Will The Real Lil’ Ricky From On My Block Please Stand Up?

Photo: Courtesy of netflix.
Warning: Spoilers are ahead for On My Block season 3.
Finding buried treasure was hard enough, but now the On My Block crew has to find a missing person. The season 3 trailer revealed that Lil' Ricky is alive in On My Block, which is a cool twist and everything. But considering Lil' Ricky is a character we have never met, someone whose name has only ever been used to punctuate one of Jamal's (Brett Gray) RollerWorld discoveries for comedic effect, you probably have some questions. Questions that you're going to keep asking until season 4 of On My Block premieres, because we still don't really know who Lil' Ricky is for sure.
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If you recall, the '81 RollerWorld heist at the core of so much On My Block drama involved three members of the Santos gang: Benito, Frankie, and Lil' Ricky. The first two were arrested, and they died in prison. That we know for certain. Allegedly Ricardo Galindo, also known as Lil' Ricky, died nineteen months later... but this season hinges on the theory that he did not. When kidnapped (at the end of season 2, bleeding into the premiere of season 3) by Santos' leader Cuchillos (Ada Luz Ola), the core four learns that Cuchillos used to date Ricky (they later learn Ricky also had an affair with Angela E. Gibbs' character Rosé). Cuchillos wants the kids to find this supposedly not dead guy. That seems easy enough, except when you factor in that the kids don't actually know who Lil' Ricky is or what he looks like.
They go through a series of misdirects, from an admittedly frustrated maintenance man to the guy running a music label for artists that are a cross between Jojo Siwa and that girl who sang about liking Chinese food. Neither of these people are Lil' Ricky.
One initial theory was that Ricky is Cesar's (Diego Tinoco) father, who does, in fact, show up in season 3. While that would be the ultimate twist (On My Block loves homages to '80s films like The Goonies, so they might as well go the Star Wars route as well), there's only one small problem: Ricky allegedly died (or went into hiding) in '82, which would make it pretty tough for him to have a kid any younger than 36. Cesar is a card carrying member of Gen Z and even Spooky (Julio Macias) is most likely a '90s baby (the actor who plays Spooky is 29). If Lil' Ricky is their dad, that means he was somehow living openly in Freeridge while attempting to also hide his well-known identity in the neighborhood he supposedly fled. In season 3, Cesar's dad even gets a job at Jamal's father's busy restaurant, which is the opposite of low key. Plus, Spooky spends all season hoping to catch his father in a lie, so he would probably have figured his secret identity out by now.
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There's also the possibility that Chivo, that mysterious dude who loves puzzles and gnomes, is Lil' Ricky. Strengthening this theory is the fact that Chivo ultimately lead Jamal to the RollerWorld treasure... something that, theoretically, only Lil' Ricky could really know about. This hinges on that season 2 map that pretty much only the original three would understand, and yet here we are, in a post-RollerWorld treasure reveal world. Plus, Chivo's love of garden gnomes does offer up an enticing clue: According to the map, Lil' Ricky loved gardening.
When Chivo goes missing in season 3, the kids put that connection together quickly. They're convinced that finding Chivo means finding Ricky, whether they're the same person or not. There is one snag in this theory, too, however: Why would Chivo/Ricky want Jamal to have the money? That's a lot of cash to bequeath to a teenager. Snag aside though, it would also be kind of a relief if Lil' Ricky turned out to be someone Jamal and the core four knew and trusted, considering these kids effectively stole and then handed off the RollerWorld money. It's exactly the kind of lucky break this crew would stumble into — sort of like being kidnapped by a gang leader who wants to thank them rather than kill them (or at least not kill them immediately).
For now, theorize away. The On My Block crew still don't know who Ricky is at the end of season 3, so the sky is the limit. All we truly know right now is Lil' Ricky almost certainly isn't dead, he's not Cesar's dad, Cuchillos only wanted to find Ricky to kill him, and Rosé still has some thoughts about him.
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If you finished the season, you know that Cuchillos is out of the way and the core four has all separated thanks to a devastating time jump. So now there are two things we don't know: Who the hell Lil' Ricky is, and whether his eventual unmasking (god, please let them finally unmask this man) will bring our group of wiley teens back together.
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