On My Block Review: Heroes Get Remembered, But Legends Never DieJasmine Blu at .
The denial is real for this Spooky/Oscar fangirl.
It's the final season of this series, so it shouldn't be a surprise that anything can happen, including the death of our beloved heroes, but nothing could prepare us for the loss of Oscar "Spooky" Diaz by the end of On My Block Season 4 Episode 5.
And if there was a glimmer of hope that he survived the drive-by shooting, it was gone by On My Block Season 4 Episode 6.
Losing Oscar when he's out of the game, found happiness, is expecting a child, and was on his way to Portland is unforgivable!
It's the most devastating thing to happen on this series thus far, and yet the denial remains real.
Perhaps it's because of how they handled it and seemed to skip past the shocking reactions reverberating among all who knew Oscar before jumping into the humor and other seemingly inane storylines in comparison.
It doesn't feel like Oscar is dead. We didn't get to see him placed in an ambulance or at the hospital. They didn't show us how Isabel reacted to the loss of her fiance.
And while they treated us to a montage of how the other members of the Core Four found out he died, all of their reactions felt muted.
Olivia's death rocked this group, and the effects of it lingered for two seasons. Oscar was such a prominent figure in their lives as Cesar's brother and a constant ally and protector. Assuming they don't delve into their reactions further in the next installments, their visible lack of devastation is jarring.
And even if they do, why not jump right into those reactions? It's a curious editing choice.
Does this mean we can hold out hope that this is a ruse, and Oscar didn't succumb to his wounds? Can we please cling to the idea that this series didn't kill off one of the best characters?
It serves as a reality check that there are rarely happy endings with the gang lifestyle, and even Oscar getting out of it didn't spare him the worst fate.
The most heartbreaking thing is knowing that Cesar will harbor so much guilt for how his brother died. If Oscar didn't spend time attempting to get Cesar on track -- if he left right away instead of hanging around Freeridge in hopes of saving his brother, then maybe he wouldn't have been another victim of gun violence.
Cesar: You were right about everything.
Oscar: Let me call Sad Eyez.
Cesar: I've been put off. I'm scared, Oscar.
Oscar: I know.
Cesar: I'm sorry.
Oscar: Hey, it's going to be okay. This is what it's about, mano. This moment of clarity. We'll figure it out.
If rival gangs weren't after Cesar, then maybe Oscar wouldn't have been collateral damage. The "what ifs" list is a mile long and all of these things are probably swimming around in Cesar's head.
No one deserves to carry that type of guilt with them.
And the fact of the matter is, Oscar was always willing to die for his brother. He'd do anything for him and has.
As much as this story is about the core group of friends, it's also about the love between the Diaz brothers. Their brotherhood is one of the most compelling dynamics of the series.
Oscar was the father that neither of them had when Ray abandoned them, and we got more glimpses of that and how it looked for them via flashbacks.
The most heart-aching one was when Oscar had to say goodbye to Cesar after accepting a plea deal. He chose to go to prison for a few months so he wouldn't be there for years. It was the best choice he could make as a young man who also was raising a kid.
The Santos looked after Cesar during that time, and you could see how much it killed Oscar to leave him, but it was an illuminating flashback that told you so much about their relationship and the hardships they faced as kids.
Can you imagine what those months were like for Cesar, relying on other gang members to watch over him and play the parent while his brother was away?
Just because I'm not here, doesn't mean I'm not looking out for you. I got you. Por vida.Oscar
Only recently has Cesar thought about how much Oscar sacrificed and what he did to take care of them over the years. It made little sense to be angry at his brother for leaving the Santos.
The moment Oscar spoke about Cesar moving with them and how they could live out their dreams of living by the ocean while Oscar ran his restaurant and Cesar lived in the studio above it, you knew something bad would happen.
Cesar agreed, and the brothers made up, and that came at a cost.
It's maddening that the two of them were spending so much time in the house when folks had previously shot it up with Cesar inside before.
They were so close to freedom, and now Oscar is gone.
Everything spells doom, and the stress and hurt over Oscar's loss come with the fear that Cesar could be next.
Folks are still after Cesar, and that's not going away now that Oscar is gone. His relationship with the Santos isn't strong now that Sad Eyez demoted him and put Joker in charge.
And the truth is, they're right about Cesar. He isn't cut out for this life in the first place. He's meant to do and be better than that.
He's too soft-hearted for this lifestyle. Oscar clung to that to his dying breath, refusing to tell Cesar who shot him as a last gesture of saving his brother from the gang life.
Yet, it hasn't stopped Cesar from wanting revenge. He fled to the rehab facility where Ray works, but he wants to do some damage.
Ray: Mijo, your brother was in the life, and the streets got a long memory. This ain't about you.
Cesar: Either way, someone's gonna pay.
He wants to avenge Oscar, knowing that it isn't what Oscar would desire for him. And that anger and grief are blinding his judgment. His moment with Starks was striking. One moment, he appreciated the man's sincerity and condolences, but the second he saw his Prophet$ tattoo, Cesar's opinion of Starks changed.
But it's a rehab facility for people to get out of the life, one Oscar attended himself, and Cesar has a lot to learn.
Starks didn't get through to him, and his past resentment and hurt over Ray prevented his father from effectively succeeding.
But it was Ricky, yes, the mysterious Lil' Ricky, whose heart-to-heart with Cesar proved effective.
Ricky: So how are you gonna do it? C'mon, I've seen that look more times than I can remember. Hell, I own that look. You gonna lurk up on the fool and then pop goes the weasel? Or maybe a drive-by, spray up all his homies.
Cesar: I want him to see my face.
Cesar: Yeah. I'll creep up on him. Slide my piece up to his forehead, so the bitch can see me smile before I pull the trigger.
Ricky: Then what? Then what? See, that's where the problem lies. Everybody thinks about the moment. That's human nature. We replay it on our head over and over again and then nobody thinks about the after.
Cesar: The after?
Ricky: You're going to do that fool a favor. If you kill him, no more head on the swivel, no more night sweats, no more facing 25 to life in La Pinta, all that shit is no longer his problem, it's yours. That's the after.
It was the most profound moment of the two installments when he reasoned with Cesar about the cycle of revenge and how it works. He's right about everything he said.
Assuming he even finds the person who killed his brother, taking that person's life doesn't honor Oscar. If anything, Oscar can't rest peacefully if his brother ruins his life avenging him.
It's typical that Cesar felt like he failed Oscar and let him down, but Cesar didn't realize how Oscar always felt the same way. Oscar's biggest fear was that he didn't do right by Cesar even though everything he ever did was for him.
Ricky was always this myth, proof that there is another way out of this life, so it suits him that he runs a rehab facility to reform gang members.
Maybe it's not as glamorous as Cesar and the others imagined, but it's real, and it's a good life, and it's strangely more hopeful and attainable than what they had in mind.
Ricky is proof that it's possible, and for him to be the one who broke this cycle that the Diaz boys have been in various stages of -- it was a nice moment to have him be the one to speak to Cesar.
The block is hot, and it shows you that no matter what changes, some things are always the same.
The news of Cuchillos' death has had catastrophic effects, and we're seeing how much sway she had in controlling things.
Now Cuente and the 19th Street gang are making moves to take over. Given that they're the ones behind her death, it makes sense.
The block hasn't been this hot in like over a year. 19th Street are tagging over the Propeht$. The Prophet$ are tagging over 19th Street, the Santos are tagging over both of them. It's like some kind of ghetto-ass art crawl.Jamal
The Prophet$ are trickling out of jail and back with a vengeance. They are who rolled up on Cesar the first time when he flashed his gun. And they very well could've shot up the house the first time.
But it's the emergence of a new gang, 187, that got Ruby and Jamal's attention.
We don't know who these people are. They're probably the people that dealer Cesar beat up worked for, and they could be behind Oscar's death in retaliation.
But now Ruby and Monse got messages, and they have to figure out who is behind them and what they mean.
The best and most hilarious thing this development led to was the teens telling their parents everything that happened. And hell, the Core Four have been through a lot.
The funniest thing was that Jamal and Ruby told their parents things before, but for whatever reason, their parents never paid attention or thought they were making stuff up.
Their horrified expressions at everything their kids have experienced over the years without their knowledge were priceless. And it only got better when they threw Abuelita under the bus with them.
Abuelita and Geny's near fight was too funny. And Abuelita, ever the wise one, advising the adults on the best route to take was entertaining.
Abuelita: Don't underestimate them. Your kids have gotten through far worse and they're safer together than they are apart. They may be just kids but they are their own best protection.
Fran: She's right.
Abuelita: I know I'm right.
Abuelita remains a gift, but the final season choosing to utilize the parents better is also a highlight. It was a great way to poke fun at the absurdity of the teens engaging in all of these crazy antics with their parents none the wiser.
Maybe Outer Banks can borrow a page from their book with this one.
Despite their time apart, the Core Four have fallen back into a rhythm, and some of it was glossed over for the sake of everything else.
Jamal made up with Monse without a second thought. Ruby barely registered that her reappearance meant anything. And despite the lack of a full-blown conversation, Monse and Cesar are fine.
Jamal fell right back into his old ways with Abuelita, which is fun, even if her death looms over the series, too.
And Jamal and Ruby are back to being friends as if nothing happened, which is still to Jamal's detriment. Ruby remains obsessed with Jasmine.
She's all that he talks about, and now that she and Jamal are secretly hanging out, he thinks Jamal is the other guy.
JJ is the duo that we needed and deserved this entire time. Jamal is a better friend to Jasmine than Ruby probably is as a boyfriend.
They're good with each other, and they can bond over how self-absorbed Ruby is. Their friendship makes you smile.
Jasmine is thriving as a single girl learning to attend to her needs and practice self-care. It is such a fantastic storyline for her as a young woman.
It was exciting when she learned that she got accepted into Berkeley. It's a wonderful college, and she's deserving of a bright future that doesn't include the codependent relationship she developed with Ruby.
It's to the point that the two of them reuniting was disappointing, never mind traumatizing as hell for poor Jamal.
I just want you to be happy even if it's without me.Ruby
As long as she and Ruby can agree about what their relationship will look like in the future, it'll be okay. But Jasmine needs to continue making the best choices for herself and not for Ruby or anyone else's sake.
Monse's storyline is still an odd one. For the most part, it feels like Capri is phoning it in, or she isn't connected with the character anymore.
And it still feels like Monse is just there to bide time until she and Cesar are together again, which is a disservice to the character.
The scenes with Bryan were awkward all around, and that was before she told him about deleting Julia's message. He accused her father of abusing her like he supposedly did Julia.
Bryan didn't want to hear or acknowledge anything Monse said about Julia's colorism and appalling lies. By the end of their scenes, it left you wondering why they bothered reintroducing this storyline in the first place.
For the most part, Oscar's death is the jolt that the season probably needed to pick up the momentum. We're halfway through the season, and it feels like we're treading water until we get to something big, but what? It's hard to say.
We have a gang war happening that could affect the Core Four. Oscar is dead, and there's justice needed in that, and Abuelita is dying.
It's still some mystery behind the missing money that Cesar is trying to make up for, and their parents are now in the loop about everything.
Geny: I'm telling you, if it wasn't considered elder abuse, I would knock you out.
Abuelita: Bring it, bitch!
What can we expect as the season progresses?
Over to you, OMB Fanatics.
Hit the comments with your thoughts on these episodes, and see you on the flip side for the next ones.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.