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Friday, February 16, 2018

Recapping One Day at a Time - Episode 4 - A Snowman's Tale

This week's episode of "One Day at a Time" is structured a little bit differently, as it uses flashbacks to tell the tale.  Thank goodness there are little subtitles telling us when the events take place, or else I would really be screwed!

This is
Episode 4: A Snowman's Tale.  And yes, there is a reason for the title which is actually quite clever - and funny!  For now, let's pop in at Echo Park, Los Angeles on a Saturday night at 6:40pm where we see Penelope applying some bright red lipstick in the back of an Uber driven by Jerry

Penelope is really excited about going on a date, and she tells Jerry all about it even though Jerry looks as if he'd rather drive off the side of the freeway.  But hey, given that this review is being posted two days after Valentine's Day, I guess it's almost perfect timing.  Penelope can't help it though.  It's her first date since splitting up with Victor and she's really nervous about it.

She's so nervous that she decides to call Lydia at home to talk about it.  Oh, dear.  But at least we're treated to a flashback to Lydia's youth.  In Havana, Cuba in 1958, we learn that a young Lydia first meets her husband-to-be, Berto.  And judging from the scenes where we see them dancing, it was love at first tango!

I should note that Berto is Penelope's father (though you probably figured that out).  And he passed away a few years prior to the show beginning which explains his absence in the series.

It appears as though Lydia's talk with Penelope gave her the courage to go ahead with the date...even though Schneider is a wreck.  Yeah, I guess it's official.  Schneider is part of the family now.

It's now 7:00 pm, and Jerry is just wanting to ditch Penelope so that he can continue on with his merry Uber way, but somehow Penelope comes to the conclusion that he wants to hear more about why she went on the date in the first place, and it is here where we get our first flashback of the episode.

Friday at 12:30pm at Dr. B.'s medical office.  Dr. B, Penelope, Lori, and Scott are having lunch and talking about their plans for the weekend.  Seems like this crew is a boring lot, as Scott plans to go bowling and Dr. B. plans on stalking innocent shoppers at Target looking for friendship.  And yes, I did just type this sentence out with a weird look on my face.

And Penelope seems to have a strange look on her face when she announces that she has no plans for the weekend, and everyone decides that she needs to start dating.  Among conversations of microwave dinners, dating apps, and Lori thinking 38 is way old (which makes ME want to give her head a shake as I'm almost THIRTY-SEVEN), Penelope is goaded into putting herself back out on the market for dating again.

Particularly after a delivery driver who has a package for Penelope arrives and gets her heart all a-flutter.  Yeah, Penelope's still got it.  Well, at least she did yesterday at 12:30pm.

It's now Saturday night at 7:18pm (wait, that conversation with Jerry took eighteen minutes - no wonder he wanted to speed away from the area), and Penelope has a new friend.   Bartender Michelle is the next one to hear all about Penelope's date, and I'm guessing based on the fact that Penelope is shooing away customers and Michelle is sucking back shots that Michelle is wanting to jump in Jerry's car so she can flee.  I think Penelope needs to chill.  And maybe take a tranquilizer dart!  But it's through her conversation with Michelle that she brings up the snowman analogy.  Penelope calls herself a snowman because right now, it's winter and everything is in place.  But when spring comes, everything melts and she'll just end up looking like a mess.  Honestly, it's much funnier when Justina Machado says it because she's just that great of an actress. 

She ends up showing Michelle a photo of her date - a policeman named Adam.  And this prompts another flashback to 5:30pm on Friday night.

You see, Penelope is freaking out about the dating app, and of all people she seeks help from, she chooses Schneider!  Oh, Penelope, why do I get the feeling this is doomed to fail before it even begins?

Turns out that Schneider is actually quite good at making dating profiles (which makes me think that he uses them quite often).  Unfortunately he's not that great at photoshopping as in his quest to cut out Elena and Alex from Penelope's photo, he adds a bicycle to the photo without removing the kids' shoes.  Personally, if a person had a bicycle with feet, I'd be intrigued to meet them, but I'm weird like that.

Of course, this causes Penelope to have a panic attack as she doesn't know what her family will think.  After all, Lydia thinks that she and Victor will get back together again, and she doesn't know how Elena and Alex will react.  Schneider simply suggests that Penelope doesn't tell them, and this prompts her to set up a date with this Adam guy for Saturday at 7:30pm.  Wow, Penelope must really want this date!

Three minutes before the date is set to start, Penelope is in the bathroom with her "new best friend" Abby, who seriously just wants Penelope to spare a square or two of toilet paper.  Okay, now Penelope is sharing her date story with women who have to pee?  Wow, I'm beginning to understand why she hasn't been on a date in twenty years!  Just saying.

But I must say, Penelope does look stunning in her jumpsuit.  She even boasts about shaving off her "lady 'stache" in preparation.  First off, kudos to the show for having a strong female lead admitting that she has lip hair.  And secondly, she must have done a great job shaving it off because I don't see any trace.

But Penelope's admiration of herself in the mirror is interrupted when Abby begins crying in the stall.  She's bummed because her boyfriend Benji won't propose to her.  Considering that her boyfriend has the same name of a dog from a 1970s film series, maybe she's better off.

Penelope starts to comfort Abby, but when she sees that Abby is a six foot tall, 22-year-old drink of water that could pass as a contestant on "America's Next Top Model", she laughs and tells her that she will get over Benji, marry rich, and be on the Real Housewives of Whatever County.  Yeah, like THAT'S something to aspire to!  But it does cheer Abby up, and Penelope tells her that she will now say the last thing her mother said to her before her date - "Good luck".

Of course, Abby is confused because she recalls Penelope telling her that she didn't tell them that she was going on a date.  Flashback to Saturday morning where Lydia informs Penelope that "red lipstick is for putas!"  Yeah, I don't need a Spanish translator to tell me what THAT word means!

It seems as though both Lydia and Elena aren't as clueless as they let on.  Thanks to Penelope's peach fuzz free lip, they know that she has plans tonight, and both have different reactions about it.  Elena is happy that Penelope is going on a date and happily reminds her that at 38, she is at her sexual peak - something that grosses both Lydia and Penelope out!  Lydia, meanwhile, is more blunt.  She calls her a hoochie!  Harsh, but keep in mind that Lydia is old-school and believes that separation is unheard of.  Ah, so my mistake, the couple is only separated and not divorced as I first thought.  See, that's why I watch every episode three times when I do these reviews.

Of course, Alex is not in the loop, and Penelope doesn't want him to know what is going on, so they play an awkward game of mannequin leaving Alex wondering what the heck is going on.  But when Alex asks Penelope for a hundred dollars, that unthaws Penelope and she tells him that there is no way that she is giving him that much money.  Alex claims that he needs it to hang out with his friends, but that's all the information he wants to share.  I'm guessing that Penelope said no. 

We also see a little bit of an interesting tradition that Lydia embarks in.  Even though Berto has been deceased for years, she still talks to him occasionally as if he is still alive.  And while Lydia is annoyed that Penelope interrupted her and "ghost Abuelito" (as Elena calls him), Lydia does relent and wishes Penelope luck on her date.  She even offers to let Penelope borrow her tube of "Scarlet Sunrise" lipstick!  But wait...I thought red lipstick was for...oh, nevermind.  We should be getting back to Penelope's date which should begin right!

Well, okay, she is actually harassing who I believe is the maitre 'd of the restaurant she is supposed to meet her date at.  We don't know much about her except that her name is Kristen and that she probably wants to call up Jerry at Uber to take her anywhere but where she is right now.

Once Penelope is seated at her table, we meet another new person, Tyler.  At this point, I'm thinking this is the fifth person Penelope has encountered and she hasn't even met her date yet!  They must have had a huge budget for guest stars during the 4th episode!  Tyler also looks familiar...isn't he that guy in that insurance commercial that comes out and sees that his car has been stripped by thieves?  I swear it's the same guy.  Anyway, Penelope starts to babble on about her date, but somehow when Tyler asks her what she wants, it causes her to stop talking!  Oh, thank goodness.  Maybe now we'll finally see her on her date.

Or, maybe it's Saturday night at 10:41pm and we see Penelope arriving home AFTER her date!  I don't know about you, but I feel cheated.

And apparently so do Elena and Lydia because once Penelope reveals that the date didn't go well and that she won't be seeing him again, they are quite disappointed.  I get the feeling that there's more to the story here, but that will have to wait for now as Alex has arrived and has heard everything.

At this point, Penelope decides that it is time to have a chat with her youngest child, and she sends Lydia and Elena away so she can do exactly that.  It's interesting to note that Alex has a bandage on his face, and Alex explains that a kid pushed him in the bushes.  But that's not the REAL story here.

Of course, before we do that, Penelope tells Alex about his date - and the real reason why the date didn't work out.  As we flashback to three hours earlier, the waiter leaves, and so does Penelope!  Yep, she stands her date up!  Her explanation to Alex is simple.  Up until that moment, nobody had ever asked Penelope what she wanted.  She took advice from colleagues, family members, and five random strangers, but nobody asked her what she wanted.  Turns out that what she wanted wasn't a date at all, and she came to the conclusion that she wasn't ready to go out on a date yet.  She spent the last three hours at the movies watching a horrible chick flick.  But she did send Adam an apology text, and squared things up. 

This prompts Alex to share the truth about what happened on HIS night out.  Turns out his friends purposely abandoned him so that he could be alone with a girl named Anna thinking that they would find a love connection!  But, Alex just wanted to be friends with her.  Though he does admit that he tried shaving before he left (which explains the bandage), and Penelope seems to suspect that maybe Alex really does have some feelings for Anna (though he won't readily admit to them just yet). 

And this of course leads to a rather unusual bonding moment between Penelope and Alex in which Penelope teaches Alex how to shave.  Again, props to the "One Day at a Time" crew for showing women that it's okay if you have facial hair and to not be ashamed of it!  This show is actually quite progressive, and I think that's why I enjoy it so much.  Not because of just the shaving scene, but because of how well Penelope handled the dating nerves.  Sure, she wasn't ready yet, but she did tell Alex that one day she would be.  Thankfully, Alex offered his blessings, and I'm sure that as the show progresses, we'll see Penelope involved in more romances.  After all, 38 is when women reach their sexual peak, or so the show states.

There is one final scene which is quite touching.  We finally get to see what Lydia imagines when she pictures herself in Cuba with her beloved Berto (this time as an old man portrayed by Tony Plana).  It's very much like the scene we saw back in 1958, but with them as adults.  And let me tell you, it is clear that no matter how much time passed, and despite the fact that one of them crossed over to the other side, these are two people who will forever love each other.  It's actually a great way to end off yet another fantastic episode.

And now here are some of the funniest lines from episode four.  Enjoy!

SCOTT:  Doc, you're forgetting about the best part about being single.  Dating apps.  Oh, they're great.  There's guys like me out there.
PENELOPE:  Oh, I didn't know there was an app called 'Disappointment'.

PENELOPE:  I'm a snowman.
MICHELLE:  I don't wanna be racist, but does that mean coke dealer?

PENELOPE:  How the hell do I do this?  Do I like?  Do I swipe?  Do I put someone in my cart?
SCHNEIDER:  It's like watching a baby bird learn to fly.

PENELOPE:  I'm not looking to have sex with someone!
SCHNEIDER:  Yeah, let's not put that in your profile!  I get it, you mean a real date.
PENELOPE:  Yes, it's been 20 years.  You know, back then, online dating meant hooking up while waiting in line to buy Boyz II Men tickets.  I helped turn a couple of boys to men.

ALEX:  Anyway, stupid Finn pushed me into a bush and I got scratched.
PENELOPE:  Why do you like that kid again?  Because he seems like a ---
ALEX:  Like a dick?
PENELOPE:  Yes, but that's not okay that you said that.

Tune in next week where we tackle the subject of immigration.  I get the feeling that this might involve Elena and Carmen.  Just a hunch.

In closing, I want to pause to give a moment of silence for the seventeen people who were killed in the Florida school shooting on February 14, 2018.  Seventeen hearts for seventeen souls.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day For One? Fun!

I thought that I would do a bit of a blog and run today, being that today is February 14th and all. 

Apparently it's something called Valentine's Day, or Love Day, or Shoot The Person You Love in the Butt with an Arrow Day.

I guess that's why I am writing this blog in hot pink today - to put me into the mood of all things love.

Problem is, I don't have a Valentine.  I don't think I've had a Valentine since those days in elementary school where we would give out little Super Mario, DuckTales, and Garfield cards to our classmates with those chalky "BE MINE" conversation hearts.

But unlike past years, I'm surprisingly okay with this.  And do you want to know why?

Because I have already declared 2018 to be the "Be Your Own Best Friend Year".  And to go one step further, I've decided that I am going to be my own Valentine this year.  Because when it comes down to it, why shouldn't I treat myself with love, kindness, respect, and chocolates?

Seriously, it's a great way to overcome the Valentine's Day single blues by showing yourself a little love once in a while.

For instance, have a look at what I bought for myself this year for Valentine's Day.

Let's see...we have a couple of comic books (because I am a comic book geek and unapologetic about it), I bought a T-shirt showing my support for the Canadian Olympic Team (ten medals so far including three gold), and of course a whole bunch of chocolate.  My selections including Lindt and Hershey.

Oh, and I did get some Valentines from a couple of my co-workers - including one that was left unsigned, so I guess I might have a secret admirer of sorts.  Who can say, really?  I wasn't actually expecting to get ANY, so the fact that I did get some was a nice surprise!

But again, I don't expect any gifts for Valentine's Day because to me, I don't think you need just one day out of the year to express your love and devotion towards somebody.  In fact, you don't need one day of the year to tell yourself that you're worth loving and you're worth respect, and that you're worth the effort in treating yourself right. 

So, that's what I did.  I became my own Valentine this year.  And let me tell you, it made me feel SO relaxed and SO happy for the day.  Granted, Valentine's Day will NEVER be my favourite holiday, but at least by making myself top priority and showing myself a little love, it might help me hone my skills so that I can bestow and share my love with somebody else one day.

But if that doesn't happen, at least I'll be showing myself a little love.  And really.  There is NOTHING wrong with that.

Happy Valentine's Day, singles, couples...and oh, what the hell...triples too!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Super Mario 3 - My Favourite Levels!

One of the things I like to do to relieve some stress is play video games.  I know, some of you are probably thinking that activity is one of the worst ones for reducing stress.  Honestly for some games, you would be absolutely right.  If I were playing a game that I either hated or one that I found incredibly difficult, I'd likely be throwing a controller through the television screen.

But in the case of today's game, it doesn't make me do that, as every time I play it, I am instantly taken back to being a carefree eight-and-a-half year old.  God, I miss being eight-and-a-half again.

As it so happens, this game is celebrating its 28th birthday this year!  (Or, thirtieth if you live in Japan.)

Yes, it was on February 12, 1990 that "Super Mario Bros. 3" was released in North America.  The game was originally released in 1988 in Japan and as of right now it is the third best selling video game in Nintendo's history.

And why not?  The game was a massive improvement over the first two games released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and really stretched the capabilities of the NES cartridge.  Eight massive worlds with eight different bosses, the game is huge!  The game is also responsible for introducing some of the mechanics and characters that have appeared in future Mario games.  It marked the first appearance of the Boo enemies, the first time Mario could carry a Koopa shell, the first time Mario could fly in a game (via the Raccoon leaf), and the first appearances of Bowser's seven children.  And that only taps into the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the innovation and challenge the game brought.

I still remember the first time I played it.  Amusingly, I rented it from a video game place and interestingly enough, I ended up playing a copy of the Japanese version - which was MUCH HARDER than the American version.  Don't ask me how they got the Japanese version, but they had it!  But I didn't care at that point.  From the first level, I absolutely loved it and would play that game hours on end for two whole years!  Yep.  I was a hardcore Mario fan.

That's not to say that I didn't have my frustrating moments with the game.  Once you got to World 5, the difficulty level went from child's play to impossible without the use of a Game Genie in no time!  But I persevered and the first time I completed the game, I was ecstatic.  And then when I completed the game WITHOUT warp whistles, I was even MORE ecstatic! 

(Come all know you used at least ONE...)

Anyway, I got to thinking...there are a ton of levels in Super Mario 3, and I thought about which levels I enjoyed playing the most.  We all have our favourites, and certainly I know which levels I really look forward to playing whenever I played the game.  So, I went through each of the eight playable worlds (I don't include World 9 - The Warp Zone), and I chose my favourite level out of each of them. 

(Oh, yeah...the screenshots were actually taken from the SNES version of the same game.  And they are not from me playing...I took them from a playthrough posted on YouTube.  Besides, I could get a much higher score.)

WORLD 1 (Level 1-1)

I know, I know.  Choosing the first level of the game just seems like an easy choice.  But to be honest with you, this was the level that made me go "oh my goodness" when I first played this game 28 years ago.  It's essentially a tutorial level filled with the enemies that you'll likely encounter (Goombas, Koopas, Pirahna Plants).  It also contains your first taste of the Raccoon Leaf which allows Mario to fly.  It's a simple level, but it really does pack a punch and gets you excited for the rest of the game.

WORLD 2 (Level Quicksand)

What makes this selection really bizarre is that it was initially a level that I despised!  It took me a week to try and figure out how to defeat the level - which I consider one of the toughest of the early levels.  It's bad enough that you only have a time limit of 200 seconds to complete it.  You also have to deal with a gigantic angry sun that dive bombs you as you figure out how to maneuver yourself around huge sand tornadoes!  But that's where the fun of the level comes from.  It's a mad dash to the finish, and figuring out the solution to the level was half the fun.  Who knew you could take out the sun with a Koopa shell and use your super speed run to avoid the tornadoes?  It's such a crazy level, but I couldn't imagine the desert area without it.

WORLD 3 (Fortress #2)

I have a love-hate relationships with Mario levels that force me to swim underwater.  If I have a Fire Flower or the Hammer Brother suit (one of the best power-ups in the game, by the way), I'm fine.  If I am little Mario, I hate them.  But Super Mario 3 introduced the Frog Suit in the game.  On land, it's mostly useless.  But underwater?  It made swimming levels so much easier.  For the level in which you should try the Frog Suit out, I recommend the second fortress in the water world.  The fortress is 95% underwater and features some tricky swimming sections.  Because the Frog Suit can allow you to move more straight underwater, it is a godsend...and it makes this level so much enjoyable to play!

WORLD 4 (Level 4-1)

Really, I could have put any level in this section because the entirety of Giant Island was so much fun!  Seeing question blocks, enemies, and pipes at three times their size offered a challenging, but comical way to look at the world.  In the end, I went with 4-1 because the sheer shock and joy that I got playing through this massive sized world...that's a moment forever etched in my mind.

WORLD 5 (Level 5-3)

Kuribo's Shoe, Kuribo's Shoe, Kuribo's Shoe!  In case you're wondering, a Kuribo is the Japanese word for Goomba.  And in 5-3, it is the ONLY level in the whole game where you can try on the gigantic green boot that the Goombas hop around in.  And boy what an awesome tool it is.  It allows you to hop over sharp pirahna plants and Spinys to get through the level.  And it can take out an enemy in one hit with just a simple squish.  It's criminal that this power-up only exists in the one level...but it's because of this that 5-3 is my favourite level in the fifth world.

WORLD 6 (Level 6-10)

The ice world is my frozen hell on this game.  I loathed every level of it for the first nine or ten stages.  The slippery ice was enough to cause me headaches, the near impossible jumps were devastatingly difficult, and don't even get me started on the trick to beating 6-5 (a level I couldn't figure out for TEN YEARS).  But then the glorious 6-10 came along and redeemed the world for me.  Provided I had a fire flower on me, I could shoot at the ice blocks and get as much money as I could.  I also ran the risk of unthawing some enemies, but seriously...shooting fire at ice blocks to reveal treasure inside?  That was the most fun level ever!

WORLD 7 (Level 7-7)

The pipe levels irritated me just as much as the ice levels did, but for some reason, I found Pipe World to be slightly easier.  (Well, aside from 7-4, which was an underwater disaster.)

But I think what I liked best about 7-7 was that it was a simple level that you could just blow through in a rapid pace.  The fact that there were Starmen that could grant you invincibility scattered through the level every ten seconds certainly made this a breeze to get through - and also amped up the fun considerably!

And finally...

WORLD 8 (Bowser's Castle)

No contest.  The final level of the game is also the one that I enjoy the most of the final world.  The final world is extremely difficult to navigate on its own, but this castle tests all your skills in a huge way from Bowser statues shooting lasers at you, to gigantic lava pits, to fireballs piercing the air at a rapid pace.  It is such a stressful level, but in an epic way.  The fact that you're almost at the end just increases the excitement.  And did you know that there are two different routes you can take that will change the way you fight Bowser?  One route takes you to the easy room, where Bowser is suspended above a large brick platform where you just have to make him fall through...but there is a harder room where the gap you have to make him fall through is much narrower.

So, those are my picks for favourite Super Mario 3 levels.  What ones were your favourites?  And what other features of the game did you love?  Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Recapping One Day at at Time - Episode 3 - No Mass

Welcome to the next installment of "Recapping One Day at a Time".  We're about to start episode 3 - "No Mass".  And this episode appears to be a Lydia-centric episode, so if you love the adventures and one lines of Abuelita, this is one episode that you should watch.  And if not...well, watch anyway.  Now, this episode does touch on the subject of religion - which can be quite the touchy topic this day and age.  But overall, I liked the way it was presented.  You'll see what I mean as we go ahead with this recap.

For now, it's a typical morning with Lydia waking up to a serenade of Cuban music.  I'm not sure who sings it or what the song is called, but it's certainly a song that makes you get up and dance.  And dance is what Lydia does very well as she makes the coffee, cooks breakfast for the kids, and makes sure Alex's uniform pants are nice and clean. 

We also learn that Lydia is a devout Catholic, and even posts a picture of Pope Benedict on the refrigerator.  Penelope jokes that she has two other photos of the Pope in her room and takes the picture down, but Lydia just brings another one up and sets it on the kitchen counter.  This will be a key element in today's episode.

The opening credits roll and before you know it, it's dinner.  Lydia has made dinner for Alex and Elena (and Schneider who apparently is part of the family now).  Penelope has had another long day at work and has nearly missed dinner.  At least Lydia has managed to make enough to feed her, and as she serves Penelope, Schneider talks about his unusual family arrangements which include a father and four step-mothers.  Yeah, I'm starting to understand the reason why Schneider is the way he is.  You'll see more when I post the funny lines of the episode (which has a surprisingly high amount of laugh out loud moments).  Oh, and we also meet Elena's best friend Carmen, who apparently is best described as a cross between Lydia Deetz and Selena Gomez.  She's moody, she's depressed, she's dark...essentially she's your typical fourteen year old these days.  And fair warning, she's got a recurring role throughout the rest of season one.

Penelope is a little concerned that she isn't spending a lot of time with her kids, and she wants to make it up to them on the weekend.  Unfortunately, Saturday is out as Elena and Carmen are working on a school project and Alex and Lydia are going to watch a wrestling match.  Penelope makes the suggestion that they go for a hike on Sunday morning, but Lydia ixnays that idea, as they have to go to church.

Penelope thinks that they can skip church for one day because she really wants to spend time with her kids, but Lydia scoffs at that idea.  Schneider offers a compromise by suggesting that they go for the hike after church, but Penelope dismisses the idea, claiming that by the time they say hello to everyone there and sing all the hymns, it's already evening!  I'll have to take their word for it since I'm not one for organized religion and the last time I was in a church was for a wedding I attended three and a half years ago.

And this sets up the conflict for the episode.  Lydia is insistent that the family attend church as planned on Sunday, but Penelope is insisting that spending time with her children is more important than church.  Lydia tries to get the kids involved, and Alex sides with Lydia saying that he finds church fun.  Elena, on the other hand, seems to side with Penelope - which could likely explain some of the reason why Lydia and Alex have a closer relationship. 

At this point, Penelope has had enough and sends the kids and Schneider away so she and Lydia can hash it out.  But as Penelope and Lydia get talking, they get angrier and angrier with Penelope getting upset that Lydia is trying to turn her apartment into Jesus' Pinterest page, and Lydia upset that Penelope won't let her have an opinion.  The fight ends with Lydia storming to her living area and angrily closing her curtain - since she doesn't have a door!

The next morning, the Cuban music starts to play, and Penelope goes into the kitchen, but notices that Lydia isn't around.  She is confused, but decides to try and make breakfast herself - and gets so caught up in the beat of the music that she throws coffee all over the floor!  Whoops!

Elena and Alex wake up, wonder where Lydia is, and Penelope is wondering why Alex doesn't have his pants for school.  She goes to investigate what is going on and Lydia isn't here.  Apparently she has run away from home!  But where could she have gone?

Penelope and the gang think that Schneider might know something about it, so they go to his apartment to find out more information.  I have to say that Schneider's place is a typical man cave with record albums and comfortable furniture...

...and a half naked woman wandering through the place without a care in the world.  Wow, this really IS a man cave!

At first, Schneider denies knowing anything about Lydia's whereabouts, but when Elena smells plantains and coffee, Schneider is forced to reveal that Lydia spent the night after their fight.  He doesn't know where she went after that though.  All he remembers is that he called an Uber for his one night stand, and it hasn't arrived yet.  Meanwhile, Alex gets a zinger in when he asks if Abuelita forgot to give Schneider's girl her pants too!

It appears as though Penelope isn't the only one who is fighting with a family member.  After getting into an argument with his thirty-seven year old daughter whose main ambition is writing a vampire erotica fan fiction, Dr. B. is at his wit's end as well.  This prompts Penelope and Dr. B. to have a heart-to-heart over what is happening with Lydia.  It takes a little bit of bluntness in the Dr. B. way for Penelope to understand what is going on, but she's maybe starting to see the point that Lydia was trying to make about how Penelope might be taking her for granted.

The conversation is interrupted by a call from Schneider, who reports that Lydia still hasn't come home which makes Penelope worry even more because Lydia has never been not home when the kids come home from school.  She is struggling to figure out where she could have gone.  Luckily, Dr. B. seems to have a train of thought on the subject - which sort of derails a bit - but eventually Penelope figures it out and stops by the one place where Lydia would feel closer to God.

At the church, Lydia sees Penelope in one of the pews, and she attempts to start conversation with Lydia about what happened (though a nosy churchgoer named Birdie seems to be overhearing everything and Lydia cautions Penelope to speak softly).

It takes a while to convince Lydia - and in between the conversation is an analogy of Lydia's mother slicing onions as well as Lydia mistakenly believing that Penelope plans on putting her in a retirement home - that Penelope is sorry for what she said.  But when Penelope mentions that Lydia is the glue that holds the Alvarez family together and that she is needed.  And Lydia ALMOST agrees to come back home...

...until Penelope mentions that she plans on never going to church again, which really sets Lydia off!  When Birdie tries to interject, Lydia rings a bell in her ear, and tells Penelope that she will come home when she is ready - in an Uber.  (Yeah, I guess we know who stole the Uber that Schneider called for his lady love of one night.)

Penelope comes home where Schneider has prepared a meal for Elena, Alex, and Carmen.  I have no clue what the dish is except that it has nettles and it prompts Penelope to thank Schneider for the Caucasian meal.  Ouch!  I'm Caucasian and I haven't even heard of nettles!

Fortunately, Lydia arrives back home and Schneider immediately gives her a humongous hug!  And Lydia wonders who threw up on the table!  Oh, poor Schneider...the butt of all jokes.

Of course, Lydia tells everyone that Penelope has decided to stop going to church and declares that while the rest of the family will go to church every Sunday, Penelope will be going to hell.  Wow!  Harsh!

But then Penelope drops a truth bomb of her own when she declares that she doesn't even know if she believes in God!  Now that's a show stopper!  As Lydia stares at Penelope in shock, Penelope explains that she is happy that God brings Lydia comfort, but she doesn't see a need to include God in her life.

This prompts what could be considered one of Rita Moreno's most brilliant monologues.  Breaking into tears, Lydia recounts how when Penelope went away to Afghanistan, she went to church every day and prayed to God to keep her safe...and the very fact that she did come home proves to Lydia that there is a God, that God is real, and that she loves God.

Cue the Kleenex and the tears.  Penelope is so moved by the tale that she gives Lydia a hug and a sorry.  Penelope does reveal that she does have a connection to God via the cross necklace that Lydia gave her.  And while Penelope still doesn't want to go to church every day, they do reach a compromise and they will go to church on major holidays and a few other they won't be known as THOSE people according to Lydia. 

But don't think that Lydia hasn't learned a valuable lesson herself.  Penelope tells everyone about a time in which she was in surgery for twenty hours at the army infirmary and she was extremely beat.  She saw Serena Williams playing a match on television and it gave her the strength to keep going, and Lydia finally understands that sometimes you just need someone to keep you in the right direction whether it's a religious figure or a tennis player.

That message couldn't be made much clearer when the following morning after Lydia wakes up to make breakfast, she posts two photos - one of the Pope...and a new one of Serena Williams!  Awwwww...the feels!

And as all is well in the Alvarez household, I have to say that the show did a bang up job with doing an episode on religion without being too preachy about it.  It was beautifully written and at times I could see everyone's points (and everyone made good points).  I even like Elena's friend, Carmen - though she does look a little too much like that disgraced X Factor New Zealand judge...Google it, you'll understand what I mean.

Now, as I said, this episode is chock full with soundbites.  Here are a few of my favourites.

SCHNEIDER:  Sometimes my nanny would join me, but only if I agreed to watch telenovelas.
ELENA:  Ooh, those are so over the top.
SCHNEIDER:  Right?  This one time, Rosa got jealous of the housekeeper 'cause she was makin' a move on her man, so she threatened to throw live scorpions on her while she slept.
LYDIA:  Sounds good.  Which one was that?
SCHNEIDER:  Oh, no.  Rosa was my nanny.  Ex-nanny.  Now stepmother.

PENELOPE:  I don't like the kids having dessert every night.
LYDIA:  Oh, come on.  Es una cosita.
PENELOPE:  But we have to watch our sugar.  Dad had diabetes.
LYDIA:  So, I killed your father?!?

DR. B.: Where would a devout Catholic woman go after an argument with her daughter about religion?
PENELOPE:  Thank you, Dr. Berkowitz.
DR. B.:  Thank you.  But we need to answer the question.

ALEX:  Did you find Abuelita?
PENELOPE:  Yeah, she's with Jesus now.
PENELOPE:  No, no!  Sorry.  She's at church.  Uh, poor choice of words.

LYDIA:  She's no longer going to church.  Ever.
ALEX:  We can do that?!?
LYDIA:  You can't.  We will all go together.  Us.  Your mother will go hiking with Satan.
PENELOPE:  Yeah, and then we'll go to Applebee's.  'Cause Satan loves the Fiesta Lime Chicken!

Coming up next week, Penelope goes out on a date using a dating app that Schneider found.  What could go wrong?