Episode 5 of Valeria is easily the strongest episode of the series so far. Val awakens and decides to pack her things, leaving a note behind for Adri while she creeps out, arriving in Valencia to greet her Mum for her birthday. Once there, her parents berate her for not showing up as much as Rebe. Retreating to her bedroom, Val is given time to reflect on what’s happened and clear her head after the events at Lola’s party.
A hurt Adri phones through and asks just why she left without him and after a slightly awkward conversation, he tells her he’s thinking about starting a YouTube channel. Feigning enthusiasm, Val hangs up the phone and heads downstairs where the family gather around to give Val’s Mother her gifts.
Only, Val feels left out when Rebe gets all the attention and even worse, Jaime plans to write about a mushroom – clearly inspired by the exact same story Val wrote as a child. Given she didn’t finish the story back then, we gain an insight into Val’s flaws – being unable to finish stories after starting them so enthusiastically.
That evening Lola rings through and they talk about what happened with Victor that night. She tells Lola that kissing isn’t really cheating but her friend suggests she head home and talk to Adri about their relationship. Conflicted over what to do, Val instead starts texting Victor and once again pleasures herself while thinking of him.
In the morning, Val overhears her family talking about her relationship and how bored she becomes of everything. Storming out the house, she heads down to the beach instead where Victor shows up and they talk about what happened at the party. As their attention turns back to Val’s novel, they discuss her writing before she brings him back to her house.
Only, Adri shows up midway through to surprise her and Victor is forced to retreat in secret. Things are awkward between her and Adri, to say the least, and seeing how natural she was with Victor only exacerbates the issues. She tries to work through them the best she can though, avoiding Adri and instead sitting to eat cereal with Rebe that night.
In private, the two sisters discuss Val’s issues with Adri before the night draws on and Rebe falls asleep. Val talks to her baby, laying it all out on the line and promising that she’s going to write a novel now.
In the morning, Val makes a decision – to follow through and finish writing her novel. Instead of following Adri back to Madrid, she stays behind to put pen to paper. Before her novel writing however, she finishes her Mr Mushroom book as a child and it’s inspiration enough for her to sit on her bed and begin writing, this time with the words flowing freely, which is where the episode ends.
Although the comparisons to Sex and the City have been rife right the way through the show, episode 5 is the perfect stop-gap as we slow down and actually get a lot more characterisation for Valeria. It’s such a crucial episode too as we finally understand more about Val and with a singular focus on her, it lets her character stand out and shine. More importantly, it lets the show actually have its own personality without feeling like a Spanish clone.
It’s still not perfect and the idea of a married woman sneaking behind her partner’s back with a new lover is a bit difficult to swallow, especially given how much Adri appears to be trying to patch up their differences. Still, there’s enough here to at least persevere through and find out what happens next. Let’s hope this episode is a turning point for the show itself.