Meet Esperanza Guerrero. Badass warrior woman, single mom to two kids, Spanish teacher. Her daughter Patricia calls her “Mapa”–mom and dad.
Instituto Palacios. School colors: Grey and burgundy. Motto: Snobby and proud.
Esperanza arrives in the gym and sees a bunch of jerks picking on one of their classmates. She challenges the lot of them to go up against her at basketball. The jerks are supposed to back off if she scores a basket, but her celebration is interrupted by the arrival of the school director.
Jacket and shoes back on, Esperanza goes to the director’s office, where, rather than discuss the incident in the gym, she’s ordered to change the grades for one Paolo Rey–a little twerp who pays zero attention in class and distracts the other students. But Paolo Rey has one redeeming quality. His dad is on the board of directors.
Esperanza, of course, refuses, which puts her job at risk. Not that La Directora can just fire her, but she can make her life hell and strongly recommend it to the board. After some thinly-veiled remarks about the public school where Esperanza also teaches, she puts the choice to Esperanza again.
Luca de la Colina arrives at a construction site to check out some soldaduras (welds) they were having problems with.
Pato is on the bus, with her friend, sending her mom her daily “I’m on my way home” text.
Luca and the foreman are reviewing some plans when a buzzer sounds for break. There are some serious eats being prepared and up on a crane, one guy tells another to go on down–he’ll be along soon. Somehow, a cable slips, a couple of loads of something fall, the worker slips and finds himself hanging, and even Pato’s bus has stopped to let everyone off to have a closer look.
Luca springs into action, climbing up the crane. Pato gets on her cell phone and calls the fire department. The hanging guy’s bright orange safety strap is looking less-than-safe as it starts ripping. Luca tries throwing the guy his own belt, but it falls. Eventually, Luca manages to get over to the guy, get a good grip on him, and get them both strapped in so that a crane operator can lower them to safety.
Emergency services arrive and everybody’s praising Luca. Pato grabs his belt out of someone’s hand and returns it to Luca. She introduces herself, he kisses her hand, and time stops.
When the world starts spinning again, she heaps praise on him and hugs him and finally he’s able to tell her his name is “Luca,” yeah, like El Pato Lucas (the name for Daffy Duck in Spanish), or um Luke like the guy from La Guerra de las Galaxias (Star Wars). He goes on and on about the meaning of his name, and I know we’ve just met these two, but I desperately want them to kiss–mostly so they’ll stop talking.
She turns down a ride in his car and retrieves her friend. The next time he looks around, she’s gone and the gates to the construction site are closed like they probably should have been to begin with. Just saying. Safety first.
Adrian de la Colina hangs out in front of el IP, but he’s wearing a different uniform, the one for Colegio Vasconcelos–Yellow and grey plaid. This despite the fact that he’s a rich kid. As he explains to an IP student, it’s a long story. Ernesto shows up to pick him up/embarrass him. He got a call from the school that Adrian comes and goes as he pleases. One more call and the next stop is a military boarding school in the US.
Esperanza is just leaving El IP when she sees weepy Adrian. His world-class jerk of a dad exits his shiny car to try to hit on her and ask how his daughter’s doing. After 17 years he wants to know? Pfft! Ernesto continues harassing her for information, somehow oblivious to the fact that his presence (on this planet) is unwelcome. We learn that Pato DOES know about him, because Esperanza is not a lying liar. Unlike some people. And where does he get off calling her “our daughter.” And yeah, she knows he’s married. And he can shut it with his “I never stopped loving you” crap.
Back at his office, Ernesto is reminiscing about his younger self telling Esperanza’s younger self that he loves her. It could be fake. Ernesto doesn’t strike me as the most reliable of narrators. He forgot he asked his assistant, Arlette, to come in. He asks her to investigate Esperanza Guerrero and her daughter Patricia. Don’t ask me what his little “Freeze…unfreeze…” game with Arlette was about, unless it’s just to illustrate further what a jerk he is. You know, in case “Cheated on his wife, got Esperanza pregnant, abandoned her and his child seventeen years ago” wasn’t enough.
El Trabajo, Parte II
Esperanza has the misfortune of having Adrian in her class at Colegio Vasconcelos. He inherited all his dad’s charm. Esperanza is teaching the play La Vida es Sueño and invites the class to share their dreams, but Adrian turns the question around on her. Though she thinks about her dreams–seeing her children get ahead, having her own school, seeing Ricardo again–she doesn’t share them with her students. Adrian says his dream is to be happy, a dream that’s about to be cut short when the peanut he catches in his mouth goes down the wrong way.
The crisis is averted when Esperanza applies the Heimlich and he spits the peanut right at his classmate’s face. You know it’s love when she doesn’t seem to mind.
El Trabajo, Parte III
Esperanza, Pato, and Pedro are out at the site where Esperanza is hoping to build her school. She’s filled them in on Directora Silvana’s threat and how it puts her dream at risk–she still has to finish paying for the land, permits, material, the bicycles for spinning. Pato wants to go give La Directora what for, but Pedro and Esperanza hold her back. It’s a crappy situation, but whatever she decides, they back her.
And, oh, by the way, um, Esperanza ran into Pato’s dad today.
El Trabajo, Parte IV?
Just how many hours does Esperanza have in a day? Because she’s now teaching a spinning class. Three sluggish guys show up and I’d say they’re just there to check out the women, but they all seem like they’re falling asleep instead. Perhaps this is the following day, because…
El Patán gets even mas patán
Esperanza is all suited up again and in Eduardo’s office. He’s the one who wanted to see his daughter and now he’s telling Esperanza he has a condition. He wants to kiss her. He still loves her. Is this guy for real? Now that he knows Pato wants to meet him, he’s using that to blackmail Esperanza–if she doesn’t do what he wants, he won’t meet Pato.
He really doesn’t get that it was wrong for him to lie about not being married before. And he in no way accepts responsibility for being the one who just up and left–see, that was her fault for rejecting him when she found out he was married and a liar. But now things are different. He’s investigated her and knows she hasn’t been seeing anyone else since they broke up. He knows all about Patricia. He knows where they live. And he’s telling her all this because from now on, she and Patricia are going to be a part of his life, whether Esperanza wants it or not.
Esperanza passes the still honest, yet abbreviated and way-less-scary-sounding, version of this meeting on to Pato. For her part, Pato doesn’t harbor any illusions about her sperm donor, she just feels the need to meet him. Nobody’s replacing her Mapa.
La de Rojo
Pedro’s design project is ruined when his classmates are too busy looking at a woman in a red dress doing a Marilyn Monroe impersonation behind him.
Wouldn’t you just know it, she just transferred (hence the lack of uniform) and is in Pedro’s design class. His idea of a pick up line is to ask her if there’s anything she would change about his maqueta (model). He attempts to segue into telling her she’s pretty, but she threatens him with death.
The three guys from Esperanza’s spin class are (hopefully) more awake now as they make their rounds, collecting garbage. They are apparently so popular that it’s not enough for the women in the neighborhood to leave their garbage out for collection…they want to hand it over themselves. One last woman exits the building and gets hit on by…er, I’ll just have to call him “Collar Guy” to distinguish him from “Sandwich Guy,” who spends the scene eating a sandwich, and Nacho, who spends the scene crying because his wife is going to leave him.
Collar Guy is so busy looking at this woman’s ass that he burns out the motor on the compactor (I’m guessing). The truck is enveloped in a thick cloud of smoke.
What’s it gonna be, Esperanza? She refuses to change Paolo Rey’s grade. Both Esperanza and Silvana warn each other to be prepared to face the consequences.
El Galanazo rides again
Luca hears some creep in his office LOUDLY berating a woman co-worker for not doing something right and blaming it on her period, as allegedly all women do. On account of this well-documented character flaw, we should all stay home to iron, cook, and take care of our men. Thus sayeth the caveman. Or perhaps, as Luca says, the creep should respect the women who work in this office. They’ll discuss it further. In his office. (Since I neither know his name, nor care, can the creep be fired already, please?)
Patricia wanders in, asking for “Mr. de la Colina’s office” and Arlette points her in the direction that takes her right past the open office door where Luca is explaining to that caveman in a suit that, guess what? Sometimes women are better than men at things, and this is the 21st century! We have equidad de genero (gender equality), bro. That means respecting people’s dignity and not discriminating against anyone, much less women. He’d better apologize to his coworker. SERIOUSLY. And if he pulls this crap one more time, he’s fired. Azucena thanks him for being the best boss ever, but aw shucks, he says there’s no need.
Pato tries to pretend she wasn’t listening, but she’s totally busted. So instead she points out that the door was wiiiiide open. Cute verbal banter ensues. He claims to be a superhero. He can fly. And he can read people’s minds. And that’s how he knows what she’s thinking and that he’s thinking the same thing. *smoochies– aaaaack! No, wait, smoochus interruptus because Ernesto arrives and introduces himself to Pato as her father. “Wait, so…you’re my brother?”