Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 4/5
Like all great tragicomedies, Eva Lasting has love at its bedrock. The Colombian show tactfully uses the teen years of young Camilo Granados and his fledgling, epic romance with Eva Samper at the Jose Maria High School in Bogota to weave compelling a story around friendship, love, and contemporary social mores.
Despite its rather generic subject matter, Eva Lasting impressively subverts the conventional storytelling format. Eva and Camilo do not meet and just fall in love. Instead, they go through the entire curve – friendship, heartbreak, unrequited courting, and the gnawing realization. But more importantly, the romance arch is well hidden underneath a keenly observant representation of Colombian life, with all its glory and pitfalls.
Camilo and his boy band – the hothead Martin Salcedo; the musical Rodrigo Arbeláez; the good-for-nothing but daring Alvaro Castro; and the quiet, handsome Gustavo Pabon – get the shock of their lives when a girl joins an all-boys school. Eva Samper is a fiercely opinionated and open-minded girl, who approaches the group and befriends them. It is not easy at first. The boys take their sweet time opening up to Eva. But she is persistent and quite crafty at getting them to reveal themselves. Eva uses the legacy of books and movies, and the pull of modern feminism to achieve her goals.
But the journey has its lows as well. Eva makes it clear to Martin that he is just a friend. Colombia is going through a turbulent socio-political phase with troubling doses of riots, protest marches, and the rise of the Medellin cartel. A new conscience is settling in the minds of the boys as they become witnesses to historic changes in their lives. Eva Lasting combines these elements of storytelling really well and is benefited from a long run of almost 13 episodes. That is uncharacteristically long but the makers do not allow the show to drag or stagnate.
The progression of the plot and characters is constantly aided by the unravelling incidents that eat up most of the time in individual episodes. In the background, the commentary about Colombian life, changing perceptions about the position of women, and the raging fight against the new drug menace take priority.
While the assertions of the writers are not extensive, they are condensed into characters and certain incidents. Jose and Ana are two very fascinating outlets that they use to disseminate contrarian worldviews; traditionalism and conservationism vs. cosmopolitanism. At the balance of these forces rests the opportunity for the makers to infuse the narration with tingling teen romance.
Eva Lasting has multiple dimensions and faces like a die. When you roll it to the other side, you find an equally significant avenue into not only something that is authentically Colombian but also universal human emotions. Those offshoots from the base of the story give Eva Lasting immense diversity and multifaceted evaluations. But by even doing so, the roster is not a merry-go-round where characters and subplots are onboarded and then discarded for a specific purpose. That is why the switch to other themes and approaches does not feel jarring or does not bring discontent into the narration.
While one can call out the persons behind casting the show for not doing so age-appropriately, the actors do look the part. More importantly, they feel the part, so much so that you wouldn’t even want to imagine someone else in their skin. The roster is equally exciting to watch, although a special mention must be given to Francisca Estevez and (Eva) and Veronica Orozco (Ana). The pair is pivotal to the contrarian consciousness in the show that always manages to reasonably bring much-needed dichotomy and diversity in colouring the exposition.
Eva Lasting’s most compelling theme is the use of books – which form the title of every episode – to enhance and enrich the storytelling. Using excerpts and pertinent themes from those great literary works is inspiring. They fit seamlessly within the context of the plot and truly shape the central character of Camilo and how we see the show. These classics are the special condiment in this bustling potpourri of ideas, emotions, and drama that make Eva Lasting a truly Colombian delicacy.
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Verdict - 8/10