Mark Watches ‘Jane the Virgin’: S01E04 – Chapter Four

In the fourth episode of the first season of Jane the Virgin, truths finally come to light. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.


I really enjoyed that this show is tackling the thorny, complicated weirdness that is sexual attraction, fantasy, love, and lust, because LORD, for those of us who experience this sort of attraction and emotion, this shit is CONFUSING. Is what I’m feeling an infatuation? Is it a fantasy because I haven’t met the person in the physical space? How do we construct imagined perceptions of people in our minds, and what happens when they aren’t that version of themselves in real life? 

Jane, in this instance, feels particularly trapped. Her love for Michael is never under question, for what it’s worth. That’s always here throughout “Chapter Four,” yet that doesn’t negate or cancel out the other emotions swirling in her. Is it just hormones? Maybe. Is it all chemical reactions? Perhaps. Or are her feelings for Rafael real? Whatever they are, this episode felt so real because it treated this struggle as a real one, even though this sort of “drama” is exactly what we see so much of in soap operas and telenovelas. Yet Jane the Virgin remains grounded in the truth: this shit is messy as fuck. Jane’s (possible) growing attraction to Rafael is mixed up in her upcoming marriage. And her job. And the lawsuit she’s opened against Rafael’s sister. (Who has seemingly disappeared?) It’s… a lot. Somehow, we’re only on the fourth episode? 

The point being: “Chapter Four” does a fine job of showing us just how overwhelmed Jane is. Just a couple episodes ago, she was certain that she could keep most of her life exactly the same as it was before. Yeah, literally none of that was possible. Okay, maybe not none of it, as Jane struggles with her lust over Rafael as Michael (for his own reasons) continues to behave strangely around his fiancée, which is what she eventually figures out is the key to all of this. I’ll talk more about Michael’s arc specifically in a bit, but I empathize with Jane so much. It’s so difficult to feel like you’re going it alone when you’re in a relationship. It is almost as if it’s defeating the purpose of one, right? We are with the people we love because there is an expectation that we will feel safe and heard and loved and seen. What happens when they’re not providing that?

For what it’s worth, I’m glad that she was finally honest with Michael, too, as I think that’s going to be absolutely crucial going forward. Is this arc resolved between Rafael and Jane? Perhaps not. (Well, especially when I think of the final scene.) But Jane’s life is endlessly chaotic, and she needs honesty to keep her sense of stability. 

Michael’s Worst Fear

So, my therapist is having me do this thing where I keep track of my emotions throughout the day. It’s a mood chart in two-hour increments, so every two hours, I have to stop and check in with how I’m feeling. I tend to let an emotion—whatever it might be—overwhelm me. That is particularly the case if I’m having an anxiety attack or a depressive episode. They just take over my body and my brain. The idea here is that if I think about what I’m feeling and name it, I can begin to interrogate why my body is having this reaction. I hit the anxiety category often, too, and within that, my therapist asks me to go to the final conclusion. What is it that truly worries me about something that’s triggered my anxiety? And more often than not, as I leap from conclusion to conclusion, either spoken aloud or written down, I find out what the worst part of that anxiety is. What’s the thing I’m most afraid of happening? 

And is that thing either as bad as I think it is or is it even possible? 

Michael’s anxieties and fears are understandable. This is CLEARLY a weird situation, though he’s certainly not making it any better with all the decisions he’s making regarding Petra. But I hope that this episode is a turning point. Up until now, Petra has been able to hold a couple things over him to continue her manipulation. One of them is… well, I truly don’t know how he’s going to get out of tampering with evidence. That’s a fireable and federal offense. She also knows that Michael needs Rafael and Petra to stay together, or else his worst fear will come true: Jane will keep the baby.

So is this where he changes? Is this how he finally starts pushing back against Petra? Because if it’s no longer a fear of his that Jane keeps the baby, then he can stop interfering with HIS OWN investigation into Zaz’s death. 


Xiomara’s Worst Fear

As I mentioned before, lies and betrayal are part of this sort of storytelling, yet as dramatic as this all is—HOLY SHIT, IT’S SO FUN TO WATCH—Jane the Virgin doesn’t feel exploitative. I never feel like the writers are putting these characters through the ringer just for the sake of it. That’s because even when these dramatic twists happen, there’s still an immense emotional weight placed upon them. 

Look, I have a lot of fun laughing at Rogelio de la Vega, at how silly Alba is around him, at all the brilliant comedy we see in this subplot. But the narrator warned us: Jane would not expect heartbreak when it arrived, and truthfully, neither did I. And I should have! Because there’s actually a whole lot here I recognize as someone who spent most of their life being lied to about their biological parents. Granted, Jane is not adopted, so I know it’s not the same thing. Yet there’s so much that’s similar. At this point, I probably won’t ever be able to separate out fact from fiction when it comes to my biological parents. Drug use damaged my bio mom’s memory, and she passed away just under a decade ago, so there’s no hope there. The stories I’ve heard from my own parents and other siblings all seem to contradict one another, so I don’t know what’s true anymore either. 

When something is so normal for so much of the world, it’s easy to feel broken and incomplete when you don’t have that. It’s easy to feel betrayed when a person built up a lie for years and years. And seriously, I know Xiomara was looking for the right time, but CLEARLY, this was one of the worst possible. As is the case with the other characters, though, I understood Xiomara’s motivations. Her worst fear ironically ended up being the same as Michael’s: that Jane would leave. That Jane wouldn’t be in her life. And thus, in a roundabout way, Xiomara wanted to protect her daughter, though in the end, Xiomara’s problem was that she was trying to protect herself.

I don’t believe that any situation would have ended with Jane smiling, accepting this news without being upset, and Xiomara could breathe a sigh of relief. But I expect that some relief will come soon, as the truth is now out in the world. Jane knows. And that’s the first step to repairing their relationship… if that’s what Jane wants. 

Petra’s Manipulation

I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING MORE TO PETRA. This episode reveals TWO important facts about Petra. First, that she was engaged to Lachlan, Rafael’s father’s right-hand man, and that she called off the engagement so she could marry Rafael. I thought I had this shit figured out: Petra was trying to be as selfish as possible. Perhaps she couldn’t resist betraying people in her life??? I don’t know. But I wonder if instead, Petra manipulated Lachlan because she believed it would win Rafael over to her side. It’s not exactly a terrible plan. Like… morally terrible, yes, but in terms of a manipulative technique, it might have worked. Except Petra didn’t even realize just how much she told on herself by trying to act like she was only vaguely interested in Roman’s death. RAFAEL KNOWS SHE CHEATED ON HIM WITH HIS BEST FRIEND, OH SHIT, IT’S ALL GOING DOWN.

Except… Natalia? Y’all, what sort of life did Natalia escape from? Who was that man in the car? Why is this the secret she’s willing to go down over? Oh my god, y’all, I NEED MORE. There’s more to her story!!! I want it!

The video for “Chapter Four” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

You can now pre-order my second YA novel, Each of Us a Desert, which will be released on September 15, 2020 from Tor Teen!
– Not only that, but my very first pre-order campaign is now live for North American readers! If you submit proof of pre-order, you can get a limited edition print that comes with the book.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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