On Pride month eve while the country expressed its rage, the Vida Series Finale aired. This week is dedicated to Tanya Saracho, Vida and its part in making the world better.
It feels wrong to write about television while the nation is exploding with anger and frustration over police murdering Black people with little to no consequences. But media has a place in combatting systemic racism and prejudice and Vida did its part in that.
- Vida – Season 3 Episode 6 “Episode 22” [Live]
Emma and Nico cutely wake up on the couch together the morning after Emma was sick from taking the abortion pill. Emma says she hadn’t slept that soundly in a long time and thought it was because she fell asleep with the TV on.
I love the warm glow of the TV too, Emma.
As I’m trying trying to savor every minute of this last episode, I’m watching Emma be sweet to Nico and hoping they kiss and make up. They almost do.
Ugh, a kiss fake out. That’s okay, I knew in my heart Tanya wouldn’t let the Emico Nation down on the Vida Series Finale.
Their couch time is interrupted by an ominous phone call. My wife and I just knew it was about Victor trying to take the building and we were right. Emma marches down to Victor’s church where Lyn was in attendance and waits for her moment to confront him. She calls him out on the building and Lyn looks totally surprised. He says he’s doing it to protect his girls from Vida’s ghost and her evil gay ghost germs. Emma lets Victor and the entire congregation know “Que soy marimacha” and it is glorious.
She also lets everyone know Victor’s a wife-beater and a deadbeat dad, but I guess being queer is worse because they all start trying to pray the gay away.
Lyn tells Emma to get out of there and hangs back to tell Victor Emma is not perverted and calls their father/daughter relationship off.
Emma rides away in a car share, but makes the driver let her out while she starts having a panic attack. She makes her way home in a mixture of anger and nostalgia as she walks past the buildings we’ve come to know during the three seasons of the show. We thought she was going to be won over by the neighborhood and prepare her fight for the bar, but instead she busts into Nelson Herrera’s office. Remember that guy? The creepy real estate developer who went after the building in season one? Emma wants to know if his offer is still on the table.
Meanwhile, back at the bar, Monica shows up with surprise lunch for Eddy!
They eat burritos together and it’s delightful to see Eddy shyly react to getting romantic attention. Eddy deserves some happiness after two seasons of tragedy.
Lyn gets back to the bar all excited to tell Emma she broke up with Victor and is ready to fight. But Emma is in “Full Ice Queen Mode” and lets Lyn ramble and drops her bomb after she stop talking. She’s done, Lyn has betrayed her, she’s tired of fighting and she’s ready to sell the building to Nelson. All she needs is Lyn’s signature. Lyn tries to defend herself, but Emma has turned listening off and leaves.
Later, when the bar is in full swing a keg is kicked and Eddy has to go to the back to get a new one. On her way out she gives Monica a friendly smile and Monica interprets that as an ask for “help.” Monica follows Eddy and is surprised when the look was just a regular smile. Monica still makes a move.
Ser was so good in this scene. They completely nailed portraying a person who is surprised and flattered by a gorgeous woman being interested in them, but is not ready to move on from the person they are still in love with but can’t be with anymore. It was heartbreaking and sweet and I hope to see Ser in more shows soon.
Lyn runs into Doña Lupe in the hallway and winds up sitting at her kitchen table, letting all of her problems spill out while Doña Lupe works her magical spells. Finally, Doña Lupe tells Lyn the truth about her father.
This is the Vida Series Finale and it needed a big reveal.
All of this time Emma thought her homophobic mother sent her away after she was caught messing around with a neighbor girl, but actually it was Victor’s homophobic rage she was trying to protect her from.
Downstairs at the bar, Emma tells Nico she’s given up on the bar. She’s confident Lyn will land somewhere, but Emma doesn’t know what she’s going to do. For the first time in her life she doesn’t have a plan.
Emma goes out to smoke and Nico makes a grand romantic proposal.
I loved everything about this scene — the way it was shot, Emma seemingly answering “yes” with a kiss and there is almost nothing I love more on TV than a queer grand romantic gesture.
What I didn’t love was Emma and Nico getting box-blocked again by Lyn, but the sisters needed to have it out. Lyn wants to talk to Emma and this time she is not going to let her get away. She literally chases her down the stairs and through the bar to talk to her. When Lyn brings up family Emma tells her she was disposable and never a part of the family. Lyn then tells her the truth about Vida.
Emma runs outside crying and Lyn follows her again.
In a heart-wrenching scene, Lyn begs Emma to not give up on her. She is the only person in her life who has never given up on her. In front of the bar, a couple of drunk dudes are getting a little rowdy, and Emma says she should go deal with it. After she walks away she turns back and asks Lyn if she’s coming. The sisters walk together, the camera pans up to the Vida sign and that is the end of the Vida Series Finale.
Yesterday Tanya posted this to Twitter.
I understand why she would feel this way, but I truly believe media, including scripted fictitious characters and stories, have the power to move progress forward. And Vida did that in a beautiful and organic way.
When I interviewed Roberta Colindrez before the season 3 premiere, she told this story of being on a panel with someone she admired for risking her life to fight homophobia and transphobia.
We’ve said a million times representation matters, I believe representation saves lives.
Non-Latinx queer folx may have tuned into Vida for the queer content and stayed learning more about gentrification, Latinx culture, activism and politics. Some straight folks may have learned more about queer culture. Through shows like Vida with queer PoC showrunners, writers and actors we get to know people not like us. Fear of “The Other” helps fuel prejudice and TV shows introduce us to people we may not have the opportunity to know in our day-to-day lives.
It’s not a magic cure for hundreds of years of racism and violence, but it helps move progress forward.
Tanya, it’s not wrong to observe how this show ending is especially hard right now or celebrate the three amazing seasons you brought into our lives. Thank you for bringing such a beautifully diverse cast of queer characters to television that some people saw themselves on the small screen for the first time in their lives. Thank you for telling these stories with honesty, beautiful cinematography, writing, acting and music. And thank you most of all for Emma. How can a character look so hot no matter what she’s doing?
I will miss this show forever.
This week: It’s the Legends of Tomorrow season finale and I have so many episodes behind! I need to catch up.