What began as a scandalous show criticized for the glamorization of child prostitution and the portrayal of the Baby Squillo case, ended as a typical teen show teaching us about the true meaning of friendship and how secrets can turn our worlds upside down.
Throughout the show's three seasons, dangerous choices were made and it was not until season three that we saw the consequences of the girls being in the prostitution ring. The show does an outstanding job in showing the pressures teenagers face in today's digital age. Maybe some are not as extreme as prostitution, but they show the extent these girls can go to "fit in" and how hard it is to leave these pressures once they realize they are in danger.
Not everyone had a happy ending. Ludovica (Alice Pagani) ended moving to Paris and attending college while Chiara (Benedetta Porcaroli) had to serve her time at a juvenile prison. I think the character development of these two was one of the best aspects of the series along with the soundtrack. If you were to watch Season 1 right now, you would not have predicted that the two would switch roles throughout the series.
The loving, bubbly Chiara from season 1 turned into a cold, mischievous character who would refuse to quit prostitution and never provided a reason to why she liked having that “other life.” Meanwhile Ludo began as an edgy, dark character and turned into a sensitive, caring one who wanted to better herself despite her difficult situation.
Maybe “Baby” did not have the most exciting storyline full of drama and mystery from teen shows like “Elite” and “Riverdale.” The show did get slow in Season 2 (talk about a sophomore slump), but picked up its rhythm in Season 3 with the trial and the uncovering of the prostitution ring. I have to admit that the most thrilling scene was the police raid at the apartment. Chiara screams pretending someone broke into her Chiara as Ludo dashes for her life removing all their belongings from their rooms while holding a huge stuffed teddy bear.
Besides the double lives the girls lived, friendship for me was the main theme of the show as cheesy as that sounds for a show about teenagers. My favorite scenes would have to be the volleyball scene in episode 5 where the characters forget about their own problems to bond with each other as well as the ending scene in episode 6 as Chiara and Ludo say goodbye to each other. That part definitely left me in the feels. And let’s not forget Chiara confessing on Instagram Live that she is “Emma” and saving Ludo’s back to take the fault of prostitution of minors to herself.
Besides the friendship, it was the relationship between Chiara and Damiano (Ricardo Mandolini) that took a turn for the worst. Who would have thought Niccolò (Lorenzo Zurzolo) would end up with Chiara after everything she went through with Damiano? Damiano risked so much and even his life to save Chiara from prostitution. Their break-up scene and coming to terms with it showed us that sometimes two people are not meant for each other, no matter how much they love each other.
I was confused as to why Monica (Claudia Pandolfi), the PE teacher was completely written off and her romance with Niccolò from season 2 was no longer a thing. But I guess it was for the best. There were enough minors having relationships with adults in the show and Monica took the mature decision to quit her job and move on.
Same goes for Ludo and Fiore (Giuseppe Maggio). Yes, they may have been into each other but the relationship got too toxic especially in the end as he convinced her to run away with him and leave her life behind (Let’s not forget that he hired a stalker to scare her to remain a prostitute in season 2).
At least Fabio (Brando Pacitto) and Brando (Mirko Trovato) had a happy ending.
Would season 3 have been different if from episode 1 it focused on the trial confessionals and the rest of the show would have been flashbacks? Yes. But the events that led to the trial at the end would not have been as exciting if we did not know that the police began getting tips about the ring and who was involved. I am glad I was not the only one who felt some romantic chemistry between Ludo and the detective though that would have been inappropriate given the nature of the show.
The official trailer of the show starts by Chiara saying “If you’re 16 and live in Rome’s most beautiful neighborhood, you’re lucky. Ours is the best possible world. We’re immersed in a wonderful see-through fish tank, but we long for the sea. Even though everything looks perfect, to survive, we need a secret life.”
This quote was brought back in the last episode giving the viewers a full circle effect. These girls had it all in life when it comes to wealth and success. Their futures were on the right path given their economic status and school. There is definitely more to life than being wealthy, but they risked it all for their secret life which caused more harm than good.
“Baby” could have easily ended with Chiara and Ludo saying goodbye to each other as they watched the sunset. But the show did a great job with teasing viewers on the new lives of the girls after the trial and focusing on an overall idea of their lives moving on.
The last scene of Chiara and Ludo staring at each other's Bear tattoos was emotional yet uplifting. The two loved each other so much and did anything possible to save the other one. But they had to learn to let each other go which was hard to watch.