The Cleaning Lady Review – El Diablo Que Conoces (2×03)

Reviews

The body count just keeps rising on The Cleaning Lady Season 2, but the latest death was justified. 

With an “eat or be eaten” mentality permeating the jail system, Arman didn’t have much of a choice when he was forced to square up with Hayak in the showers.

Arman has survived great odds simply by outsmarting his enemy. He may have entertained the idea of additional muscle (the criminals were impressed by Arman’s defeat against the goons that Hayak sent on him in the premiere episode) to get Hayak alone, but he didn’t put all of his eggs in one basket. In fact, he barely relied on an assist at all, so it wasn’t a complete blow when the inmates turned on him and informed him that the mentality is “the highest bidder wins.”

Honestly, the joke’s on them because the highest bidder would have been the one still alive to pay up in the end, which, in this case, was Arman.

Arman isn’t naive, he knows the rules of the game and most importantly, he knows Hayak like the back of his hand. He spent years working with the man and executing his orders, so not much can take him by surprise. He couldn’t just wait around; he knew he had to act fast because another attack was coming, which is why he even told Thony that you don’t survive prison by being “careful.” And while things may have looked bleak for Arman for a minute there, ultimately, he had an ace up his sleeve, er, a syringe tucked in his bandages that he used to stab Hayak in the neck. 

As Hayak lay there paralyzed and dying a slow death, as a fan, it was a triumphant moment; the lion was taken down by the cub, and it was magnificent to watch. But it was also slightly bittersweet for Arman as he had a real bond with Hayak for many years. The man may have been cruel beyond belief, but he also took Arman under his wing. Arman owes him a lot and likely would’ve wanted a different outcome considering that long history, however, Hayak would’ve never allowed Arman to walk free, giving him no choice but to do everything in his power to save himself. This also makes Hayak’s comment about thinking of Arman as a son weightless and meaningless. You can’t get sentimental and in your feels once the roles are reversed, sir. You started this mess, so the least you can do is go out with your dignity intact. 

This isn’t the end of the road for Arman’s problems, as eliminating one bad guy meant that they became indebted to another.

The only way that Arman was able to make bail was because of Nadia’s deal with Robert (The Dropout’s Naveen Andrews), some rich, sleazy guy from her past who knew all too well that they had no other option and leveraged that knowledge to get a piece of the gun business.

He’s a slime ball that Arman will undoubtedly have to take care of in the future, and I have no doubt that they’ll be able to handle him, but I also know he’ll be a thorn in their sides for just a bit. There seems to be no shortage of opportunistic men whose only power is the ability to pay people off. 

Robert proved just how terrible he actually is when Thony came to pick up the money instead of Nadia. It was the cherry on top of her already terrible day and yet, the woman remains impenetrable; she takes so many hits left and right for the people she loves, and it never breaks her.

On the day of Marco’s funeral, while she was getting ready to bury her husband, she had to divert and handle the money situation to help get Arman out of jail. Fi questioned the hold Arman has over Thony, but honestly, I don’t think her romantic feelings even played a role in her decision. She feels indebted to Arman because of the lengths he went to in order to save Luca, and now that he needs help, she’ll do anything to make it happen and essentially, pay him back.

Nadia may have questioned Thony’s loyalty and motives, but Arman put his trust in the right woman; a woman who knows how to get the job done against all odds and at all costs. 

When Robert asked her to strip, it was part scummy and part safety precaution, but she took it in stride. The line about no one paying attention to the cleaning lady was such a full-circle moment for the show. The writing continues to be exceptional this season!

I fully expected him to ask her to clean up the mess with his security guard, but thankfully, he was just being an ass and after Thony proved herself, she was on her way with the money and flowers as promised. 

THE CLEANING LADY: L-R: Élodie Yung and Valentino/Sebastien LaSalle in the “Lolo and Lola” episode of THE CLEANING LADY airing Monday, Sept. 26 (9:02-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2022 Fox Media LLC. CR: Jeff Neumann/FOX

It was a masterfully executed plan that didn’t even raise any eyebrows. They were able to pull a fast one over the feds once again while their every move was under a microscope.

Nadia’s near-meeting with the judge was the perfect decoy to force them to look away from Thony, and since she was busy with Marco’s funeral, no one even considered that she could be handling anything else until it was far too late. By the time Garrett caught on and arrived at the funeral, Thony was by her family’s side mourning her estranged husband.

It couldn’t have gone any better. Thony delivered the money to the judge, who was able to take his bribe without getting caught, and Arman walked a free man. Everyone wins… for now. But hell, I’ll celebrate every victory, no matter the size. 

The religious reading at the end—a prayer to ensure Marco’s freedom in the afterlife—was extremely powerful when paired with the scenes of Arman, clad in a pristine suit and shades, walking out of prison towards his freedom. I only wish Thony was there to greet him instead of Nadia. After all, she’s the main reason why he’s out in the first place… and he knows it, too. 

I know we got a brief reunion between Arman and Thony, but with that protective glass divide between them, it wasn’t the same. I’m looking forward to seeing the sparks fly again when they reconnect in person. I love how much he cares about her. Even with everything he was dealing with in prison, he still cared enough to ask about how she was holding up. Arman is one of the only people who has ever given her the respect she deserves and seen her for all that she truly is. 

As I mentioned before, however, their troubles are far from over. In addition to a new enemy in their lives, someone is going to have to pay the price for Hayak’s death, and I suspect his family will have some inkling that Arman was involved. Elsewhere, Thony still hasn’t dealt with the manager at the motel who has incriminating evidence against her and the family pertaining to Marco’s death, but I feel slightly at ease knowing that Arman is at least out of jail and readily available to help her sort this out… if you know what I mean. She had his back when the going got tough, so he’ll have hers.

And let’s not forget Garrett, who keeps taking hit after hit because he’s being outsmarted by Thony and Arman at every turn. He’s so desperate for a win that isn’t coming that it might honestly just make more sense to team up with them at this point! 

The further they get from his grasp, the more determined Garrett is likely going to become, which is dangerous, especially since he’s a loose cannon that doesn’t do well with abiding by the rules. After Russo specifically asked him not to get involved with the Cortez case, Garrett did the complete opposite and visited Maya at her house likely jeopardizing the whole case and putting everything at risk. It seems like there were definitely real feelings involved between them (it was more than “sleeping with the CI), but Garrett must understand that the consequences could be dire. If Maya is being watched, which she likely is, everyone is going to find out about his visit, including Russo, who won’t be happy, and Cortez, who Maya seems to be in a relationship with now. I can’t tell for certain how invested I am in this side case, but it will allow us to get a deeper understanding of Garrett, hopefully. 

I’ve talked your ear off already, and I barely addressed Marco’s death. His parents, Lolo and Lola, arrived in the U.S. for the funeral, and, as you can imagine, tensions were running high. 

A death in the family can knock anyone and everyone off course, but it was really hard to watch Lolo continuously blame Thony for everything that happened without acknowledging all that she went through or placing at least some of the blame on Marco.

As I said before, that woman is really a human punching bag. And again, she took it all in stride, acknowledging that they were only saying mean things because they were hurting inside. Hurt people hurt people. 

But when the blows became too heavy and Lolo tried to lay down the law and inform Thony that he’s taking Luca back to the Phillippines where he belongs because “that’s the only thing I have left of my son,” Thony was quick to shut him down and remind him that Luca was not his son. And good for her! You can be understanding of someone’s pain without allowing them to walk all over you. Everyone keeps testing her, but the bottom line is that she’s Luca’s mother.  She knows what loss feels like because as she pointed out, she was facing down the possibility that she would lose Luca, too, which is why she fought like hell for him and deserves to be happy with him on her terms. 

Thony will protect and defend her son at every turn; it would be wise for people to remember that in the future. 

I also love how parenting styles are being addressed in the series as it’s so rare to see on television.

Lolo tried to out-parent Thony by forcing Luca to stay at the table and telling him to clear his plate. He even told Thony that she spoils her son, but Thony immediately shut it down. She wasn’t interested in the judgment about her parenting choices, which I may remind everyone, belong to her and her alone.

Luca is respectful and kind and sweet. The boy has been through hell and back, so man, if he’s no longer hungry, let’s respect that and let him leave a stuffy and tense room while he’s mourning the loss of his father at such a tender age. Better yet, let’s not force things and create bad habits with food. It was a small but critical scene as it underlined the differences between our generations when it comes to parenting and was very relatable for so many mothers from all different walks of life and cultures. It’s nice to finally be acknowledged as a parent that’s simply trying their best, which brings me to Fi finally getting a pat on the back for being a good and loving mom. 

For as much as people sling hit after hit on Thony in the series, audiences sort of put her on a pedestal and celebrate her efforts when it comes to being a good mom, but Fi deserves it just as much. She faces hardships every day and does her best to make things easier and better for her children! I’m so happy her mother saw that and brought it up to her daughter.

All the tension definitely got to Chris, who was feeling terrible about what happened. It didn’t help that Lolo kept making comments about how much Chris reminded him of Marco or that Luca was now looking at Chris as a father figure.

Hopefully, Chris finds a way to live with what happened without the guilt eating him up because as his mother informed him, admitting the truth now will only do more harm than good. They can’t change what happened. 

What did you think of the second episode of The Cleaning Lady Season 2? Are you enjoying this season so far?

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