Promised Land showed plenty of promise when it first premiered, but it hasn’t done itself many favors in the five short episodes.
While the premiere was jam-packed with twists and wine-soaked drama, the momentum quickly faded with subsequent episodes failing to deliver on any of that excitement.
I typically try to give a show about four or five episodes before I determine whether it’s worth my time, but the series is lacking when it comes to keeping an audience engaged.
We’re five episodes in and it seems like the series has exhausted its premise.
The vineyard setting, the culture, and the family dynamic offer so much potential, so why is it being wasted?
Billy and Joe’s relationship is a snoozefest. We don’t know exactly what led to their falling out, though, we know that Billy’s addiction played a huge role.
There are a handful of flashbacks to their time working on the vineyard as teens to provide context to their relationship, specifically, their competitive nature, but it’s not enough to hold us over.
Introducing their father is supposed to explain why they’ve been in competition with each other their whole lives, but it didn’t really matter when, in the present day, they decided to mend their fractured relationship.
Margaret is a bit of a confusing character.
In flashbacks, she comes off as a very sweet, caring, and accomodating woman, but in the present, things have clearly taken a downturn between her and Joe. She wasn’t a part of their children’s lives, and she eventually lost her man to Lettie.
We also know she’s behind Billy’s placement in the church, but it’s still unclear what is motivating her aside from her determination to win back her father’s winery.
All of this would point to Margaret being a terrible woman, but Lettie seems to be on good terms with her when she brings Daniella over to inquire about a job.
I guess one could say that Margaret and Lettie are mature for keeping things cordial but there’s also a mutual respect there, so I’m not entirely sure what to make of the situation.
If Margaret likes Lettie, why is she hoping that Billy’s return will mess with her marriage to Joe?
Is that the cost of business?
And I wish I could care, but if I never find out, I won’t be upset. My indifference to cracking the show’s mystery proves that the writers aren’t doing a good job selling the narrative.
Margaret is in cahoots with Antonio, but his interest in the family business is also suspicious.
It seems that Antonio doesn’t have any loyalty and he’s playing both sides of the fence. He wants to help Margaret get back the winery so that he can be CEO, but I can see him turning on Margaret if Veronica were to give him a better offer or position.
Plus, for someone who was ostracized from the family, he’s really close with his siblings.
Admittedly, the scene of them all drinking copious amounts of wine was cute even if it didn’t move the needle.
Carmen and Mateo joined forces to concoct a sangria, which seemed all too breezy for a man who was struggling to revive a wine brand and compete with his father.
But honestly, with how much crap Mateo has put up with in these mere five episodes, I’m rooting for his winery.
Junior almost fell off the wagon again but didn’t, so that’s good. We don’t know Junior enough as a character to really become invested in his sobriety journey, but it’s great that he is taking Father Ramos’s advice.
Veronica found out that her husband, Michael, is likely cheating on her by attending sex parties, and well, I know that’s bound to blow up in her face, but no progress has been made just yet.
A dead body was dug up at the winery, and Antonio determined (all too quickly) that it is his grandfather, Mr. Honeycroft. All signs point to murder, of course, but I don’t take Joe to be a murderer so my guess is that there’s some logical explanation here.
I’m also curious as to what happened to Lettie’s sister, Rosa. She didn’t seem to want to be working at the vineyard anymore as she had other ambitions, so she likely left her sister behind to go make something of herself. I wonder if we’ll see them reconnect again in the present day.
I can’t help but shake the feeling that Rosa is Danielle’s mother. Otherwise, why would Danielle be such a main character all of a sudden?
Since the series hasn’t been pulling in good numbers, it is being banished to Hulu starting Tuesday, March 1. However, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. While it might lose some of the audience it invested during its short-lived time on ABC, Hulu might give the series some much-needed new eyeballs. We’ve seen other ABC shows go on to streaming platforms and become huge hits, so this could be a move that’s beneficial to everyone.
What did you think of the episode? Will you continue watching the series on Hulu?
Promised Land Season Finale Review – La Tierra Prometida (1×10)
ABC may have banished Promised Land to Hulu, but I’m glad the streamer allowed the series to finish out its season 1 run.
It may not have been the best show to ever make its way across your screen, but it had so much heart poured into it as it aimed to tell the story of Mexican immigrants coming to the states to follow their dreams and make a better life for their family. It was a stark look at the hardships and struggles nuanced with all the things that make it worthwhile.
And while it was definitely a love story, it wasn’t a love story in the romantic sense. It was about the blurred line between love and hate for two brothers. A love story for Margret and Lettie (Juana), who, despite targeting each other always had each other’s backs. It’s about a love story between a man and his winery. It’s a love story about a man and his love for himself.
One of the biggest secrets hanging over Joe Sandoval’s head was that he was an “illegal.” He was always so ashamed of being called the slur, but he finally acknowledged that there was nothing illegal about setting out to pursue a dream and doing everything in your power to make it happen. He was good at what he did, and there’s nothing shameful about it.
As everyone set their sights on Heritage House and attempted to take hold of Heritage House, it was the secret that they all wanted to leverage, so it was satisfying to see Joe yank the card from them and own who he was instead. A secret can only destroy you if you let it have power over you. Joe made it powerless, and thus, it couldn’t hurt him.
It would’ve never came to this moment had it not been for Lettie, who was so fed up with Joe’s behavior — including the employee lockout — that she packed her bags up and left to be with Billy.
When Joe begged her not to go, she informed him that he’s the one that left. In his determination to become the winemaker, Joe lost sight of himself and strayed too far from the Carlos Rincon that she loved all these years.
Her honesty brought him back to himself as he realized that he lost sight of what was really important by always striving for more.
Joe’s present-day journey paralleled his past as he lost Lettie once again and felt his world crumbling around him.
Thankfully, by course-correcting, he was able to make amends with his family, including Lettie, the woman that always had his heart.
While Heritage House was a blessing for Joe, it was also time to close the chapter on it as he accomplished everything he set out to do. He handed over the reins to Veronica while allowing Margaret to buy him out. It was an important gesture because it indicated that the woman who contributed so fiercely to his dream and gave him a family was now ready to shine and realize her own dream of managing her father’s vineyard and working alongside her kids.
The moment of her standing in the barrel room soaking it all in was such a Scandal moment, I was waiting for Olivia Pope to waltz in with her long stemmed glass and cheers with her.
Margaret was painted with a villains brushstroke, but she was never really the enemy — she was just a woman who loved fearlessly and lost herself in the process. And while she was never above teaching Joe a lesson, she truly loved him, so I’m glad that she never stooped down to outing his big secret.
Joe’s life has always been wrapped up in the vines, so when he Joe hung up the HH hat, he didn’t really know what his next step would be. Thankfully, Lettie had it all figured out, and he accepted a job working at Mateo’s vineyard as a wine maker, which, comes full circle on his promise to Lettie in the vineyard all those years ago when he told her that he would raise the son she was having with Billy.
Lettie has always been torn between the brothers, and while love triangles are so cliche, this one felt different as there was a genuine love radiating from both of them. They both sparked something inside of her to be a better person, but it was more than just a romantic connection — as immigrants, they needed each other to survive.
Through flashbacks, we finally understood that the wedge that forced Billy and Joe to drift apart was Lettie, though, it was also the thing that kept them a family all these years.
Teen Lettie confirmed she was pregnant with Billy’s child — Mateo — which broke Joe’s heart and propelled him to become who he is today, but she was also fully in love with Joe and hated letting him go.
In the present-day, Lettie kissed Billy goodbye as she acknowledged their special relationship while also choosing to stay by Joe’s side this time.
She’ll forever be conflicted, but it seems that she’s completely content with it. She has the love of both brothers, but for the first time ever, she’s also putting herself first. It’s a huge step for Lettie.
Carmen’s storyline with her own sangria that she was convinced to sell the an outside company may have been heartbreaking considering she never cared about the money, but it also forced her to step up in ways she didn’t think possible.
Nati definitely misled Carmen, who should’ve trusted her gut and had a third party look over the contract. However, it was an important business lesson, and likely one she’ll never forget.
She’s always strived for independence while asserting herself as a visionary in the family, so when she was throwing herself a pity party, Junior came to remind her that she’s busting at the seams with creative ideas. And while a sangria may be refreshing and on brand, there’s definitely more where that came from. Carmen is entering the seltzer business, you know it!
As for Veronica and Antonio, they got exactly what they wanted while also teaming up with Margaret to bring HH to new heights.
Again, as this is a family show about, it’s fitting that they are keeping it in house and in the family.
- It was nice to see young Joe in action against Margaret’s father as he proved that he knew a lot more about wine than anyone could’ve ever imagined. He has a good palate!
- We still have no idea how Margaret’s father died.
- Whatever happened to Mateo’s wife?
- We also know why Joe hated Mateo all these years as he’s the walking embodiment of his loss and one of his lowest points in life.
- You can’t deport a dream. That’s powerful.
- Whatever happened to Veronica’s estranged husband Michael? Who were the “dogs” he was referring to?
- The views were stunning, and I think that’s what I’ll miss most about the show!
While there were some great well-rounded and full-circle moments, one of my biggest gripes with the series is that there were so many loose ends or storylines that were started but went nowhere. The constant back-and-forth between timelines was effective, but at times, it almost felt like the writers lost sight of the story they were trying to tell.
If the series were to snag a second season, which I doubt will happen, I’d love for it to find its focus a bit more.
That being said, this a great way to wrap up in order to leave it as a limited series. Everyone got their happy ending, and the audience got an inspiring tale about to importance of following your dreams even when the stakes are stacked against you.
Promised Land Review – El Regalo (The Gift) (1×04)
Trust is the basis of every relationship.
When you no longer have it, it’s hard — sometimes impossible — to get it back.
Lettie learned that the hard way on Promised Land Season 1 Episode 4. After Joe found out that Father Ramos was actually his brother Billie, he completely shut down when it came to Lettie.
She begged him to open up about his feelings, but sometimes, it’s almost better when things are left unsaid.
Because once Joe pulled off the bandaid, he revealed a deeply betrayed man who was hurt by the only woman he’s ever put first in his life.
As he told Lettie, from the moment they set foot in the U.S., he has put his trust in her, and she turned around and lied to him about Billy’s return.
Lettie doesn’t strike me as a vindictive person, so it’s safe to say she had her reasons, but it hurts to watch this relationship implode while seeing just how far they’ve come.
We still don’t know exactly where the rift between Joe and Billie started, but my guess is that it has something to do with alcohol and the winery.
In flashbacks, they are still bonded brothers, though, it’s clear that changed as some point when the family dynamic became a little too complicated.
Their one common ground was also Lettie, even back then when everything was much harder but also much simpler.
A rescue mission to save Lettie’s sister, Rosa, puts them in a line of danger, and we see just how far these three characters have come to live this dreamy lifestyle.
As we piece together the puzzle, we also have no idea what happened to Rosa or if she’s still alive. As far as we know, they rescued her from the man keeping her hostage and brought her back to the winery.
But as we see the past pan out, there’s no mention of her in the present.
While Lettie may have been shocked by Joe’s reaction to her keeping Billie’s return a secret, this was all part of Margaret’s carefully crafted plan.
That woman is vicious.
She is re-inserting herself back into everyone’s lives with complete disregard for how it might affect them personally.
She weaseled her way into Carmen’s birthday, and her plan of bribing a church official to place Billie in Sonoma successfully drove a wedge between Joe and Lettie.
All of this is part of her grandiose plan to get her father’s company back from Joe.
It’s unclear what else she has up her sleeve, but it can’t be good for anyone.
Who knows how far Margaret is willing to go? And knowing that Billie’s weak spot is his alcoholism, I’d hate to see him get pulled back into toxic drama that leads him to drink.
Joe might think Billie is a monster, but it seems as though he really tried to make a better man out of himself. He’s put in the effort to change his ways, which can’t be said for Margaret.
Meanwhile, Veronica has Cruz, the vineyard worker she hit with her car, tailing her husband.
There was obviously cause for concern when Michael lied about going to San Francisco and ended up drinking at some mansion in LA all night, but I’m the kind of person that loves giving people the benefit of the doubt.
Until we hear from Michael, I’m not going to pass judgment.
And it likely won’t go over well with him if he finds out she essentially hired a private investigator.
I’m really enjoying the friendship that’s shaping up between Junior and Mateo. Mateo seems to think all of his siblings are out to get him, but they shouldn’t pay for the mistakes of his parents.
Though, I am a little weary of his girlfriend. She seems to have some kind of interest in reuniting Mateo with his family, plus, she’s really eager to be a part of everything.
Why do I have a bad feeling about her?
The first few episodes of Promised Land were wildly entertaining, and though there wasn’t anything overtly wrong with the episode, it also wasn’t as action-packed.
Everyone’s motivations are still hidden too far under the surface to get a read of what’s to come.
What did you think of the episode?
Promised Land Recap – La Madrugada (Day Break) (1×02)
Promised Land is a compelling new family drama about betrayal, lust, and a good glass of wine.
The first episode was meant to hook you, but the second one proved that it has staying power.
Here are some of the biggest moments from Promised Land Season 1 Episode 2:
Carmen is the sister that everyone seems to underestimate, but she’s a lot smarter than she looks. She immediately picked up on the fact that her sister, Veronica, was acting shady. When she arrived at her sister’s place, she took one look at the car and knew that her sister was behind the wheel of the hit-and-run that injured one of their workers. While Veronica was panicking, Carmen handled the situation with ease as she offloaded the car at a dealership.
Despite wanting to keep her hands clean and her name out of it, Veronica’s guilty conscience got to her, and when she visited the victim at the hospital after finding out that he woke up from his coma, he informed her that he knew she was behind the wheel. How much money do you think it’s going to take for this to go away?
Junior Has An Addiction
Billy, Lettie’s former husband and Joe’s brother, returns as a priest. We find out he had an addiction that ruined his life, and now, Lettie sees that Junior, the son she shares with Joe, is going down a similar path, so she reaches out to Billy for help. Will he make the connection?
Young Margaret and Lettie
Through flashbacks, we learn that young Margaret became friends with the trio working in the fields when she asked Lettie to tutor her in Spanish. It didn’t seem like Margaret had many friends, and she and Joe immediately had chemistry, despite his lack of English. Considering her father referred to Lettie as a “wetback,” he likely didn’t take kindly to Margaret and Joe’s union. And knowing that Joe took the winery from him, it’s clear why there’s such a family feud at play.
Antonio Learns the Truth
In his quest to dig up some dirt on Joe, Antonio, who is in cahoots with Margaret to take back the winery, finds the pick-up truck that Carlos and Juana drove to get to the winery after they jumped the border. The pickup still has bullet holes and the blood of Juana’s sister, Rosa, who was left behind at a hospital after getting shot. Will this help him piece together the identity of Carlos Rincon? If he does, and he can prove that Joe is an illegal immigrant, it could blow up everything he’s worked for. And that’s the ammo that Margaret so badly needs!
Joe Gives Mateo a Vineyard
After almost exposing Joe’s big secret, Mateo sets his sights on a vineyard next to Joe’s, but when he tries to buy it, Joe sweeps in and shoots him down. At the auction, Margaret and Joe go toe-to-toe with each other, with Joe eventually winning the bid and overpaying drastically. Since Mateo continues to threaten to expose his secret, Joe gives him free rein over the vineyard. But as we know, Mateo is the least of his worries.
It’s unclear if Rosa is alive in the future or if she and Lettie even keep in touch, but a scene revealed that after being released from the hospital, Rosa, was kidnapped and held captive. She tried to reach her sister at the vineyard, but Juana couldn’t risk her identity being revealed, so she never picked up the phone.
What do you think of the show? Did the episode sell you?
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