The second episode of One Day at a Time‘s fourth season, titled “Penny Pinching,” premiered on Tuesday night. In the previous episode, a visit from a Census taker (Ray Romano) causes the Alvarez family to reflect on their relationships and on what else the future may or may not have in store for them. Penelope (Justina Machado) is left wondering whether she made wrong decisions in her love life that will result in her being alone for the rest of her life. Lydia (Rita Moreno) attempts to console her but may, in fact, have made things worse for Penelope. Meanwhile, Elena (Isabella Gomez) and Syd (Sheridan Pierce) attempt to spend some time apart to get accustomed to their inevitable breakup once they go off to college.
In “Penny Pinching.” the Alvarez family has dinner with Nora (Raquel Justice), Alex’s new girlfriend, so they can get to know her better. The dinner seems to be going fine until the dinner check comes in. Penelope is shocked that the dinner was more expensive than she planned and complained to the manager. Alex, feeling embarrassed, confronts his mom about dinner and tells her that she doesn’t spend enough money on herself. Schneider offers to help Penelope find an appropriate way for her to spend money. Meanwhile, Elena struggles to get to an Overwatch tournament since she has to drive her family around town.
Alex dropped a major announcement last week when he told his family that he had been dating Nora for a few weeks. Secrets in the Alvarez family have never been kept a secret for long since they’re close with one another. I was as surprised to find out that Alex managed to keep his relationship with Nora hidden for so long. With the opening scene showing Alex’s family getting to know Nora, I expected there to be drama. However, I was surprised by how quickly the family grew to love Nora. I wonder whether there might be an issue down the line involving this new romance and the Alvarez family.
Penelope struggling with getting used to spending money was quite an interesting plot for her character to go through. Being a single mother, I can understand why she would be hesitant to spend money freely. It would end up putting her own family at risk in more ways than one. While the scene at the restaurant may have been a bit extreme, I’m glad that the episode took a chance to explain why she acted that way. In addition, Penelope’s relationship with money managed to influence her children to be more cautious with what they buy. It’s great to see the many ways in which this family learns from each other to be better people.
Last season, there was an episode where Elena attempted to get into streaming as a way to earn money. I was surprised that her passion for videogames was brought up again in “Penny Pinching.” It’s not often that I see e-sports playing such a big role in either television or film. E-sports have been growing for the past few years and they’ve become a major staple within the world of pop culture. I don’t usually take part in any e-sports competitions, but I know those who do will appreciate that they’re getting more exposure. I’m hoping that a future episode has Elena actually taking part in a competition.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching “Penny Pinching,” the second episode of One Day at a Time’s fourth season. I’m glad that Alex’s relationship with Nora was developed more and I’m hopeful that it will lead to some interesting situations. Penelope’s struggle with spending money proved to be a unique plotline for her character to go through. With Elena being into e-sports, I’m glad that they’re getting more exposure within different media. I’m looking forward to how the rest of the season plays out.
The fourth season of One Day at a Time will be airing every Tuesday at 9:30 pm PST / 6:30 EST, only on POP TV.