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Episode Descriptions: Season One


THE FATHER
Pablito is safely at home, after his father Esteban has been arrested. After being released, Esteban is missing and must report to his parole officer the next morning or he risks being sent back to prison. As Jess searches the city for his son, he remembers Esteban as his favorite child and as a rebellious teenager. This causes him to reexamine his own behavior that drove a wedge between father and son.

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    THE GLASS CEILING
    Vangie's new athletic wear designs come to the attention of Sports World, a large sportswear retailer. Sports World wants to carry her line, if Vangie can meet their supply demand. Thrilled, she borrows money and risks all her savings to enlarge her operation. But is a Latina's future secure in corporate America? Vangie learns that for even very successful Latinos, there is a glass ceiling.

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    THE FIGHTING FRIDAS
    Nina has formed a new girls' football team, the “Fighting Fridas.” She persuades a reluctant Jess to join her as co-coach. A former high school football star himself, Jess finds coaching a group of females a challenging assignment. Things look doubtful for the "Fighting Fridas," when Mickey, the star quarterback, must work on the day of the big game in order to help support her family.

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    THE BARBER SHOP
    Just as he settles down to watch his favorite TV show, “Chips”, Jess is swamped with visitors. After spirited exchanges with friends and family, and demands to be left alone, Jess is hit in the head accidentally. Unconscious, he dreams of a new sitcom, “Jess’ Barber Shop,” starring people who look a lot like the folks in his living room. Guest Star appearance by Erik Estrada. Episode directed by Edward James Olmos.

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    THE MASKED EAGLE - PART 1
    Uncle Pete collapses in front of Jess's barbershop, just as the two friends prepare for a long-postponed fishing trip. At the hospital, Jess learns Pete has diabetes and is going blind. As he waits, Jess recalls their youthful adventures in 1942, when anti-Japanese fervor was fueled by Japanese submarines off the California coast and reports of unidentified planes flying over Los Angeles.* Stirred to action by news reports and their favorite radio serial “The Masked Eagle,” the two lads head from East LA to the beach to look for Japanese subs. On the way they are attacked by anti-Mexican “Zoot Suit Rioters.”

    *During the episode, young Jess and young Dora experience an "air raid" and blackout in the family basement. This scene is based upon an actual event that took place in Los Angeles in February 25, 1942. Purported reports of unidentified planes triggered a military alert that resulted in sirens, search lights, tracer bullets, and anti-aircraft barrages at the foreign planes alleged to be over the city. Five citizens died: three from heart attacks, and two in traffic accidents, and one person was injured by a shell exploding in Long Beach. Source: Embattled Dreams - California in War and Peace-1940-1950, by Kevin Starr, Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    THE MASKED EAGLE - PART 2
    Unable to live on his own, Pete moves into a nursing home. Jess makes plans to move Pete to the sun porch of the Gonzales house. Pablito begs Dora for dancing lessons, hoping Ofelia will come back to Los Angeles to dance with him. In flashback, young Jess and young Pete press on to the beach and encounter a Japanese-American family being removed from their home by American military personnel.

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    THE JOURNEY - PART 1
    Esteban, Jess and Nina travel to Mexico – Esteban to find Ofelia, who has moved to Mexico City, Jess to visit Berta’s brother Leon in Oaxaca, and Nina to deliver humanitarian aid collected in East LA for the people of Chiapas. As Esteban searches for Ofelia, Jess hears stories of early adventures in Oaxaca from Don Leon. Meanwhile, Nina embarks on an adventure of her own.

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    THE JOURNEY - PART 2
    Esteban finds Ofelia. Nina encounters Mexican rebels. Meanwhile, Don Leon tells Jess about Berta’s early romance with a Mixtec boy from Oaxaca and how as a young girl, she rebelled against her parents strict traditions.

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    LA CASA
    The entire Gonzalez family gets together to paint and refresh their house. As they remove photos and memorabilia from the walls, they remember their years as a young family and the struggle to maintain a comforting home through thick and thin. As they finish, the spirit of Jess’ grandmother Adelita joins them. She bought the land then built the house after adventures in the Mexican Revolution.

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    AMERICAN FAMILY
    Jess and Berta Gonzalez have lived in East Los Angeles their entire lives. Their adult children decide it is time for their parents to move out of the old neighborhood and they buy them a brand new condo on the other side of town. Nina, Jess and Berta’s liberal activist daughter, moves in temporarily to help things go smoothly. But complications arise and it turns out the old neighborhood is harder to leave than anyone thought.

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    THE SEWING MACHINE
    It’s been three months since Berta’s death. Nina has moved into her parents’ home to take on her mother’s role. Pablito rejects Nina because she is nothing like Grandma Berta. A family crisis ensues when Vangie wants to take Berta’s sewing machine as a keepsake.

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    LA ESTRELLA (THE STAR)
    A comet flies over Los Angeles, casting a magical spell over the Gonzalez household. The comet causes everyone to fall in and out of love. Aunt Dora plans a surprise wedding for her daughter, Christy. But a tall, dark, handsome stranger out of Dora’s past appears - it may be Aunt Dora who turns out to be the bride.

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    LA LLORONA - PART I
    Cisco tells Pablito the story of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), an old Mexican folktale about a mother who loses her children. Nina, an immigration attorney, fights desperately for Elena, an immigrant mother who has been separated from her American-born child due to deportation.

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    LA LLORONA - PART 2
    Cisco continues telling Pablito the story of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), as Nina battles the legal system to reunite Elena, an immigrant mother, with her baby. Laura, Pablito’s drug addicted mother, haunts the Gonzalez' in hope of having a chance to be with her son once again.

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    CIRCLE OF FIRE
    Esteban heads a mentoring program at the fire department. Esteban struggles with the at-risk kids, members of rival gangs, because they cannot overcome their rival affiliations. When a fire breaks out nearby, the kids must work together to save their own neighborhood. Meanwhile, Ofelia is shocked to learn the truth about Esteban’s past.

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    CRASH BOOM LOVE - PART 1
    Nina has to fight City Hall to keep the local rec center open and keep Latino youth off the streets. She is heartbroken to discover that it is her own boyfriend who is trying to shut the center down. Nina must make a difficult choice.

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    CRASH BOOM LOVE - PART 2
    Resolution of Crash Boom Love, part 2.

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    MEXICAN REVOLUTION
    At the annual family reunion, Jess tells the story of his grandmother, La Coronela, a female soldier in the Mexican revolution. The family is transformed into a silent film version of the tale. Meanwhile, a revolution is brewing between Nina and Vangie, and Jess may be falling in love.

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    THE KOREAN WAR - THE FORGOTTEN WAR
    The events of September 11 trigger memories that Jess has of his own experiences during the Korean War.

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    LA CAMA
    Jess prepares to go on his first date after the death of his wife, Berta, but is suddenly overcome with memories of their life together. Jess struggles with the idea of moving on with his life.

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    CITIZEN CISCO
    Cisco makes an independent film about his life and family as he explores what it means to be a Gonzalez. But complications arise with his relationship with Valeria when he refuses to put down the camera - ever.

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    SILENCE OF GOD
    Esteban and Ofelia are at a painful crossroads, and suddenly Pablito disappears. A harrowing journey (shot in one continuous take) begins as Esteban must find Pablito and finally deal with his past.

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