Vida Episode 103: Sparks Fly Amidst the Chaos


In this sex-crazed episode of Starz’ “Vida,” we finally see Lyn for what she is: “A full-on agent of chaos.”  Things are heating up!

Sexuality as Chaos in Vida

As I watched this episode, I’d sometimes try to focus on the story. Then, Wham!, some naked bodies are happening. Then, after those effects wore off, I’d start considering a character’s grief…then (Wham again!) more nudity. In fact, it’s starting to seem like almost every Vida character’s getting nude.

So, what does it represent? Is it just a cynical attempt to gather ratings? Maybe, but I think it’s a show that tries to be real. While sex may be an overrated part of life, it’s usually considered vital. After all, it’s how he all got here. It’s also how all of Vida’s characters got how they are, where they are.

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Episode 3 deals a lot with Lyn (Melissa Barrera) in this regard. Her behavior and mentality are having consequences, and her character seems too immature to fully grasp them. She is threatening to destroy the marriage/fatherhood of the man who’s seeing her (Johnny, played by Carlos Miranda). Her sister, Emma (Mishel Prada), calls her a “full-on agent of chaos,” and Johnny’s wife eventually strolls into the bar to confront her face to face.

So far, this is one of the more action-packed episodes of Vida in this regard. While the sex may seem superfluous at first, it actually adds reality to the story, in addition to just grabbing attention. The animal attraction the characters feel is powerful and motivates some of what they do, and how they justify their actions later on. Emotions and sex go hand in hand, and these characters are trying to come to grips with who they are, and the consequences.

Even Emma gets down in episode 3, with a woman known only as Sam (Michelle Badillo)! While I assumed Emma had this ability, I never expected this side to emerge so soon — given how repressed her character seems. Then again, a good drama will allow both tension and release, and this show offers both.

The Family Business

While not the strongest element in this episode, some attention is paid to Emma and the family bar. How can a struggling business move forward when, ultimately, the economy tends to mercilessly punish businesses that aren’t doing well? Unfortunately, it seems they must increase rent for the tenants living in the bar’s building if they are to come close to stabilizing the business.

In many ways, then, this episode shows some of the inherent flaws with the economy, and how it almost can’t survive without greed or some predatory behavior. The only questions are, how much greed, and how predatory? Unlike previous episodes, where the predatory lender, Nelson (Luis Bordonada), was depicted as villainous, this episode suggests that some issues (like gentrification) are systematic. They are almost greater than their parts. They are, in many ways, ideological, cultural and symptomatic.

Eddy (Ser Anzoategui), from Vida (Starz)

This view is also bolstered by the character of Eddy (Ser Anzoategui). Eddy insists that the business could have stayed afloat as a cultural center (of sorts), given that the bar was well-liked. However, Vidalia’s failing health sent the business on a downward spiral, and that’s why Emma probably can’t pick up the pieces. Quite simply, they are not hers alone to pick up.

Of course, the business is not chiefly what Eddy cares about, which puts her in stark contrast to Emma. This again hints at a difference in values and is a pretty smart way of showing differences in attitude and opinion. To Eddy, Vidalia and her bar were more than business, and ought to be regarded as such. It’s hard not to see from that perspective, given how shallow most other perspectives are in the show (particularly those of Emma, Lyn, and Nelson).

Marisol is Boy Crazy

Mari (Chelsea Rendon), the loudmouth anti-gentrification activist, turns out to be boy crazy. Her target? Tlaloc Medina (Ramses Jimenez), who displays a similar passion for issues in their neighborhood. Still, in this episode, Mari is markedly less political and way more sexual. Yes, you guessed it: She “gets involved” with Tlaloc, and it’s a turning point for her character in the show. She’s not just a selfie-obsessed political blogger haranguing affluent businesses. She’s human.

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The question is, will this show allow a single human relationship to grow and mature with minimal drama, or will every spark that flies catch fire? In Mari’s case, one can reasonably assume some drama will unfold. She’s just that way. It’s even more so when, during their little get-together, Tlaloc apparently secretly films the procedure. She does not seem to notice, anyway, and it seems out of character that she would approve of such a thing, especially when she’s a known blogger with a reputation at stake. One needn’t be a genius to see where this could go: Drama Town! It’s also a hint that, unfortunately, not a single male character on “Vida” will be without sleaze.

What did you think of this episode of Vida? Was it sexy or was it a total turn-off? Let us know in the comments?