Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ is set in Boyle Heights and focuses on the issue that the residents of the neighbourhood are intimately familiar with. Using the story of one family, it presents the struggles of local people who are forced to lose their businesses and the lives that they have built for themselves, just because the landlords want to beautify the place and open it to others who not only offer them more money but also “modernise” the community.
The show effectively sends across the message, hitting close to heart with some bittersweet stories. It is as relevant as it is entertaining and if you haven’t yet seen it, head over to Netflix. Here, we break down the ending of the first season. SPOILERS ALERT
Mama Fina’s taco shop has been around for as long as any other business in Boyle Heights. Pop has kept the place true to its roots all this while, but now, he has to make some changes. The threat of eviction looms heavy on his head and he has to rely on his grandchildren- Erik, Chris and Ana- to save the day. The three of them, who have big dreams of their own, join hands to modernise the place and make it more serviceable to the customers. But, no matter what they do, they have to face the brunt of gentrification, like every other business in the community.
‘Gentefied’ started with trouble for the Morales family. Pop and his three grandchildren were struggling with keeping themselves afloat, but things got better with time. Christian had to leave his job at the restaurant where he worked under a Michelin star chef but had to quit it because he turned out to be more Mexican than his colleagues had expected.
Ana wanted to have a life where she could pursue her art without worrying about money and she got it. Erik wanted to be with Lidia, and despite the initial sourness in their relationship, he succeeds in convincing her that he is up to the task of being a good father. In the end, however, everything changes.
While coming to the hospital, Pop is pulled over by a cop who tells him that there is an outstanding warrant on his name due to the previous charges of vandalism. Because the fine was not paid, Pop is arrested once again. Meanwhile, Lidia gives birth to a girl and Erik decides to move with her to Stanford. He had always wanted to raise a family with Lidia, and now that he has a chance, he won’t give it up.
Chris, too, receives good news when his father tells him that he is ready to pay for culinary school in Paris and he doesn’t have to stay in Boyle Heights anymore. He is surprised and doesn’t give an outright answer. However, as of late, he had been thinking about his dream. He was almost there to get a letter of recommendation from the chef but was thrown out of the job before that could materialise. He enjoyed his time at the shop and had even agreed to stay after Pop asked him to, considering the success of the food tour. However, watching Ana live her dream, he starts reconsidering his options.
Erik and Chris, together, become the lifeblood of Mama Fina’s taco shop. Their innovative ideas boost the business and Pop is convinced that he can finally take a day off. But both of them have their own things to follow and the decision of leaving Boyle Heights is taken when they don’t know about what’s really going on with the lease of the shop. They are also not aware of Pop’s arrest. If they leave, fate is sealed for Mama Fina’s. But if the shop was doing so well and they were paying their rent on time, what was the problem?
What does it mean for Mama Fina’s?
At her art exhibition, Tim introduces Ana to a woman who tells her that she has recently bought a building and she needs Ana to work her magic on its walls. It turns out to be their own taco shop, which is what convinces Ana that she had been on the wrong side all along. She sabotages her own show (though it seems to have worked in her favour!) because, as Yessika had pointed out, she had become a part of the problem that was destroying their community.
What really happened is that the landlord sold the building without telling Pop or anyone else about it. In order to gentrify the place, he needed to get rid of all the tenants. For that, he doubled the rent, but somehow, Pop managed to pay it. And even if he didn’t pay the entire sum in one go, they were bound by the lease. As long as the rent was paid, the lease would stand and they could not be evicted. However, once the lease was done with, there was nothing stopping the landlord.
Pop tried to contact him time and again to renew the lease, but the landlord dodged the calls. He used the opportunity to sell the place to someone else. Because there is no legal agreement between them anymore, he doesn’t even need to serve an eviction notice. Or at least, that’s what it looks like. This means that the shop is gone, and if it is to be saved, someone will have to fight for it, more fiercely than before.
Ana knows the situation and she will do everything in her power to help Pop, but they will need help. This means that either Erik or Chris, or at least one of them, will have to give up on their dream or allow their shop to fall victim to gentrification.
Read More: Gentefied Filming Locations