Netflix’s ‘On My Block’ wraps up dramatic storylines with a spinoff on the way

Written By Brooke Stephens, Staff Writer

4 Globes

On My Block, a comedy-drama Netflix series started in 2018, has come to a close with its fourth season, which was released Oct. 4. Following a group of teenagers through Los Angeles, the show provides great representation for people of color and dramatic storylines.

The past three seasons were released in March of 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively, right before the initial hit of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the course of the show, Freeridge High School students Monse Finnie, César Díaz, Jamal Turner and Ruby Martinez have grown from freshman to almost-graduates by the end of season four.

The group’s mission of finding the hidden treasure of their neighborhood known as the Rollerworld money has been (almost) resolved: Rollerworld was a money laundering business in the 1980s for Freerdige-based gang The Prophets, but three members of rival Los Santos stole a quarter of a million dollars from the business and buried it in an unknown location in the community before going to jail.

As a result, the Rollerworld money was “lost.” Oscar, César’s older brother who was head of the gang, could not tell him where it was placed. He was involved in the taking of the money back from Cuchillos. In multiple flashbacks through the season, it broke apart the “Core Four.” Jamal and Ruby demanded their portion to help their families, César having no solution but to turn them away.

Monse moved away for two years to a private high school named Mayfield, only coming home to visit her Dad and his wife and baby for the holidays. César became the leader of gang Los Santos, which his brother had previously been “jumped” out of. Jamal had a personality change from self-declared underdog to football player, becoming popular in school. Ruby and best-friend to the Core Four Jasmin are now dating, but not without their own set of communication issues.

Season four is jam-packed with events that are transformative to the story. It is not a show to be background noise, nor one where any part can be skipped over. The character dynamics get increasingly more complex as it continues, and the Class Presidential Election and Prom become a pivotal point in their lives. This can make the show very time-consuming to watch.

At the start of episode three, there is an abrupt shift to the holiday season, which is where Monse makes her first appearance. The music, although well-chosen, is also played over a few of the scenes, rather than allowing the situations to exist on their own.

The Prophets and neighboring gangs start to crowd in on Los Santos once they discover the bones of Cuchillo, the former head of Los Santos, have been identified after two years. Gang tags in graffiti begin to appear in green representing the Prophets, and the gang 19th Street sneaks into Los Santos’ house to try and steal their savings or attack. There is a portrayal of gang life which grows increasingly complex as On My Block continues. For example, César has had to abandon his blood family, along with his best friends, to take care of the money-filled gang life that his brother had left behind.

Issues of race, sexual health and gang violence are portrayed in a more candid way than the prior seasons. The dialogue also has a flow that mimics modern-day life, which can be challenging to replicate in coming of age series or films. Parents learned to talk to their kids about consent, friendships and the illegal adventures they all have participated in. In the Freeridge area, most people are Latinx or African-American. Characters discuss the nuances of discrimination and systemic oppression at different points in the show, sometimes having deep conversations or using dry humor to describe their situations.

The dialogue in particular was noticeable throughout the season. Abuelita shared her wisdom and youthful personality, even after not being as lively to Ruby and his friends.

One memorable line was “this year is worse than 2020,” said by Ruby Martinez, which, let’s be honest, might be a drastic overstatement given the context of simply having difficulty finding a prom date. Martinez acknowledges that 2020 was chaotic for everyone involved, in possibly good and bad ways.

The future graduates will not be returning for another season of “On My Block” as Netflix has canceled the show, but a spin-off called “Freeridge” will arrive to the platform involving the four kids seen at the end of the season. They are going to solve new town mysteries after they “may-or-may-not have unleashed a deadly curse kicking off an unforgettable adventure,” according to Netflix. The cast list of the four students has been released, but characters do not have names as of now.