In the nineteenth episode of the second season of Jane the Virgin, everyone deals with new routines and drastic changes. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Well, this was hard to watch. I can’t speak to this entire plot with any personal experience, as my parents were together up until my father passed. That made this brutally awkward most of the time; watching Jane struggle with her own separation anxiety was so hard! Obviously, I also want the best for Mateo, but the show isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to the difficulties of shared custody. This shit looks so hard! And it’s made even harder because of Rafael’s history with her. One thing this season has done well, particularly since Raf and Jane separated, is demonstrate that they weren’t going to be a good long-term couple. They really are so, so different! It might seem silly, but the whole month-long vacation thing, which comes to signify their disagreement, is a great example of this. Like Jane, I grew up in a world where a three or four day vacation was a luxury. In fact, I don’t think I ever even took a vacation longer than a week until I was in my THIRTIES. (Even now, I’ve never done a month-long vacation; the idea seems so impossible to me. Pandemic aside, that is!)
And yet, that’s just Rafael’s standard. I do like that Jane compromises, and I agree with Rafael that it would likely be a formative experience for Mateo. Shit, I wish I could have gone to Europe as a kid! For a MONTH! Given the right framing, travel like that opens possibilities. It forces you to re-imagine how you live when you see how others live. A great example of this is when I had an allergic reaction to a spider bite while in the UK for the Discworld convention in 2014. As a non-citizen, I got to experience the NHS through a Boots pharmacy. It’s one thing hearing about socialized medicine or reading about it online. It’s another thing when you get seen within 20 minutes, talk to a doctor who doesn’t seem to despise your very existence, and get treatment for under fifty pounds within the hour. I’m not saying that the system has no flaws, but I had to accept—in a very real way!—that my personal imagination was limited. You get so used to your life and your way of living and what you accept as normal, when that isn’t the normal that other people have. Plus… y’all, I count my travel abroad in the last decade as some of the most formative experiences of my life. Getting to see how people eat, how they socialize, how their cities are designed… this shit is life-changing!
All this to say: I get it. Jane and Rafael do come from different worlds, and I’m certainly much closer to Jane’s standards than Rafael’s. Yet I still understand Rafael, and it was nice to see Jane come to accept compromise on this, too. It’s hard for me to imagine what their parenting will look like by the end of the show, and I suppose that’s the point. All these hypothetical situations that the mediator brings up are frustrating and hard to conceptualize, but that’s the point. Setting boundaries and rules will help when they actually come to fruition. This is going to be hard work, obviously. We see the emotional toll it takes on Jane as she struggles to balance time away from her son with financial difficulties! She worries that she’s not prioritizing her life correctly. But I think she and Rafael made some deeply important decisions in this episode, ones that will help them in the future.
You know, while Michael’s “firing” came as a shock to me, I did think that some of his decisions would come back to haunt him. There’s a part of me that selfishly never wants him to get his job back at the police department so that Jane the Virgin doesn’t have to be about cops in any form. I recognize that’s probably not going to happen, but for the moment, I’ll appreciate the fantasy of Michael in a police-less existence. What’s not a fantasy is the sudden life-changing twist that puts you into a financial panic. Y’all, this site wouldn’t even be what it is today if it weren’t for this very thing happening to me back in 2012, which is when I got very suddenly laid off from a salaried job in San Francisco. I had to scramble to make a decision very quickly so that I could still keep up with rent and my monthly bills. Granted, I could have never foreseen the strange path that my life would take from that point on, but neither can Michael. He and Jane have a mortgage to pay for now (in a house they don’t live in, which is… really weird to me now that I think about it), and thus, Michael can’t just take time off while he’s suspended without pay for six months.
I love that this became about sharing pressures, though. I remarked on video that I appreciated how much of a better place Jane and Michael are in. Look how quickly they figure out how to support one another! They’re honest about their feelings; they communicate their needs and their worries; and they both do what’s best for their family while also making sure to be honest about what they’re doing for themselves. IT’S SO MUCH HEALTHIER THAN HOW THEY USED TO BE. We love growth!!!!
I still haven’t quite figured out where the show is going with this? There are some compelling moments in “Chapter Forty-One,” sure, but Anezka’s presence can be so odd sometimes. I suppose that’s the point? She’s in a new country, in a strange culture, and she’s trying to find her place within Petra’s life when Petra didn’t even know she existed a month ago. It’s frequently a treat to watch Yael Grobglas portray such drastically different characters. I have no problem admitting that! There’s a physicality to Anezka, both in how she holds herself and how she interacts with other people, that communicates so much of her worldview and her sense of self.
At the same time… where is this going? I did like seeing Jane be friendly with her as she trained Anezka to understand how serving worked. But is Anezka going to be around for a while on the show? Is this just a temporary exploration of the trope of doubles? I can’t tell. What does Anezka want? It can’t just be Rafael, right? Because that’s not going to end well.
More on this in a bit.
Well, THIS WAS AWKWARD. It deserves all-caps!!! Because we all know Xiomara is a wonderful performer, but as a singer, not as a television actress. (Though I always love seeing professional actors do bad acting. IT’S SO FUNNY.) She can perform on a stage where she can move around freely, but being on set is an entirely different mental challenge for her. Yet that’s not even really why this subplot was so heartbreaking to me. It’s certainly connected to how hard it is to see Xiomara want success and not get it. She had to learn the hard way that this wasn’t really her creative avenue. Maybe it could be at some point in the future! But in the fast-paced world of episodic television, there just isn’t time for Xiomara to make that growth.
Yet this has another meaning for her. This was a test to see if Xiomara could work alongside Rogelio, and up until she spotted Dina, it actually seemed like she could! But it’s a painful thing to find out that someone has moved on before you. (Even though there’s a part of me that thinks that perhaps Rogelio hasn’t, at least not all the way.) So that provided an extra pain for Xiomara. She couldn’t perform this role, and now, she knows that the person she loves is spending time with someone else.
Ugh. My heart!!!!
And look, let’s assume I’m wrong about Rogelio fostering feelings and love for Xiomara. Even if he has moved on completely from Xiomara, he’s now in another painful situation: Dina is not romantically interested in Rogelio at all, despite that he’s developing feelings for her. THIS IS A DISASTER SITUATION, I HAVE BEEN IN IT TOO MANY TIMES, PLEASE BAN ALL FEELINGS FOREVER. Y’all, this isn’t good! I believe Dina completely when she says she isn’t into Rogelio like that. (And who could blame her? Rogelio is ridiculous towards her as a writer.) If Rogelio wants something she is not interested in providing… oh no. That’s a different context, but the same problem he had with Xiomara!!! OH. NO.
I also want to say: the silent movie motif was SO GREAT. Bravo!!!! I loved seeing all those scenes. And can we all appreciate Petra’s amazing suit???
So, “Chapter Forty-One” hints at two future disasters because of choices made here. To loop back on the Anezka arc, one thing that confuses me is Anezka’s decision to potentially sabotage Jane. On the one hand: She grew closer to Petra. I loved seeing that, first of all. They bonded!!! It was a genuinely fantastic sequence, one that hinted at how these sisters could continue to grow closer. So, perhaps that is why Anezka wanted to hurt Jane. She could desire a close relationship with Petra so much that she was willing to throw someone else under the bus. However: Jane was so wonderful to Anezka in this episode! If anything, we’ve seen how appreciative and loyal Anezka has been to those who have helped her. Why would she suddenly forget that? Why would she do something so horrible to someone who helped her like no one else did?
Hmmmm. Does it have to do with Rafael? I don’t quite get it.
Then there’s Derek. Technically, Petra set things in motion in this episode, but given Derek’s motivations, this could have been a long con. Anyway! I love that Petra stood up for herself, and it’s her callout of Rafael—pointing out that he still lies during difficult moments rather than face ramifications of choices he’s made—that inspires him to tell Derek that he did tell the police about the boat. What confuses me is how that inspires Derek to put in a call to someone about taking Rafael down. Did Derek need Rafael to be fully trusting? Is this related to the insider trading? Because I still think that was a set-up!!! It worries me!!!!!!! WHAT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN?
The video for “Chapter Forty-One” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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