‘On My Block’ got us again with the season 3 finale. The show’s co-creators and EPs break down those final moments, their plans for a potential season 4, and so much more in our EXCLUSIVE interview.
On My Block knows how to hit us right in the feels. After a season of incredible emotional growth for all of the main characters of the Netflix series, season 3 ended with a major 2-year time jump. In those 2 years, everything changed for the Cour Four (okay, the Core Six now). They’ve all gone their separate ways, except for Ruby and Jasmine! Monse is living her life thousands of miles away at boarding school, Jamal is back on the football team, Ruby and Jasmine are in love and doing their own thing, Spooky is out of the gang life and about to be a dad, and Cesar is now the new leader of the Santos gang.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with co-creators and executive producers Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft about everything that went down in season 3. From those final seconds to the growth of Spooky and Jasmine to the Lil’ Ricky mystery, nothing was left on the table. While season 4 has not been confirmed, Eddie and Jeremy already have ideas percolating as to what would happen to Monse, Ruby, Cesar, Jamal, Jasmine, and Spooky. Read our full Q&A below.
I felt that season 3 had even higher emotional stakes than the previous seasons, especially at the end. Was the time jump something you always had in mind from the beginning? How did you come to the conclusions for each of the characters?
Eddie Gonzalez: With any story, it always evolves in the room. When Lauren [Iungerich], Jeremy, and I go into the [writers’] room, we have some tentpole ideas that we throw out to all our writers, and we talk about certain directions, certain drives that we have. But along the way, you start thinking about things and you think, “Oh, maybe this doesn’t work. Or what if we went in this direction?” So the 2-year jump was not something that we had when we started the room. But as we started getting deeper and deeper, we thought it made sense because we thought this would be a great way to end the season and have a reset for the relationship of the Core Four.
Jeremy Haft: Simultaneously, it also allows, as Eddie said, a reset. There’s going to be the big question of how did they get there? Why are they there? Will they get back together? It opens up some great story potential.
When you were coming up with this, did you already have an idea of how you would bring them back together? Is that something that you know now?
Eddie Gonzalez: Between the three of us and also Jamie Dooner, who’s one of our co-EPs on the show, we did talk about some ideas if there was a potential fourth season. We don’t know if there is. We hope there is because we all have stories to tell. This is not the way we see this ending, but again, that’s not up to us. But obviously, you’re driving to something as a long series, so we did set up things here that we would then explain if there was a season 4.
This can be a personal opinion, but do you think there was a definitive moment that broke them up? Because I feel like it could also be a reflection of a situation that happens, especially in high school, where you move on and you end up in different directions.
Jeremy Haft: I think that season 4, if and when it comes, will beautifully answer those questions.
Eddie Gonzalez: To your point, Avery, you’re absolutely right. I don’t think there is an acute thing, some incident that broke everybody up. I think that you’re talking about 4 different individuals. It’s not just one thing but multiple things that break up people — be it time, be it some specific incident, or just the idea of growing up. So hopefully if we have a season 4, we can explain all those things.
At the end of season 3, Cesar is now the leader of the Santos. Was that something that you have always wanted to touch on?
Eddie Gonzalez: I wouldn’t say that we’ve always wanted to touch on that. But what I would say is, when you look at the way season 3 evolved, you had them go through this thing where they were tasked with trying to find Lil’ Ricky and realizing that if they don’t find him, they were going to die. I think when you’re tasked with something like that, and you step up much like Cesar did, that has to change you. When you end up seeing a dead body, that has to affect you. It’s not something that is an isolated incident. That once you see it, you just move on from there. So we thought that the natural evolution of the character is becoming harder as the season goes deeper and deeper. He then sees someone who died who was going to kill them. He sees the trajectory of his brother, and he steps in to fill that void. So it just felt completely organic to do that.
The kids were willing to kill someone, especially Cesar. Could that be a hint of darker season 4? At the very least a darker turn for Cesar?
Jeremy Haft: One thing that I would say is that they didn’t want to kill anybody. I would say they were forced into a situation where they saw no other options, no other way to protect themselves, no other way to protect their families, and they realized they were expendable. I think it’s not that they were willing to, they were forced to. They felt they had no other choice.
Eddie Gonzalez: I think it also speaks to a loss of innocence, which we saw a little bit of that in season 1 when Ruby was shot. I think when you’re put in this position of fight or flight, there’s definitely a loss of innocence. So I would say to your question, in terms of something darker in season 4, if we’re fortunate to have that I think you probably would see a little bit of a darker shade to Cesar given what he’s seen.
When it comes to Cuchillos, is she really dead? She could have faked her death, to be honest. We’ve sort of seen that with Lil’ Ricky.
Jeremy Haft: Avery, I thought she was dead, but now my brain is moving really, really fast for another idea for season 4 that we hadn’t thought of.
When Cesar turns around in the final moments, we see a broken heart tattoo on his chest. Do you think that symbolizes his breakup with Monse or maybe the breakup of the Core Four?
Eddie Gonzalez: I think it’s funny because it is left for two interpretations. The way we looked at it is, as I’ve said before, it’s an emotional cliffhanger. This one is a lot of emotion at the end because it does beg the question: how did these kids get to this place in life? When you see that broken heart, it is completely open to interpretation. Is it the break up of him and his brother or is it him and Monse?
Speaking of Spooky, Julio Macias was so fabulous this season. I loved diving deeper into him and exploring those emotional complexities that he has. Would we see more of the dynamic between Spooky and Cesar? Spooky is out of the gang, so would we see more of him in a potential season 4?
Eddie Gonzalez: Absolutely. We definitely would. That’s an interesting relationship because now they’ve swapped places. So if there is a season 4, you wonder what is the Cesar who runs the gang look like? What does an Oscar look like? Who, at the end of season 3, is going to become a father. What does that do to him? What does it do when you take the guy out of the life? You can take the guy out of the life, but can you take the life out of the guy? That’s the biggest question.
Another character who really got a spotlight this season was Jasmine and Jessica [Marie Garcia] was fabulous. The whole Jasmine and Ruby relationship was such a treat to watch and they have such great chemistry. This has sort of been building from last season, so was there a moment where you knew you were going to take their relationship into romantic territory?
Jeremy Haft: Jason [Genao] and Jessica have amazing chemistry on and off the screen. I do think that we’ve always felt like it was inevitable that these two strong personalities would eventually need to get together. We wanted it. I think we felt that everyone can see when the two of them are together that it’s just hilarious. This is something we always wanted to build to. It was sort of an inevitable romance.
If you were to get a season 4, would there be flashbacks from those 2 years you skipped?
Jeremy Haft: If we got to season 4, we definitely would have some flashbacks to help fill in what happened to the Core Four. With Jasmine, the Core Five. And with Spooky, the Core Six. We have 6 tremendous actors, and all of them are now in a different place. So yes, absolutely, there’d be flashbacks to fill in the blanks for everyone, so you can feel what happened and see what happened and understand why we are where we are.
This season featured so much emotional growth for all of the characters. Is there one particular character you’re most proud of in terms of their growth this season?
Eddie Gonzalez: For me personally, I would say it’s Spooky. We enjoy writing for all of the characters, but I just feel a personal connection to the Spooky character. Maybe it’s largely due to the fact that growing up in Compton, I grew up with people like this. I saw people who tried to turn their lives around. I would say that I’m most proud of his growth and how it was conveyed on screen.
Jeremy Haft: I 100 percent agree with Eddie. I didn’t grow up where he did, but I absolutely loved seeing the growth of Spooky. I really, really enjoyed Jasmine’s growth from season 1 to season 3. We got to dig deeper and deeper and deeper. We found out that she talks all this crazy game about sex, but she’s a virgin. She’s just wild and crazy girl who just says anything and doesn’t have to do anything, but it turns out she’s taking care of her father at home. People thought she was just the crazy comic relief, but she’s actually the most level-headed and the most self-aware in terms of who she is and what makes her happy. I loved peeling back the layers of Jasmine’s character in season 2 and 3. We got to see the full-dimensional Jasmine this season.
This season ended with us not really finding out what happened to Lil’ Ricky. Is that something you would want to touch on in season 4?
Eddie Gonzalez: Yes, it’s definitely something that we want to touch on in season 4. It’s a series-long mystery. I know that there are some people who are probably unsatisfied that we didn’t solve it, but I think that at the end of the day, we’re looking at the big picture. If we’re fortunate enough to have a season 4, I think that people will be satisfied at some point.
Do you know where and who he is? Is that something that you have already established?
Eddie Gonzalez: In terms of establishing this, that’s something we’ve talked about in the room. We’ve definitely talked about who Lil’ Ricky could be.
I will tell you my theory. When Cuchillos is talking about him in the first or second episode, you guys flash to Cesar and Spooky’s dad. That’s who I thought it was the whole time just because of the way it immediately panned to him.
Jeremy Haft: Are you saying that when you first saw it you thought it was Ricky and then you realized that it was Cesar’s dad? Or are you saying that underneath everything, he could be Lil’ Ricky? Is that what you’re saying?
Yes, that’s what I’m saying!
Jeremy Haft: Then my answer to you is: I can’t answer that.
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