With Love season 1, episode 1 recap – “Nochebuena”
This recap of Amazon original With Love season 1, episode 1 does contain spoilers.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or at least it’s supposed to be. Christmas. It’s a time to cherish what you have and, more importantly, who you have because there’s no better present than presence. Aside from being a major holiday however, it’s also the inaugural setting for the new Amazon Prime series With Love.
Created by Gloria Calderón Kellett (One Day At A Time), the series follows the lives of two siblings, their family, lovers and friends over the course of five different holidays in the span of one year. While it sounds reminiscent of the late Garry Marshall’s holiday trilogy, it’s actually got heart, humor, and a more believable sense of human connection.
With Love season 1, episode 1 recap
The first episode begins by introducing us to Lily Diaz, a young, newly single twenty-something. When we first meet her, she’s on the way to her family’s annual Christmas Eve party. Having just broken up with her big shot lawyer boyfriend, Lily is reluctant to attend the party alone for fear that her family will endlessly interrogate and guilt her. She’s so desperate that, while picking up alcohol for the party, she asks a flirtatious liquor store clerk to accompany her. When he rejects her, she realizes she has no choice but to own up to her loneliness.
Later on we meet Lily’s brother, Jorge Jr. and his odd, yet attractive roommate, Nick. For Jorge, this year and this party are both a big deal for him because after finally coming out to his family, he’s excited to finally introduce his boyfriend to them. When it turns out that his boyfriend also happens to be that clerk from the liquor store, things get interesting to say the least.
That’s only one arc established in episode one. Additionally, we learn that Lily and Jorge’s parents, Beatriz and Jorge Sr., are not as in love as they used to be and are struggling to get on the same page sexually. We meet one of Lily’s closest confidants, her cousin Sol who is a trans woman seemingly scared of commitment and is skeptical of dating a fellow doctor at her hospital. Through Sol, we also meet a mysterious young man whose mom is one of her patients. She sadly passes away that evening. Although his storyline is minuscule, there are hints that both it and he will return to play an even bigger role as the series progresses.
There are many moving parts in With Love. While it doesn’t seem clear if or how they’ll all connect by the end, they are still enjoyable to watch because the characters at the heart of the story feel real. Granted, audiences have seen some of these storylines before and there are, admittedly, some rough transitions between the comedy and the melodrama. So much so that Nick is often used as a plot device whose sole purpose seems to be to break the ice with useless facts.
Yet overall there’s a sense of relatability that exists here that similar genre works are often missing. One episode in, and it’s definitely not perfect. Like Calderón Kellett’s proven in her other works though, she’s very much in touch with what it’s like to live and love in today’s world, and that’s not perfect either.
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