In the fourth episode of the third season of Jane the Virgin, Jane and Michael deal with the complications of their new home; Rogelio asks Rafael for a strange favor; Luisa begins to heal; Xo makes a mistake. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent, trauma, and alcoholism/addiction.
Adulthood’s the Worst
Who knew that adulthood was just doing complicated math until the day you die??? Truly not recommended, zero stars on Yelp if I could give it that. God, this episode gives such a crushing depiction of personal budgets, expectations, and leaving beyond one’s means. Because this is literally the bulk of my adulthood life! A decade ago, I once tried to live beyond my means, though it wasn’t what I had planned. I finally decided to live in a “nice” apartment (one that was billed as a “luxury,” and it was indeed pretty damn fancy) that I would be splitting with my partner at the time. But seven months into that lease, I was dumped. (For what it’s worth, we had already lived together for two years in a different place, so this wasn’t our first time cohabiting together.) I suddenly had a rent I absolutely could not afford without letting other bills go late. I had to do a very quick scramble of my finances, much like Jane and Michael do here. I also had my receipts and bills in a shoebox at the time, too. I GOT BETTER, I PROMISE. What did I have to give up on short notice? How could I save money so that I would stay just barely afloat month-to-month? It was a terribly difficult time, and it’s actually one of the things that got me to move from Los Angeles to Oakland. I ended up having to get a roommate, someone who was largely a stranger, just to make it those last few months before my lease was up.
Until literally earlier this year, I’ve consistently been in a place where finances were difficult, where I’ve had to carefully plot out my expenses every month. So I deeply, deeply know how stressful it is to be in this state of uncertainty. It feels all-encompassing, doesn’t it? I’m sure some of you know it, too!!! The writers and the cast portray this with empathy, too. They could have just kept up the fantasy of Jane and Michael getting to live in their dream home, but again: Jane the Virgin is often best when the fantasy collides with the real world. They could have asked for Rogelio for more money, and it’s clear they planned to. But how sustainable would that have been?Jane should also have been honest about padding the budget rather than letting Michael think that they were paying for Mateo’s daycare/gym. Instead, the stress of money compounded these issues. So while it’s sad that this wonderful home is most likely not going to be permanent, you could see the relief in Jane and Michael as they agreed to move somewhere smaller and more affordable. Y’all, this shit can affect so much of your life!!! And that’s why I liked this plot so much. It showed how visceral and chaotic this kind of stress was in a very believable way. I’ll miss that nice home, but if the move makes them happier? Then I’m all for it.
Rogelio’s Favor / Babysitting Luisa
All right, so this plan didn’t really work, did it? WHOOPS. EXCEPT LOOK WHAT COMES OF IT, Y’ALL. That makes it utterly worth it to me. Rogelio is still on his quest to raise his American profile, which brings him back into the life of one Amanda Elaine, romance writer extraordinaire. So, what is Rogelio willing to do in order to be famous? What fascinated me about his story in “Chapter Forty-Eight” is that while Rogelio remains ambitious, I notice that he’s becoming a lot more thoughtful in his approach. Normally, he’d plunge headfirst into any opportunity that would benefit him, but here, he has to contend with the fact that his ego doesn’t actually work in his favor. Amanda might have genuinely been considering casting Rogelio in the Hallmark adaptation of her novel, but she didn’t want Rogelio. At least not for her charity gala! No, she wanted Rafael. It put Rogelio in an odd place because he’d not really been a fan of Rafael after the events of… well, pretty much everything prior to this? They weren’t friends at all, and now, Rogelio’s gotta ask Rafael to attend an event with Amanda?
A trade happens: If Rogelio spends time with Luisa, who is dealing with the traumatic events of leaving Rose, then Rafael will go with Amanda. Look, it is absolutely ridiculous, of course, that Rafael uses his training as an actor to basically give Luisa an impromptu therapy session. But that’s part of the charm of the scene, y’all. Because at no point does Rogelio approach this with anything but empathy. He takes Luisa seriously from the get-go and genuinely tries to help her. Granted, watching his own telenovela was not exactly the best coping mechanism??? WHO KNEW??? (Literally everyone.)
Yet once Rogelio starts taking Luisa through that Meisner technique, something incredible happens. The process did exactly what Rogelio promised it would do: Get beneath Luisa’s emotions to the root cause of them. I’m so happy that the show didn’t make fun of Luisa during this moment of vulnerability because we’ve unfortunately seen that happen so many times in the past. Instead, Luisa is allowed to confess her fears of being a terrible sister; she’s given the space to admit that she feels like she is inadequate. And then Rogelio gives her an INCREDIBLE piece of advice: It is absolutely fine for her to take care of herself first. That metaphor of the oxygen mask? MY THERAPIST HAS LITERALLY USED A SIMILAR LINE. Luisa can’t help others or repair her relationship with Rafael until she puts on her own oxygen mask, so to speak. Thus, she decides to go to preventative rehab.
She took the second step. Because the first one? It was her going to Rafael when she felt the urge to drink and telling him that she didn’t want to be alone. She recognized she was having a problem, and she wanted to fix it. UGH, MY FEELINGS FOR LUISA, Y’ALL. She’s dealing with so much trauma, but it’s so wonderful that she’s getting the chance to get better.
Xo’s New Job
If you’ve never worked a retail job—or really, any sort of front-facing position in which you have to interact with the general public—I should let you know that the sole customer we see Xochitl interacting with in this episode is barely a joke. BARELY. Because that is EXACTLY how people treat others in this context. I honestly think I will one day write a novel with a protagonist who works in retail just because I have about a billion stories to tell that all relate to how humans are fucking weirdos who wait until they’re being assisted by another human to reveal just how goddamn weird and terrible they are. WHY IS THAT. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN ONLY IN THIS CONTEXT. (I actually have theories on that, but… another time.)
I say all of this because even before Alba had the reaction she did to Xo’s job at the bank, I knew Xo would hate it there. I knew it! I don’t think she’s patient enough for a job position like that, first of all. She’s not very good at filtering herself, either. There’s also no passion here whatsoever. Which I also get was the point! She wanted something that was different and stable, and this had that… but at what personal cost? How many customers would she have to deal with just like that man who asked for crisp, new bills and then hated that they were crisp new bills?
It’s truly not a joke. YOU HAVE NO IDEA. (Unless you do.)
I know that in the previous review, I wrote about how Xo’s plot felt like it hadn’t been resolved. Now I see it’s more that she made her choice: She’s going to casually sing on the weekends and pursue a full-time career elsewhere. Is this going to last? I don’t know. Maybe she pursues singing as a hobby so that she can continue to enjoy it, rather than stress herself over fame and notoriety. Will that make her happy? Maybe. But I also don’t know what other career works for Xo. What would she be good at? What could she stand? I DON’T KNOW. I still want her to achieve artistic success, too, but what if that isn’t her path?
Petra and Scott
Look, I have complicated feelings on the whole Anezka thing, but wow, this episode also cemented just how much I deeply, deeply dislike Scott? He just doesn’t seem like a good person at all!!! He’s gross and self-serving and will do anything to get ahead and… oh. Well, that also sounds like who Petra was in the first season of the show? Except not only has Petra grown from that place, THAT IS NOT PETRA SCOTT IS IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH.
Oh god, this whole plot is a HUGE mess, a relentless slab of chaos as Anezka tries to balance pretending to be Petra while also executing her mother’s plan: To get all the shares of the Marbella from Rafael and Luisa. Within this, though, is Anezka torn in so many directions. Her feelings for Scott are real. I still get the sense that Anezka also doesn’t really like what she’s doing, either, but she’s afraid to say no to her mother. (Or her mother’s recently-released friend, who threatens her multiple times in this episode.) She’s so in over her head that by the end of “Chapter Forty-Eight,” she resorts to a very extreme measure to get Rafael to do what she needs: She blackmails him about the insider trading AND him covering up his father’s financial crimes.
This is… bad. It’s real bad. That being said, right as this story got REAL dark—when Anezka threatened to turn Rafael in if he and Luisa didn’t give her all their shares to sell—the light at the end of the tunnel arrives. THE FIRST THREAD HAS BEEN PULLED. Because Anezka, rattled after threatening Rafael, lets loose the tiniest hint to her real identity. Once Jane rethinks her interactions with “Petra” with this swap in mind, it seems too obvious to be just a coincidence. What if Petra isn’t who she says she is? Look at Raf’s face when Jane suggests that!!! He started putting two-and-two together as well!!!
OH I NEED THE NEXT EPISODE NOW. I also need Petra back so badly. SO BADLY.
The video for “Chapter Forty-Eight” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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