In the eighteenth episode of the third season of Jane the Virgin, Jane and Fabian butt heads; Petra is in danger; Mateo has interesting questions; and a wedding is planned. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of trauma and a brief discussion of grief, and an extended conversation about homophobia and sex negativity.
Hey, this episode made me feel nice things??? Surely, they’re about to be crushed, then. 😌
In a more serious sense, it continually astounds me how much of this show suddenly has relevance to my life. I’ve said something to that effect before, especially in regards to grief. The whole arc with Michael’s death is just… well, I’ve written a lot about it, so I don’t feel the need to rehash it again. Suffice to say that so much of Jane the Virgin hits close to home in 2020. (Though that hand sanitizer joke… it’s CURSED. CURSED!!!!!!) Yet it’s relatable in ways that aren’t sad or traumatic, and I love so deeply that I now get to talk about the show as a published author. I know, I know, broken record, but this show gets SO MUCH exactly right about the publishing journey, and “Chapter Sixty-Two” is no exception.
I enjoy something here that’s probably unintentional, which is that… well, you still have to live your whole life during all the pre-publication stuff! That includes editing, marketing meetings, publicity… the world doesn’t stop while all of this is happening. So, as Jane continues to deal with her dating life, being a single mom, and the pressures of LITERALLY EVERYTHING, she’s also starting to build buzz for herself. I did not have quite that much publicity (of the kind shown here) for my debut book, which isn’t a complaint. That whole period was so overwhelming because my publisher’s strategy was to immediately send me out on the road and make more personal connections with readers and booksellers rather than approach things in terms of seeking out entirely new audiences. But the world has also shifted, and I don’t think I would be doing as many interviews, essays, or columns if all promotion hadn’t shifted online during this pandemic. (I long ago made my peace with the fact that my release last week would not be “normal” by any standard.)
Still, this episode felt authentic regardless of the context in which I’m watching it. This is one of the things the publicity team is there for! In Jane’s case, this is a way to leverage the very personal nature of her novel in order to potentially gain readers. And since she doesn’t really have the kind of social media presence that other authors have (since we haven’t heard much about the followers she gained due to Fabian), then this is a smart way to get her name, her face, and her story in front of new people.
Y’all, is her book going to be published this season??? Or next season??? I LITERALLY DON’T KNOW. I could see the finale being about the book launch, but I suspect it’s actually going to be the wedding.
Oh, Rafael. THIS HURTS. It hurts because it’s genuine. It hurts because in many ways, Raf is doing what’s right and what he believes in, and on paper, this makes a lot of sense! Look, it’s hard to tell someone what your feelings are for them in any context, but this one? It’s crushing! Petra is dating someone else, and that’s not even addressing who she is dating. She is simply unavailable, and Rafael’s confession puts it all at risk. What if she pulls away from him after this? I’m sure he thought of that, but it wasn’t worth it to keep quiet. STILL. STILL. Ugh, I don’t even know if I’m that interested in them getting back together, but I certainly want these characters to find happiness!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, though, is the ongoing story of Jorge and Alba. Oh, it’s so adorable! And touching! AND IT MAKES ME FEEL SO HAPPY. I gotta say this again: I’m glad the show is giving us a romance between two older characters. It feels like something we don’t see often in… fuck. Anything? Television shows, films, books… all of it! And yet, it happens all the time. So bravo, Jane the Virgin, for giving Alba a story outside of her immediate family, and one that is so damn romantic. Ugh, Jorge confessed that he loved Alba! She said it back! WHEN IS THE WEDDING, I’M READY.
Okay, I’m gonna definitively state this: I don’t trust Chuck at all. I don’t think he’s telling the truth about a lot of things, and it’s entirely possible that he doesn’t know he is JP. I suspect that’s not the case, but if that was Scott’s nickname for him, what if Scott never said it to Chuck? Even if Chuck doesn’t know, he could still very much be distracting Petra or leading her astray. That whole trip to Pensacola felt… bad! Not one part of it felt good, ESPECIALLY his confession that he loved Petra! Really? That’s the reason you fucked up like every part of this IMMENSELY important trip for Petra? I get that emotions like this can absolutely cause you to make poor decisions, but come on. This absolutely looked like Chuck actively sabotaged Petra’s attempt to locate JP.
That being said… okay, I don’t think Chuck killed Scott. He’s certainly wrapped up in some sort of wrongdoing here, and we know a large chunk of that was his deal with Scott that went south. But that shell? The police sketch? Oh god. I mean… I feel like this might be a little obvious? We still don’t have a solid alibi for Rose, but now I can’t remember if her new persona wears those little bracelets. UGH, I feel like a mess, like I’m grasping at nothing while all of you laugh at me. THIS IS MY LIFE.
Despite that I knew something was up between Xo and Rogelio, I wasn’t ready for the truth. I just wasn’t! I enjoyed that the reveal of the reason for Rogelio and Xiomara planning a small wedding was so fucking considerate. It was an unexpected twist that was rooted in love and an appreciation for family. That one act showed us just how much these two cared about Jane! They were willing to have a wedding that wasn’t ideal because they didn’t want to trigger their daughter. IT’S JUST… OH MY GOD. My heart? Wasn’t ready???
Truthfully, they also should have just talked with Jane. This was a very sweet and beautiful thing they decided to do, but when it comes to trauma, I personally am fine with people just asking about it. For example: ever since I set boundaries here on Mark Watches about what I was willing to watch and how trigger warnings should work, y’all have been so great? And in situations where people were unsure, they just ASKED. It has made this such a delight to do because I don’t have the anxiety I used to years ago about watching things unspoiled. I get to be informed without being spoiled. In the context we see here in “Chapter Sixty-Two,” Rogelio and Xiomara fairly assumed that a wedding would be too much for Jane, but it turns out that she wants to celebrate her parents finally getting married! Which makes me so damn excited, y’all. Oh god, CAN IT ACTUALLY HAPPEN THIS TIME, BY THE WAY?
Okay, so, I related to Jane’s conflict with Fabian for a reason that probably wasn’t intended, yet still fit very well. I know what it’s like to have intense feelings of guilt and fear around sex because I was raised in a homophobic society by homophobic parents. Like… seriously! It took me a long time, first of all, to even have sex with men, and then, it took YEARS for me to not feel just utter terror and shame afterwards. I was programmed not just to believe that abstinence was best, but that all queer sex was going to send me to Hell. It’s wild typing that out, too, because even when I came into being an atheist, I was still struggling with that fear. You can’t just wake up and undo that kind of programming, you know?
I know that’s not quite the same as what happened in this episode, but they share a similarity. Alba’s lessons on sex, marriage, and morality may not have been taught with the cruelty of my upbringing, but I was pleased that Jane got to tell Alba that it still kind of hurt her. Jane doesn’t regret waiting for marriage, but now that that marriage has come and gone, this is what she’s left with: an intense guilt about wanting casual sex with someone. Making it even harder was Fabian’s previous past with casual sex and his recent decision to abstain from it! Jane had gotten so close to being able to have no-strings-attached sex, and then… this happens.
But this issue between them was much more complicated than simply Jane and Fabian not being on the same page in regards to sex. Fabian was projecting an image of Jane onto her because of his his abuela. THE PARALLEL IS INCREDIBLE! Fabian’s abuela wanted him to settle down with a nice, smart girl, and he developed guilt over that! He hadn’t satisfied his abuela previously, and then suddenly, Jane is in his life, and on the surface, she seems like exactly the kind of girl his abuela wanted him to be with.
It wasn’t fair though, was it? Fabian treated her like the image in his head, not the person she actually is. So it felt so damn victorious for the two of them to finally get on the same page. It was also relieving because the entire fake relationship thing for the media was aggravating and frustrating, and I’m glad it wasn’t kept up beyond this episode. BUT WHO AM I KIDDING, IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE. Jane did it!!! She had casual sex and didn’t feel guilty!!!! I AM SO HAPPY FOR HER.
The Birds and the Bees
I will shout this from the rooftops forever, but Joseph Sanders is THE PERFECT YOUNG MATEO. I cannot deal with this kid and his comic timing? And how he’s made this character come to life in ways that are so fucking fulfilling and magical? I appreciate the complicated writing for his character, too, and I don’t want to ignore how good the script is for this kid, but holy shit, Mateo steals the fucking show in “Chapter Sixty-Two.” Look, this is what kids are like! I generally speak to kids older than Mateo (in the 11-18 year old range), and yet, there’s still this beautiful chaos in Mateo that feels so real. One of my nieces is right around Mateo’s age and THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE LIKE. Their questions are a lot! They have no filters! They will change the subject in the span of two seconds and completely not know that what they just asked ripped your SOUL out of your body!
But I love this all for another reason: I’m glad that Jane and Rafael are willing to tell their son a version of truth, even if that truth was hard to distill down in a way that Mateo would understand. I wasn’t raised with much honesty, so it truly touched my heart to see it here. That scene on the bed where Rafael and Jane try to explain accidental artificial insemination to a child? It was honestly one of the best scenes in the whole show.
Ugh, I love Jane the Virgin so much.
The video for “Chapter Sixty-Two” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– My second novel, EACH OF US A DESERT, is now out in the world!
– If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.