In the ninth episode of the second season of Jane the Virgin, Jane struggles with Mateo’s sleep schedule and her new teaching gig, while Rogelio learns a secret that changes his life. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For brief discussion of homophobia, and talk of abuse, specifically from parents
I LOVE THIS FRAMING DEVICE SO MUCH. So much!!! It was hilarious, but from watching so many of my friends deal with this part of being new parents, I also recognized this VERY real struggle. And isn’t it true that there is almost an overabundance of information out there about how to raise your kid? The show finds this really clever of way of acknowledging that while also keeping Jane’s behavior throughout “Chapter Thirty-One” intensely believable. She’s a perfectionist; she’s nervous and anxious all the time. So it makes sense that she’d research and try all these techniques in order to deal with Mateo’s sleep regression.
But Jane the Virgin does family so well, and it was a delight seeing how the Villanueva women did their best to support Jane. Seriously, this show does generational love in a Latinx family SO fucking well. Because of course Jane would want to try new things while rejecting Alba’s recommend course of action. It’s not that she disrespects Alba or even necessarily thinks Alba is wrong. Jane’s guilt over the parts of her life that take her away from Mateo affected why she couldn’t just leave Mateo to cry. Yet with some necessary and tough love, Jane is able to let Mateo go and get some sleep. And all of this couldn’t have happened without the generations of knowledge (and tough love) that existed before Jane.
I still can’t get over how great the Sleep Tonight segment was. So damn FUNNY.
Michael / Moving On
Wow, ouch??? This all hurts??? I felt so attacked? It’s wild to think that it wasn’t all that long ago in the show when Jane believed that Michael was The One. And now? It genuinely looks as if he’s moved on. There’s nothing in his POV scenes to suggest that he’s ready to try a relationship with Jane. And while I definitely still stand by my criticism that the show didn’t develop Michael’s six months away well (and fridged a Black women for his sake), I did appreciate seeing this. Michael finding happiness in his life and his work, all of which has nothing to do with Jane? Yeah, that says more about his state of mind and intentions than anything else.
So it’s time for Jane to move on, too, right? But I don’t see that happening with her and Rafael, either. Maybe it’s time for her to go a whole new route?
OH, JANE! I enjoyed most of this plot, though I gotta say that while I understand why the show had Jane compromise as much as she did, I really did not like McBaskets, and I’m so tired of people like them getting to be The Worst without any real consequences. Because he still doesn’t actually face consequences for being rude, for obviously plagiarizing, or for not doing his work. UGH.
Still, I understood that since this was all from Jane’s POV, the show was trying to stick to both the theme of tough love while also showing that Jane needed to adjust her perspective on being a TA. She went into this believing that everyone in her class would be just as excited about books as her. (Though I do wonder: Why didn’t Professor Blake or Dr. Chavez tell her that this course was the “easy” one that a lot of athletes took? Surely, they knew students considered this “Books for Ballers.”) Jane’s good at adapting, though, and it definitely was a treat to see her find a new way to approach the text. THAT is a sign of a good teacher, and the ones I remember from my time in school were the ones who figured out how to make a text speak to us. Bravo, Jane! I hope we get to see more of her original lessons in the future, too.
Until she’s actually dead, I think I’m just always gonna say: FUCK MAGDA. “Chapter Thirty-One” does a really heartfelt job of showing us a disturbing thing: just how toxic Petra’s life has been and how she believed the worst of herself because of her mother. I found a lot of Petra’s characterization in this episode to be sad; she was clearly ready to give up, to just face jail time and get it over with because there was no other solution. How could there be? Magda has shown, time and time again, to be a master manipulator. She can turn a situation on a dime and make herself out to be both the victim and the superior one. It doesn’t even matter that we don’t know how Magda sensed that Petra was about to turn her in; what matters is that she manipulated everything in her favor, and she knew she was going to get away with it. And she’s so unapologetic about it, too!!! That’s not surprising; we’ve seen that of her before. It just… feels so bold now, doesn’t it? This isn’t even about protecting her daughter or anything. Magda was just protecting herself!
It’s such a heartless act, and you can see how much it wore down Petra. I am glad that Rafael realized that detail about the murder weapon and helped Magda get arrested. From a character standpoint, it’s been really refreshing to see even Rafael and Petra interact without the toxicity we saw between them in season one. They’re both almost like different people with one another! SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TOXIC PEOPLE ARE GONE AND TOXIC SITUATIONS ARE DESTROYED. I am worried about Magda’s last words; as long as she’s still around, she’s going to fuck up Petra’s life. NO. PLEASE NO. GO AWAY FOREVER.
THIS WHOLE PLOT WAS SUCH A SURPRISE. I had been preparing a bunch of commentary that while I really enjoyed this story, it felt a little odd to me that the person it was about was nowhere to be seen. I did want Manuel’s perspective on everything. But that twist in the end gives me hope that we are going to see more of this, especially since Liliana still wasn’t telling the truth.
But let’s back up. I still appreciated that at no point during this narrative was it ever made to seem like coming out as gay decades into a marriage was a bad thing. And bravo for making Alba the voice of acceptance here! Because yes! Manuel gets to live his authentic self! And while Rogelio is misguided (in the sweetest way) about how to signal to his mother that he’s fine with Manuel, he’s also missing the real reason why Liliana is so upset throughout the episode. Granted, it’s a little challenging to talk about because of the reveal in the end. I saw this as someone feeling hurt that their 47-year marriage was ending and also blaming themselves for not seeing the signs that their husband was gay. That’s a very real emotion, and there’s an important conversation to be had about the collateral damage of a homophobic system. Manuel lived in a world that did not allow him to be himself. I had also been preparing a whole thing about how some people don’t realize their queerness until much, much later in life. Everyone’s journey is so vastly different from one another’s.
Except… Manuel told Liliana forty years ago. They had an arrangement. So this is very, VERY different from what I had been prepared to write about. NOW I HAVE TO WAIT!!! Because I assume we’ll see more of Manuel in the next episode to address this. What sort of arrangement did they have? Does this mean Liliana is less upset about the relationship or more about it going public?
What the FUCK.
So, I don’t want to ignore the sad angle to this that I mentioned on video. Rafael JUST got to a point where he could trust his mother a bit more for THE WHOLE OF SIXTY SECONDS before she torpedoed his whole life and revealed that she was Mutter. Like… there’s a really lovely and heartbreaking scene between Rafael and Petra that gets him to re-think his relationship with his mother. Of course Petra would understand a complicated, toxic situation that would push a person to do something that would seem impossible and horrific to an outsider. And so, Rafael offers just the tiniest bit of empathy to his mother, hoping to understand why she disappeared from his life.
This all comes off the heartbreaking closure that Luisa gets in the same episode. I do feel so much better about how she’s written during this arc, and I was very happy that the writers didn’t poke fun at her journey, even as she navigated her attraction to Bennett. (And lord, that was… not totally a surprise. Remember when she seemed very interested in the details of Luisa/Rose? Huh.) Now Luisa knows the truth, despite how sad it is. She’ll never see her mother again, but her mother got to life a nice, quiet life far, far away.
So what the FUCK is going to happen to Rafael now? Will his mother kidnap him? He knows the truth and is going to tell someone IMMEDIATELY. Plus, the police have more or less figured it out anyway. THIS IS ALL SO MESSED UP.
The video for “Chapter Thirty-One” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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