Netflix’s coming-of-age comedy-drama On My Block follows the lives of several kids in Freeridge, CA—a fictional city periled with gang violence—as they take a deep dive into adolescence. It made waves with season one in March 2018, going on to rank number one among Netflix’s most-binged original series of the year. Although season one was thoroughly entertaining and had important things to say, it left room for wanting more, begging for growth. The sophomore season, which premiered March 29, 2019, almost delivers on that potential, but nevertheless the latest season maintains On My Block’s incredible watchability.
This season attends to the aftermath of season one, where two main characters were shot thereby igniting ruthless gang warfare in the area. This season, the core four are all dealing with issues of their own. Ruby (Jason Genao) struggles to move on from Olivia’s death; Monse (Sierra Capri) navigates new information and relations with her mother; Jamal (Brett Gray) manages his paranoia over having the Roller World money; and Cesar (Diego Tinoco) grapples with being kicked out of the Santos, living effectively homeless for the majority of the season.
Image credit: Nicola Goode, Netflix
Season two’s faults are many of the same possessed by season one: sub-par acting, over-the-top dramatics, and comedy clichés to name a few. The scene that stands out as misplaced and a bit unnecessary depicts the four’s pesky groupie Jasmin (Jessica Garcia) staging a Bachelor-esque competition to be Ruby’s date for the dance in the high school gym. What was intended to be funny, ultimately flatlines and feels a bit forced and overly-energetic.
However, Jasmin’s character is a big stand-out this season. Her hyper-sassy personality rings true in many ways, and provides a lightness to what would otherwise be a pretty heavy story. Jessica Garcia performs her role well: overdramatic in all the right ways, often stealing the scene. Jason Genao also appears to find his footing in season two as he plays Ruby rather convincingly—but with room to grow.
The season is slow to gain its momentum, but once it establishes its bearing, the episodes are attention-grabbing, continuously raising the stakes higher and higher. What makes the show so lovable is its ability to laugh at the toughest of times, never forgetting the reality of the characters’ lives. With a surprise ending that leaves its fans primed for a season three, no one will be shocked when On My Block is renewed for a third go-around.