In the fifteenth episode of the third season of Jane the Virgin, everyone tries their hand at love. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of grief, homophobia
I REALLY LIKED THIS EPISODE. And while there was a lot of cringing on my part, this was just so… fun? A NICE BREAK FROM THE STRESS.
I just… loved this framing device. It was ridiculous, but there was something true in what the show chose to depict when it came to flirting. I used to be very bad at being able to tell when it was happening, and through self-examination and therapy, I actually figured out why: homophobia!!!! (Buckle in, I promise I’m gonna explain.) See, like many queer people who were in the closet or grew up in a homphobic environment, I was not socialized with romance. I had a few “girlfriends” in middle school and high school, but they never lasted and they never went beyond a few (really bad on my part) kisses. I didn’t have any real experience with flirting, with seduction, with the details of romance until I was in my 20s! So I couldn’t recognize flirting unless it was overwhelmingly in-your-face, like someone literally saying to me, “I would like to do things to you.” (No one said that verbatim, but you hopefully get what I mean.) So I just told people, “Oh, I’m really bad at being able to tell if people are flirting with me.” Sometimes, I would do things that were perceived as flirting—much like Jane does with Dennis in this episode—and be oblivious about it.
I am not that way anymore, and honestly? It just took experience! Going to places where I could be on the receiving end of romantic or sexual attention was a huge help! I have a longtime friend who, after I recovered from my first relationship, took me out to multiple gay bars and did what Rafael and Petra did for Jane here. They helped boost my confidence; they pointed out when people were giving me “the eye”; they encouraged me to go talk to guys, even if I had no intention of actually seeing that person. So, bravo, Jane the Virgin. I loved seeing that play out here. It was both entertaining and immensely comforting to watch.
Oh, this hit a little close to home! As I’ve said in the recent past, I’m not ready to start dating. I know that. So much so that I am here to tell you that a really cute guy hit on me on the street this past week, and while I got his number, I was very straight up with him that I am not in a place to even consider it! I AM VERY PROUD OF MYSELF. (And he was a huge sweetheart about it, too.) In my case, I’m still on the journey that Jane is nearing the end of, and I don’t mind that. I need to heal more; I need to feel and believe that I am a whole person outside of the last relationship I was in; I need to be okay being alone. (And what a time to be forced to do that, y’all. I mean, fuck this pandemic, but at least I don’t have a choice about solitude. I’m trying to make it a good thing for my heart, though.)
So, in it’s own way, there was something deeply, deeply affirming about watching two characters attempt to date again after losing the people they loved. (Even though the time period is so much longer, Alba still counts!!!) I loved seeing Jane reach a point where she was, according to her words, “open to being open.” Gina Rodriguez does a fantastic job portraying that excitement in this episode, too, and even Jane’s body language tells us she’s ready. That being said, it’s not like this was easy. This goes hand-in-hand with the whole Flirt Assessment thing, but flirting can be such a subjective thing! The writers were brilliant to give us an unreliable perspective in Jane, because a different mindset or outlook can change how people interpret the actions of others. And look, I understand why I was so bad at recognizing flirting or doing it myself, but at the same time? THIS SHIT IS COMPLICATED. What might seem obvious to one person can go right over someone else’s head. So, Jane was feeling it earlier in this episode because of her new outlook on dating, and she COMPLETELY imagined that montage of flirting. Which isn’t that bad—just slightly embarrassing for the audience—but then she horribly miscalculated with Mateo’s aide, Alex. AND LOOK!!! I THOUGHT IT WAS HAPPENING, TOO!!! So that’s how subjective this shit is. I would have absolutely guessed that Alex was flirting, but perhaps he’s one of those people who likes words of affirmation and touch as a means of showing his appreciation and respect of people.
But there’s another wrinkle to this all: Jane is dating after grieving. So it’s not just that she’s trying to get better at flirting and being on the receiving end of it. She has this huge thing that’s part of her life! Yes, perhaps she should not have been so blunt about Michael with that guy at the Fairwick’s bar, and perhaps there was a better way to reveal that she was a widow. But guess what? At some point, she’s gonna have to talk about it! She can’t ignore that entire part of her life to date someone. So, what’s she supposed to do?
In that sense, I was excited at the prospect of her going on a date with Dennis. (And can I also say how endearing it was that Rafael was so willing to help out Jane this whole episode? LOVED TO SEE IT.) They shared a language, an experience, that I thought would make this easier. They both grieved the loss of the same person! Unfortunately, I didn’t anticipate just how awkward this was going to be. Oh, they tried. They really did! But that shared experience still means something different to each of them, and its presence on the date didn’t make things easier at all. In fact, it was too easy for both of them to bring up Michael, and boy, did that ever kill the vibe. So, unfortunate as it was, I think all of this helped Jane. She’s getting experience again. She’s trying. And maybe this isn’t the time, or these aren’t the right people, but she’s still moving forward.
Talk about moving forward, though! Oh my god, this was… not what I expected in the end??? I am so hurt for Bruce, first of all, and while most of this episode is not as intense or as stressful as past ones, this part was. He did nothing wrong here, and while Xiomara’s feelings are understandable, it just sucks to see him hurting so much. He’s the collateral damage in all of this. Well, so was Rogelio’s case. I think if Bruce had chosen to work with Rogelio, he would have gotten him a much better settlement than what he got, but in the end, Rogelio and Xiomara seem overjoyed. We’ll see how that pans out once it hits Rogelio that he’s basically giving up his salary for the first season of the show. But is this it for Bruce? Is this the last we’ve seen of him? IT HURTS SO MUCH, OKAY. I really came to like him, y’all. So it’s complicated. It’s obvious I wanted Xiomara and Rogelio to get back together, but this… oh, it’s so painful.
Petra and Rafael
This is!!! Weird!!! But understandable, at the same time. First thing I gotta say: It was fucking HILARIOUS that both Rafael and Petra agreed not to tell Jane that they’d hooked up, and then WHOOPS, SHE WALKS IN ON THEM. Nice job! Everything is fine! But look, these two have a history. They were lonely, and they felt something, and so they had sex! But like the plots involving flirting and the complications of knowing whether it was actually happening, Rafael and Petra are dealing with what it means now that they’ve hooked up after so many years apart. Despite that Rafael was the first one to bring up that it was a hook up and nothing else, it looks very much like his feelings for Petra have been… re-activated? If that’s the best word. The irony, of course, is that Petra really has no interest in getting back with Rafael. She wants to be with Chuck! It’s most of the reason she flirts with Rafael: She wanted to make Chuck jealous.
Now, I don’t know that the future holds for any of these characters. Chuck went to the police, so that complicates matters, especially since Dennis knows that Petra is in contact with Anezka now. I am at a point where I do believe that these characters really like one another, but does that translate to a relationship? On top of that, I don’t see Petra falling for Rafael again, so… well! That sucks for Rafael!!!
Jorge and Alba
HI, THIS IS ALL VERY CUTE AND SWEET AND SENTIMENTAL, AND I LOVE IT. I love it so much! Because while there was conflict here—about whether Jorge was actually interested in dating Alba—it’s a tiny part of the story. No, this was almost entirely about how these two are clearly falling for one another, and Jorge cared so much about impressing Alba! The mini-golf thing was so fucking cute, y’all. I JUST LOVE THIS. SO MUCH. Please let it work out? PLEASE LET A NICE THING HAPPEN.
The video for “Chapter Fifty-Nine” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
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