Tender and heartfelt, Season 2 of Gente-fied refines what made Season 1 gold while diving deep into the meaning of the American Dream and family.
In Season 1, we are introduced to the three Morales primos and the main man of their lives, Pops, aka Casimiro Morales (Joaquín Cosío), their grandfather. Casimiro is a widower who owns a taco shop in the community of Boyle Heights. Boyle Heights is in the middle of an intense gentrification and the fate of the taco shop, Mama Fina’s, teeters on a thin edge. Eric, Ana, and Chris Morales all have to come together and find a way to save the shop. At the end of Season 1, the series closes on a cliffhanger — Pops’s future hangs on a thread after being detained by ICE.
Season 2 is a warm and welcome embrace back into the world of the Morales family. Pops anchors the season down with an incredibly emotional performance. It’s a treat to watch his character unfold on screen, layer by layer. The second season is very much his story, even in moments where we focus on other characters. Casimiro’s nebulous fate touches every decision his family makes. It sinks into the dynamics of Eric and Lidia, inspires Ana’s creative muse, and motivates Chris to step up for himself.
Pops’s scenes are loaded with nostalgia and Cosío conveys so much with just a gaze. It’s as if Pops is actively trying to stitch each moment into his mind, while simultaneously attempting to stay in the present. At times, he seems quietly resigned to his fate and at others, he’s fiercely angry. In one of the episodes, Pops desperately needs to get away from everything. He hops on his trusty pick up truck, Salma Hayek, and drives out of the city and into the desert. The ankle bracelet placed by ICE beeps urgently. Eventually he stops and breaks down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. As the patriarch of the family, Pops is a proud man. He doesn’t like to show weakness. He’s stubborn — in his mind he can’t be anything less than a pillar for his family. At the start of the season, he tells his lawyer, Melinna Barragan (Melinna Bobadilla) that he wants to do things “his way.” But as the season progresses, this mindset is slowly chipped away. The journey is poignant, especially to Latine watchers.
In many immigrant families, Pops’s struggle is familiar and the emotional frustration that his loved ones experience hits close to home. Gente-fied understands the nuance and toll that the process creates in these families. The show handles delicate issues with care and respect for the real life people that it affects.
Pops not only learns how to accept help in Season 2 of Gente-fied, but he learns how to accept the passing of time. When his estranged son, Ernesto Morales (Manuel Uriza), returns to Boyle Heights to help his father, Pops realizes his son isn’t the same person who left all those years ago. The years have shaped both men into different versions of the people they both once knew — a realization that shocks them in different ways. There are still levels of tension, but they learn that the events of his past do not control the future.
Season 2 dives into the intergenerational trauma of not having healthy paternal relationships. In “Sangiving”, the explosive and emotive Thanksgiving episode, the audience learns why Casimiro and Ernesto don’t get along. Pops is the product of his own father’s upbringing and passed that down to his sons. The pain works in a ripple effect, flowing down the family tree and into Ana, Chris, and Eric. By the end of the season however, the audience can see the start of the healing process. The family decides to take a trip to the beach before Casimiro’s immigration decision. The waves gently crash in front of them and the sun creates a glow on their skin as they play around in the sand. It feels peaceful, a moment of final understanding that whatever the outcome may be, the future is going to be alright.
Gente-fied Season 2 Standout Moments
Yessika Having Fun
More moments of Yessika (Julissa Calderon) having fun and laughing, please. (Also, Yessika spin off series… when?)
Opening Day at Mama Fina’s
The viewer gets to see where it all started! It’s lovely to get to see Delfina in her element and feel more of her dynamic with Casimiro. It’s bittersweet to see these scenes and helps add to overall atmosphere of the season.
Pupusa is precious and we love her. Cuteness aside, Delfina’s birth is a new opportunity for the Morales men to break the chain and build good relationships with their kids.
Gente-fied is available now to stream on Netflix.