Vida returned on May 23 for its second season, and if you thought the first season was perfection, these new episodes are even better.
Before Season 2 premiered, I spoke with Mishel Prada (Emma) and Melissa Barrera (Lyn) about the ways their characters have grown, and how deciding to keep the bar impacts their lives. You can read highlights from our conversation below. (Warning: there are some minor Season 2 spoilers.)
Emma has been torn between two worlds, but started to reconnect with her home in Season 1. How does she continue to navigate the challenges of revitalizing the bar while still respecting the culture and heritage of the neighborhood?
Mishel: We start Season 2 with Emma selling everything except for her apartment, and she’s going into business with her sister. She has an almost violent love for the neighborhood, but when she makes a decision, she sticks with it and is going to make it work. So she really gives [reviving the bar] a shot.
What you bring up with the neighborhood, it really highlights one of the central themes of the show, which is gentefication and gentrification. [Gentrification happens when] people from outside the neighborhood come through and change it in terms of colonizing it, as opposed to integrating with it. [Gentefication happens] when you have someone that’s from that neighborhood, but left. [Emma and Lyn] both did that, and were not accepted when they came back. [The neighbourhood told them], “You’re not one of us any more because you left.” It adds to the real life conversation [around] whether you can do whatever you want even if you’re from the neighborhood. Lyn is also invested in the bar and integrating with the neighborhood. It’s part of the broader conversation [about] what point you’re responsible for what happens in the neighborhood. If they lose the bar and a developer takes it, isn’t that worse?
In Season 1, Lyn had a lot of ideas but didn’t seem to follow through on them. In Season 2 of Vida, it looks like she’s recognizing her value and skills outside of being just a pretty face. Is this something carries throughout the season?
Melissa: It’s definitely a season of growth and discovery for Lyn. She has always been thought of for her looks [and is told to] just stand there and be pretty. She’s lived believing that is her only value, but she’s actually a really smart woman. She has great ideas and wants to contribute. We’re going to see why Lyn is the way she is, how being dismissed her entire life made her turn out the way that she did, and why she’s trying so hard to prove herself to her sister and the community. It’s a tough season for her. We’re going to see more of what’s inside, and I’m excited for everyone to see a new side of her.
It’s also a surprising season. The sisters have more time together and are getting to know each other — maybe for the first time ever — because they’re practically strangers. It’s beautiful but also hard to live with someone you think you know because you’re related by blood, but in reality, you don’t [know them].
Vida first introduced Lyn and Emma as polar opposites, but since returning home, they’ve slowly been finding common ground. How do these discoveries change their relationship in Season 2?
Mishel: They came from the same mother, and that’s an interesting thing that we got to explore. We got to see their differences in Season 1. [In Season 2], we start to see the ways that they are struggling with similar demons, just in different ways, and how their mom treated them both differently. We [begin to see] where that Venn Diagram crosses over, and how it can be difficult for both of them.
Melissa: At the end of Season 1, you saw an inkling of the tables turning, with Lyn encouraging Emma to stay. The scales shift, and we’re going to see more of that in Season 2. They both have that same strength in them that they probably get from their mother, and they complement each other so well. They [may clash when] they work together but in the end, they need each other.
Very early in Season 2, we learn that Eddy may not have a legal claim to the bar. How does that affect Emma and Lyn’s feelings toward Eddy? Is it another obstacle in their efforts to save the family business?
Melissa: Honestly, it all goes back to [the fact that] Vidalia was kind of a bitch. She lied to everyone. They’re suffering the consequences of her lies, and now it’s Eddy’s turn. It sucks because Emma has this huge responsibility, this weight on her shoulders of financially supporting Lyn and Eddy. Lyn doesn’t have anything, and Eddy can’t move. Emma’s a tough, no bullshit [person], while Lyn comes in as a mediator between Emma and Eddy, and tries to take care of and defend Eddy. Lyn realizes that Eddy being her mom’s widow means a lot because Vidalia chose Eddy to be her partner, so Lyn is making a point of protecting Eddy from Emma.
Mishel: While Emma is [more concerned with] the legal ramifications, Lyn is more emotional and romantic. We also ended Season 1 with Emma holding this guilt over what happened to Eddy. [The beating] was violent and intense, and Emma feels responsible for it. Emma thinks it’s her fault that Eddy ended up in the hospital. Even though some questions come up on Eddy’s legal stance, it’s the first time that Emma is making decisions [based on] emotion.
I understand that new character, Nico, enters the picture in the third episode and has an impact on both Emma and Lyn. What can you share about that?
Mishel: I’d say that Nico becomes Emma’s first friend. Lyn wants to be friends with Emma, but that’s not something that Emma’s ready for. Nico also really cares for Lyn. She doesn’t have the history [with the family], so she becomes a part of the bar, and ends up being an important mediator between Emma and Lyn.
Melissa: Nico’s an unbiased friend to both. When the sisters are having a hard time seeing past each other’s faults, Nico’s there to remind them that they are each other’s only family.
Is there anything else that you want viewers to know about Season 2 of Vida?
Melissa: It’s a fun season and very exciting because we have more time in this world to explore these relationships. Obviously there’s a lot of drama, but it’s a beautiful season — even more so than Season 1. It’s about family, what that means to each of the sisters, and how they’re trying to make it work.
Mishel: It’s important to have a show like Vida, and hopefully it’s the start of many others. These people [that we are depicting] need to know that they exist [on TV], and hopefully we’re at the forefront of that.
Photos Courtesy of Starz