In the twenty-second and final episode of the second season of Jane the Virgin, I can’t. I wasn’t ready. I’m going to fight you all. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent, sexual assault
I truly, truly did not see that big twist coming, and… holy shit. Thinking back on this season… no. Oh my god, this was absolutely planned the whole time, wasn’t it?
Wedding Preparations and Disasters
While the multitude of twists at the end of this episode certainly shift the story, I can still talk about a lot of “Chapter Forty-Four” without having to necessarily talk about the context of the ending. This recent batch of episodes—indeed, much of the second half of the season—has shown us how complicated it has been to deal with the real-world implications of telenovela tropes. Which is still so damn fascinating to me! We’ve got mysterious, long-lost twins; we’ve got star-crossed lovers; we’ve got custody battles; THERE’S SO MUCH HERE. Yet Jane the Virgin, generally speaking, tries not to forget the humanity of everyone involved. What this means for this season finale is that multiple plots collide together during the preparations for Jane’s wedding. The whole cast of characters is struggling to pull off this wedding, despite a million setbacks, so there’s also a relief to seeing it actually happening.
More on that later, though, because we need to talk about the TRAIN WRECKS. So many things went wrong??? SO MANY??? That’s basically par for the course on this show, I know that, but STILL. There’s a whole sequence that starts on the day of the rehearsal that just kept getting worse and worse, each piece contributing to the overall chaos. There was Xiomara’s and Rogelio’s fight over Esteban; there was the limited window of time in which the rehearsal could happen; there was Michael’s honeymoon mistake; there was even Mateo’s newfound ability to walk on his own! It all culminates in a HORRIFYING sequence in which the priest is knocked out, which was a NIGHTMARE, y’all. I know Jane was just trying to explain herself and her family to the man, but like… seriously. This was a particularly tense and high-strung time for ALL of these people. The truth is that each of these strings pulled them away from the moment, creating this maelstrom of chaos.
I’m glad they figured it out for the time being, though.
I did want to talk a little bit more about this subplot rather than just refer to it when I talk about the wedding. As thorny and difficult as Professor Donaldson is a lot of the time, I do appreciate what role she plays in this story. Look, in the video linked down below, I commented that I personally don’t even like weddings/marriage. I’m sure I’ve spoken about it at length either here or on Mark Reads, but I didn’t grow up believing I could get married, so I never developed an emotional attachment to the cultural institution of marriage. I certainly don’t treat marriage like Professor Donaldson does, but on some level, I understand her. Thus, I see her as being the character that helps Jane realize that she has to work on a different project. It’s not a condemnation of romance by any means, as I still believe Jane loves the genre. (And the show does, too. Clearly!) But as someone who has had to massively rewrite three novel projects, pushing them all into different genres I never intended to write, I get this! A lot! Jane is going to spend a year working on this novel, and her historical romance no longer holds the same meaning to her. I believe that while we haven’t seen all that many words of her writing onscreen, she has become a better writer. What if she wants to challenge herself? What if she wants to think about romance in a new context? Can she do that within the confines of the story she’s writing?
It’s scary to reinvent a story from the ground up. I am certain that there will be moments in season three in which Jane doubts this decision. But I believe Jane has made a change for the better. She can use things she’s used from both Professor Chavez and Professor Donaldson to improve her craft, all while telling a story that’s deeply, deeply personal to her.
Y’all, I’m so excited.
I don’t want to deny the INCREDIBLE humor present in the flashback for Alba, though part of that humor comes from the way the writers anchor Alba’s admission about her wedding day in the present. It’s funny because Alba always likes to present herself in a very particular way, and her actual wedding was nothing like the story she told. Yet I see an interesting reason for why we were shown that. Actually, two. First, I think it serves the very direct purpose of letting Jane know that this shit can be messy. Even someone as ordered and traditional as Alba had a messy wedding day. (I just… really, really love that scene where the three Villanueva women are sitting on Jane’s bed and bonding. IT’S SO POWERFUL.)
But look how Alba’s wedding got derailed once someone objected to it. I can’t help but think of that while considering Rafael’s journey in this episode. It is absolutely a telenovela/romance trope that someone declares their love for another person during their wedding ceremony. But Rafael makes an important decision here because he sees that Jane is happy. If he had told her the truth, it was very possible that he would have ruined her day, that he would have made it about himself. That’s what I think of the person at Alba’s wedding. It didn’t matter that Alba’s soon-to-be husband was happy with her; someone needed to shame her at the wedding for their benefit, not Mateo’s. So, who would be at the center of Rafael’s act? Himself.
He took himself out of that possibility. And as much as it hurt to watch that, I respect it. It does make me wonder what the show is going to do with him next season! Is he actually going to move on from Jane?
Look, I know it was chaotic, but seeing Jane arrive at her wedding on the BUS was just so beautifully in character, y’all. IT WAS PERFECT. I wasn’t impressed with the wedding sequence because I enjoy weddings. Rather, it was the culmination of two seasons worth of growth and pain and missteps and mistakes. After all this time, Michael and Jane finally made it. They got MARRIED. I honestly kept waiting for some last-second twist that undid the wedding??? BUT NOPE. IT WAS PURE AND PERFECT AND LOVING AND SO WONDERFUL. Holy shit, they’re married! FINALLY!
And that song. Just… it was so perfect, y’all. So funny and strange and exactly the right tone the show needed to take about this monumental achievement. Jane actually waited until marriage.
Well… more on that, too.
What if two people are meant for one another, but it’s the wrong time?
Y’all, this was AGONIZING to watch. Both Xiomara and Rogelio have hurt one another in the wake of their break-up, a break-up that was best for them given their needs and desires. I really enjoyed that scene where Jane tried to explain her mother’s behavior to Rogelio, especially since it led to the conversation outside the wedding. Their honesty was refreshing and touching, but it’s still so heartbreaking to witness. Because they want to be with one another! it’s so obvious that this has been motivating them since the break-up. At the same time, their desires for companionship contradict one another, so how can they truly be together?
They don’t make a decision other than to stay as they are: apart. Well, there is a momentary decision: They have a dance together, outside the wedding, the music distant and muffled. It’s a beautiful shot and a flash of kindness between these two heartbroken people. They could imagine scenarios in which they had gotten together at the right time, but that doesn’t serve any real purpose aside from causing additional harm.
So they dance.
EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST FIVE MINUTES
HI WHAT THE FUCK. WHERE DO I EVEN FUCKING START WITH THIS.
There’s Xiomara. Xiomara is PREGNANT. Pregnant!!!! With Esteban’s child! AFTER SHE JUST TOLD ROGELIO THAT SHE WON’T GET BACK WITH HIM BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T WANT CHILDREN. This is… this was so much. It was so much to deal with, but the show didn’t give me ANY time to deal with such an ironic twist because FIVE HUNDRED other things happened just after this. Like… oh my god, what is she going to do? I don’t see Esteban wanting to raise a kid with her, except maybe to spite Rogelio? Which is a BAD REASON TO BE A FATHER. I don’t see Xiomara going through with this because she doesn’t want children and she definitely doesn’t want one with Esteban!!! WHAT THE FUCK.
Then… Anezka. Oh, this is bad. Really, really bad, and I feel AWFUL for Petra, who has gone through so much trauma because of her mother. And it’s clear again that Magda cannot leave her daughters alone to have their own lives. I am fully convinced that she manipulated Anezka into this whole ridiculous scheme out of a desire for revenge. I knew that Anezka pretending to be Petra would come to fruition, but not like this? It’s so horrifying? It’s horrifying for Petra, who literally cannot move or communicate. There’s also the unspoken nightmare of consent; Rafael did not consent to having sex with Anezka!!! Oh god, are they going to address that next season? Because it’s so fucked up! And what’s the endgame here? Seduce Rafael for… what? To ultimately get Magda out of prison? I DON’T KNOW.
The same issue with consent is at play with another character, and y’all… I didn’t see this coming. DESPITE THAT THE SHOW BASICALLY SHOUTED IT IN MY FACE MULTIPLE TIMES. Oh my god, Susanna rejecting Luisa because she was still in love with Rose. OH MY GOD, I THOUGHT SUSANNA WAS A SPY BUT FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS. Oh my god?? At least we know that Susanna and Luisa never had sex, but there’s still the violation here regardless. I just… holy shit. ROSE NEVER DIED. SHE WAS SUSANNA THE ENTIRE FUCKING TIME. Oh my god, I have another question I didn’t think to ask: Does Mutter know Rose is still alive? Was she in on this???
But the worst part of all: Please tell me Michael is okay. AFTER ALL OF THIS. That looked like a terrible gunshot, but… he’ll survive, right? He has to! THIS IS TOO TRAGIC, I WOULD BE SO UPSET.
I can’t believe it. I just can’t. YET IT’S REAL.
The video for “Chapter Forty-Four” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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