In the fifth episode of the second season of Jane the Virgin, I don’t even know what to say. This was like fifty punches to the face. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of abusive relationships, deportation, grief, police brutality
Well, this is a disaster. Yet amidst this disaster… there’s hope, isn’t there? I’ll use Jane’s words: 2%. There’s a tiny part of me that sees a way out for Petra, that sees hope for a life without all this toxicity. It’s small because… wow, the situation she’s in is so, so awful. It’s so bad! Y’all know I hate Milos, and I see not one thing redeeming about this relationship. To be fair, neither does the show. Even the one “sweet” gesture we see from him in this episode—the gifting of the expensive violin—is later shown to be another manipulative, stalker-y act. So, thankfully, the show isn’t trying to paint him as a romantic person or a possibly viable partner. No, he’s awful. In every way! He married Petra not just because he’s a gross, controlling person, but he used the wedding to smuggle WEAPONS into Miami.
So I read Petra’s actions as those of survival. She knows Milos is awful, and she knows that he’s got all these creepy ulterior motives. So how can she find control in all of this? How can she feel that she has agency amidst all of this? And now she knows that she can also go to Jane for help. That’s huge. Petra’s appreciation of Jane was genuine, y’all, and I wonder if we’ll see her reach out to Jane at some point in the future. Again: I just want to see what Petra is like outside of all this toxicity.
(Oh god, using the word “toxic” in this review is TOO MUCH. I can’t get the song out of my head!)
So. I wrote a thing in my last review! You know, that whole thing about someone getting hurt in this triangle? YEAH, I DID NOT ANTICIPATE IT WOULD BE LITERALLY EVERYONE, INCLUDING MATEO!!! I’ll talk about the fight in a bit, but let me start here: I was SUPER into the whole “writing on the wall” motif/device in “Chapter Twenty-Seven.” Seriously, I love the way that these elements of the fantastical are utilized to tell stories, and here, the writers manage to anchor us in a story from Xo and Jane’s past: June 12. On that day, Jane, just a toddler, drew all over the wall while Alba was privately grieving the loss of her husband, setting in motion the event that would get Xo to take the rap for Zed. And so, we get this story of grief, love, and choice, and it spills out to all the various characters. That aphorism—the writing’s on the wall—becomes a literal technique as each of the people involved in Jane’s choice realize what the truth is. Jane knows who she wants to choose. Rafael realizes when Jane’s about to break things off with her. Jane figures out that there’s no “right” time to break-up with a person. There was no scenario in which he escaped unscathed. That’s a heavy thing to come to accept, but she had to.
While all this is happening, another relevant plot thread builds up. It’s frustrating watching this because I think Michael was bound for this for a long time. I suspected that some of his bad choices would come back to haunt him, and here we are. I just didn’t expect Bennett to get Michael so QUICKLY. At the same time, Michael kinda set himself up for this! Seriously, breaking into your boss’s office to watch footage of the person who acted as a witness against you? Yo, THAT WAS A REALLY BAD DECISION. Michael realizes too late that his judgment has been clouded: by his love for Jane, by his utter dislike for Rafael, by his compulsion to put a relationship first when he’s not even in it. It was all done in the hope that he’d end up with Jane. And as someone who has also made the mistake of doing something for the same reason, I GET IT. I TRULY DO. Doesn’t make them good decisions, though. This is relevant because of what it influences:
I simply did not expect things to escalate this far. I thought that, at worst, Michael and Rafael would have a few words with one another, and I thought that scene was leading right into a trope: two men fighting over a woman, and she would end the fight by choose the one she wanted. Except that the writers seemed to be very aware of this, guided us into a corner, and then revealed that corner was actually a cliff, and now we’ve been shoved off of it.
Because Jane chooses no one.
Because this hurt everyone.
It hurt Rafael for obvious reasons. It Michael because he couldn’t move on. It hurt Jane because both men still behaved as if Jane was a prize to be won. And then little Mateo is physically harmed by glass breaking when Rafael is thrown onto a table. All for what? Because Michael suspected that Rafael snitched on him? That’s so unethical on about a million levels, and it’s probably the one thing about cops that does feel realistic in this episode. (Cops don’t really get fired like that, first of all. Police unions make sure of that. Abolish the police!) Michael assaulted someone who he believed had told on him. Like… that’s police brutality to a T. Textbook! Doesn’t matter if he was off-duty or thought he wasn’t acting in an official capacity. It’s not like this was a random fight; it was in direct connection to his job.
How the hell can Michael ever come back from this? It’s heartbreaking, y’all, especially since he was so damn close to a reunion, and his absurd decision-making left him worse off than ever before.
Feud with Britney
This is a heavy, intense episode, so I was thankful that there were two (mostly) humorous plots to add levity. I still feel like Britney Spears being on this show was a fever dream. Did that really happen? Did she constantly make reference to her own songs? Did her assistants wear matching uniforms and walk in sync with one another? Did Rogelio say that he was supposed to kiss Enrigue Iglesias but instead, Madonna and Britney kissed? DID THIS SHOW REALLY ESTABLISH THAT BRITNEY’S RED JUMPSUIT IN “OOPS… I DID IT AGAIN” WAS ACTUALLY ROGELIO’S AND HE GAVE IT TO HER AND HELPED MAKE POP MUSIC HISTORY?
This WHOLE plot was absurd, and I wouldn’t change it at all. Look, if you’re gonna get one of the most famous people in the world to guest on your show, you might as well go broke. I just… the plot is so perfect for Rogelio, too! He’s such a name-dropper, so of course he’d have a feud with another celebrity. I didn’t need this story to be deep or have multiple meanings. I love that it’s ridiculous from beginning to end.
BRITNEY SPEARS. What the FUCK.
And while this story was super funny, it did have a lovely emotional weight to it. Like I wrote earlier, this plot was rooted in the events of June 12, and once more, we get to see how important the women of the Villanueva family are to one another. On the realistic end, we see how the justice system can work against people in an insidious way. Despite what actually happened, Xiomara’s felony conviction still haunts her. here, it had the potential to derail Alba’s attempt to become a citizen. There’s also a whole other angle to this, which is that a white man let a Latinx woman take the rap for him, and he got to basically have the rest of his life without having to worry about this. Even when Jane tries to tell Zed that the statute of limitations have expired, he’d still rather protect himself.
Mixed in with this is one of the FUNNIEST things the show has ever given us: Xiomara and Alba high on edibles after accidentally eating one of Zed’s weed chocolate bars. Look, I don’t do any of this shit, but I have seen SO MANY people make the terrible mistake of eating too many edibles because they generally take longer to hit. (This also reminds me of one of my favorite tweets: https://twitter.com/billdixonish/status/660670339282694145?s=21 ) Granted, Alba and Xiomara didn’t know what they’d be done. STILL!!! Watching Ivonne Coll take her character to this new place was an incredible delight, y’all. And I’m glad I got to laugh during this, because WOW, it was so intense otherwise.
The video for “Chapter Twenty-Seven” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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