Mark Watches ‘Jane the Virgin’: S02E21 – Chapter Forty-Three

In the twenty-first and penultimate episode of the second season of Jane the Virgin, I did not realize how much more chaotic everything could become, but here we are! If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin. 

The Competition

Even though this show stopped airing before I even started watching it, I feel this really interesting thing is happening: It’s like the show is in conversation with me and my expectations for Petra and Jane. Like, yes, I ship them, and yes, I also wish they could be better friends. At the same time, the show is making me think about what it is that I find so compelling in this pairing, even as a platonic one. (Which isn’t any less valid or important than a romantic one.) Part of it is the fact that there’s so much tension here, and I also admit to being a huge fan of enemies to lovers. I just love that sort of dynamic unfolding between characters! I also think that this is due to watching Petra try her best to escape the toxic and dysfunctional environment she was raised in. As Petra has now lived months without her mother, I can see her being kinder to herself. I can see her accepting that she is deserving of love and affection. But that doesn’t mean she’s perfectly healed or that she has shed all her toxicity. 

Which isn’t to suggest that Jane is a foil for that. Jane has plenty of her own trauma and toxicity to get rid of. Like her judgmental behavior, which crops up again in this episode. But my point is that these two characters approach the world with drastically different worldviews. Jane really is an optimist, and she’s got a rigid ethical system. Petra is a realist, and her morals shift as a means of survival. They’ve always had to! It makes this situation ripe for conflict, and that’s what we’ve been seeing over the course of these two season. I do believe that Jane and Petra are trying their hardest to get past their own flaws and the flaws of one another. That also means that sometimes, this shit is hard. 

Both of them care about Rafael. Both of them want him to get out of this Derek situation without being harmed or sent off to jail or worse. Both of them think they have the best solution to this problem. One solution is optimistic; one is realistic. So I get why these two started feeling like they were competing. Especially from Petra’s point of view, since she’s had to fight so hard for attention and respect. (She and Raf did just have that conversation about how he’s still learning to trust her, remember?) In a larger sense, this was about two competing worldviews on display. If they were wrong, was their outlook wrong as well? 

I keep wanting them to see that this doesn’t have to be a competition. It doesn’t have to be contentious. That realization isn’t going to just happen, though, and they’ve both got to put in work to maintain more than just the temporary friendship they keep having. For what it’s worth: I’m glad they keep trying, even when they mess up so many times. It’s nice to know they haven’t given up on one another. 

Rogelio’s Humbling

Wow, I really hope this is the show pushing Rogelio to a place where he understands that his behavior has negative ramifications on set. There’s an incredibly important scene where Esteban demands that his best side be relit, and initially, Rogelio completely supports this. He’s done that a million times! 

And then he finds out it actually means that he has to re-do all the work he just did. 

His experience working for the crew of Esteban’s telenovela was eye-opening for him, since there was so much he just assumed about everyone working for him. That’s not to suggest I had a lot of sympathy for Rogelio; he’s been a jerk about all of this for a long, long time. So in that sense, it was satisfying to see him learn everything the hard way. The work is painful. Exhausting. Repetitive. And it can all change in an instant based on the whims of an actor or a director. I was pleased, then, that this episode felt so pro-union, too! The crew weren’t ever demonized or satirized for wanting collective bargaining power, and I love that even Jane was outraged that they didn’t have a union. We are pro-unions in this household! (Except the police unions here in the US. Fuck them forever.) 

What I hope is that this growth on Rogelio’s part is furthered in future episodes. I’m guessing the next episode is the wedding, so perhaps the strike itself will be next season? Well, I don’t know, given how gross the network executives are. And if that part seemed a little too on-the-nose, it’s BARELY fiction at all. That’s what happens all the time: A striking workforce is often readily replaced quickly, deflating the power of a strike. This is why crossing picket lines as a scab is so, so bad! I’m proud of Rogelio choosing to support the strike, and I’m eager to see what sort of follow-through we’re going to see on the show itself.

Mateo’s First Birthday

I liked that Rafael made the point that there was nothing wrong with Mateo’s first birthday party being for the adults in his life. I went through most of “Chapter Forty-Three” expecting this big blowout party for Mateo, but I’m much happier with the quiet, emotional moment that Jane and Rafael have in the hospital. EVEN WHEN EVERYTHING WAS TENSE AND THEN VERY SAD. Because this episode turns into a celebration of the challenging and rewarding year that these two have had. Y’all, they did it! They raised a child together for a YEAR. That seemed so impossible and unfathomable after Mateo was born, and there were moments this season where all felt lost. Yet here they are. Mateo is going to be one year old, and I’M SO FUCKING EMOTIONAL ABOUT THIS. I feel like I raised him? And know him? What the FUCK, y’all? 

And then the show had to go and punch me in the heart by reminding me that Rafael was still in love with Jane. Holy shit, that part where they hold hands? But then Jane lets go and he leaves his hand there for just too long, and there’s so much longing there? That one scene ruined my DAY, and I don’t even think Raf and Jane are necessarily a good couple anymore? But it doesn’t matter what I think because that’s the whole point: Love isn’t always logical or sensible. Sometimes, it lingers and it hurts us, even when we’d like our bodies to just stop having feelings for someone. God, what a beautifully, tragically humanizing moment for Rafael. That’s what has made Jane the Virgin so damn fulfilling for me. Most of the time, it’s honest about humans right where it needs to be, and Mateo’s first birthday party was one of those moments. 

Derek’s Plan

Holy shit, y’all. This… what the fuck? What the hell just happened? Just seconds into Raf’s set-up of Derek, I knew it wasn’t going to work. Yet I admit that I never expected him to turn on Mutter??? My initial take was that this was a set-up, but then he calls someone to confirm that he left Mutter there and took the money? Oh god, did he actually get away with this? What the fuck is gonna happen NEXT? Because Susanna and Michael just got HANDED Mutter. Like that!!! I just??? HELP.

The video for “Chapter Forty-Three” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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