This post contains major spoilers from On My Block.
Tragedy seems inevitable from the very beginning of Netflix's On My Block. The pilot begins with our heroes -- Monse (Sierra Capri), Ruby (Jason Genao), Jamal (Brett Gray), and Cesar (Diego Tinoco) -- watching from afar as older teens party in a backyard. That'll be them next fall: high schoolers. But before the group can pretend-enjoy the cans of Olde British "600" they pilfered, gunfire erupts. "That was a .38," Monse says, fleeing and starting a quick game of Guess the Caliber. "No, it was a .45," says Jamal. "It sounded like a .44," says Ruby. ".357," they shout in unison, grinning as if finally recognizing an old song without the help of Shazam.
The Gen-Z dramedy -- which comes from Awkward. creator Lauren Iungerich and All Eyez On Me writers Eddie Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft -- triumphantly turns the teen sub-genre on its head by blending John Hughes sensibilities with Gonzalez's experiences growing up in Compton and Lynwood. The result is a South Central-set show that pinballs between the zaniness of The Goonies and the heartbreak of Hardball. "The stakes to our kids' mistakes are that much greater," Gonzalez tells Thrillist. "If you're growing up in a John Hughes neighborhood and you piss off somebody, they may slash your bike tires. That doesn't happen in these neighborhoods."
That's why, later in the season, when Cesar shows a rival gang member mercy, he puts not just himself in danger, but also his friends. Fast-forward nine episodes, and, indeed, our heroes have gone on to high school and become the center of the party. But they've also become the revelers caught in the crossfire. Tragedy strikes in the finale, with what will surely be one of the most brutal cliffhangers of the year -- the teen equivalent of a Red Wedding.