'On My Block' Cast and Creators Tease What to Expect in Season 3
By Meredith B. Kile
The On My Block crew is back for more adventures in season 3 -- and there's plenty of drama!
The trailer for the fan-favorite Netflix comedy shows that the new season -- which dropped on March 11 -- picks up right where season 2 left off, with the crew meeting their kidnapper, who turns out to be the infamous-yet-shady leader of the Santos gang, "Cuchillos" (Ada Luz Pla).
The menacing matriarch first thanks Cesar (Diego Tinoco), Monse (Sierra Capri), Ruby (Jason Genao), and Jamal (Brett Gray) for their part in taking down the Santos' rival gang, the Prophets. But then, she tasks them with an important job.
"Little Ricky is alive," Cuchillos declares of the original Santos founder, who had a hand in pulling off the RollerWorld heist that led to the friends' major payday at the end of season 1. But it seems that the discovery -- and last season's mission to wash and protect the cash -- has led them to an even more difficult task. "You're gonna find him."
"Season 3 is about the pursuit for Little Ricky. Trying to solve the Little Ricky mystery of it all," On My Block creator and executive producer Eddie Gonzalez teased on set of season 3 last year, also noting that the show is taking back a "lighter" tone than season 2 -- when the friends were struggling to recover from the tragic shooting death of their friend, Olivia.
"This show has a baked-in mythology that started with RollerWorld," showrunner and EP Lauren Iungerich added. "And now that they've found this money, it becomes a driving force of, who are these kids that took down the Prophets?"
Iungerich also hinted that the series' "mythology" becomes more of a driving force in the season 3 storyline. "Normally, the real-world story is the B-story, it becomes the A-story this season."
So, what does that mean for the Core Four, as well as their friends and family? Read on for more on what's in store for each character in season 3 -- from the stars and creators themselves.
CESAR (Diego Tinoco)
After a tense season 2 spent on the lam, Cesar is back with his pals -- and his brother, Santos honcho Oscar, aka "Spooky" (Julio Macias) -- in season 3, but it seems the danger is far from over.
"I think that season 3 is by far one of the best seasons yet -- the stakes are definitely higher than they have ever been before. And you will see that clearly, right off the bat, the Core Four and more, we go on a summer adventure, not by choice, but rather by force," Tinoco explained. "If we don't come through and find Little Ricky, our heads are on the line."
And while Cesar and his brother worked together to get out of a deadly situation in last season's finale, there will be a new wrinkle in their relationship in season 3 -- with the surprise reappearance of their father, Ray (Ian Casselberry).
"Dad is back," Tinoco teased. "He is coming out of prison after 12 years, and we're going to get to explore that relationship between Ray and Cesar."
Ray's return will affect each brother differently, Tinoco and Macias explained, as Oscar was older when their dad got locked up and he was forced to step into the parental role for his little brother.
"Cesar has looked upon Oscar as a father figure for many years -- since he can remember. So we're going to explore how that interacts with their dad actually coming into play now," Tinoco explained.
Cesar's other tumultuous relationship -- his romance with Monse -- is also facing new challenges in season 3, though Tinoco admits he's sentimental when it comes to the on-again, off-again couple.
"I definitely ship them," he laughed. "I think I would love to see them together forever, happily ever after, Notebook style."
MONSE (Sierra Capri)
Before the kidnapping cliffhanger at the end of season 2, Monse was ready to make her break from the group -- and Freeridge, in general -- announcing her plans to attend a private boarding school on the East Coast. However, a dangerous summer following Cuchillos' marching orders may throw that into chaos.
"I felt like [this season is] her evolving and growing up, growing into a young woman," Capri explained. "She's experienced a lot at a very young age, so she's always been mature. But now this is a new chapter that-- we'll see if she actually goes or not. I'm excited."
"It's not a fluid line of just getting out [of the community]," Iungerich explained of the difficult choices facing the Core Four's sole female member. "For her, it's complicated. She didn't want to leave...She wanted to dig into her community as she and her father fought in season 2, and I really believe in the power of community."
"Her father is saying, 'You have this opportunity,' and he's worried about leaving his daughter, who is now becoming more and more vulnerable as he feels that the neighborhood has changed...We still are playing with that this season. What does that look like? What does this opportunity look like, and what does that mean to leave, and how does she feel about that?"
For Monse, the split between her worlds came into sharper focus in season 2 when she reconnected with her estranged mother, who abandoned her and her dad years ago for a new life -- complete with new kids and a fancy house in Brentwood.
"They still have a relationship in season 3 and it's still a rocky one," Capri warned of the mother-daughter connection after Monse's rejection of her mom in season 2. "We'll see what happens with that."
As for one of her character's strongest ties to Freeridge, her romantic relationship with Cesar, the actress has the same faith as Tinoco that the pair could be happy together in the future -- though she wonders if the trials and tribulations of their chaotic teenage life might get in the way.
"I'd love when they get older to see them married with kids, and both going down good paths," she noted. "Right now, I don't know. They're going through a lot right now, but I think that'll happen. You never forget your first love… They just want each other to be safe."
RUBY (Jason Genao)
No character went through it more in season 2 than Ruby, who was dealing with the aftermath of Olivia's death and the PTSD from his own near-fatal gunshot wound as the external drama was unfolding around the Core Four. However, in season 3, it seems the wisecracking short king will be getting back to feeling like himself and handling things in a healthier way.
"Season 3 is like bringing season 1 Ruby back, the old Ruby back," Genao teased. "He's now seeing the light [at the end of the tunnel] as to what the trauma can bring. Not just the depression, but he's like, 'Oh, life is short, so now I'm going to start taking advantage of the good stuff of life.'"
"What I love so much about Ruby was the way I got to be snarky and a little bit of a funny a**hole in the show," the actor added. "In season 2, he was kind of just an a**hole. So I feel that in season 3 he gets to be the old Ruby again. He gets to be funny, but mean, which is my favorite part of Ruby."
Feeling better for Ruby, it seems, also means having his eyes opened to Jasmine, whose long-standing crush took on another level in season 2 when she was able to help him through his panic attacks and prove herself as a loyal and caring friend.
"In season 1, it was like, Ruby hated Jasmine," Genao joked. "And then in season 2, she became this crutch where it's like, 'Is there anyone that knows what I'm going through?' And clearly not, within my own Core Four."
"In season 3, we get to explore more of how Jasmine understands Ruby," he continued, noting that Jasmine's expertise and law enforcement connections make her invaluable to the friends in their search for Little Ricky. "Jasmine is here and you don't hate it. Ruby doesn't hate it. He's like, 'Damn, I kind of need her. Like, what is Jasmine doing? I need her to help me with this'... Everyone needs a Jasmine."
JAMAL (Brett Gray)
Always marching to the beat of his own drum, Jamal's journey in season 2 was about the aftermath of finding the RollerWorld money -- but even his carefully crafted plans couldn't have predicted the can of worms that discovery opened.
"I think Jamal is finally coming to terms with the fact that he's had a huge part in all of this. Probably the biggest part in all of this," Gray said of his character's season 3 journey. "I think that he's almost taking it in a negative way."
"He's becoming a little bit more, I would say almost on the spectrum of narcissism, than just confidence and cockiness," he added. "It's starting to tip that teeter the opposite way, where he's like, 'OK, everybody doesn't appreciate me, so eff it, I'm going to do whatever I want to do.' And it's funny because it starts affecting the whole group, in this way that he needs to be in control and he wants everything to be perfect, and he wants to be the one that's right."
The neurotic doomsday prepper also has another new focus this year: a love interest! (Though he initially mistakes her for a stalker.)
"It's so funny because she's sort of the opposite of Jamal," Gray teased of his character's mysterious paramour. "She's super shy and really creepy, and really quiet and weird. So, like, it brings him down. You get a little bit more of who Jamal is as a romantic, but it's also the most ridiculous relationship ever."
OSCAR, aka "SPOOKY" (Julio Macias)
The aptly nicknamed gang leader has served as a stern reminder of the dangerous Freeridge underworld in the show's first two seasons, but the new episodes will dive deeper into the sensitivity behind the scowl. As Gonzalez hinted, "There's a reason why people become what they become. And sometimes it's not by choice. Sometimes it's by necessity."
The empathetic side of the Santos general comes through as tensions with Cuchillos reach a breaking point -- leading Oscar to question his position and motivations when it comes to gang life.
"He almost seems like he doesn't even enjoy doing what he's doing," Macias said of his character's struggles in season 3. "He's kind of doing it begrudgingly, but he does it to the best of his ability because that's going to be the best opportunity that he and his brother are going to have. Or at least, that's what he has constructed in his mind to believe is true."
"He's not just banging for banging sake. Like, he has aspirations or at least, [the show] alludes to the idea that he might have aspirations," the actor continued. "I think that he dreams a lot about it, he comes close to having thoughts of what it could be to get out. But again, he's preached to his brother so often, 'You're not going to get out. So get used to it. This is the best life you can live.'"
The return of Oscar and Cesar's father only brings about more questions when it comes to his character's steadfast life's code, Macias noted.
"Spooky, for the longest time, was Cesar's father. He really assumed that mantle, and he did it the best way he could," he explained. "He really does care about him. And there's a couple of scenes where you see them kind of butt heads, because Ray turns out to be different from what Oscar remembers... I think I know what's right, and I tell him that."
"So you'll see a deeper, I guess, appreciation for [Oscar and Cesar's] relationship as father and son, which was kind of alluded to the last two seasons. This one, it's like, oh no, Spooky really loves Oscar. He's his dad, really."
JASMINE (Jessica Marie Garcia)
"If you don't know a Jasmine, it's because you are the Jasmine," Garcia joked of her hilarious character ahead of season 3. "She very much lives inside of me, and I feel she kind of represents a lot of kids who feel like they need to be the class clown, or they need to say the joke before they are the joke, in order to fit in."
While the brash, bold (and also, asthmatic) character has served as comic relief over the show's first two seasons, the glimpses into her difficult home life and her empathetic friendship with Ruby have hinted at the "much more well-rounded person" Garcia said fans will get to see in season 3.
"I think you get to see her relationships with other people in the Core Four really blossom, and you explore a lot of different relationships, and how they connect on different levels," the actress explained. "I think you get to see her use the relationships, or the hardships she's had at home, to relate to the other kids... Especially, you get to see Monse and Jasmine's character evolve together."
And of course, there's her evolving dynamic with Ruby. Garcia explained that, while her character has never been shy about her major crush, she's cautious about taking steps forward while Ruby is still managing his own trauma.
"At least on Jasmine's side, she has these hopeful romantic feelings," she noted. "But I feel she's allowing Ruby to get better. He's dealing with a lot, and she sees through that, and she wants to be there for him on a deeper level than just necessarily, I want to be your girlfriend."
"I know when I shot that scene in the gym [in season 2], I wanted to go to the dance with Ruby. You know what I mean? I feel so many of our fans were pulling for that. But I feel she gave him his space, to come to that own conclusion. So I think, be ready for any kind of evolution with Ruby and Jasmine, whether it be friendship or romantic."