Film

REVIEW: Even Without Veronica Castro, ‘La Casa de las Flores’ Season 2 Is Still as Dysfunctional & Hilarious as Ever

Courtesy of Netflix

The first two episodes of the new season of La casa de las flores (House of Flowers) feel like a series-wide reset. After all, the season one finale of the Mexican family dramedy had blown up its own premise. The titular “house of flowers,” long a de la Mora family flower shop, had been lost, while the side-hustle that bore that same name and served as a gay-friendly cabaret, was suffering losses, especially after its safe was raided. The matriarch of the family Virginia de la Mora (Verónica Castro), who had tried to keep her marriage intact after infidelity and even a prison sentence kept her away from her husband, and had in turn began a weed-dealing business to stay afloat financially, had left with no intention of coming back. The glue that had kept the family (and show) together bid the Mexico City mansion she once inhabited goodbye for what seemed like the last time. Knowing that Castro, a veteran of the small screen in Mexico, had made clear she wasn’t returning to the show, it makes sense that creator Manolo Caro would open the second season of La casa de las flores with the closest thing the wildly entertaining comedy has to a central character now: Cecilia Suárez‘s Paulina.

A fan favorite given her deliciously languid vocal intonations, the eldest and most responsible of the de la Mora children serves as our entry point into what La casa de las flores looks like in a post-Virginia/Castro world. For starters, we begin not in Mexico City but in Madrid where, a year since we last saw the family, Paulina has set up a new life for herself along with her son Bruno (Luis de la Rosa) and her partner Maria Jose (Paco León, here playing a trans woman). Only she’s clearly upset at having left her siblings and father behind, especially, as we learn, after her mother’s funeral. It only takes one phone call from home letting her know her mother’s will has been contested to have her hopping on a plane, leaving Bruno and Maria Jose behind.

Courtesy of Netflix

What she finds when she returns home is, of course, as dysfunctional a family as she left: her sister Elena (Aislinn Derbez) is still putting her sex drive above all responsibilities leading her to risk her career as an architect, her brother Julián (Darío Yazbek Bernal) is still keeping secrets and making questionable choices about how to earn some cash, and her father Ernesto (Arturo Ríos), now out of jail, has found himself in the thrall of a Scientology-esque cult/religion. Like Virginia before her, Paulina knows it will be up to her to right this ship. The key, of course, is the titular House of Flowers. Well, both of them. If she can only get them both back and up and running, she thinks, she’ll be able to have the life she once dreamed of. And, more importantly, will be able to honor her mother’s memory. Maybe even get revenge on Diego (Juan Pablo Medina), Julián’s ex who absconded with their millions (or so she thinks!) And yes, Cacas is back.

That La casa de las flores swiftly handles Castro’s exit is, perhaps, the best news fans could hope for. Yes, we don’t see the funeral (or not yet, we feel there might be a flashback coming our way considering how often they speak of it) and only vaguely hear about her “treatments in Houston” but it serves the story well that we dive back into what the show does best. That is, offer a wildly inventive and inclusive look at a truly modern family. Here’s a show that not only features a trans character as a protagonist (even if they are played by a cis actor) but that explores sex addiction, May-December romances, homosexuality, sex work, and drag with seriousness and humor in equal measure.

As in season one, this is a show that deftly moves between neon-lit lip-sync numbers in bathhouses (you’ll never hear Pimpinela’s “Olvídame y Pega la Vuelta” the same way again) and touching cemetery-set moments (which here give us double the Paulina). If the humor is at times too broad and the sex scenes too racy, it is because this is a show that operates at the level of the outlandish. And we’re all the better for it. For while this may be the most unorthodox of families, the bonds that bind them and the love that they share are what keep them together, no matter how many times they fuck up. Featuring a therapist who uses a sock puppet, a chicken entrepreneur whose last name is Pollo, a hairdresser who moonlights as a drag queen, and a young girl who is really into magic, the bright-colored world Caro and his ace ensemble have created is one full of joy, which make its excesses all the more enjoyable.

La casa de las flores (House of Flowers) season 2 is now available on Netflix.