Ghosts From The Past
Episode 2 of Three Days Of Christmas begins with the usual dose of narration. As we soon learn, the girls arrived at the lake every day for weeks in a bid for Valentina’s Father to come back but as the seasons passed, they gave up hope as Valentina became a bigger part of their family. Driving up with her daughter Lorena, we return to the house to see Juan is now a doctor and as we soon learn, Isabel is not well. Adela is pregnant and happens to have a several kids too, spinning the story to her children that “Grandpa Manuel is dead.”
While Esther debates over whether to see her Mother upstairs, Antonio runs into Maria. At the same time, back at the house Juan and Valentina appear to be together too. As the sisters reconvene and catch up, Adela’s husband asserts his dominance. As the sisters keep talking, bouts of exposition are delivered cleverly through the various conversations, oftentimes drawing back to Isabel’s illness.
A particularly tense moment involving Antonio and his kids is quickly resolved until Maria arrives at the house, they sit at the piano and begin playing together. While they do, Mateo looks longingly over at Isabel who arrives downstairs to hear them playing. She sits with the four sisters and tells them how wonderful they are before relaying a story about their past. She goes on to tell them they need to bring her lover to the house before passing out.
In the aftermath of this, the sisters contemplate what to do regarding their Mother’s lover. As it turns out, Antonio happens to be the son of Chief Manuel and this would explain why her kids mentioned Grandpa Manuel. Valentina tells them when Isabel passes, she’s intending to leave for the city. After some deliberation, Maria tells them she’s going to bring him back… as Mateo seemingly hears everything from the doorway.
Outside, he and Maria have a heart to heart regarding the past, involving a particularly amusing segment about smoking. With unresolved tensions hanging over the house, Esther approaches Juan and tells him she doesn’t want to end up like her Mum. He refuses to give in though, telling her he’s with Valentina but as the two continue to argue, she kisses him… until she announces Lorena is his child. The bombshells continue as Adela locks herself in the shed, prompting Maria to announce she’s going to tell Antonio everything. Just before she does, Maria’s drunk girlfriend (disguised as Pierre’s cousin) arrives and introduces herself as Sophie.
As Christmas dinner approaches, Mateo is encouraged to go upstairs and see Isabel but he refuses, telling them it’s not time. It’s here he reveals that Valentina is Isabel’s daughter and kisses her forehead. At the same time, Sophie encourages Maria to tell her sisters the truth about their relationship. Upstairs, Valentina speaks to her mother, revealing Mateo has left to bring her lover to the house before Isabel passes out again.
Downstairs, Sophie and Maria talk in the bathroom together, until Antonio bursts in and starts kissing her. However, Maria breaks it up until he rushes out, realizing the truth of their relationship and forces the kids to leave, cursing them loudly. With all the drama unfolding, none of them realize that Isabel has passed away as Valentina purposefully walks outside the house.
As she does, Mateo arrives with her Father – and Isabel’s lover – as the dysfunctional family reunion ends with him revealing the truth to his daughter; he was imprisoned for years and as he could barely take care of himself, he didn’t want to disrupt her peaceful life. Unable to deal with this, she runs away as we’re left with a final bout of narration from Maria to end the episode.
While I really liked this middle chapter, even with all the soapy elements and drama, I can’t help but feel the situation with Isabel should have been elaborated on a bit to really revel in that sadness. The moment with Valentina and Isabel together was so perfectly constructed and felt destined to end in tears but frustratingly that feeling is drowned out by the various different bombshell reveals.
Personally, I wish the show would have rewritten this part to see Valentina witness Isabel dying, just as Mateo arrives with her Father. It’s too late for her to say goodbye but as she realizes the truth, the sister drama could have been a manifestation of their grief. Unfortunately this moment feels unsuitably inconsequential given the ending we receive, turning the attention more toward Valentina than her Mother.
Still, despite all this the episode does well to build up what we’ve seen before and the entire hour of drama is chock full of some interesting reveals too. Quite what the final episode has in store for us though remains to be seen.