A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The boys still do not know why Eva is leaving school. They’re all tense and worried now that she has become a part of the group. In the classroom, Estela asks the boys to discuss their future plans with the class: what would they like to do in life? We get the standard answers; athlete, astronaut, engineer, sports announcer. Martin surprises all of them by saying he wants to be a teacher. But the real surprise comes when Eva says she does not want to go in a conventional role in life and instead, wants to be like the protagonist from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When she says she doesn’t want to hang out at the club, the boys come up with a plan to make her stay in school: extracurricular activities.
This way, they can even skip class. A lot of ideas are thrown around. Eva’s idea of a choir seems the best. They propose the same to Estela and she agrees, keeping in mind the upcoming talent show. But what kind of songs will they sing? It should be something easy to sing (as the group cannot sing) and that feels young. Eva suggests ballads in English and it seems like a good idea. Until the boys have to attend English class and learn the language. The teacher himself didn’t know how to properly speak English.
Camilo continues his borrowing spree from the library. Each time Eva mentions a new book in class, he quickly scribbles its name and borrows it the next day to get an advantage over the other boys in Eva’s pursuit. The boys of course don’t approve of it. Eva tries her best to teach them English but the boys, except Pabon, are really bad at it. Their choir dreams are in jeopardy and so is Eva’s probability of staying in the school. Jose goes through Camilo’s things when he repeats Eva’s words at the dinner table at home. Camilo now wants to be a writer but Jose does not approve of it.
The boys have no other option but to abandon their choir idea of an English song. Instead, Martin writes a song himself in Spanish and Eva approves of it. They decide to sing that song. Everyone is shocked to see Estela changing her dressing style and “covering stuff up”. When Alvaro mentions it might be due to the administration putting pressure on her, Eva takes offence and says they cannot allow it to happen. But first, they decide to investigate what actually happened. When Gustavo goes off on his own in the kitchen, Rodrigo, who is making the tunes for the song, decides he will do a solo, as he is the only real singer in the group. Eva’s mind is successfully taken off the depression but it has come at the cost of the group’s unity.
The other boys corner Camilo and take his book. They pass it around to read it in order to be on equal footing in Eva’s pursuit. But none of them could really make it through. Each one of the group members tries to lure the other one away from getting closer to Eva. They are poised to perform on mother’s day. When their chance comes, Gustavo unexpectedly tries to kiss Eva during his solo at Martin and Alvaro’s advice in the club. It causes tension on the stage as Camilo pushes him away. Alvaro calls Martin a liar, saying it is a Mexican song he heard on the radio that morning. When Martin sizes up to Gustavo, Mr Pabon intervenes and confronts Martin.
The boy is not afraid and talks back to him, making Mr Pabon call Martin a moron. Martin’s mother gets up to protect her son and has an argument with his wife. Martin’s mother exclaims in front of everyone that Mr Pabon is cheating on his wife with Estela. That is why she has changed her look and remains in such a good mood. Estela gets up and confronts Pabon to say the truth in front of everyone. But he has been humiliated enough and denies ever having a relationship with her. The school has called an emergency meeting for the parents. Dr Alicia, the principal, is told by Jose that the school is facilitating brainwashing by holding strange books in the library. But Ana opposes him and the meeting is over soon.
Alicia informs that she has become the new homeroom teacher for class 10B. Eva confronts Alicia about firing Estela. She tries to play it down but Eva is not letting this one go. She questions what Estela did wrong. Alicia calls her into the principal’s room. Martin is heartbroken when Camilo tells him about Eva seeing them as little brothers and nothing more. But he doesn’t let others know. Eva says her protest did not come to fruition. She defiantly says she will not leave the school until she makes Estela’s situation right.
The Episode Review
The explosive Mother’s day incident has sent the story in a new direction. Eva Lasting was waiting for something like this to explode into life and present its characters with a reel-life challenge. Eva’s strong commitment to getting Estela justice seems to have a personal connection. Did her mother go through a similar fate? When one looks at it, Estela did not do too much wrong. Henry Pabon got away with his infidelity in front of everyone and that says everything about the position of women in the cinematic universe.
This episode throws up a strong female-centric undercurrent to the story. Ana, Eva, and Estela are heady characters, whose substance hides razor-sharp commentary on the times. Even if at times it gets bogged down with a tendency to patronize modern viewers, the effort puts compelling colour to the series. The boys fought over Eva and it is still not clear why they think anyone can get with her.
The show has done a great job of capturing the emotion of what it is to be a teen boy with repressed sexual energy and how the world is a complex place to navigate in that phase of our lives.
You can read our full season review for Eva Lasting season 1 here!