Synopsis: In Once Upon a Time in Havana. Percussionist Alma wants to be accepted by her tight-knit Cuban family but to understand why they disapprove of her musical career. She must revisit their history.
This week’s episode sees aspiring drummer Alma visit the island to pursue her dreams and get away from her disapproving family. In order to help with her. Elana sends Alma back in time to Havana, Cuba in the 1960s. While there she meets the younger versions of her Grandmother, Uncle, and Grandfather who himself was a percussionist. While getting to know her grandfather who she had never got to meet. She learns that her Uncle and Grandfather were smuggling rum in order to make enough money to get the family to America. However, when her Uncle gets into trouble. Her Grandfather has to sacrifice his music and life so that Alma’s Grandmother and Uncle can get out of Cuba.
Meanwhile, Elana is concerned that Ruby is still struggling to fit into Island life. So she takes a break and leaves Ruby in charge for a few days.
Gigi Zumbado puts in a solid performance as Alma and I think most musicians and artists would likely empathize with her struggle. The story of Alma’s family and how she learns it is really nicely written and wonderfully performed by all the cast. I particularly enjoyed the scenes of Alma with her Grandfather Martino (Ektor Rivera) and how much importance he put on family. Even when they are at their most overbearing. They’ll have your back and protect you. That is pretty much how he puts it across to Alma.
Roselyn Sanchez gets to show us another side of Elana Roarke this week as she takes a little break in Havana. While there she watches Alma’s progress from afar while meeting up with Oscar who she seems to have an on-off relationship with. Now one of the things that we never got to learn in the original show that this is a sequel too is the origins of Roarke. Hopefully, that isn’t about to change because I’d rather it be kept a mystery. Either way, Modesto Lacen is pretty good in the role of Oscar and there is a little chemistry between him and Sanchez.
This was a pretty solid episode, which had some great music thanks to the main story involving Alma and her music. As a lover of music and somewhat of a musician. I really enjoyed this aspect of the episode as well as how the vibrancy of Havana’s music scene was brought to life as a backdrop for a pretty cool story.
- CGI & Stunts9.2
- Incidental Music10