Vida Season 1 Episode 4 Review

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: May 28, 2018 (Last updated: December 5, 2023)
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Vida - Episode 4 - Review


Vida Episode 4 turned out to be the show’s best so far, as Lyn and Emma worked through their on-going personal issues in different, illuminating ways, and Marisol dealt somewhat unsatisfyingly with Tlaloc’s breach of her trust.

In Vida Episode 4, which might have been the Starz show’s best so far, both Lyn and Emma struck out on their own for a while to work through their various issues – not least of which is the absent income of Vida’s bar, which among all its other problems also has racist signage.

Lyn is still stung by Johnny breaking up their affair, and is spending her time lounging around harassing him via text message and being chewed up by her sister for offering what I thought was quite a reasonable suggestion: that of changing the name of Vida’s bar to Vida’s, since that’s what everyone in the neighbourhood calls it anyway. Eddy is keen on the idea – she’s determined not to allow her late wife’s pride and joy to attract “hipsters” – but Emma shits all over it. She’s in a bad mood, this week.

Turns out, though, that those hipsters are kind of a problem in Vida Episode 4. Lyn heads out for some retail therapy (with her dead mother’s credit cards, I might add) and runs into some long-haired hat-wearing art bro. She ends up partying at a swanky house with him and his (predominantly white, which is important) bro friends, where a Latina housekeeper is forced to mop up the vomit from the pristine white patio. At one point one of the frazzled partiers says she feels sorry for the housekeeper, at which point the hipster bro says, “Don’t worry about it. That’s what she’s here for.”

The commentary on wealth and class divides is hardly subtle, and neither is the sometimes vast distinction between people of the same race, or even people from the very same neighbourhood. (This is constantly reiterated by Marisol, who we’ll get to in a moment.) But Vida doesn’t become preachy and didactic because it uses personal stories to draw attention to broader social issues, rather than having the issues themselves be the driving force behind the narrative. When Lyn and the cleaning lady both find themselves on the same bus home to same side of L.A., only seated several aisles apart, it’s as much a statement about Lyn’s alienation as it is anything else.

Emma, meanwhile, is scoping out the local bar scene competition, but is quickly lured into a night out by her childhood crush. In the process of her revelling, she reveals the reason she left the neighbourhood; because Vida, upon discovering her “touching” another girl and then, later, writing loving journal entries about the same, essentially excommunicated her. So those “hypocrite” comments from the first episode make sense now. What doesn’t is why Emma, after finally getting into the knickers of her sweetheart, had some weird panic attack and gave it legs out of the apartment.

And finally, we come to Marisol, who, having discovered Tlaloc filmed her noshing him off, was immediately sweet-talked into believing his no-doubt bullshit excuses for doing so. Man, I hate that guy. Not that I don’t find Marisol a bit grating, but her immaturity is part of her character; she clings to her rampant (and often misguided) activism because it’s something bigger than herself that she can pour her feelings into, even if she evidently hasn’t quite figured the ins and outs just yet. She is setting her sights on Vida’s bar, though – see, even I’m calling it that – so I’m sure it’ll be interesting and hilarious to see how Emma deals with that.

Anyway, Vida Episode 4 was pretty stellar, all things considered. It furthered the main characters, their mentalities and relationships, touched on broader issues without forcing them down anyone’s throats – of particular note was how blasé Marisol was about Vida’s sign being, as she put it, “racist as shit”, thus proving that her activism is purely local – and continued the show’s extremely high standard of writing and acting. It was a pleasure. I’ll see you next week.

TV, TV Reviews
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