In the sixth episode of Jane the Virgin, Jane must figure out how to juggle various things in her life. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of ableism, abusive relationships, and a brief reference to police brutality
First off, I want to say that this was one of the very best time jumps I’ve experienced in a television show. Sometimes, they don’t work, and a story can feel rushed or lazy. I never got that sense from “Chapter Twenty-Eight,” and I think that’s also because the script focuses on basically three storylines instead of only barely covering like five or six. We get to see Jane’s struggle with grad school, Mateo’s health issues, and the reality of her son’s financial future. Petra seeks to extricate herself from a highly toxic situation. Rogelio deals with the end of The Passions of Santos. Each of these is shown unfolding over the course of about six months, and each interval is cleverly designed. I also think there’s something to be said about how having a newborn makes the time fly in a parent’s life, and this episode mimics that by having six years transpire in just forty-odd minutes of the show.
Basically: Bravo. Truly. I was deeply impressed with the writing here, and this could have gone so wrong. But it didn’t!
I have a friend that this whole damn episode reminds me of TO A T. Because she had to deal with being a writer WHILE being a mom, and it’s just??? So on the nose? And I imagine that you don’t need to be a writer to relate to this. I obviously can’t claim to understand this on a personal level, but from things I’ve witnessed? This felt super believable. Part of that comes from specificity. The show doesn’t just show us Jane being busy or overworked. She has to make so many difficult decisions, often with very little time. Such as whether to take that phone call in class. It may seem small, but the world is so utterly not designed to be sympathetic to mothers. And I get that the teacher has a policy of no phones in class! But this is one of a number of things that Jane has to navigate that she never expected to. Like having to make a decision whether or not to have Mateo wear a helmet for his flat head. Like having to decide if it’s worth it to go to the writing retreat. Like not knowing if she should continue nursing and stop pumping. Like whether or not she should consider dating Rafael again!
I loved what Rafael said, though, during that scene on the couch late in the episode. Jane was in a ROUGH state—understandably so!—after months and months of burning the candle at both ends. It would not make her a bad person to think of doing something for herself. And I get why she doesn’t make that decision in an obvious way. (Though I’d say going to grad school is an important thing that involves Jane putting herself first, though in a different context.) She wants to be the best mother possible, and we all know Jane is a perfectionist and a planner. When things stray from what she expects, panic sets in. And yet? She adapts. She figures it out. She does the best she can. That’s why that conversation she has with Petra is so important: Jane really didn’t know how to be a mom until she just was.
Which is something Petra is going to have to find out on her own, too. Twins, y’all! TWINS. Wow, that’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? While I still have reservations about the writers not truly acknowledging how fucked up Petra’s behavior was, I was also thrilled to see that they are moving her towards a place where her life is actively less toxic. She is in THERAPY!!! Holy shit, yes! If anyone on this show needs therapy, it’s HER. I wasn’t super happy that Magda was around, but at least we got to see Petra stand up for herself when her mother insulted her. Also, I understood the context: Petra needed help with her challenging pregnancy, and having her mother around was better than having to do everything alone. Because FUCK MILOS. Is he just… not helping her with any of this? Rafael seems more present than he does, and he’s only the biological father. Ugh, I just hate Milos so much, y’all, and I wish that this was the last time we saw him, but unless he’s locked away in prison or dead, I’m pretty sure he’ll be back to torment Petra some more. And smuggle weapons!!! What the fuck! And now that Magda murdered Ivan… oh, this is only going to get worse. Truthfully? I can’t wait for a time where Petra doesn’t have ANY of these people in her life.
I will say that I was made uncomfortable by Magda’s fate. I think the show is leaning even further into the trope of disability and and disfigurement as a sign of evil? First, it was Magda’s facial scars, and now she’s got an eyepatch and a hook for a hand. It’s a little much, isn’t it?
Well, this was unexpected. It was really striking to experience this episode and have only passing references to Michael in it. I’m guessing the show isn’t going to address the police brutality angle, but at the very least, the writers have committed to Jane cutting Michael out of her life for what he did. And I do appreciate that, since it gives the act weight and shows just how badly he hurt someone he cared for. But where has this taken him? He reached out to Nadine to try and take down Sin Rostro, but his story is the only one we don’t see onscreen. He’s only at the end of “Chapter Twenty-Eight,” shown confronting Detective Barnett. So… did he find Sin Rostro? Is he going to give Barnett crucial information to stop her? And will he try to come back into Jane’s life?
Well, I think the show might be preparing to address Rogelio’s excess—his ego, his bad ideas, how enabled he’s been—in a significant way. It was hard watching him stumble from one bad decision to another, though I sympathize with him in an artistic sense having to follow up a project that changed his life. Obviously, I’m not even remotely at the same level, but I get that there’s an immense pressure there, even if you try to pretend there isn’t.
Rogelio’s problem is that he’s just not used to being told no. He’s not used to having a real editor. He’s not used to being corrected or guided in another direction. He’s let his ego inflate so heavily that he just can’t see these things. So now, after having struggled for months to develop and finish his Mad Men take on telenovelas, he’s been hit with a cease and desist. He can’t fight that, can he? His show is probably going to be scrapped. Then what? Who is Rogelio if he’s not center stage? What will he look like if he has to fight to get something done, rather than riding on his own fame?
The video for “Chapter Twenty-Eight” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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