ON MY BLOCK runs out of steam with a disappointing third season

This once fantastic series, On My Block, seems to have run out of steam after delivering a third season that feels lacking in more areas than one. The story continues after season two’s cliffhanger ending, featuring all of the main cast, but everything that happens this season feels forced by the writers to try and squeeze in another season of content.

Season one delivered a strong, focused narrative that felt consistent the whole way through, season two was somewhat unfocused with its multiple concurrent arcs but still retained its charm, and this season just lacks a strong narrative that guides the season from beginning to end with a strong conclusion. The main focus of the season changes so often that it’s hard to get invested in one core story arc as there isn’t really one. The arc that kicks off right at the beginning of the season drops in and out before being entirely forgotten around 3/4 of the way through. In the meantime, a number of other shorter, pleasantly entertaining character arcs share the spotlight but just aren’t strong enough on their own to carry the show.

It’s a shame that the series has dropped so far this season, but it seems like the narrative doesn’t call for the show to keep going, yet the writers have tried to force certain scenarios to make it all fit. On My Block has always straddled the line between the serious and the outright ridiculous, but the way this season progresses, it seems to have dipped a little too far into the ridiculous and lost the duality that made it that little bit more entertaining. I will say, one thing that is pulled off well is the way the season closes out. It is a little rushed, in that it doesn’t feel like it’s heading towards that moment until the last 15 minutes or so, but I personally liked the choice for reasons I won’t get into here due to spoilers.

The story being a disappointment says absolutely nothing about the performances and chemistry of the main cast, which is as good as it has ever been. Sierra Capri (Monse), Jason Genao (Ruby), Brett Gray (Jamal), Diego Tinoco (Cesar) and Jessica Marie Garcia (Jasmine) are the heart and soul of this series. The way this ensemble interacts across every scene really elevates the show to the point where for most of the time you aren’t even worrying about the lack of a strong story. Their energy and chemistry together leaps through the screen, making them a fun group of friends to follow on this journey. It’s hard to really pinpoint who excels the most out of this group as they all bring something different the show, making them all a valuable piece of the puzzle. Without them, this could have been a disaster of a season.

Beyond them, the supporting cast such as Peggy Blow (Abuela) and Julio Macias (Spooky) contribute to certain story arcs quite well, and in the case of Peggy, bring an extra touch of humour to a number of scenes. Ian Casselberry makes his debut this season as Ray, and despite not having a tonne of screen time, I enjoyed him while he was on screen. He added another layer to Cesar’s character that only really helped the season.

When it comes to humour, this is another area where this season ended up being a bit of a letdown. The wit and cleverly timed comedic beats that were executed really well in prior seasons fail to make as large of an impact in this season. There are some funny moments for sure, but nothing that upon finishing the season you could think back and say “that was funny”. This season feels like it just floated on by as there’s not a whole lot going on. At only eight episodes it goes by fast, but it’s one of those cases where there are so many smaller arcs carrying you through to the end that it feels like not much is actually happening.

In the end, On My Block does still radiate some charm and wit through its lead characters, but the lack of a strong narrative really hurts the season to the point where it ends and your reaction is simply “okay”. It’s not a bad season, it’s just that there’s nothing overly exciting that happens, the story is unfocused and the only main redeeming quality is the strength of the cast. I think the series should end here as it closes out in a way that suggests it could be the end and I don’t think there’s anything the story could do to make it interesting again. If it continued I would watch it, but not with much optimism.

5.4/10

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