Vida Episode 3 remains compelling thanks to the strength of its central relationships, even if this week it did rely a little too heavily on casual sex as a means to drive both plot and character.
It was juggling three concurrent storylines involving all of the major characters, but Vida Episode 3 was a typically entertaining half-hour of Starz’s progressive and inclusive new show, even if it did feel a little too sex-obsessed in how it made its points.
The episode opened, for instance, with Emma sitting on the face of some woman who was introduced and promptly cast aside for the sole purpose of confirming that, yep, she’s just as domineering in her sex life as she is in her work. Later, when she came out to Lyn by simply showing her a picture of the woman in question, it didn’t really feel like a reveal to the audience, even if it was blasé enough to feel true to Emma’s character.
She spent the rest of the episode poring over the books of Vida and Eddy’s bar, trying and failing to figure out how the building is going to generate enough income to avoid foreclosure. Eddy, as it happens, got naked too, but for once that moment felt purposeful, as she laid helplessly in the bath, screaming impotently under the water. Vida Episode 3 did a good job of telling us a little bit more about Eddy, and allowing both Emma and Lyn to see her as someone who, like them, has been thrust into a situation she wasn’t prepared for. Shit, Emma even stuck up for her when Karla came into the bar looking for Lyn.
Karla, you might recall, is Johnny’s fiancé, and the mother of his unborn child. After falling out with Johnny for paying her one too many compliments about her fake boobs, Lyn sent Karla a picture of the two in bed together. This struck me as an unforgivably callous move, and Emma agreed. The confrontation in the bar didn’t amount to much, but it forced Lyn to look at herself a little closer; “You ruined that woman’s life for sport,” Emma told her, “just to prove you could.” Johnny wasn’t keen on her behaviour either; he broke up with her, and when he hugged her goodbye, it was kind of pathetic to hear her sob. I think that was the point.
While Vida Episode 3 spent most of its time repositioning Emma, Lyn and Eddy into a likeminded triumvirate, it did spare some time for Marisol, whose activism now consists of sucking off Tlaloc (Ramses Jimenez) while he slyly films it. There’s more to it than that, but only just. She’s obviously smitten with him, and I’m sure there’s some commentary about predatory men using their virtues to manipulate those enamoured by them, but nonetheless it felt a bit forced to me. The scene, that is. Marisol didn’t take much persuasion.
As much as I love the central trio of Emma, Lyn and Eddy, where the beating moral heart of the show obviously resides, Vida Episode 3 felt like a slight step down after two excellent opening episodes. Nothing major, mind you, and there’s still a lot to enjoy here, but I hope that going forward the show is able to ditch casual sex as an easy plot device and burn those central relationships for fuel.