In the second episode of the third season of Jane the Virgin, Jane and Michael cope with the events of the premiere; Rafael tries out a new style; Anezka panics a lot; Rogelio tries to cross over; and Alba and Xiomara butt heads. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For prolonged discussion of trauma/PTSD, abortion, consent, and sexual assault
While I do believe that approaching trauma should be done with the care and training of a professional, I also exist as someone for who access to therapy was pretty much financially impossible for the vast majority of my life. So, I start this off by acknowledging that, as I don’t want my commentary to stray into a place where I’m demonizing people who don’t have the option. I believe that both Jane and Michael could use some genuine psychological help in dealing with their mental health after the attempt on Michael’s life. But I also get why they try to deal with this themselves alongside everything else. For what it’s worth, much of the frank discussion around this might not use the language of PTSD or triggers or whatnot, but it’s still absolutely about trauma. (Xiomara even refers to it as such.) Both of these characters experienced something immensely traumatic. Michael was nearly murdered by his old partner, who was a notorious crime lord in disguise; Jane discovered Michael unconscious in the Marbella and nearly lost her husband mere hours after their wedding.
So how does that trauma manifest? We see it almost entirely through Jane’s eyes. She has recurring nightmares for over six weeks, all of them ending the same, in which she replays the discovery of Michael over and over again. In Michael’s case, though, we see a delayed onset of his PTSD, which I thought was a really nice touch. PTSD doesn’t always show up immediately. Sometimes, it can be triggered long after the traumatic event. Here, as Jane describes how she is dealing with Mateo’s biting phase, she comforts Michael and refers to him as a “victim,” and that is what undoes him. Even though Jane had no intentions of making him re-think himself and what he went through, Michael couldn’t control the emotional reaction he had.
Granted, that happens near the end of the episode, and much of “Chapter Forty-Six” is the journey to this realization and through the difficult conversations about Michael going back to work. How do you make a compromise in a situation where one partner or the other will experience harm, no matter the choice? Jane’s position is understandable because Michael’s job has proven dangerous in the past, and she’s sensitive to him being put in danger (and in Rose’s crosshairs) again. Michael enjoys his job and wants to get back to work ensuring that Rose can’t come after them again. I don’t think the show is gonna unpack what it means to be a cop, and my personal preference for the story is that he move to a different career. Truly, that would make me feel so much better about this. But I’m guessing that’s not going to happen. So, what do these people do?
I enjoyed that so much of the resolution of this wasn’t really a resolution at all. It was conversation. It was Michael and Jane doing their best to hear one another and to allow the other person to express themselves, even if that expression made things awkward. It was these two people coming to a conclusion, but knowing that time and experience can change things. Michael may revisit this when he’s cleared for work on the force and realize he doesn’t want to go back. Jane might discover that Michael going back to work is too triggering for her or vice versa! The point is that while Jane ultimately says she is supporting Michael’s wishes, I don’t feel like the decision is set in stone; I got the sense that there was some much-needed flexibility and vulnerability built into this. And for me, that’s the sign that these two really do belong married. It’s not a destiny thing; it’s that they both clearly love and respect one another, and they’re willing to do the hard work to make this a successful marriage. God, look at the version of Michael from season one compared to where he is in “Chapter Forty-Six.” He’s grown so much! And so has Jane! There might be more growth in the future, but this conversation left me feeling like growth won’t be a bad thing for these two.
Agree to Disagree
Wow, it was really refreshing to have such honest conversations around abortions written into this script. Ultimately, I felt this episode supported Xiomara by letting her make this decision and do so while explaining why she chose to get an abortion.
Because she didn’t want a baby.
And the simplicity of that was so damn powerful. She just didn’t want to be pregnant. The end. And thus, she’s allowed to get an abortion within the show, it’s treated like a safe (if uncommon) medical procedure, and Xiomara does not regret the choice weeks and weeks after it happened. I used the world “casual” in the previous review, and while this story between Alba and Xiomara isn’t “casual” in nature, it’s the way that abortion is presented that is.
Of course, it’s a difficult and emotional issues. Alba is crushed by Xiomara’s decision, and she spends most of the episode refusing to talk to her daughter. The resolution to this plot isn’t cute or easy either. By the end of the episode, Alba still dislikes abortion as much as she did before. So why attempt to patch things up? Out of love, sure. But this is something Alba refuses to budge on. At the same time, as Xiomara states, the deed is done. Xiomara can’t undo it. Where does that leave these two? It could be at an impasse, and they’d just never have a close relationship again. What Alba does is accept that her daughter is different, that she made a different choice than she would, and that this doesn’t make Xiomara unforgivable. It doesn’t make her a horrible person. It makes her a person, not a vehicle for Alba’s moral and religious views. And I like that, since it humanizes Xiomara further, rather than treat her as a philosophical point. So, the real question is: Will Alba stick to this? Or will she quietly stew in anger over what her daughter did?
I thought I had a grasp on Anezka in the past episode, but now I’m back to being not so sure. That’s especially the case with how Magda treats her; there absolutely is still manipulation and abuse happening here. I was surprised (in a good way!) that Magda’s intentions were spelled out so directly: She wants Anezka to get dirt on Rafael, blackmail him, get money out of him, and then she and Magda will flee. It’s… literally what Magda has been trying to do this whole time? So yeah, it makes a lot of sense that this is the motivation for this nightmarish plot. I was also more obvious in this episode that Anezka actually hates what she is doing, but because she’s being manipulated, she pushes past all the awful feelings she has so that she can please her mother. UGH, I TRULY, TRULY HATE MAGDA. And that’s not to say that this exonerates Anezka at all, but it helps me understand what’s actually going on here. This is a nasty situation, though it’s important to make sure we all admit that PETRA IS DEALING WITH THE WORST OF IT.
I also worry about Scott, not because I necessarily enjoy him as a character, but I don’t think Anezka is lying when she says she likes him. That’s not part of her act while she’s pretending to be Petra. I believe that she’s had very few (if any) romantic relationships, and that would explain her desire for Scott and probably why she doesn’t really see much wrong with consent and her identity, you know? Will she feel remorse when this all comes out? How will people like Rafael and Scott deal with the fact that they were sexually assaulted by Anezka? And what the hell is Magda going to do about Scott, who most likely is a liability to her? Scott helping to take down Rafael is not going to keep him safe, y’all. We know Magda is ruthless, and she certainly won’t care if her daughter has genuine feelings for Scott, you know? She never cared about Petra loving Rafael; why would this change?
I understood Rogelio’s desire to want to expand into new markets as a career move. I mean… why not? But I spent most of “Chapter Forty-Six” convinced that Rogelio was acting out over his insecurities around Esteban. Even though Xiomara had an abortion, there was most likely lingering resentment there. So, I figured that once again, Rogelio’s beef with Esteban was guiding him and making him extra insufferable. (Apparently, he didn’t quite learn his lesson not to be rude to the crew. Whatever happened with the strike, by the way?) Instead, this episode surprised me, and I actually really loved Rogelio’s justification for pursuing a more American audience. Of course, it’s still crushing that he’s not with Xiomara, but y’all! He’s part of a family in the States, now, and that’s where he wants to move his success. It’s where he lives, and it was so sweet of him to tell Xiomara that he wanted to bring this all a little closer to his home. He didn’t get the Hawaii Five-O part, but I think his desire to bring telenovelas to America is going to pay off. How? Oh, I don’t know, but I think that’ll be cool to watch play out over the season.
I don’t know that I could even pinpoint a single act or day that helped me get over someone I was in love with. I think it just gradually happens, though there can be precipitating factors that help. In Rafael’s case, watching Jane’s marriage to Michael was a HUGE shove in that direction for him, so it was fascinating to watch him behave in this episode. It really does look like he’s over his love for Jane, but that also means his behavior has changed. We see this as the two discuss daycare/preschool options for Mateo, and I didn’t figure out what was going on until Rafael spelled it out. Because he’s no longer in love with Jane, he doesn’t feel a compulsion to please her. This creates some gnarly, frustrating situations, but that’s partially because it’s so new. Jane wasn’t used to Rafael making large decisions without her, but you know what? Rafael wasn’t used to that either! This is new territory for the both of them. That comes with some new comforts, though, like how casual Rafael was able to be while talking about Michael. Like… that was an impossible scene last season! He never would have been able to give Jane advice on how to be comfortable and sexy with Michael. GROWTH. THIS IS GROWTH WE ARE WATCHING.
So, there’s going to be growing pains, like the bickering we see in this episode. But if this is really what’s happening with Rafael, I am interested to see how Jane and Rafael’s co-parenting changes because of it.
The video for “Chapter Forty-Six” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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