In the sixth episode of the third season of Jane the Virgin, EVERYTHING HURTS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of consent, trauma
Seriously, sometimes this show is viscerally uncomfortable? I feel like I spent half of “Chapter Fifty” cringing. But hey!!! I’ve made it to the midway mark of the show!!! Half through Jane the Virgin!!!
Boring By Comparison
As painful as this was to watch at times, I really like where this plot ended up. I thought it was pretty obvious early on that Jane wasn’t jealous of Rafael; she was jealous of Catalina. And look, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to re-examine one’s life to figure out what you actually want or what makes you happy! (Of course, the unintentional timing of this episode meant that I also wish that I travelled, but WE CAN’T so this was PURE PAIN.) Catalina arrived in Jane’s life at a time of transition. Her family is moving to a smaller and cheaper place, and as someone who is currently moving, it’s very easy to feel spread too thin. To feel stretched out. To be off your game! At the moment I’m writing this review, I’ve got ten days before I’m solidly in one location. Prior to this, the bulk of my belongings were in a storage unit, so I’ve spent like… a year and a half feeling torn. Not that I’m defined by what I own? But it’s weird to try to build a home without some of the things that help develop that!
In Jane’s case, her life isn’t necessarily glorious. (Ridiculous… sure!) She’s downsizing because of money, and then here comes this cousin she’s never met, and every story out of her mouth is one of excess and privilege and luxury. It’s easy to see why Jane compared herself to Catalina. It’s easy to see why she was caught up in the choices Catalina is used to making. And it’s easy to see why Jane went against her instincts in order to mimic what she saw as someone else’s glamorous life. Look at how the interview with the publishing house went! Catalina is the kind of person—and has the kind of lifestyle—that allows her to skate by in ways that other people can’t. So, to her, her advice to lead with confidence, to improvise answers and bullshit her way through interviews, is absolutely good advice… for someone in circumstances like Catalina. But the job that Jane was going for required knowledge that couldn’t be bullshitted!
I’m glad that Jane managed to turn things around after such a huge mistake, and I hope for entirely selfish reasons that she gets the internship. BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE HOW THE SHOW REPRESENTS PUBLISHING. But I also think that would be an important step in Jane’s journey to being an author. If she can see how things work on the inside—a process that is woefully secretive, y’all—maybe it’ll give her an edge. But in terms of characterization, I enjoyed that this plot led Michael and Jane to an understanding about one another. This was one of those conflicts where Jane’s behavior really hurt Michael! Because while it’s fair for Jane to examine what she wants in life, the way she did this made Michael feel as if Jane thought he was boring. But neither of these people are even remotely boring, y’all. It’s just that their idea of what’s fun or absurd or wild is deeply different than Catalina, and through this conflict, they find that sense of fun and chaos that works best for them. WHICH NOW INCLUDES A CAT!!!! oh my god!!!! I’m so excited! It’s also a nice coincidence because I currently live with a roommate who has an INCREDIBLE cat. So I’m very much in a space where I have been reminded of the glory of living with a cat around. (It’s been like six or seven years since I had one.)
Hi, this entire fucking plot DESTROYED ME. It hurts so much because you can just SEE the longing and the ache in both Xo and Rogelio throughout, and I JUST WANT THEM TOGETHER. Yet matters continue to pull these two apart, and I get why. There’s still an element of them that is incompatible: Rogelio wants more children, and Xiomara does not. However, we are teased with possibility here. Truly, it’s the potential that feels so awful, since we know just how long these two have chased after one another. Y’all, I love SO DEEPLY that we get to see the flashback of teenage Rogelio pursuing Xo, especially since it has a nice emotional parallel with the goofiness of Michael in Jane’s plot. Now that the two of them are back in one another’s lives, we’ve watched them grow closer than ever. But it’s not just the closeness, y’all. Look at how well they support one another. It was deeply, deeply sweet of Rogelio to offer to do that commercial so that the dance studio’s rent would be halved. That’s what I mean about potential: What would this partnership look like if it wasn’t a platonic friendship? What would they be like if they could pursue something romantic?
But the whole point is that they can’t. I did like that we’re shown that a platonic friendship can be incredibly emotional and deep! I agree with Xo that it’s wonderful to see how they’ve managed to be so wonderful with one another. At the same time, Rogelio hasn’t truly moved on. His feelings haven’t changed towards Xo, and y’all, I WAS SO HURT BY THIS. I honestly thought that Rogelio was about to compromise after he had that “conversation” with Rafael. I thought we were about to see him confess his love and that he’d be willing to revisit his feelings on children so he could be with Xiomara! I DID NOT EXPECT TO SEE HER MAKING OUT WITH BRUCE, HER TERRIBLE EX. I just???? Everything was pain and everything hurt??? So it wasn’t surprising that Rogelio doubled down on his desire for children. Is this going to definitively help him move on?
So, I feel as if the writers leaned a bit more on the telenovela drama of this plot than in addressing the reality of what happened between Petra, Anezka, Scott, and Rafael. I say that because I never truly felt like the show was coping with the trauma that these people went through. For a moment, I thought perhaps we were going to examine Petra feeling betrayed by what Anezka did. That’s certainly a part of her story. The same goes for the twist near the end where we learn that Scott now knows the truth about who he fell in love with and had sex with. But the writers focused more on the elaborate machinations at play. Initially, Petra tries to get Rafael out of the hotel because… revenge? Which, again, I get, but I would have loved to see the show explore that in more detail. After Scott attempts to sue Petra for sexual harassment, she’s forced to reconsider her bridge-burning with Rafael in order to get him to help shut down said lawsuit.
Except the whole thing is ACTUALLY a set-up organized by Rafael, with Scott’s help, so that he can get back his half of the shares of the hotel? I understand why that was a priority for him, but again: How do any of these people feel about what Anezka did? What are the lasting implications of this duplicity and assault? I don’t know. It’s also entirely possible that a future episode will address all this in-depth. As it stands, I just feel very strange about it all? It’s like there’s something missing here.
Product placement is really weird, isn’t it? Like, even if this show pokes a LOT of fun at the process, wasn’t this still an advertisement? One that I more or less fell for because guess what? It got me thinking about that particular brand of cereal, which I have been eating since I was a kid. Capitalism is fucking WEIRD, y’all. I remember watching Fringe and being distracted by all the product placement in the latter seasons, since it was a million times more obvious. Anyway, I don’t know if I have anything super in-depth to say here, but like… this is our world. Art can be dictated by a product.
Y’ALL, THE WAY THIS PLOT GAVE ME HOPE AND THEN CRUSHED ME UNDER ITS HEEL. Actually, it’s kinda like the Xo/Rogelio plot, wasn’t it? The structure, I mean! Because look, at the end of the day, I get Alba’s decision. I’m at over three and a half years being estranged from my mother. That was a choice I made for my own mental health, for my own happiness, and so there’s always going to be a part of me that understands why people choose to cut off members of their family. Hell, by the end of this episode? I understood Alba even more. She does a mature and difficult thing here by compromising on her decision not to meet Catalina, and it’s all because she wants to be close with Jane again.
So I expected that dinner to be a nightmare. Ironically, it turned out to be that, but there was something beautiful about watching Alba open up and share stories of her family with a member of her family there to help her. Look how shocked Jane and Xo were!!! THAT WAS ME!
And then it all crumbles. Because it wasn’t bad enough that Alba’s sister ruined her wedding. If we are to believe Catalina, it turns out that Alba’s ENTIRE FAMILY believes that Alba stole Mateo from her sister. That’s what Alba is up against. This woman has apparently turned everyone against Alba? I do wonder, of course, if that’s the truth. Or was Catalina deliberately riling up Alba for some ulterior motive? Regardless, the impact is still the same: Alba feels just as distant from her family in Venezuela as she ever has. IT HURTS. SO MUCH.
The video for “Chapter Fifty” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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