibility. Jessica initially bought his story. Will she still with 58-seconds between gun shots?
  • Even though Carlos is a despicable killer, his anguish over his paralysis was palpable. It was only humane to feel for him, right? A punishment worse than death.
  • Cassius doesn't appear to suspect Ryan for the text. If any other clues pop up, he's going to remember the "similar" vehicle in the store parking lot.

Should Javier have retaliated?

Sangre Por Sangre Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

Carla Day is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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Gang Related Season 1 Episode 2 Quotes

God rewarded us because you didn't kill anyone.

Mrs. Acosta

Must be a relief for him to stop living the lie.