In the fourth episode of the second season of Jane the Virgin, IT’S ALL A MESS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of kidnapping, consent
I really enjoy that this show has managed to build up Lina as Jane’s best friend in a very believable way. There’s so much going on here—and not just in this episode, but ALL THE TIME—and yet there’s been room for the writers to give us a character who feels very full. We’ve all seen a show where a character has basically been invisible for a long time, and they they get a major plot about them, and it feels very strange to have them in center stage. That’s not the case here. Lina is clearly Jane’s best friend, and so this exploration of what that friendship means post-motherhood is deeply fulfilling!
As I’d mentioned before, I’ve had a TON of friends recently have children, and so while I’m certainly not claiming to understand this experience, I’ve witnessed this very struggle in real life: how do new mothers maintain the life they used to have? How do they assert themselves when so much of their life revolves around a newborn child? It’s not easy! And here, Jane’s panic over forgetting Lina’s 25th birthday was hard to watch. It’s so clear that she loves Lina and that she knew she had messed this up. Her intentions were so pure, too! She wanted to prove to Lina that she could do both things: be an attentive mother and be an attentive friend. Ironically, that is what she proves in the end. It was possible for her to do both, but Jane had to learn the hard way that one of the key means of making this work was communication. Instead of talking to Lina when she realized the mistake, Jane threw herself into last-minute party planning, and LORD, that collapsed fast.
As messy, complicated, and emotionally thorny as most of this episode is, there was a joy in watching these two characters find their love for one another as friends. That love was rooted in their experience in school together and strengthened by an incredible friendship over the years. This episode has a wonderful thing to say about this kind of non-romantic relationship: It absolutely takes work. I know this society we live in values romantic relationships more than others, but here, Jane’s struggles with Lina are given the same weight as the conflicts she has with Michael and Rafael. And I appreciate that. ALSO THAT SCENE IN THE BATHROOM WAS SO CUTE AND EMOTIONAL AND FUNNY. Oh my god, Jane’s essay on her phone I CANNOT
I still feel weird about some of this, but I do feel there’s something compelling buried in Luisa’s story: What if you can’t stop going back to someone? I think a good portion of the last half of season one—and certainly these four episodes of season two—addresses this very idea in the love triangle unfolding between Jane, Michael, and Rafael. So, despite recognizing some toxic elements in Rose, Luisa can’t help but be drawn to her. It also feels weird to say that Rose is “toxic,” not because it isn’t true—holy SHIT, that relationship is toxic—but because I feel it undersells just how gross Rose is.
All of this is also why I remain uncomfortable with the odd tone that Luisa’s arc frequently takes on. I just don’t get why there has to be so much comic relief attached to it. It doesn’t feel like sympathetic humor most of the time. I get that this stuff is subjective, too. Sometimes, it’s difficult to say, “This rubs me the wrong way,” without necessarily having all this shit to back it up. I also admit that Luisa being a lesbian affects my perception of this two. I can’t help but wonder why the only non-straight character in the main cast has a story like this attached to her.
UGH IT’S SO COMPLICATED.
Well, I didn’t expect that twist. I think I anticipated it in spirit, as I know I said a while back that I was worried that Michael’s actions would come back to bite him in the ass. And here we are: Michael’s superior has hired a detective to be his partner but with an ulterior motive. Barnett is basically a plant to spy on him because I’m guessing internal affairs is going after him? It does make me wonder how much of Barnett’s story is true, though. Is she just putting on this persona in order to get Michael to open up? And will that be explored, or is she just here to push forward this element of the plot?
Wow, Luciana is awful! Completely! And yet, the writers found a way to take the story of blackmail to show us how Rogelio and Xiomara work towards building their relationship! Seriously, look how quickly Rogelio is honest with Xiomara about the blackmail; last season, Rogelio would have kept a secret for a lot longer. The same goes for Xiomara, who communicates her discomfort at Luciana VERY quickly to Rogelio. Look at that!!! That’s growth, y’all, and it was deeply satisfying to watch this happen.
I think there’s a whole ethical conversation to be had about what Xiomara and Rogelio do in order to manipulate Luciana into a non-disclosure agreement about Rogelio’s Scientology confessions. (Can I also say how surprising it was to watch a fairly negative depiction of Scientology on a mainstream show??? That threw me for a loop.) I don’t personally feel bad about it, since aside from some anger and fear, they didn’t do any real harm to Luciana. I also wonder if this means that Luciana will stop being so terrible on set? Part of me thinks her behavior isn’t going to change, but I’m also thinking that maybe this is her last appearance for a while. They should be done with Make Love Week, right?
So, it looks very much like the writers have pushed Rafael in a direction I didn’t expect. He seems… over it? Like, yes, he gives Petra a gentle dressing down for her behavior, and we actually get both her and Rafael saying that her decision was a mistake. The end. And that’s not explained away, either. I appreciated that! I kept feeling like maybe the show didn’t think of it that way? But it’s also clear that Rafael wants to move on, even if that means he’s the father of two children at the same time. Well, some of that is left unsaid, but what was obvious was that he accepted that Petra was pregnant and that in a weird, roundabout way, it was a miracle. Petra deserves to be happy… just not with him.
And so I got excited for the idea of Petra finding happiness outside of toxicity, because her actions were toxic. AND THEN SHE WALKS RIGHT BACK INTO MILOS’S LIFE. Ugh, oh my god, I HATE HIM SO MUCH. So now what happens??? Marriage? To that CREEP? NO THANK YOU. But is she going to be pressured into that? UGH, I had seventeen whole seconds of hope that Petra might be able to move on, and here we are.
I’m very glad we got that gut punch emoji animated on screen, because that’s what all of this felt like. IT’S ALL SO COMPLICATED, ISN’T IT. And for what it’s worth, I think Jane the Virgin does a wonderful job of portraying how messy and labyrinthine these sort of emotions are. They aren’t easy to parse all the time, and on top of it all, Jane is a new mother. Like she says in her conversation with Rafael, her whole life is devoted to Mateo. How can she attempt to date Rafael again right now? How can she navigate her messy feelings when everything is revolving around being a mom for the first time?
Which is also why I am CERTAIN that Rafael is going to be both hurt and furious after overhearing Jane telling her mother about the kiss with Michael. I’ve spoken before about why this love triangle feels so damn compelling, and now I get to talk abut the other part of it: Someone is going to get hurt in all of this. And there’s no way to avoid that, right? At least not when there’s so much history here, and not while Rafael still wants Jane.
That’s real, isn’t it? And I’m only guessing at this point, since we only get a look from Rafael. But I feel like it said everything. He knows he isn’t the one anymore, right? How’s that going to affect his feelings on custody of Mateo? What does his future look like? And what of Jane? Is she certain that she’s made her choice, and what does that mean for her family? I don’t know! Because Jane can’t keep up a relationship with the two of them like she has. And if she’s about to make her choice… this is gonna hurt. There’s no way around it. There’s no way to avoid the complication of what this will mean for her son. I believe that Jane is gonna try her hardest, but that intent doesn’t make this easier, you know?
This was a LOT. All of it!
The video for “Chapter Twenty-Six” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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