In the fourth episode of the first season of Jane the Virgin, truths finally come to light. Intrigued? Then itâ€™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 Iâ€™m feeling an infatuation? Is it a fantasy because I havenâ€™t met the person in the physical space? How do we construct imagined perceptions of people in our minds, and what happens when they arenâ€™t that version of themselves in real life?Â
Jane, in this instance, feels particularly trapped. Her love for Michael is never under question, for what itâ€™s worth. Thatâ€™s always here throughout â€œChapter Four,â€ yet that doesnâ€™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 â€œdramaâ€ 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. Janeâ€™s (possible) growing attraction to Rafael is mixed up in her upcoming marriage. And her job. And the lawsuit sheâ€™s opened against Rafaelâ€™s sister. (Who has seemingly disappeared?) Itâ€™s… a lot. Somehow, weâ€™re only on the fourth episode?Â
The point being: â€œChapter Fourâ€ 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 fiancÃ©e, which is what she eventually figures out is the key to all of this. Iâ€™ll talk more about Michaelâ€™s arc specifically in a bit, but I empathize with Jane so much. Itâ€™s so difficult to feel like youâ€™re going it alone when youâ€™re in a relationship. It is almost as if itâ€™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 theyâ€™re not providing that?
For what itâ€™s worth, Iâ€™m glad that she was finally honest with Michael, too, as I think thatâ€™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 Janeâ€™s life is endlessly chaotic, and she needs honesty to keep her sense of stability.Â
Michaelâ€™s Worst Fear
So, my therapist is having me do this thing where I keep track of my emotions throughout the day. Itâ€™s a mood chart in two-hour increments, so every two hours, I have to stop and check in with how Iâ€™m feeling. I tend to let an emotionâ€”whatever it might beâ€”overwhelm me. That is particularly the case if Iâ€™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 Iâ€™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 thatâ€™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. Whatâ€™s the thing Iâ€™m most afraid of happening?Â
And is that thing either as bad as I think it is or is it even possible?Â
Michaelâ€™s anxieties and fears are understandable. This is CLEARLY a weird situation, though heâ€™s certainly not making it any better with all the decisions heâ€™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 donâ€™t know how heâ€™s going to get out of tampering with evidence. Thatâ€™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 itâ€™s no longer a fear of his that Jane keeps the baby, then he can stop interfering with HIS OWN investigation into Zazâ€™s death.Â
WHICH IS BAD. THIS IS NOT GOING TO END WELL, MICHAEL.
Xiomaraâ€™s Worst Fear
As I mentioned before, lies and betrayal are part of this sort of storytelling, yet as dramatic as this all isâ€”HOLY SHIT, ITâ€™S SO FUN TO WATCHâ€”Jane the Virgin doesnâ€™t feel exploitative. I never feel like the writers are putting these characters through the ringer just for the sake of it. Thatâ€™s because even when these dramatic twists happen, thereâ€™s still an immense emotional weight placed upon them.Â
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 thereâ€™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 itâ€™s not the same thing. Yet thereâ€™s so much thatâ€™s similar. At this point, I probably wonâ€™t ever be able to separate out fact from fiction when it comes to my biological parents. Drug use damaged my bio momâ€™s memory, and she passed away just under a decade ago, so thereâ€™s no hope there. The stories Iâ€™ve heard from my own parents and other siblings all seem to contradict one another, so I donâ€™t know whatâ€™s true anymore either.Â
When something is so normal for so much of the world, itâ€™s easy to feel broken and incomplete when you donâ€™t have that. Itâ€™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 Xiomaraâ€™s motivations. Her worst fear ironically ended up being the same as Michaelâ€™s: that Jane would leave. That Jane wouldnâ€™t be in her life. And thus, in a roundabout way, Xiomara wanted to protect her daughter, though in the end, Xiomaraâ€™s problem was that she was trying to protect herself.
I donâ€™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 thatâ€™s the first step to repairing their relationship… if thatâ€™s what Jane wants.Â
I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING MORE TO PETRA. This episode reveals TWO important facts about Petra. First, that she was engaged to Lachlan, Rafaelâ€™s fatherâ€™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 couldnâ€™t resist betraying people in her life??? I donâ€™t know. But I wonder if instead, Petra manipulated Lachlan because she believed it would win Rafael over to her side. Itâ€™s not exactly a terrible plan. Like… morally terrible, yes, but in terms of a manipulative technique, it might have worked. Except Petra didnâ€™t even realize just how much she told on herself by trying to act like she was only vaguely interested in Romanâ€™s death. RAFAEL KNOWS SHE CHEATED ON HIM WITH HIS BEST FRIEND, OH SHIT, ITâ€™S ALL GOING DOWN.
Except… Natalia? Yâ€™all, what sort of life did Natalia escape from? Who was that man in the car? Why is this the secret sheâ€™s willing to go down over? Oh my god, yâ€™all, I NEED MORE. Thereâ€™s more to her story!!! I want it!
The video for â€œChapter Fourâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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