In the third episode of Jane the Virgin, Jane makes a fateful decision, but then is unsure whether to follow through on it. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For brief discussion of homophobia
To Bone or Not to Bone
I’m only now realizing that this episode sets up an intriguing dichotomy: Jane spends all of “Chapter Three” agonizing over whether or not to have sex for the first time. This is contrasted with the actions of Petra, Luisa, and Xiomara, all who have given over to sexual impulses or cravings without much thought into them. I never get the sense that the show is telling us that there really is a binary here, that this is the only way to think of sexual desire. Rather, we have impulsivity versus overthinking it, right? Some of these characters could with some thoughtful consideration of their actions. And maybe Jane could stand to rethink what sex means for her and her body!
Look, I’m an ex-Catholic, so I know I have a different perspective on things here, but I can speak to this obsession with the sin of sex. It’s certainly not unique to Catholicism at all, nor is it just an American thing. It’s got a long, complicated history, but there is a specificity to it that this show generally captures very well in Jane and Abuela Alba. Which does bring me to a slight nitpick: that scene in Mass was slightly unbelievable. For whatever its worth, the Catholic church has largely adapted to the multi-lingual nature of the United States, and for a community as heavily Spanish-speaking as Miami, it doesn’t make sense that they’d not attend Mass in Spanish. 90% of my education in Catholicism was in Spanish in my hometown, and Spanish Mass was always more heavily attended. And given how pious Alba is, it felt just slightly off to me? Especially when the show is never reluctant to have Spanish spoken so frequently or include other cultural markers, you know?
Anyway, that part aside, this is a genuine moral struggle that a lot of Catholics deal with. Imagine how conflicted I was during my time as a Catholic! I was told that not only was sex before marriage a temptation, a sin, and a damnation, but somehow, the very thought of anything gay or queer was a million times worse than this. How was I supposed to wait until marriage to have sex if I literally could not get married? THIS WAS CLEARLY THE MOST FUN TIME OF MY CHILDHOOD, Y’ALL.
Still, Jane the Virgin presents this moral conflict not as something to make fun of, but as a genuine struggle for Jane. And I really, really like that. I know I’ve said this multiple times at this point, but it’s this sort of sincerity that makes the show so effective. It’s not silly that Jane believes in God or goes to church or wants to save herself for marriage. But what happens when your desires are so overwhelming? What happens when you seemingly live in an exception that isn’t covered by your religion’s holy text? Seriously! It’s not like the Bible is a guidebook for a “virgin” birth. So if Jane is already pregnant, is it then a contradiction of her morals to have sex with Michael? They’re already engaged; this is the man she wants to spend her life with; she has given this an IMMENSE amount of thought.
But is that enough for her?
To make matters worse, her attraction to Rafael is now VERY apparent. She’s not imagining this at all, and I don’t think it’s because she’s pregnant. What is she supposed to do with that? Their chemistry is undeniable, but that’s not a good enough reason for Jane to pursue this, and she knows that. It must seem particularly cruel to her. How can she have feelings for two people at the same time? If God really puts us through situations that we can endure, what is it that Jane is supposed to endure here? Especially given that A VIRGIN PREGNANCY is the OTHER thing she’s being asked to endure! It’s not like Jane’s life was easy without this other complication.
Feelings are messy, y’all, and what’s so compelling about Jane the Virgin is that the show never forgets that. There is no easy answer to Jane’s conflict in “Chapter Three.” While she does decide to wait until marriage, Michael proposes moving the wedding up closer so that they don’t have to put sex off for another year. Practically: it’s a brilliant suggestion. But she isn’t happy when she tells her mother and her abuela, is she? What if she’s marrying the wrong person? Is Rafael meant to be a temptation or would Jane be happier with him? Because he does encourage her to be herself far more than Michael does. Does Michael even know that Jane has a passion for writing romance? Does he ever encourage it?
EVERYTHING IS A MESS. Oh god, I genuinely don’t know how this is going to turn out???
I loved the motif throughout “Chapter Three” of how lies complicate our world. They’re like… bread and butter for telenovelas, first of all, and often a single lie can snowball into a multi-episode arc of a DISASTER, and that’s certainly what is happening here. It’s interesting, then, how we see the many lies unfolding across multiple character arcs, and yet, there is one great truth. When Jane is caught by Petra in her suite, she just flat-out tells her the truth why. It’s a really refreshing scene, isn’t it? Granted, Petra is lying to Jane back, and there are other lies that Jane is telling, too.
But holy shit, Michael is… this is not good. THIS IS REAL BAD. In order to cover up MULTIPLE LIES, including his own, Michael has committed a felony by tampering with evidence. And then he just keeps piling lies on top of his lies at work, all to protect someone who is definitely on thin moral ground. Abuela is right: this has turned into nightmare, especially since Michael has to keep telling lies to protect the other ones he already told! THIS IS ONLY THE THIRD EPISODE, IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE, MICHAEL. I mean… the dude gaslights Jane when she confronts him about Petra at the crime scene. That’s… that’s real bad, dude.
This episode also sees this spill out of just the two of them, though. Now that Michael has tipped off Petra about being a potential suspect, she’s getting sloppy as hell. Y’all: she said Roman’s brother’s name to Rafael. WHO NOW SUSPECTS HER. Ahhhhh this is so overwhelming!!!
I’m just so amused by how Rogelio is written and portrayed: he’s arrogant, but charming. He means well but he’s like… himbo-adjacent. He is so damn OBLIVIOUS half the time, and I think it’s because he’s so fully in the world of being this huge telenovela celebrity that he completely forgot how life for “normal” people works. So I see him as being both absurdly foolish in seeking out Jane—please respect Xiomara’s wishes!!!—and deeply desperate to make a connection with his daughter. It’s weirdly touching? Even though he is just a walking pile of mess? He is genuinely trying to do right by his daughter and Xiomara, but he also has no experience navigating something so complicated.
I gotta say, though, that my favorite scene in this whole thing is Alba marching down to the lot to confront Rogelio. BIG ABUELA ENERGY. And the fact that she is so easily won over? Her love of those tacky gift baskets? That whole subplot is comedy GOLD, and I love it so, so much.
The video for “Chapter Three” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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