In the thirteenth episode of the first season of Jane the Virgin, Jane and Rafael have to make a difficult choice; everyone learns to let go a little; Nadine and Michael have a breakthrough. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For talk of domestic abuse, stalking, miscarriage.
I really, really enjoyed the major thematic motif in “Chapter Thirteen,” y’all. As I remarked at the end of the video, the bulk of this episode dealt with more of the emotional, interpersonal stuff that I find so compelling in “Jane the Virgin.” I think that was the right move, too, since this dealt with such heavy subjects. The audience needed to see these characters have space to deal with these issues, rather than jump quickly from one bit of drama to another.
The main issue, of course, is with the echogenic intracardiac focus found in Jane’s ultrasound. The show has already established that Jane is a pretty anxious and nervous person who heavily plans things to manage her anxiety. Thus, this issue hits on so many of the things that cause her anxiety anyway. She wants the best for her child; she wants to have a healthy pregnancy and child; and she wants to be able to plan for anything. The echogenic focus introduces doubt into her mind, and from there, she begins to spiral. There are a million things that could go wrong, but there’s a test she could do that would give her more definitive answers. Unfortunately, the amniocentesis itself has a risk of causing a miscarriage.
One thing I enjoyed about this episode was how openly the characters discussed this. There’s a lovely scene where Jane, Xiomara, and Alba speak frankly about her options that felt so damn refreshing. Jane is given options as if each of them are reasonable choices, and at the end of the day, that felt important: that Jane had choices. But I also love that Rafael was here to remind Jane that this wasn’t necessarily as moral of a choice as she thought it was. This wasn’t an issue of a right and wrong choice! Jane just had to do what she thought was best, but either option—get an amniocentesis or not—did not make her a bad person or a bad mother. This whole episode is evidence of that! Jane deeply cares about her child, and at no point did I ever even begin to entertain the notion that she didn’t. But from Jane’s perspective, she may have made a terrible mistake that would end in her losing the baby, so It’s easy for her to punish herself.
I just… I am just so happy that Jane had the support she did during “Chapter Thirteen.” Her entire family was there for her, and Rafael? Y’all, he was SO GREAT. The private graduation ceremony??? Respecting her choice, even after she changed her mind? Making sure to hear her concerns and not discount them? Look, I have the same issue with letting things go. (I, too, have been consumed by an Internet search spiral many a time in my life.) And while Rafael wanted Jane to start letting things go, he didn’t pressure her, and I really appreciated that portrayal here.
Jane wasn’t the only character learning to let go here, though. Rogelio, after being fired, has to learn to let go of a LOT of things, especially if he was going to book another gig. At his level of success, he wasn’t used to having to fight for things because… well, he hadn’t done so in a long, long time. Yet Xiomara—for her own reasons, too—pushes Rogelio to re-think his approach. Auditions aren’t bad, and she even plays into his ego to convince him to leave himself open to new opportunities.
Unfortunately, “Chapter Thirteen” leaves us at a very awkward place, because Xiomara’s advice worked! Rogelio tried something new, and he got offered the lead in a brand new telenovela! Except it would require him to film in Mexico… for a year and a half. HEY, WHY DOES THIS SHOW KEEP HURTING ME.
And we haven’t even gotten to the most soul-crushing part of this motif: Alba’s backstory. I love the way that this scene unfolded. There was no flashback and no hint that Xiomara was going to ask her mom why she never dated after her husband passed away. It felt impulsive, very much in the vein of what Xiomara would do. Alba’s answer was… y’all. I was WRECKED. She never dated again as a sign of respect. Out of guilt. Because a part of her blames herself for his heart giving out after he worked so hard to get the two of them to America. HI. HELP. ALL OF THIS WAS DEEPLY UPSETTING. Look, I don’t know if Alba is actually going to start dating the man from physical therapy. (Cheech Marin, oh my god, I couldn’t remember his name!!!) But I hope she feels like Xiomara has let go, too, that she gave her her blessing to see whoever she wants. Is Alba actually going to pursue that? I don’t know. But I want the best for her as well. I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.
I cannot believe how many clues there were to Rose’s identity IN THIS EPISODE ALONE. How many others did I miss? HOW MANY THINGS DID ROSE MANIPULATE TO PROTECT HERSELF? Because it’s clear that she has been working towards something for months now, and she wanted to make sure her alibi with Emilio was airtight. Of course, there was an ironic variable she didn’t account for: Emilio was having an affair, too, and that woman gave Michael and Nadine the key to link everything to Rose.
EXCEPT THEN THERE’S THAT ENDING. THAT ENDING IS… IT’S TOO MUCH. Okay, I’m sticking with my theory that we just saw Roman’s alleged brother, the one that Rafael was trying to look for early in the season. But… what the fuck??? Why is Rafael working with him? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? I’m scared. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.
On the one hand: I am so pleased with Petra’s complete and utter rejection of Milos in this episode. I was worried that she might give him credit for any of the absurd things he was saying to her, but nope! It doesn’t matter if Magda is a liar. (Where was Magda this entire episode?) That doesn’t mean that her wrongful act cancels out the fact that Milos is abusive, has anger issues, and THREW ACID AT HER MOTHER. She is done with him! He is not a good person, and he clearly hasn’t dealt with how angry and possessive he is.
I also know that this show has built up Petra to be a character who will do almost anything to protect herself. Her motivation for this makes a lot more sense, now that Milos has been revealed. This is all to say that I’m real worried about what Milos has just done. It’s unbearably creepy and gross. He bought a third stake in the hotel for her, didn’t ask her about it until it was done, and now he thinks she’ll just… be with him?
But that’s what the writers are pushing her towards, right? God, I hope not. I really, really hate Milos, and I don’t Petra to have anything to do with. Yet now she’s desperate, since Lachlan tricked her out of a place to live. UGH. This is gonna get dark, isn’t it?
The video for “Chapter Thirteen” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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