REVIEW: ‘One Day at a Time,’ Season 4, Episode 3 – “Boundaries”

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One Day at a Time

The third episode of One Day at a Time‘s fourth season, titled “Boundaries,” premiered on Tuesday night. In the previous episode, the Alvarez family has dinner with Nora (Raquel Justice), Alex’s (Marcel Ruiz) new girlfriend, so they can get to know her better. The dinner seems to be going fine until the dinner check comes in. Penelope (Justina Machado) 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 (Todd Grinnell) offers to help Penelope find an appropriate way for her to spend money. Meanwhile, Elena (Isabella Gomez) struggles to get to an Overwatch tournament since she has to drive her family around town.

In “Boundaries,” everyone but Penelope decides to go out for the night. Alex comes back home early because he forgot his phone and accidentally catches his mom in a compromising position. Penelope talks about what happened in her support group and hopes to get advice on what to say to Alex. Unable to find the advice she’s looking for, Penelope decides to just have a conversation about what happened with her son. She tries to talk with Alex about healthy human sexuality but he’s too embarrassed to be talking about this and demands boundaries. Meanwhile, Lydia (Rita Moreno) scolds Penelope about what happened with Alex.

Since season three, I’ve been noticing that Alex has been given more prominent storylines. He’s never really been my favorite character on the show so I was never bothered by him being a side character for the first two seasons. Part of him having a smaller role might have been the actor’s age or even Ruiz’s acting abilities. However, with Alex getting a bigger role, I’ve come to appreciate his character a lot more. His storyline in this episode is one that many could relate to; the need for personal boundaries when it comes to certain situations. I’ll be interested to see what other storylines his character is given.

Speaking of boundaries, this might be one of the most interesting themes that the show has tackled. It’s normal for teens to want boundaries when it comes to certain situations, like the one that Alex goes through in this episode. However, it’s also understandable that Penelope wants to always know what’s going on in her son’s life. It’s a case where it’s difficult to pick a side that makes the most sense. However, Lydia definitely took things to the extreme by judging Penelope’s parenting skills. Including three different points of view on the significance of what happened offers a deeper perspective on the Alvarez family’s life.

I’ve talked about the episode’s relatability because of the main plot, but I couldn’t help but relate to it in a different manner. The constant talk about boundaries in a Latinx family is something that hit home for me. Growing up, I came to realize that everyone in my family knew about each other’s business. Seeing the Alvarez family talk about boundaries and whether they’re needed is something that my own family brought up at times. I was taken back to those situations, which was rather interesting to look back on. I never thought that an episode of One Day at a Time would ever bring up those memories again. It was rather great to look back on some of those instances.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching “Boundaries,” the third episode of One Day at a Time’s fourth season. I’m glad that Alex is being given a more prominent role in the series since it made me care more about his character. I wouldn’t mind more episodes being centered around his character, especially since he introduced his girlfriend to his family in last week’s episode. I also found the theme of boundaries rather interesting, which lead to the whole family being involved in the discussion. These are the sort of episodes that I enjoy the most.

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.

One Day at a Time, Season 4, Episode 2 - Boundaries
8.5/10

TL;DR

I really enjoyed watching “Boundaries,” the third episode of One Day at a Time’s fourth season. I’m glad that Alex is being given a more prominent role in the series since it made me care more about his character. I wouldn’t mind more episodes being centered around his character, especially since he introduced his girlfriend to his family in last week’s episode.