In the thirteenth episode of the third season of Jane the Virgin, Jane meets her editor; Rogelio enlists help; Petra gets closer to Chuck, while Rafael makes an important decision with Abbey. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Sorry, I have to yell about this first: OH MY GOD, I KNEW THAT I RECOGNIZED MINKA KELLY FROM SOMEWHERE. SHE PLAYED LYLA GARRITY. FROM ONE OF THE GREATEST SHOWS OF ALL TIME. This was bugging me so much!!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT. And I want you to know it’s because I unpacked all my DVDs last night and guess what is at perfect eye level while sitting at my table? My boxset of Friday Night Lights.
Anyway. I’m fine. JUST FINE.
Like I said on video, it’s possible that this is it; this is the last we’ll see of Abbey. On the one hand, it’s a little disappointing because we didn’t actually get to know her. (Assuming I am right, that is.) Like… who is she outside of Rafael? Where did she come from? Why did she and Rafael come to like one another so much? (Which kind of makes the whole “gender bias” motif across the episode feel a little like bullshit; the only character recurring character who isn’t given a full story in “Chapter Fifty-Seven” was a woman.) Because of this, her decision at the end of the episode makes her just a pawn to push the story forward. Why would Abbey choose to rat out Petra? Just pure jealousy? Spite? We don’t really know anything about her personality or her history, you know? Thus, in the end—again, if this really is Abbey’s goodbye—this all felt a little hollow. Abbey was here for the show to make a few jokes, to show Rafael in a more “zen” light, and then… she’s gone? Well, not before throwing some gasoline on the fire. OH GOD, WHY DID SCOTT KEEP A BURN BOOK? I mean… of course he did. Didn’t he mention something to that effect to Anezka? (Where is Anezka, by the way?) And what the fuck is Rafael doing in this episode? Obviously, he found Scott’s book. Why plant it in Petra’s room? To set her up??? FOR WHAT???
Petra and Chuck
I realize there’s an interesting parallel here between this plot and the one between Bruce and Xiomara, except both have very different ends. Petra and Chuck very much fulfill that trope where two people who seemingly have nothing in common come to enjoy one another. I wouldn’t say it quite qualifies for enemies-to-lovers, only because we never got to see that grow in real time. We found out they were hooking up in the same episode that Chuck was first introduced, and for me, a good enemies-to-lovers has to have that slow build-up. Still, there was a lot to overcome here, as Chuck was deeply crass, and I wasn’t sure there was actual potential here. At the end of the day, what I cared about was whether or not Petra was happy. That’s what matters to me!
And before we talk about that, I had a thought brewing in my head the other day. It’s fascinating to me that I do find Petra as compelling as I do. On paper, she’s not the kind of character that I would like, and yet, you’ve all seen how protective I’ve become over her, especially as the narrative in Jane the Virgin dealt her such a severe hand. Maybe it’s because I can see the tiniest part of myself in a character who has experienced a ton of trauma (a lot of it because of her mother!) and is constantly struggling to adjust to a world that largely doesn’t care about it. This is, of course, a projection on my part, but still! I can’t get over how much Petra interests me?
So that definitely influenced how I saw Chuck. I knew Petra was deeply embarrassed about being seen with him, but she needed to slowly acclimate herself to this new reality. Baby steps! There was lunch across town, and then a meal in the Marbella (that was unfortunately interrupted), and then the poker game… Petra was trying! However, remember when I said that lies never stayed buried on this show? Well, Petra was going to have to deal with the ramifications of what she did. And while Chuck might be fine in the long run, it’s absolutely fair for him to be furious over Petra pushing Scott’s remains onto his property. And now that Dennis might re-open the case? Oh, no, this is gonna get worse.
Mateo, His Aide, and Stacy
Ugh, this was so much better than I expected! I got worried at one point that the show was sliding into unfortunate stereotypes of Black women with Stacy, but there’s a purposeful subversion of that here when the show instead offers Stacy empathy and sympathy through Jane. What I mean by that is that there’s a negative stereotype about how mean Black women can be, and here, that was paired with a “juvenile delinquent” son, which gave us a double dose of unfortunate tropes. Prior to this, the whole build up had been based on assumptions of literally everyone involved: Jane messed up when she scolded Gwen, the director of Mateo’s school. That set in motion a complicated attempt on Jane’s part to win over Gwen so that Mateo wouldn’t be treated poorly. But look what Jane discovers over the course of the episode! She learns that Gwen and Stacy weren’t as close as she believed. She found out that Mateo’s aide was terrible, but Mateo assumed that his mother just wanted him to like her. And when that same aide grossly spreads Stacy’s personal business, Jane gets a chance to see why Stacy is as defensive and direct as she is. It’s because she’s dealing with a complicated situation with her son! The sheer amount of stress she must be under is immense, and that’s why I liked that scene in the end. Jane fired her aide not just to support her son best, but because Stacy deserved to have her privacy respected. The show cleverly reverses exactly what Jane thought was happening to her.
I do hope to see Stacy again, and not just because it was such a nice surprise to see Yvonne Orji on the show. I would like to see the show explore this character more!
Oh, no, Rogelio. THIS IS GONNA GET WORSE, ISN’T IT. I feel like these complicated lawsuits are just… bad? Really bad? The idea of trashing the production company after Rogelio did indeed mess up and breach his contract seemed an ill-advised path, but hey, his new lawyer thought it was a great path forward! The Jaguar is an over-the-top character by design, so I appreciated that amidst this, there was a really sweet story mixed in about Bruce’s attempt to get Xiomara and Rogelio to make up with one another. I honestly have come to enjoy Bruce a whole lot, and it was sweet of him to constantly offer to help Xiomara. Look at how much he does for her in this episode alone! He goes to the deposition with her; he organizes a mediation of his own; and THE PROPOSAL. THE PROPOSAL WAS SO FUCKING CUTE. Granted, it was hijacked by Rogelio in one of the funniest scenes this whole season. And like I feel about Petra, I also want the best for Xo. Is she happy with Bruce? Does he make her feel wonderful? That’s an unequivocal YES, and so I’m deeply pleased that this has taken the turn it has. MARRIAGE. XIOMARA IS ACTUALLY GONNA GET MARRIED. I… hope? This is also Jane the Virgin and I often feel that watching this show is like sprinting across a seven-lane highway. Which car will hit me next???
Oh god, it’s gonna be Rogelio’s, isn’t it? Because while the proposal is a joyous thing, the whole scene is also one of the most heartbreaking. It’s clear that it took Rogelio by surprise and he’s obviously still not over Xo. Oh, god, this is gonna hurt, isn’t it? IT MOST CERTAINLY IS.
Jeremy the editor
I AM SO HAPPY THAT I GET TO TALK ABOUT THIS SO POSITIVELY. I can’t say that Jane’s experience with her editor unfolded quite like my own experiences with the two editors that I have, but you know what? I’m pleased. I’m pleased that people get to see a show in which a character actually states that editing is a “long conversation” between an editor and a writer. That’s it! That’s exactly what editing is like! So the details matter less to me. Like, generally speaking? There’s an editorial letter that comes with that first edit that spells out developmental edits like Jeremy does here during their meeting. Now, I’d also tell you that writers don’t meet their editor for developmental edits like Jane does in “Chapter Fifty-Seven,” but… yeah. True story! I’ve never received a single edit letter for any of the three rounds of developmental edits I did with my editor, Miriam Weinberg. We met up in person and talked them out/brainstormed for Each of Us A Desert. So, it’s actually realistic for me?
And as hard as it was to watch Jane struggle with Jeremy’s edits, THIS GAVE SUCH AN IMPORTANT TRUTH TO THE AUDIENCE. Look, Jeremy’s whole AAVE slang thing is just endlessly cringe-worthy, and I, too, would not trust it at all. (I saw that from an experience. I had an editor a while back who was white but spoke heavily in slang that they clearly didn’t use in their day-to-day life, and THAT’S HOW THEY EDITED ME. It was… oh god, it was a nightmare.) What Jane is more concerned about, though, is that Jeremy’s edits were not in line with her vision. It is so deeply relatable that Jane didn’t know that SHE DIDN’T HAVE TO DO WHAT JEREMY SAID. That’s why it’s so important that this episode makes it clear that this is a conversation. You can ignore edits. You can change them. You can disagree with them! And when all else fails: Just ask what an editor means. Because once Jane did that, she found out that Jeremy actually did get her story! Much of her struggle was due to a misinterpretation on both sides, one that Jane ran with. Ask ask ask ask ask!!!
The video for “Chapter Fifty-Seven” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– You can now pre-order my second YA novel, Each of Us a Desert, which will be released on September 15, 2020 from Tor Teen!
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