In the sixth episode of the first season of Jane the Virgin, everything is a lot. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For brief discussion of domestic abuse, and for a longer discussion of bullying.
Jane at School
Okay, I have to start with this one because part of this plot PISSED ME OFF so much. And this isn’t a complaint of the story choice from the writers, but of the actual behavior appearing in the real world. One of the reasons (and there are many) that bullying persists is because of the asinine refusal of the people overseeing everything to actually get to the root of the problem. The head sister here is just infuriating. She doesn’t seem to think that two students sharing the INTENSELY personal information of another person in the classroom is all that big of a deal? Maybe she did, but it’s not shown on screen. Anyone could tell that Valeria and Victoria were being cruel for the sake of it, but no, the focus is instead on Jane causing “drama.” So, Valeria and Victoria now know they have a line that they can skate around, that will prevent them from getting in trouble. So they do it again: if they can make it seem like Jane is causing “drama,” then anything they can pin on her will keep them from being responsible.
Like, I can’t believe ANYONE bought the claim that Jane walked up to these girls and threw an iPad on the ground and smashed it. Like… what? Look, lemme make this even more complicated because this is what I do: I feel like there’s some unspoken racism going on here. Jane is the only brown-skinned person in any of these, and look how easy it was to get labels assigned to her. She’s promiscuous. She’s gross. She’s volatile. She’s violent. They got her FIRED. Fired!!! All for what?
Well, that part is actually interesting. At the heart of this is Rogelio’s misguided attempts to love Jane and show her that he cares. Prior to this, Rogelio had made grand gestures to his ex-wife and his ex-stepdaughters through gifts and money. He explains a little bit more why he does that in “Chapter Six,” and I can appreciate that. He did not come from money, and now that he’s found success, he loves lavishing others with things he did not have growing up. That’s actually remarkably sweet… in theory. In the execution of this, though, Rogelio had contributed to his ex-daughters (that is so weird to type) feeling entitled to what he has given out, and, surely encouraged by their toxic mother, they took it out on Jane. When Jane finally gives them a taste of their own medicine, that reality is finally comes out, and I appreciated that Jane didn’t just stand up for herself. In the end, she still had compassion; she forgave these kids because she got an insight into how unstable and toxic their home life must be.
Still. Y’all. I hate it when people do this shit around bullies! It’s one of the easiest ways to make me angry. Like someone saying, “It doesn’t matter who started it.” YES. YES, SOMETIMES, IT ABSOLUTELY DOES.
Jane and Michael
After this arc concluded, the narrator remarked that Jane was in a forgiving mood, which is why she reached out to Michael. I assumed, then, that this episode would feature their reconciliation. There’s a motif across “Chapter Six” about how events can change our perception of someone, something that happens with Xiomara. (I’ll get to that in a bit.) And part of Jane’s struggle is that she can’t unsee Michael’s multiples lies and his gaslighting. It has fundamentally changed how she views him, especially since it exposes a part of him she never saw before. Her mind takes this and runs with it. What else is Michael capable of? What other parts will she discover in the future?
Even then, I assumed that this episode was pushing Jane in a fairly clear direction. She had learned that even in people as unlikable as Valeria and Victoria, there’s unseen shit going on beneath the surface. Jane chose to forgive them because she realized this. So, was she going to offer the same to Michael?
Yeah, I didn’t see this coming. I certainly don’t think it’s out of character for her, and I have to wonder how much Rafael’s confession of attraction affected her. For Jane, the fantasy matters. We’ve seen that multiple times over the course of the show, from Jane’s desires of reuniting with her father to fantasies coming to “life” in her daydreams. I wonder if it’s less that Rafael feels like fate, and more that Jane truly believes that the fantasy of being with Michael is now broken. There can’t be a fantasy here anymore. I know that I feel broken after watching this. MY HEART.
You know, I wanted to call attention to Xiomara’s growth in this episode. It’s established that one of the reasons that Jane was bullied in high school (and why she’s so adamant about not teach high schoolers) is because Xiomara dated the father of the most popular girl in school. Xiomara is an impulsive person; she listens to her instinct, and she acts. But it also means that she has difficulty in thinking of the long-term ramifications of what she does. Thus, her decision to pull away from Rogelio to help Jane felt so beautifully mature, even if it was heartbreaking. Like, Rogelio just confirmed that he didn’t want his ex-wife to take his energy away from Xiomara!!! IT WAS VERY ROMANTIC. And yet, Xiomara is able to exercise her willpower and willingly choose not to pursue someone she really wants, all so that her daughter’s life can be less confusing.
It touched my heart, y’all. I mean, it also HURT, but I was so proud of Xiomara. It’s clear that she sees something promising in Rogelio, and she wants to be loved right. She DESERVES that. But after all these years, she has finally put Jane first. UGH. MY EMOTIONS.
Rafael and Petra
At this point, I think that Petra’s backstory is the only possible thing left that could redeem her somewhat. Hell, not even necessarily redeem her: it could give her character layers and provide a motivation for why she is behaving the way she is. Right now, she and her mother feel like pure antagonists. They are selfish, to the point where Magda assaults her daughter and then compels her to falsely accuse Rafael of domestic violence. Why? So that they can get more money from the divorce. Getting more money seems to be the only motivation for both of these characters, though I admit to still being completely in the dark about who Ivan is and what he has to do with Petra. She owes him a lot of money; but for what? Why was Magda not at all that surprised when Ivan broke into their room?
Regardless, I did not think that Petra and Rafael would actually separate, at least not this early. I commented on this on video, but the pacing for this show is probably the most unexpected part of it. But it is in conversation with telenovelas, and this is a feature of that kind of storytelling. It just moves. Which means I have only seen six episodes, and yet it makes perfect sense that HERE is where Rafael finally “chooses” Jane, so to speak. That kiss was electrifying, but it’s also immensely upsetting! Because it complicates EVERYTHING. Literally everything! Oh god, how are they going to deal with this? Because while I can’t deny the chemistry between these two, chemistry is not the same as compatibility, you know? This might feel like a fairy-tale, but what if it’s a nightmare?
The video for “Chapter Six” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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