If it’s any solace for Oscar’s loss, the Core Four laid him to rest in a beautiful manner that honored him.
Initially, it didn’t feel as if the significance of his loss affected the rest of the characters. But On My Block Season 4 Episode 7 rectified that ten-fold with the legacy Oscar left behind, and the impression he left on Cesar’s friends resonating as they supported Cesar in ways only they could.
And by On My Block Season 4 Episode 8, the crew’s reunion as friends, lovers, or family felt like the series reclaimed what the essence we love.
Unfortunately, they didn’t integrate Isabel and Ray into the equation more. However, it also makes sense that the task of laying Oscar to rest fell on Cesar, and by extension, his friends.
And they are his friends. They all showed up for him when it counted the most, and it was time for the four to find their way back to one another. It’s upsetting that it took such a tragedy to do it.
It was a time for Diego Tinoco to shine, and he did. He captured all the conflict, grief, and anger well. One of the best parts about following this type of series is witnessing the growth of an actor as their performance improves over time. Tinoco is an example of how gratifying that can be to witness.
It’s a testament to Tinoco’s performance that the Diaz boys’ brotherhood bled through in every scene he was in regardless of which characters of whom he shared the screen.
Cesar found himself weighing if he ever knew his brother well at all, and it felt natural that he himself is so far removed from where he used to be that Oscar’s loss sent him reeling.
Of course, he knew his brother. Cesar knew Oscar better than anyone since he was one of the only people who had full access to all things Oscar.
Isabele: Take this. Put it to rest somewhere his daughter can visit.
Cesar: No. I can’t do that. Why?
Isabele: Because the only person your brother loved more than me is you.
He knew all the sides of his brother, including the ones Oscar was reluctant to show in his heyday when vulnerability was a deathtrap.
We knew Oscar’s ashes would always end up in the ocean.
The ocean is the one place that Oscar found real peace. Oscar confided in Cesar there. He told Cesar about his dreams and aspirations for both of them. It’s where Freeridge and all of their problems disappeared.
But Cesar struggled to figure it out at first, and it led him on a journey, finding Oscar’s old Impala and clinging to mundane facts about his brother that didn’t seem to matter.
Cesar: I want out. Jump me out. You guys say you’re a family, but family doesn’t hold each other back. You guys are a joke. Just a bunch of pussies.
Sad Eyez: Look, I know what you’re doing, but that’s not how we’re doing this. You want out, you’re out. Your debt’s been paid.
Cesar: Bullshit. I pay my own debt. Come on. Hit me!
Sad Eyez: Why do you think Spooky almost died the night he got jumped out, huh? He wasn’t just taking the punches for himself.
Cesar: Why would he do that? Didn’t he know I was not worth saving?
Sad Eyez: No, you have it all backwards. Spooky never felt worthy of you.
The Core Four was by his side the same way. It was as if they lost a brother, too, and that’s why their initial muted response to the news didn’t sit well at first.
Regardless of Cesar falling out with Vero, she wouldn’t have been of use during that journey. She didn’t know that side of Cesar or his love for his brother.
And perhaps that’s part of why Vero was fearful of Monse’s return the whole time, but we’ll get into that in a moment.
Family is important, and for Cesar, it means the world with Oscar gone. It’s something that he always valued, which is why he saw a family in the Santos in the first place.
It’s reasonable that the Core Four assumes that Oscar sent them the vaguely threatening letters in hopes that it would bring them together.
Oscar knew how crucial Cesar’s bond was with the others, and their bond is one of the only things that will hold him down now.
Isabel is away, and he’ll always have a piece of Oscar when his niece is born, but they’re still strangers in a way. And he and Ray’s bond is stronger than before, but it’s still a strained one.
The Core Four acknowledging how Oscar protected and looked after him was a lovely moment, but it was even more profound when Ruby shared his assessment of Cesar.
Cesar: Oscar kept telling me to reach out to you guys. I never listened. He knew we needed each other.
Jamal: I wonder if he’s the one who sent us those letters?
Ruby: To bring us back together.
Monse: Because he was always looking out for us.
Cesar: Who’s going to look out for us now?
Ruby: You will. All that time you spent looking up to Oscar. He was looking up to you too.
Cesar often fails to see his impact on others and worth, and Ruby’s sentiment echoed what Sad Eyez was attempting to tell him before.
It’s quintessential Oscar that when he got jumped out of the Santos, he struck a deal to take Cesar’s beating, too. He knew Cesar wasn’t meant for the lifestyle, and as it got progressively worse, he hoped the day would come when Cesar would leave.
Oscar almost died for Cesar to have a shot at leaving the Santos. Oscar did die, taking a bullet for his brother. Isabel spoke the truth when she said that the only person Oscar loved more than her is Cesar.
Oscar looked up to Cesar as much as Cesar did him. He was his brother’s hero, too. Oscar could be a better man and person, even when he immersed himself with the gang because of Cesar.
He always wanted to leave Freeridge. He was never free there. But he felt free here. This was the first place he came to after he got out of prison. This is where he’d want his daughter to come visit. Oscar, I’m going to finish what you started and become the man that you wanted me to be. I’m going to build the life that you deserved.
The mutual love, respect, and reverence these brothers have for one another — had for each other — is enough to make you emotional. The shot of Oscar smiling at the beach, looking down on them, was enough to send a person over the edge.
The Core Four pouring one out for a Freeridge icon is quality content given the circumstances. Although, nothing good can come from Jamal drinking the hard stuff.
Cesar’s talk with Monse was nice. Sadly, it often takes tragedies to prompt reflection. Cesar apologized to Monse for the way he treated her, and it hurt him that he strayed so far away from his path that he lost her, too.
Except, as Monse reminded him, he didn’t lose her.
As much as Cesar and Monse are THE couple of the series, their rushed hookup felt as if they reached halfway through the final season and realizing they were running out of time to bring them together again.
Capri and Tinoco’s chemistry is still top-notch. Her scenes with Tinoco and Garcia have been the only moments where the character and Capri’s performance didn’t feel slightly off.
A little grief and nostalgic sex is good for the soul and other extremities.
This Jasmine agrees with the other Jasmine in how Monse falling on the “d” again and going for a ride is predictable. They went from not speaking to falling into bed together, but it doesn’t mean they’re together for good.
Monse seemed conflicted about what it meant; however, a part of her must’ve wanted it to be more; otherwise, she wouldn’t have texted all of that to Vero.
But Cesar doesn’t think he’s in the place for something more with Monse right now. We’ll have to see how that long that lasts with these two.
It sucks that Vero’s fears came true. She isn’t a character who elicits much feeling in any capacity, but she didn’t deserve that.
And she’s not one to let it go. Vero isn’t giving Cesar a grief pass for hooking up with his first love, and it’s scary to think what it’ll be like if she takes her revenge.
Cesar: How do I honor Oscar in the right way by dumping his ashes somewhere? I shouldn’t be the one to do this. I’m going to mess it up.
Monse: No you’re not. You just have to trust yourself.
Cesar: Well, I don’t. I can’t stop thinking about all the mistakes I made. All the people I put at risk. Monse: You know what happened with Oscar wasn’t your fault.
Cesar: I’m not just talking about Oscar. I loved you so much that I never thought that I would put you in danger, but I did. I never meant to hurt you. I’m so sorry, Monse.
Monse: I am too.
Cesar: I still haven’t forgiven myself for losing you.
Monse: You didn’t lose me. We’re burned into each other’s DNA.
It goes beyond stealing Cesar’s car, right?
She attempted to beat Monse’s ass after Monse’s drunken or high texting, but that didn’t go as Vero planned.
Vero is scary and intimidating, but Monse is deceptively not the one to f*ck with, and she can throw hands when necessary. You can take a girl out of Freeridge but not Freeridge out of the girl.
Jasmine backing her up was hilarious. But Vero still feels like a wildcard.
Monse: What was that?
Monse: Really? Because it looked like he fondled your face!
Jasmine: OK, I caved. I gave in and I gave it up.
Monse: I thought you were all about self-care?
Jasmine: There was a little bit of that in the beginning. He likes to watch. Just because I’m taking care of myself doesn’t mean he can’t take care of me.
Monse: Well, that is a sad justification — girl, I fell off the wagon, too.
Jasmine: And onto the D? With who?
Cesar had people shooting at his house and trying to kill him days ago, and he doesn’t have Oscar or the Santos’ protection. Now, he pissed off Vero and whoever else she’s connected to, and he’s still staying in the same damn place.
OMB’s version of The Hangover was amusing. We could all guess that nothing came from Jamal waking up in bed naked beside Monse, despite his random crush on her.
It isn’t surprising that he spilled the beans about Abuelita to Ruby, and he met Lil’ Ricky and didn’t remember.
Only Jamal would eat Chivo’s edibles and be out of it for the rest of the night.
Poor Cesar for taking care of both Jamal and Monse (who mysteriously got high too).
Chivo’s reintroduction was a nice callback for the series, and the tacit gangsta and Jamal’s reaction to him always amuses.
Brett Gray is the MVP of the season thus far, and he’s shown time and time again that you can pair him up with anyone, and he’ll spin comedic or emotional gold.
Jamal and Abuelita are a forever hit. Jamal and Chivo are hilarious, Jamal’s interactions with his parents are always entertaining, and Jamal and Jasmine is a certified gift.
And then they gave us Jamal meeting his hero, Lil Ricky, while sober and clear-headed.
The fun part about Jamal this season is how Gray can infuse some of his coolness with his historically awkward and weird character.
And we ended up with this wonderful blend of a popular Jamal slowly allowing his stylish new version of himself to meld with his quirkiness.
He was delightfully weird assaulting Lil Ricky with a list of questions a mile long.
And Lil’ Ricky lived up to his hype by reminding them to appreciate and value the bond they have with each other, their day ones.
This is the real treasure. No one’s ever going to mean more to you than your day ones. those friends you knew when you were still figuring your shit out. I only got one day one left.
Ruby’s storyline this season hasn’t been particularly noteworthy. But finding out about Abuelita’s cancer allowed his storyline to head in some enriching directions.
It was refreshing that Ruby called out his grandmother and others for treating him as if he’s fragile. His arc about his PTSD was some of the show’s finest work as well as Genoa’s, so pulling on that thread again felt right.
Ruby deserved the opportunity to assert himself and address the ableism happening when others walked on eggshells around him because of the trauma he endured.
It wasn’t to his benefit keeping him in the dark. And as a young man on the cusp of adulthood, everyone needs to trust that he can handle himself out in the world on his own.
I am sick and tired of everyone treating me like I’m fragile. I’m not a damn kid anymore! I’m not afraid of anything or anyone.
Life is hard for everyone. Coddling isn’t the key. Ignorance doesn’t protect him — if anything, it does the opposite.
Part of Abuelita accepting that meant telling Ruby about a letter he received. And that led somewhere unexpected but emotionally and narratively satisfying.
It took cajones for Ruby to come face to face with Latrelle. The guy killed his first love and haunted his dreams.
Ruby’s life will never be the same because of Latrelle’s actions. And neither will Latrelle’s. It was brave for him to sit across from Ruby and listen to what he had to say too.
They say that the street takes and it takes, and it’s the case for both of those boys sitting across from one another.
Once Ruby got past telling Latrelle that he no longer had power over him, the boys got to talk.
They were classmates and grew up together. They share funny memories about their childhood. The things that divided them seem so silly yet had such catastrophic and destructive effects on their lives.
The angry Prophet who pulled the trigger and took a life is a child who still drinks fruit beverages from his childhood and timidly asks Ruby to stick around long enough for him to finish it since he can’t have them on the inside.
Latrelle: You gonna say something?
Latrelle: Man, forget this.
Ruby: Sit down! Please. On the way over here, I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but now my mind’s totally blank. I know they’re transferring you out of Juvie before you turn 18. I just want to talk to you before it’s too late. Because I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get this off of my chest. Everyone in my life walks on eggshells around me because of what you did. They think I live in fear, and up until now, I’m not sure they were right. Maybe they were. But now that I’m here, looking at you, I’m realizing that you were just a kid. A kid who screwed up, and you don’t have power over me. Not anymore.
Latrelle is a terrified kid who doesn’t want to get transferred to adult prison by his 18th birthday.
He’s a teenager whose mother won’t visit him because of what he did.
And your heart breaks for him. His only wish is one that no one can fulfill. He doesn’t want to turn 18; he’d rather stay paused in time in this juvenile hell because he knows that only terrible things await him as a young man in an adult prison for 25 to life.
And it’s such a tragedy that more than one life was lost because of Latrelle’s actions.
Ruby: Hey, I know this might be weird, but is there anything I can do for you?
Latrelle: Can you keep me from turning 18?
And he’s facing the consequences for his actions, but your heart aches, and you feel angry over kids like Latrelle throwing their lives away before they ever had the chance to live them.
They’re set up for failure. Latrelle should be graduating with the others right now, not sitting in a concrete and steel cage.
It was a great moment, one of the best of the season thus far, and it provided Ruby with some closure.
Speaking of closure, we’re going into the final stretch. Hopefully, the last two installments will send this series off right.
Over to you, OMB Fanatics. Did you appreciate the Latrelle and Chivo appearances? Are you happy Monse and Cesar made up (and out)? How do you feel about Oscar’s sendoff?
Hit the comments below!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.