Welcome back to Freeridge, compas.
Netflix's hit coming of age story is back with its third season, and it already is on the path toward being the best season yet. We're well on our way to solving another mystery with the crew.
Within seconds of On My Block Season 3 Episode 1, we discovered that Ruby, Monse, Cesar, and Jamal's kidnapper was none other than Cuchillos herself. Yes, Cuchillos is a woman, and she's badass AF.
In fact, early into the season, we can tell it's going to have more feminine energy and power. On My Block Season 3 Episode 2 officially solidified the friendship between Monse and Jasmine.
And it has shifted Monse away from the "I'm not like the other girls" narrative many of us have fallen into at some point or another in our lives.
The series is all the better with these two girls as friends, and it means Monse doesn't have the shoulder the burden of being the more level-headed one alone.
I answer to no one, let alone no man.Cuchillos
But back to Cuchillos and how these young teens can't seem to escape the pull of chaos and neighborhood politics. The core four have quite the reputation, and they have caught the attention of many after successfully taking down the Prophet$.
They also found the RollerWorld money among other things, so despite having actual cops on the payroll, like squirrely Hammel, it's not completely out of pocket that Cuchillos turned to our group for help.
Somehow they beat the odds and get the job done, and if anyone could track down Lil Ricky under a deadline, it's this group.
Lil Ricky is alive, and you're going to find him.Cuchillos
Does anyone else think Cuchillos has ulterior motives for finding Ricky? Why now after all of these years?
She claims it's so he can be there to celebrate Hood's day -- some Santos anniversary celebrating the gang's history and what all they have achieved. She also mentioned that he's the love of her life, and she wants to tell him.
But Lil' Ricky peaced out for a damn good reason, so why would he want to come back?
And how can our flavorful Scooby-Doo gang entice him to return?
One of the most realistic moments of the first two installments was Ruby lamenting that they got dragged into some more drama and openly wondering why they can't simply be teenagers.
When are we ever just going to be teenagers?Ruby
They deal with such hardship, drama, and adult situations that most couldn't bear that sometimes you forget that these are kids. They should be focused on finals, not hopscotching through gang affairs while still keeping their heads on straight.
But now they all have an incentive to help Cuchillo. For Ruby, it's the crushing weight of his parents strained marriage bearing down on him.
As with most marriages, financial hardship is driving the Martinezes apart, and it has forced Ruby to once again share his room with his father.
Ruby may need to accept that he will never have a room of his own for the rest of his life. The poor kid can't even have a little one-handed alone time without the awkwardness of his father snoring a few feet away.
As a notorious internalizer, it's understandable that Ruby would take much of this upon himself. He was shot: naturally, he assumes that his medical bills are what put his family in debt.
His motives are pure. If he finds Lil' Ricky, then he can earn that money from Cuchillo and help his family. More importantly, he can save his parents' marriage.
Marriages are much more complicated than that, and Ruby is the brightest, most mature, and intuitive of them all, but his innocence shines through via his earnest determination.
Put that shovel down, son. You are not gonna dig another hole, especially when you're already in one.Dwayne
Monse is driven to protect her father. After a rocky road of thinking life would have been better with her mom, she's realized that he's the only parent she has.
For the sake of the series, how fun it is, and how valuable Monse is to the group, we wouldn't want to lose her for this adventure.
But it also speaks to the real circumstances that hold many individuals back. She had her summer mapped out. She had plans to go to another school, and with it came better opportunities.
It was a shot to leave Freeridge behind and pursue other things, but like quicksand, reality sucked her back in. Family, loyalty, and fear -- all of it blended together, and suddenly, Monse's escape felt like a pipe dream compared to her reality.
Cesar: Nothing's going to happen. I got you.
Monse: Will you hold me?
It also placed her in a disheartening situation where she's afraid to be alone in her home.
Through it all, she could find a semblance of solace there, but Cuchillos appearing in her bedroom-- her sanctuary, when Monse was at her most exposed wearing a towel, was the straw that broke the camel's back.
It's interesting, Ruby's PTSD is the most overt, and Genao was simply incredible during On My Block Season 2 portraying it in such a visceral way.
Monse's is quieter and more subtle. Because they've been through so much-- she has alone, but because it wasn't as life-threatening and grandiose as Ruby getting shot, it lingers in the background.
Her fear pushed her to Cesar who has always been a haven for her. The weight of the world always hangs heavy over this 'ship, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't utterly obsessed with Monse and Cesar.
Capri and Tinoco have that fire chemistry that makes all of their scenes together irresistible.
Monse couldn't resist falling into old habits even though she's still pissed at Cesar and considers them broken up. Bless him, we all know Cesar is all heart and hormones and no brain, so it was no surprise when he mistook their comfort sex as falling back into a relationship.
Monse isn't over what he did to her or any of the things that transpired between them. And as heartbreaking as it is, Monse probably should test out the single life right now.
We're in an investigation, and I'm going to need you both to be impartial. I'm impartial but totally on Team Monse. Vag before badge.Jasmine
She has a lot going on -- they all do -- but her on again off again romance with Cesar shouldn't be what consumes her.
She's bound to him, they'll always be friends and in this situationship, so we'll still get those fire scenes, but it's promising that Monse may continue her arc of stepping into her own as a young woman without necessarily being tied to a relationship.
It's one of many reasons it was satisfying when she sought comfort and company at Jasmine's home.
Season three is putting some respect on Jessica Marie Garcia's name. Bless. Jasmine has long since been the biggest scene-stealer of the series, but she's integrated into the show better than she ever was before.
Praise the powers that be.
Previously, Jasmine was the unexpected supportive figure for Ruby, but so far, she has directed that nurturing energy to Monse.
One day, Jasmine is going to need some support and love, and hopefully, the others will give it back to her. It'll be a beautiful day.
But for now, Jasmine has taken Monse under her wing and is lavishing her with the type of maternal/feminine energy Monse often craves.
Monse: Sometimes I wish I didn't know her, and that I wouldn't miss her so much. I miss her. I really miss her. I wish she was dead.
Jasmine: Hey, hey. Don't wish that! Don't ever, ever wish that. I know what that is, so don't, don't that.
She put up a fight about the clothes, but Monse has embraced Jasmine and was good-natured.
The two of them may be the ones to properly take the lead in tracking down Lil' Ricky.
Jamal means well, and he is the person who tends to be lightyears ahead in figuring things out, but his quirkiness at times makes him ineffective.
It's no reason he and Jasmine can't co-lead their investigation. They're both masterminds in their own right, and with their collective skills, they can pull off this mission.
Cesar: You must be the shit down at the station to have this kind of access.
.Jasmine: Or I stole Hammel's password.
Jamal: Oh, small detail we forgot. Hammel's a dirty cop.
Jasmine: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. How dirty? Like fixing parking tickets dirty? Or planting a gun dirty? Or I shot you ' cause you're brown dirty?
Jamal: He's working for Cuchillo.
They have to get on the same page, though. Part of that is Jamal realizing it's better to have Jasmine on their team than against them.
She amassed some serious evidence and had an impressive whiteboard. Jasmine has been paying attention to everything when the others were ignoring her.
She had some questionable moments, like recording Cesar and Monse having sex and attempting to leverage it. But for the most part, she could know more than she's giving herself credit for in the end.
Hell, she had me wondering about Monse's father and whether or not he does transport something.
People! You can't be soft if you want to be a dick! Now harden up!Jasmine
It would be a hell of a twist, but the series does have a consistent flaw in its depiction of its darker characters excluding Jamal and his family and vilifying the Prophet$ without their perspective while giving nuance to the Santos.
The truth of the matter is the team is stronger with Jasmine than without. The girl has some valuable resources, and you can't find anyone as loyal. Plus, more freaking Jasmine Flores. And female friendship that doesn't in any way revolve around a boy.
Speaking of that boy, this series remains grounded in family, and it's all the better for it.
The addition of Ray has introduced fresh dynamics to the Diaz family and potential conflict too. We don't know enough about Ray and his motives to figure out if he has ulterior motives.
He's a man of few words, like his eldest son, and he hasn't shared too much.
You got him a job. Big mistake.Spooky
All we have to go on is Spooky's wariness of him. Spooky embodies the struggle of being the eldest sibling who had to grow up faster.
He had to take care of his brother by himself after Ray went away and their mother died.
Spooky put his life on hold. But you can tell Ray Ray cause for concern. Spooky is old enough to remember what he was like, and he wants to protect Cesar from any hurt.
Spooky is at his most relatable when he's protective of his brother, and you can sense that he's torn between wanting Ray gone and not wanting his brother to get hurt.
Cesar: Oscar, who is that?
Spooky: Our father.
But Ray isn't going anywhere. Dwayne hired him on the spot when Ceasar took Ray out for lunch.
Now Cesar and Ray will be working together, but it's a risky situation.
What was Ray in for? Is he the type to bring illicit activities to Dwayne's place of business?
Can't you imagine Cesar being torn between his blood and the man who took care of him when no one else did?
As an unapologetic Spooky fangirl, I don't trust Ray as far as I can throw him. If he doesn't trust the man, then why should we?
Put that shovel down, son. You are not gonna dig another hole, especially when you're already in one.
The only thing that rivals Jamal and Abuelita as one of the most dynamic duos of this series is Jamal and Spooky.
The beauty of the core four's latest mission is right out of the gate, they have drafted other members of their A-team.
Spooky doesn't have to help clean up the messes of his four little lovable dumbasses after the fact. He knows what they're up to beforehand since they shared what happened with Cuchillo.
It is suspect that she didn't mention her Lil' Ricky theory to him. Why is that?
Jamal and Spooky's antics were among the highlights of the first two installments. No one should make digging up a grave that funny.
Your name is Spooky, and you're afraid of ghosts?!Jamal
But in addition to discovering Lil' Ricky's body wasn't in there, Jamal picked up a quirky shadow.
Kendra is stalking our boy, Jamal. She wears a heck of a lot of green all the time too, and she's black, so for Jamal, all signs point to her being a Prophet, but she's weird and quirky enough to be into him.
She alluded to a list, but does anyone else think she has the hots for him? The other stuff can be a confidence.
Cuchillo said the Prophets are no más, but even if they aren't, would their first order of business be to come after Jamal?
Would they use this odd girl to do it? Jamal may have caught the eye of his female equivalent instead. He's due for some loving.
Jamal: Who is this?
Kendra: I'm the one with eyes on you, Jamal.
- They literall:y told their parents they were kidnapped, and Dwayne and Mrs. Martinez dismissed it as them joking. You can't win!
- No one on this series is as cool and badass as Abuelita, not even Spooky. Goals.
- On My Block is has some of the funniest, whipsmart dialogue, and if you don't chuckle at least halfway through each episode, then you're no fun at all.
- Shoutout to Julio Macias who somehow keeps a straight face while delivering some truly bonkers lines or facing equally as absurd situations. Particularly anything that involves Brett Gray's whimsical Jamal.
- As funny as this series is, their attention to detail and authenticity is commendable. Ruby's PTSD hasn't vanished. He's still battling it, and he's still triggered. After having one of the best depictions of trauma, it's gratifying that the series understands the importance of still showing it.
- Monse wrote her mother a letter and never got a response. Something tells me their story isn't over, and Monse's conflicted feelings will only worsen.
- Chivo, the gnome king, he's a wily one.
Over to you, On My Block Fanatics. Did you enjoy the first two installments of the season? Is Ray nothing but trouble?
Do you think Kendra is a Prophet? Are you enjoying the friendship between Jasmine and Monse? Where is Lil' Ricky? Hit the comments below.
You can watch On My Block online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.