DISCLAIMER: This recap of the Undone episode “Lungs” has spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, time travelers! Undone‘s pivotal and profound fifth episode, “Lungs,” takes us inside the world of Alejandro, Camila’s son. It deftly fills in the blanks regarding Camila’s strange behavior, tying loose ends while leaving a few threads flapping in the breeze, ripe for connecting in a later outing.
The episode’s ending might be my favorite cliffhanger on Undone thus far, especially considering Alma’s powers are on the fritz. It’ll be interesting to watch her try to return home.
Ready to delve into “Lungs”? Let’s get to it.
We open with Alma (Rosa Salazar), Becca (Angelique Cabral) and Jacob (Bob Odenkirk), arriving at Camila’s current location. Camila (Constance Marie) answers the door, and beside her is her son, Alejandro (Carlos Santos). It’s his apartment.
Now, we rewind to the moment Camila gave up baby Alejandro. We see him growing up in an orphanage — nobody ever adopts him. One pivotal moment in Alejandro’s childhood shows him receiving a plant from a mysterious pregnant woman.
Finally, Alejandro reaches adulthood. He snags a job working in the oil fields. After peering into his file, Alejandro gets the phone number listed for Camila.
Later, following a physically strenuous day in the oil fields, Alejandro musters the courage to call his mom. Camila looks taken aback by the phone call, but she expresses her gratitude toward him for reaching out.
Then, Camila and Alejandro meet as adults. Alejandro coughs in front of her, prompting Camila to suggest he find a different profession that’s not so detrimental to his health. She offers to pay for computer classes.
Next, Alejandro calls Camila from his new apartment, eager for her to visit. However, we see Camila in the payphone booth with a young Becca. She reveals they can’t talk anymore over the phone because Jacob’s getting suspicious.
We see a montage of Alejandro receiving Christmas and birthday cards from Camila over the years. She visits him for the first time at his new place and notes his persistent cough. While the doctors claim it’s bronchitis, Camila believes it could be something more. She tends to her son, asking him when he will find a wife. That’s when Alejandro admits he’s gay. So, Camila presses for him to get a husband. We love a supportive maternal ally!
Later, Alejandro visits Camila in the US, much to her dismay. She urges him to leave because the whole family’s present and preparing for Becca’s wedding. Alejandro discloses his medical condition — he has scar tissue on his lungs from working in the oil fields, so the doctors must perform surgery to remove it. Camila offers to send money for the procedure.
However, Alejandro tells her off for incessantly hiding him like he’s a shameful part of her past. Becca observes the argument from afar.
Then, Camila winds up on Alejandro’s doorstep, hellbent on taking care of him after his surgery. Camila cooks for him and helps him recover.
Now, we’re back in the present. Alma introduces herself to Alejandro, and the two hit it off instantly. Alma, Becca and Jacob join the other two inside. Camila makes tea for everyone. Jacob apologizes to his wife for making her feel like she couldn’t talk about her son. However, Camila doesn’t want to discuss it.
Alma asks Camila why she never adopted Alejandro. But Camila divulges that she tried to adopt him; she gave him a plant when he was a child. Alejandro grows angry upon hearing that his mother could’ve adopted him but chose not to. Camila refuses to reveal her reason for never following through with the adoption.
Alejandro orders her to leave along with the rest of the family.
While outside Alejandro’s apartment, Camila still refuses to disclose her reasoning, only that she was young and already shunned by her mother. Then, she apologizes to Alma, Becca and Jacob for her behavior. She only wanted to do right by her family. Camila storms off, and Jacob departs, hot on her heels.
Meanwhile, Alma reveals that her door reappeared near Alejandro’s apartment. She believes that young Alejandro is behind the said door. Alma urges Becca to utilize her gifts to send them into their mother’s memories. They need to discover why she didn’t adopt her son.
But Becca’s tired of putting her health at risk at Alma’s behest. So, Becca opens a portal to Camila’s memory of that day without Camila standing nearby. It’s impressive. Becca walks away, telling Alma she can explore the memory by herself. Of course, Alma’s abilities aren’t as advanced as Becca’s, so she might struggle with getting home.
Suddenly, Alma realizes Becca sent her to the wrong decade — she appears to be in the 1950s or 1960s, when Geraldine, Jacob’s mother, was in a mental hospital. An orderly finds Alma and carts her off to a room, locking her inside.
Carlos Santos churns in a powerful performance in “Lungs,” effortlessly conveying the inner turmoil and pain of growing up without parents. It’s nuanced, subtle, yet profoundly impactful work. I hope we see Alejandro again.
“Lungs” proves that intergenerational trauma is real, but whether we can heal it retroactively is another story. I think Alma’s unwavering desire to change the past for her family will bite her in the ass when she realizes she can’t fix everything. Nothing in life is that black and white.
Do you think we’ll meet Geraldine in the next episode? How will Alma get home? Join me while I recap Undone, only on Geek Girl Authority.
Undone Season 2 is now streaming on Prime Video.
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