Our beloved Selena Quintanilla returns in Netflix’s biographical drama Selena: The Series, Part 2. In the new season, Selena has found herself, now navigating the world as the hero of her story.
Season two picks up after Selena’s father Abraham Quintanilla (Ricardo Chavira) fires Chris Pérez (Jesse Posey) from the band after learning of his and Selena’s (Christian Serratos) secret relationship. Selena is no longer the girl performing with Los Dinos but rather a young woman, desperately in love, wanting to feel the love songs she performed. Following true to the actual events, Selena and Chris elope without her family’s knowledge. Depicting the tense exchange in the aftermath of their marriage, Chris is eventually welcomed back into the family and band.
Amid most of the season, Selena is working through her newfound fame and marriage. Serratos’s charisma and performance skills continue to shine as she belts out Selena’s vocals. The series loves to include full-length performances allowing us to revisit the magic of Selena. Simultaneously, we also witness the singer’s anxieties and pressures as she juggles a new English solo album and boutique. Cue multiple montages of Selena alone amidst dark lighting, suffering from her anxiety nightmares.
Serratos’s power comes not just in her stage presence when having to perform but in her facial expressions. Her face tells us so much about how she feels, whether she twinges in excitement, love, pain, or fear. Through her growing career, Selena faces struggles with her marriage and her future. Her insecurities explode when she’s told she needs a vocal coach for her newest English album, causing Selena to wonder if she’s lost herself. While millions know Selena as this mega superstar, Serratos offers a humanizing lens; she is more like us than we ever thought. With the help of Serratos, we see Selena as this complex woman with so many ideas for her future.
While the season’s plot revolves around Selena, we also follow her family, including A.B. (Gabriel Chavarria), Suzette (Noemí Gonzalez), and her parents. A.B. feels the pressure and lack of recognition in writing and producing the songs for the band’s next album. Suzette, on the other hand, experiences her own fairytale, marrying Bill (Christian Escobar).
While it is Selena’s story, Gonzales stands out as Suzette, with her immense support and frustration with Selena’s choices. The moments between the two sisters are so heartfelt because they both want the best for each other in their changing lives. A memorable scene, in particular, focuses on Selena and Suzette in wedding dresses, as Selena breaks down because she didn’t have a real wedding. To make the conversation light, Suzette asks, “You had to make this about you?” alluding to Selena always seeming to have the focus, even if not intentionally.
We also witness more of the dramatization of Yolanda Saldivar (Natasha Perez), the woman who killed Selena. Starting managing Selena’s fan club and eventually the boutiques, Yolanda is first seen as this kind quiet natured woman who adores Selena. Ultimately, we realize her alarming nature, as the camera zooms in on a shrine dedicated to the singer while haunting music plays in the background. Her facial expressions also seem to change throughout the season, as she becomes glaringly jealous of the people around Selena.
As the show adds in some chilling aspects, most of the series focuses on Selena’s humble nature amid her success. In one scene, Selena attends Grammy’s, winning the Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album award. Through a sequence of events, Selena meets Whitney Houston and Gloria Estefan, shaking in delight and nervousness to be among the biggest superstars in the world. We even get a cute moment where a young Beyoncé meets the performer at the Galleria Mall in Houston, a true story where the legendary Beyoncé was starstruck by Selena.
While there’s a lot to cover in Selena and her family’s life, it could have been beneficial to cut out some episodes. Although some scenes were necessary for the storytelling, some shots felt unnecessary, like the random shots of the scenery of their environment. It would have been more natural to flash the scenes towards the start of the action rather than setting multiple scenes up through shots of the family’s house or boutique.
When you remove the gorgeous stylish costumes and the glitz and glamour performances, you find a narrative about a young woman balancing her family, love, and career. While season one of Selena set us up for what Selena could be, season two shows us the beautiful energy she exudes. Selena: The Series allows us to see who Selena is, voice, drive, compassion, and all.
Selena: The Series premiers globally on May 4 on Netflix.