The theme of culture is explored in this episode with the focus being comfortable within your own.
Mariana's quinceanera brings about a lot of issues as she and Jesus celebrate their 15th birthday, despite both actors being past 18. One of the key issues is what many foster parents may face: How to raise a child who is of a different culture than you? For some time I haven't been fully sure what Lena's background is, but this is answered in this episode, and I thought at times she was trying to share a moment in her life which is why she pushed so hard for the quinceanera, but then we meet her mother, who is a black woman, and we realize Lena is doing as most parents try to do: give their children something they couldn't have.
Bringing Lena's mom Dana brought in a topic I'm not used to hearing: The subject of being bi-racial in America. In a almost shout out to OWN's premiere of Dark Girls last night, we hear Lena's own mother degrade her almost for not fully being a black woman, and talking about her privilege for being light-skinned. Now, this to me, while a good subject to comment on, seemingly came out of nowhere and the way it was presented almost seemed malicious to the point it was like Lena's mother was bipolar and not fully understanding what she was saying.
Aside from that, another thing that wasn't a big deal, but interesting, was Mike's role in the quinceanera. Considering Mike has perhaps, at best, been a part-time dad to his son Brandon, him being there and then asked to fill in for Lena and Stef since Mariana felt slightly uncomfortable with dancing with her mom, was awkward to say the least. Add onto the fact that as much as he seemingly wants to be included in things, he sort of never gets to have his way, it just made you see more and more a man who lost everything and it helps you understand more why he dislikes Lena, no matter how likable she seems to us as a viewer.
But, one thing I am thankful for is Talia, perhaps, finally being gone. I have talked about for ages not knowing why Brandon is with her and after she makes Callie feel uncomfortable, and the actress Maia Mitchell plays this up well, Brandon goes off on her. One of the things though that makes this all so interesting is Liam. At this moment, I can only assume Liam, who was a foster brother, and she may have had something going on. However, whether it was positive or negative remains to be seen, but considering her journal entry dealt with guilt, I do fear we are about to get hit with something dark maybe. Either way, I think she may have loved him and with Stef putting down the foot on foster sibling loving, all signs point to Liam being Callie's former love interest.
Overall though, this was really a beautiful episode. There was enough drama to fit the story, but the amount of heart put into this special day kept it from being a bunch of soap-opera drama and making it really touch you. I myself found myself tearing up when a video montage was done and it has only been 4 episodes with these characters. To me, this show really does have some excellent actors on it, and though I have some reservations on Mariana, the characters to me also present quite the amount of intrigue to a story which I haven't personally seen in movies or TV. So, here is to a good episode and many more to come.
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