It’s dueling dinner parties on this week’s episode of Apple TV+ culture clash comedy Acapulco. Memo is under investigation, Chad is under suspicion, Julia’s jealous, Esteban’s nervous, Sara’s drunk, Hector’s in lust, and — as usual — Maximo’s in the middle.
It’s an agreeably hectic week on the show, which doesn’t seem sure how to proceed with its more- serious ideas. As a result, Acapulco relies on an old-hat sitcom formula instead.
Acapulco recap: ‘Always Something There to Remind Me’
Season 2, episode 7: In this week’s episode, entitled “Always Something There to Remind Me,” Maximo Gallardo (played by Eugenio Derbez) tells the story of the fallout of the wrap party. With Don Pablo (Damián Alcázar) gone, Diane (Jessica Collins) only trusts Maximo (Enrique Arrizon) to help her ferret out the man who went to the press. Chad (Chord Overstreet) thinks it might be Memo (Fernando Carsa).
Maximo did it, but obviously he can’t confess. Still, he promises to investigate, if for no other reason than he doesn’t want his friend to get fired for his own crimes. So he has to do the work that night at the dinner celebrating Chad and Julia’s (Camila Perez) impending wedding.
For her part, Julia is jealous both of one of Chad’s old girlfriends — Kelli (Jocelyn Hudon), who came to town to see him for the day — and of Isabelle (Gabriella Milla), Maximo’s current girlfriend. She hears from Sara (Regina Reynoso) that they’re doing very well indeed and, as her wedding to Chad becomes imminent, she starts having major second thoughts she can’t voice.
The tale of the bracelet
Also, fatefully, the bracelet that Maximo bought for Julia at the end of Acapulco’s first season has passed from hand to hand every episode of this season. Sara’s the last person to have found it. And when Julia sees it and admires it, Sara gives it to her as a rent payment. (Julia’s letting Sara stay there, since her mother kicked her out of the house for dating girls.) That means the next time Maximo sees Julia, she’ll be wearing the bracelet he bought for her but never gave her.
Speaking of Sara’s mom Nora (Vanessa Bauche), she’s meeting the mother of her boyfriend, Esteban (Carlos Corona), for the first time. To leaven the tension somewhat, she invited Don Pablo, the man who got Maximo the job at Las Colinas in the first place.
The only trouble is that Estaban’s mom, Rosita (Evangelina Martínez), knows Don Pablo. He was the man she would always favorably compare to Hector (Rafael Cebrián). Don Pablo was a model son, a successful businessman and a dish. Why couldn’t Esteban be more like Don Pablo? So he’s got an ax to grind in what is already going to be a stressful dinner.
What’s on the menu?
When Hector arrives for the dinner, he immediately hits it off with Kelli, which would be nice for everyone involved because Kelli seems hell-bent on sharing a million of Chad’s secrets to Julia every time she opens her mouth. So Maximo’s trying to help Memo prove his innocence, Chad is trying to prove Memo’s guilt, and Hector’s trying to seduce Kelli, who’s making Julia feel awkward because she realizes she doesn’t really know anything about her fiance. Meanwhile, Isabelle is trying to make sure Sara doesn’t drink too much. It’s a lot.
Chad confronts Memo outright and, in his race to prove his innocence, starts spilling all the secrets he knows, including that Diane had an affair with Hector. Memo and Chad get into a fistfight (after which Chad happily decides to dime out Hector to his mom as the tabloid leaker).
Isabelle suggests Maximo quit his job rather than become the kind of person who sells out his friend, but he’s obviously reluctant. He’s just becoming prosperous, after all. But just then, he and Julia accidentally wind up touching hands. He sees her bracelet and finally comes clean to her about everything he’s feeling.
Acapulco resorts to sitcom 101 again
This marks a second straight week of sitcom antics in place of resolution or even commitment to the Sara subplot. Rather than actually dealing with her melancholy at losing her home, it’s easier to just give her sitcom 101 jokes. She gets drunk! She never learned English, so when she talks to Kelli, who doesn’t know Spanish, she speaks in lesson-book sample sentences like, “I want to go the library.” (Actually, that is a fairly clever reversal of the way lost-in-translation gags usually work in American comedies, but the thing is it’s not a very good joke in any language.)
Sara gets one moment where Isabelle offers to take her home, and she thinks she means her real home instead of Julia’s apartment. But that’s not enough.
I just don’t care enough about the Memo/Chad stuff (these characters still refuse to be worth the minutes they take up on Acapulco) to be happy that it’s dwarfing any of the more real dramatic content. The Maximo/Julia arc is compelling enough on its own, but the show keeps treating it like it’s more important than Sara’s. Maybe to the writers it is. But they’ve strongly miscalculated, and show no signs that they understand this or are willing to grapple with what any of it means. Disappointing, but otherwise not a bad episode.
Watch Acapulco on Apple TV+
New episodes of Acapulco season two drop each Friday (although this week’s arrived early due to Thanksgiving holiday).
Watch on: Apple TV+
Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.