In the eighth episode of the fourth season of Jane the Virgin, everyone reconsiders the path they’re on. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of childhood trauma.
Surprise! I am torn! Yet again! I mentioned this both in recent reviews and on camera, but while I can see a tiny spark of potential between Jane and Rafael, I can’t forget all the reasons why they broke up! Perhaps Rafael has changed enough, and I am now able to see that his drastically different financial situation might actually account for a genuine change in his behavior when it comes to money. I know that was a huge problem before! But even more important than that: Until the final moment of “Chapter Seventy-Two,” Jane just… did not seem into it. So it didn’t matter how many lists Rafael made; it didn’t matter how much logic he had on his side. If Jane simply didn’t feel it, then nothing else was ever going to work. But Rafael spends this whole episode disbelieving Jane, which started to get kinda concerning? Like, at what point was he actually going to begin listening to her? What if this HADN’T ended as it did, and Jane rejected him a second time? I only bring this up because this started to get a little too close to the whole real-life trope of men pursuing women until the woman is worn down. Thankfully, it does seem like this is what Jane wants? I guess? It’s hard to tell in that final moment because she might have been swept off her feet, but is that enough to sustain the re-starting of their relationship? I do hope for the best but I’m not sure this is going to work out. YET.
Lying For Good
However, there are some things working in favor of these two. There’s an immensely difficult plot within this about Jane and Rafael’s plan to lie about what neighborhood they live in so Mateo can go to the best school. Very much a thing in the real world! There’s even that line in the script where the woman at registration outright remarks that the school only wants “taxpayers” attending. It’s so blatant, but that’s the whole point. (I also want to point out that even then, Jane operates with relatively more privilege in this situation than some other parents who attempt to use an address to attend a better school. I’m particularly thinking of parents who are homeless, who don’t even have an address to use for ANY school.)
Lying about an address is easier said than done, especially when you’ve got a kid as perceptive and outspoken as Mateo. There are moments in this episode where my heart broke while watching Mateo struggle with this notion of lying for a “good” reason. His parents did a wonderful job teaching him morals, and suddenly, his life is complicated by this elaborate system of lies that his parents keep calling a “game.” And he knows it isn’t a game! So, which is the more ethical option? Confuse Mateo now with the lies, but get him a good education for the future, OR tell the truth but lose out on an incredible opportunity?
I understand why Rafael ended up at the place he did. My gut take here was that asking Mateo to lie would ultimately prove to be a very negative thing, both on Mateo’s mental health AND because it would have inevitably been discovered as a lie. Yes, people get away with this all the time, but I’m thinking in terms of Jane the Virgin. This show NEVER would have kept that lie hidden the whole time.
In the solution to his conflict, though, there’s another great thing that might help Rafael’s relationship with Jane: He is finally moving out! Getting a studio in the neighborhood of Mateo’s school takes away the whole problem of lying. But it also allows Rafael to have his own space. As someone who finally moved to their own space for the first time in five years, I CANNOT STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ENOUGH. It does mean that there is a chance that upon living alone, Rafael won’t feel the same way about Jane as he did while living with her. But it’s ALSO possible that this helps them grow closer, since they won’t feel like they’re living on top of one another. I DON’T KNOW, THIS COULD BE A GOOD THING. At the very least, it’s a much better reality than asking Mateo to lie for years about where he lives.
(SHOUT OUT TO YET ANOTHER CASUALLY QUEER COUPLE ON THIS SHOW.)
Oh, I’m so happy. I AM SO HAPPY WITH THIS PLOT. You know, the show did do this last time: I thought they were going to lean too heavily on humor when depicting therapy, and instead, they went a very endearing route. The difference this time was that Rogelio was so opposed to therapy. (I actually forget about his Scientology days!) How was he going to get over his preconceived notions of what therapy was when he wasn’t even paying attention during the very first session?
Well, a magical thing happened. At first, I wondered if the way Rogelio would go overboard—as he is likely to do with literally anything he does—was that he’d make everything about himself. That’s how the therapist changes gears, wasn’t it? She pivoted that conversation with a pointed question, and it was like she was the key to unlocking Rogelio. However, while Rogelio absolutely takes this so ridiculously far, it’s not for a joke. No, he experienced trauma as a kid, particularly since he was forced into entertainment and into a financial role that was deeply fucked up for a kid. To have that kind of pressure on you? To think that if you don’t succeed, your whole family will collapse around you? That’s fucking ROUGH. But it’s also part of another thread woven through this script about perspective. I bet Rogelio’s mother thought she was doing the best for him, and she had no idea how challenging his life was. We can see that in Mateo’s plot, too, since Jane and Rafael did not initially consider how hard it would be for their son to lie every day. That’s also the main motivation behind the conflict between Alba and Xiomara! To Alba, her husband was the perfect partner. While Xiomara adored her father, too, she had a different experience with him and got to see him far less than Alba did.
All of these plots end in such amazingly empathetic ways. That’s ultimately why I loved the couple’s therapy plot so much. Rogelio and Xiomara learn how to open up to one another. They learn how to ACTUALLY listen to the other when they’re speaking. There’s no joke here! Therapy ACTUALLY FUCKING HELPED THEM.
I love it so much.
Okay, is the show just fucking with me at this point? I know I had this whole shipping thing with Jane and Petra, but I never thought it would actually happen on screen. And I’m not expecting anything between Petra and Jane Ramos, but… her name? The weird electricity between them? I suppose that chemistry exists because Jane Ramos is working for someone to get close to Petra. BUT MAYBE NOT???
This is certainly an interesting turn of events. I mean… Petra killed her sister in self-defense, right? Granted, the show didn’t put the scene on our screens, and I feel like that has to be intentional. So what are they hiding from us? And why?
Who cares LET’S TALK ABOUT JANE RAMOS AND PETRA A LITTLE BIT MORE. I didn’t imagine that in their last scene together, did I? I REALLY HOPE I’M NOT WRONG.
The video for “Chapter Seventy-Two” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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