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Monday, April 23, 2018

Recapping One Day at a Time - Episode 12 - Hurricane Victor

Brace yourselves.  A storm is coming to this blog.  And I do apologize for taking a week's been a crazy week.  But fear not...I've got a little bit of writing inspiration back, so there's more to come.  But first...

According to today's schedule in the Recapping One Day at a Time feature, we're at Episode 12 - Hurricane Victor.  Now, I'm guessing that the reason why this episode is called this is because Victor is the name of Penelope's ex-husband and his return is set to cause a ruckus.  I don't know for sure, but that's my guess.

For now, we're treated to a make out session between Penelope and her new boyfriend, Ben.  Remember, we met him in Episode 11 after Penelope picked him up in a gay bar because she was still coming to terms with Elena being gay.  And as it turns out, Penelope mentions this in passing to Ben, as Victor is planning on making an appearance to celebrate Elena's quinces with her.  Ben seems a little nervous, but Penelope assures him that all is fine - even though her mother still has this idea that she and Victor will get back together again.  Which leads to some random scene where Lydia actually calls Penelope using Ben's number.  No, that's not creepy at all.

By the time Penelope arrives home from her date, she sees that Elena, Alex, and Lydia are gathered around the computer having a Skype session with Victor.  At this point we don't see his face - we just hear him.  But it appears as though the session is going well with Victor playfully flirting with an unimpressed Penelope, and Lydia clearly seems to be holding onto hope that Victor and Penelope will find love with each other once again.  

It seems as though there's at least one more member of the Alvarez family that doesn't seem excited that Victor is visiting.  Elena is concerned about her father coming to see her because she feels as though they have absolutely nothing in common.  Plus, she hasn't told him that she's come out of the closet yet and she is worried about how he will react.  Though Penelope does try to make her feel better by saying that because she likes girls, then she'll have something in common with him.  Still, it's a valid concern that Elena has, and it'll be interesting to see if the show deals with this potential plot twist.

Alex is excited to be playing the cello in a recital that he has coming up in the next couple of days.  Though he is bummed that Victor can't be there to see him perform.  But as Victor is talking to Alex on the computer, they hear a knock on the door, and when Penelope opens it...

...surprise!  Victor is standing at the door!  And Alex gives him a hug so huge that they both fall backwards into the hallway!  I guess Alex has grown some since they last saw each other a year ago.  Victor also tries to make contact with Elena, but they both just seem to awkwardly stare at each other not knowing what to do next - proving that Elena's opinion of Victor might have a lot of threads of truth binding it together.

Of course, Penelope's reaction to Victor is a little bit frosty, but Victor is undeterred.  In fact, he's quite charming and warm to her, and eventually succeeds in making her crack a smile or two. 

As for Lydia, it seems as though Lydia is more than on board with the "Reunite Penelope and Victor" train.  When Victor remarks that he came early to see Alex's recital and he's booked a hotel room for the duration of his stay, Lydia opens up her curtain and offers Victor use of her bed!  Even better news for Penelope, Lydia announces that she will be moving into Penelope's room.  I'm surprised she doesn't take up residency with her platonic bestie, Dr. Berkowitz, but he's not in this episode either.  I'm guessing Stephen Tobolowsky had other commitments and was only available for 11 of 13 episodes, but still...I'm kind of missing him.

The following morning, Victor is pouring Lydia some coffee and Lydia is incredibly smitten.  Seems as though he's turning on the charm again - which doesn't seem to go unnoticed by Penelope - or Lydia.

Victor also seems to want to make up for lost time with his children as well, offering to make them breakfast.  Unfortunately for Victor, his attempt involves making pancakes shaped like a clown face.  Certainly the breakfast of champions for a kid, but for Elena it is a bit juvenile.  At least Alex is easy to please, remarking that his clown pancakes are about to create a circus in his stomach.  Wow.

Victor also has some presents to give to the kids as a way to make up for the fact that he's been away for a whole year.  For Alex, the gift he brings is one that many thirteen-year-old boys dream of.  A PlayStation 4!  Needless to say, Alex is thrilled about the gift and thanks Victor wholeheartedly.

I only wish Victor had struck gold with Elena as well.  Her gift happens to be a gigantic Barbie doll - which leads me to wonder if Victor realizes that a quinces is to celebrate a girl turning FIFTEEN!  Victor hilariously tries to explain that the doll is a fierce Latina like her, but Elena only half buys it.  Fortunately, Victor kept the receipt so he can return her to Toys R Us...well, at least this was filmed during the period in which Toys R Us wasn't completely bankrupt.

Once the kids and Lydia leave (I should point out that Lydia doesn't want to leave, but Penelope forces her to go), Penelope and Victor chat about the last year, and Victor actually admits to Penelope that he is seeking treatment for his problems.  He tells her all the steps he took to get to where he is now, and Penelope seems visibly impressed.  Considering the stories we've heard about Penelope and Victor, it would appear that their relationship breakdown was because Victor refused to get help for his problems - culminating in Victor nearly crashing a car into a tree.  Maybe Victor is serious about getting help.  And maybe he is serious about wanting to make amends with his family.

Of course, this prompts Penelope to drop a bombshell of her own.  She's seeing someone.  And while Victor initially seems upset about it, he calms down a bit and shakes his bon bon over the news.  Okay, maybe he's no Ricky Martin, but again.  Positive steps.  Victor asks Penelope who he is.

Cue a yet again shirtless Schneider asking Penelope what colour sweater he should wear to Alex's recital completely ignoring Victor.  Okay, I'm hoping we see less shirtless Schneider in Season 2 because this recurring gag is getting really old.

But at least Penelope and Schneider (and I) get a good hearty chuckle when Victor makes the assumption that Schneider is Penelope's new man.  Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen.

Anyway, after that misunderstanding, everyone is gathered at the place where Alex is playing.  Which appears to be at an old folks home where some elderly guy is singing old songs from the 1940s and 1950s.  I suppose we all have to start somewhere.

At least the relationship between Schneider and Victor is thawing.  Victor actually appreciates Schneider for being there for Alex and taking him to games, and supporting him in developing his skills.  Again, I'm finding it hard to understand why Victor is so bad of a guy, and watching Penelope and Lydia, I think Penelope is questioning why they split up.

But we've no time to analyze this now.  There's a problem.  The person who was responsible for delivering the musical instruments to the recital has gotten lost, and Alex doesn't have his cello to play.  If he cannot play, the recital will be cancelled.

Fortunately, Victor has a plan.  While he sends Schneider out to go find the van, he grabs Penelope and takes her to the front of the room to stall the audience.  Mind you, their idea of stalling the audience involves he and Penelope singing the 1983 Bonnie Tyler classic "Total Eclipse of the Heart" a bunch of times - but let's face it.  The crowd isn't THAT tough to entertain.  Turn around, bright eyes.

At any rate, Elena and Lydia seem pleased to see that Penelope and Victor are getting along with Elena remarking on how cute they look together.  Given that Elena is the living, breathing definition of sarcasm, this is a big deal for her to say this.

Fortunately, it doesn't take long for Schneider to recover the instruments, and after Alex and his friends are equipped with their respective strings, they start to play their song.  Thankfully it's NOT Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out on a Hero".  But given the glances and compliments that Victor showers Penelope with, maybe Penelope is starting to see him as the hero she fell in love with.  This could be quite complicated.

Back home, Alex is praised for his performance by all, and Alex wants to hook up his PS4 as a reward for his hard work.  Victor is definitely up for that idea, but first he has to give something to Elena.  He returned the Barbie doll to the store and instead gave her a gift of a donation to one of her favourite social organizations.  Now that's a gift for the aspiring social justice warrior!  Elena loves the gift, and it seems as though Penelope is noticing that Victor is making an effort and is pleased by it.

Of course, she can't think about that right now.  She has a hot date with Ben tonight and she wants to focus all of her attention on the date.  But as she leaves to go on the date, Victor stops her and has a present for her as well.

It appears as though Victor is realizing that Penelope wanted Victor to make a decision about their future and he has drafted up divorce papers for her to sign.  It seems as though all is fine and good and that Victor is now free to live his life and get help for his issues and Penelope and Ben can sail off into the sunset together.

So...why are they smooching in the hallway?  You know that both talk a good game, but you can tell that there are some major unresolved feelings between herself and Victor.  This probably doesn't bode well for her future with Ben.

Sure enough, Penelope decides to break things off with Ben right then and there...and while Ben is shocked of the sudden turnaround, I get the impression that he understands the confusion that Penelope has.  To be honest, I don't fault Penelope at all for this.  The truth is, I think she handled the break-up very well.  They weren't dating that long, so there wasn't time to build up a deep relationship, and if she had any doubts, it's good that she made them clear now.  Still, it kind of sucks because Ben was actually not a bad guy for her.  Alas, Ben, we hardly knew ye.

Penelope arrives home late at night and she sees Victor sleeping soundly in Lydia's bed.  But of course, Victor wakes up and asks Penelope why she's home so soon.  Penelope explains that she called it quits with Ben and that she is not as ready to move on with another man as she thought she was. 

Victor tries to cheer her up by offering to spoon her in Lydia's bed...which to me would probably have me running for the door based on the ick factor surrounding that very suggestion.  But Penelope - whose brain is obviously not working properly - thinks this is an okay idea and crawls into bed beside him.

At first, things are going okay, and Penelope and Victor are really enjoying the moment...which almost makes me believe that this is the moment in which they will get back together.  However, since this sitcom seems to be grounded in reality more than most, we have to have one last twist ending.  And in this twist ending, we learn that Victor has alcohol on his breath when Penelope leans in to kiss him.

And judging from the number of empty beer cans that fall out of the bed when he tries to get up from the bed, I'm guessing that Victor is not enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Now I'm beginning to see what contributed to the break-up between Victor and Penelope.

What ends up happening is a blow out screaming match between Victor and Penelope with Penelope cursing Victor out for not getting the help he needs, and Victor making excuses for why he doesn't need help.  Penelope makes the final move by kicking Victor out and ordering him to go to a hotel...and furthermore, she doesn't want to see him again until Elena's quinces, as she does not want Alex or Elena to see him in this state.  And right there is why Penelope is not only just a badass soldier, but a badass mother as well.  Mad respect to her.

The argument causes Lydia to wake up, and Victor - knowing that Lydia has a soft spot for him - tries to reason with her to calm Penelope down.  But Lydia is firm in her stance, and she wants Victor to leave as well. 

The episode ends with Victor leaving his former home with his tail between his legs, and Lydia doing her best to console a heartbroken Penelope as the screen fades to black.  And to make note of the fact that this is a "very special episode", there is no music to accompany the closing credits.

Really, this episode proves a lot of points.  It showcases the fact that as an ensemble, the actors chosen were the best.  I liked the actor who played Victor as he perfectly portrays someone who had it all but was traumatized by war and lost it all because he couldn't cope with it.  And as I stated before...Penelope Alvarez is a total badass, and someone that all women can look up to.

Later on this week, we will end off season one with Elena's quinces - which promises to be explosive!  That's all I can say for now. 

Let's end this off with some of the funniest lines from episode 12.  Enjoy!

LYDIA:  Victor is showing us a funny picture of a camel.  It is very tiny.  It has no humps. is a dog.

PENELOPE:  And, uh, where are we with the idea of telling him?
ELENA:  Oh, who thinks it's a good idea to greet my Latino veteran dad with "Hey, I like girls!"
PENELOPE:  You'll finally have something in common.

VICTOR:  I know, I'm early, but I really wanted to surprise papi chulo over here and see his cello show.
ALEX:  Awesome.
LYDIA:  Que nice, que thoughtful...Kay Jewelers.  They sell engagement rings.

ELENA:  A donation to my name!
ALEX:  Why are you giving money to a guy named Kiva when you could be giving money to a guy named Alex?
ELENA:  Oh, Kiva is an organization that gives a loan to a small business in a developing nation.  They're amazing!  How did you know I would like this?
VICTOR:  Well, I did a little research.  And, uh, well, somebody told me you were...what was it?
LYDIA:  Annoying?
VICTOR:  A...a social justice warrior.
LYDIA:  Same thing.

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