Warning: Do not proceed if you have not watched season 3 of On My Block. You are about to head into spoiler territory!
Are the Core Four really no more?
On My Block has become well known for shocking season finales -- after season 1 ended with a deadly shootout at a quinceañera and season 2 saw the show's central group of friends getting kidnapped on the street in broad daylight. But season 3's final episode was a surprise no one saw coming.
In a flash-forward to two years in the future, the group had splintered -- a rift that seems to have started with Monse's (Sierra Capri) departure for boarding school on the East Coast. Once the lone female member of her crew, she was seen in the future with a tight-knit group of gal pals, her Freeridge friends apparently a distant memory.
Ruby (Jason Genao) and Jasmine (Jessica Marie Garcia) were still an item, though they didn't even bother to acknowledge Jamal (Brett Gray) at school, as they walked past him and his newfound buddies on the football team.
And Cesar (Diego Tinoco) had perhaps the most dramatic flash-forward transformation, having supplanted his brother, Oscar (Julio Macias), as a ruthless general in the Santos gang. (Oscar, it seems, has left gang life behind and found the domestic bliss he seemed ready for in season 3 -- he was seen working the grill at a cookout, with a baby on the way.)
When ET's Katie Krause sat down with the cast to get the scoop on the surprising final scenes, reactions were mixed. Capri noted that the distance between the friends, while surprising for the show's fans, "isn't that far-fetched" in reality. "It's probably one of the most realistic endings that I think we've had... People evolve and they grow, and sometimes they grow apart. The way that you were two years ago is different [from how you are now]."
The cast admitted, however, that Cesar deciding to assume his brother's spot in the gang was "the biggest turn" in terms of their own reactions to the season's final script.
"You hope so much that he'll learn and grow and become something better, and it's just...like, you don't learn!" Genao exclaimed, though he noted that the decision makes sense, given Cesar's family legacy in the gang.
"[Oscar] was Cesar when he was Cesar's age, and then he grew up and understood what it really meant to have a life," he explained. "So then Cesar did that whole aspect where he was like, the little innocent thing, and turns into Spooky, and now hopefully, he'll learn. And I think that's how it evolves."
For his part, Tinoco first joked that the flash-forward versions of the friends were "doppelgangers, from a parallel universe." However, he admitted that his character's turn was "heartbreaking" to process.
"We all, individually, our own characters have gone through their own story and they tackle their own obstacles," he noted, "but for Cesar, for myself at least, I can say that it was heartbreaking to see the ending."
"I trust the writers and the story isn't over yet, just like life," Tinoco added of what's to come. "I mean, he's dealt with so much traumatic stuff going on in his life...so much trauma that you're gonna have a little bit of a crash."
Other surprises for the cast in season 3 included the murder of Santos boss Cuchillos (Ada Luz Pla) -- in a rare moment of generosity from the Santos' rival 19th Street gang -- and Jasmine's integration with the group, both as a rare female friend for Monse and a romantic interest for Ruby.
"I love where we're going and the growth," Garcia said of Jasmine and Ruby's relationship.
"I sort of envisioned it from the jump, and was like, something more has to come from this," Genao agreed.
As for Jasmine and Monse, the newfound friendship was something Garcia and Capri recalled they "fought so hard" for in season 3.
"It didn't even feel like work," Capri said. "We were doing scenes and we were like, oh girl, we're filming."
"We had so much fun," Garcia agreed. "That was my favorite."
While the show hasn't yet been officially picked up for a fourth season, the cast is hopeful, with Garcia noting, "I hope there's a reason to bring us together," if On My Blockmoves forward in season 4 within the world of the flash-forward.
But will there be a happy ending? "On this show, you never know," Tinoco admitted.
"I wouldn't hold your breath," Garcia added, with her castmates in agreement.
However, they all feel blessed to be a part of a show that resonates with fans so deeply, especially one with a diverse cast that tackles real-life issues facing many kids today.
"I feel like it's a privilege to be inspiring, you know, such diverse kids and having them see themselves on our show," Tinoco said.
"It's like this huge weight, I hope, off people's shoulders, where no longer are people like, 'Damn, I wanna do that, I don't know if I can.' Now it's just like, 'I'm gonna do that. I want to be like them,'" Genao added. "I think it's so incredible to think that we are more than a show for some people."
The first three seasons of On My Block are now streaming on Netflix.