"On My Block" Star Julio Macias on Why Spooky Still Might Be a Bad Guy After The Season 3 Finale

Tamara Fuentes
Photo credit: Netflix

From Seventeen

*Major spoilers for season 3 of On My Block below!*

While On My Block has always revolved around the Core Four, other characters have started to get the spotlight shined on them, bringing their stories to the forefornt as well. Even though he’s not one of the four main characters, Spooky, AKA Oscar, the beloved member of the Santos who is also Cesar's older brother/father figure, has been there from the beginning of the series. Since season one, Spooky has been hailed as one of the show's standout characters, thanks to actor Julio Macias' portrayal of him. The role of the Latinx gang member has been seen on television hundreds of times before, but thanks to Julio and the writers of On My Block, Spooky is beloved by fans.

Seventeen got to exclusively talk to Julio Macias about bringing Spooky to life, the two year time jump in the season three finale, and why Spooky is not as good as fans might think he is.

17: This is your first season as a series regular. What was it like getting the news that you'll get to share Spooky's story a little bit more?

Julio Macias: I think it's really cool! Ever since Lauren [Iungerich, series creator] told me that she wanted to write more stuff for me, I was always curious about how that was [going to be] because the show's very much about the core four. So without taking away any attention from them, how was my storyline going to be developed? Last year, there were more scenes, less episodes, but more involvement. Then this year, it almost seems like I tag along with their adventures the whole way through.

17: It was interesting hearing you talk about Spooky on Netflix's Brown Love podcast where you called him the Big Bad of the show. Do you still think he is after season three?

JM: I think that he had to start off as the Big Bad to then build the dichotomy of everything that's going on around him in Season Three. So in Season One, he had to come in as the antagonist. Everyone has to not like him. I mean, I remember when my parents were watching it, they would call me after every episode. The night that they watched the episode where I asked Cesar to take out Latrelle, they called me and they said, 'How could you be such a bad influence?' And without spoiling it for them, I said, 'It's not that simple.'

I don't think he's a good guy still. I think he still has that ambiguity. I'm wrestling with it. And he's getting to the right results, but probably not the best way. So maybe not the Big Bad, but I don't know if he's flipped over to the light side just yet.

17: There's so many fans of the show who have loved Spooky from the start, despite being a gang member and doing all these bad things. Did that surprise you?

JM: The level of mistakes that he has made other people's mistakes seem smaller. So they're like, 'All right. If he messed up that bad, and is still able to redeem himself, then maybe I can do that for my own, in my own life. Just for myself.'

My mother studied anthropology in college, so our conversations really go on for hours and hours on end about how everything is not black and white. There's a really nuanced way of looking at everybody's life — including this one. A bunch of guys are like a terrorist to some and a hero to others — like Che Guevara. I always brought that nugget in when I was playing Spooky, and I thought, 'These are his choices and he knows what's right or wrong.' However, he's still a product of his environment and the pressure of that. It's not easy to just do the right thing all of the time.

17: One of Spooky's biggest scenes this season was when he confronted his father for walking out again. What was filming that scene like particularly because it deals with a really heavy topic for a lot of Latinx households?

JM: That was the most exciting and challenging thing that I had to do this season. There's a sense of, when you get abandoned, to sort of either blame everybody else or blame yourself. I think that Spooky didn't necessarily know how to blame everybody else, so he blamed himself for his dad leaving even though there was nothing that he could have done.

When he comes back, there's so much resentment and anger there, especially in the sense of how he comes back. And he wants so bad is to be with his sons and there's a glimmer of hope like 'Oh my God, you're back!' before asking 'Why the f*ck are you back?'

17: Spooky was the one who helped the Core Four get rid of Chuchillos with the help of the 19th Street gang. Knowing that he is not so much a good guy, were you surprised that he went that far in helping them?

JM: In my mind, Spooky's always been their guardian angel. He doesn't necessarily want to take credit for [helping them] in his line of work. The more attention that you bring to yourself, the more danger you bring — not only onto yourself, but to your family, and he wants to protect Cesar, first and foremost, and his friends.

Lauren usually doesn't give us the last episode until we're way, way into filming. So we didn't know how it was going to end. Same with last year and same with the first season. So we really didn't know what was going on.I had a suspicion that he was working something in the back, although I was completely thrown when the new gang comes in and it seems like they take him out. But then obviously he comes back and does this whole thing.

17: On My Block always ends their finales with a big twist. This year it was the two-year time jump. Spooky has now left the Santos and has a house, and a kid, and a wife. What did you think about his fate?

JM: That was the first scene that we shot. My hair had grown out. I took a nasty fall last year, and so pretty much the entire year I spent in recovery and just seeing who I wanted to be as a man. So I was very happy to see Oscar in a way, in a fantasy, get what he — I guess deserve is a strong word — but I guess what we romanticize him to be.

Now, I haven't talked to anybody, but just knowing how this show goes, it can't be that happy, right? How do you afford that house? How do you support that girl? You know, is his family safe? He clearly got some tattoos removed, but I mean, how do you go from gang-banging to that in almost no time?

17: At the end of the season, Spooky is seen with the RollerWorld money. Do you think that might have something to do with it?

JM: [It was cleaned, but] it's still stolen money. And then that adds to precarious situations where pitching ahead, you have to ask, 'What are the decisions that Spooky did in his earlier life? How are they going to affect both his baby mama and his baby?' That kid is going to be almost born with extra luggage that nobody asked for just because of who the father is. And, in a sense, he's repeating the cycle that his dad did, but hopefully in a better way.

We get a glimpse that there is a way out with his father coming back. Especially his dad was running things [in the Santos], goes in [jail], comes back out and is non-affiliated. But he comes back and is still kind of like, 'Hey. You don't have to do this.' That gives us suspicion that there might be a compromise between leaving and death. I'm a little suspicious of [him leaving]. All right Spooky, I'm happy for you. I'm happy that you're doing your thing, but how'd you get there? I really hope that the answer is hard work. But we don't know.

17: The time jump also showed Cesar taking over Oscar's old role in the gang as Lil' Spooky. How do you think he's going to react to seeing Cesar being part of the Santos?

JM: Me and Diego [Tinoco] talked about this even from season one. Like, 'Hey wouldn't it be cool if our characters, like, one went this way and one went the other?' When he saw my character, he's like, 'You're so cool. You've got the tattoos. And you get to fight.' And all this stuff. And I'm like, Yeah, but you're the leader of the show, bro.'

I think this character's got to go two ways. You've either got to kill him or he's going to redeem himself. So it's interesting how conversations that me and him had at the beginning in a way ended up coming to fruition. I think that in the last three seasons of On My Block, we've seen Oscar try to teach Cesar something. Teach him how to be a man. Teach him how to hold his own. Teach him how to hold the community. Teach him how to stay out. But at the end of the day, I mean, little man's got to grow up at some point.

Disappointment is definitely a word that I would use. But also maybe hope. Meaning that if he's got to be out, you know, maybe his brother might get out. But maybe his brother learned enough from him to make the complicated decisions that Oscar was making before even better.

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