Mark Watches ‘Jane the Virgin’: S04E09 – Chapter Seventy-Three

In the ninth episode of the fourth season of Jane the Virgin, wow, this one stressed me out. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.

This hurt??? So much??? And yet again, I do have SOME hope that all of this will work out in the end. I think???


I don’t have kids and don’t plan on having them, so wow, this whole plot was so NEW to me. But it’s a reality that plenty of single parents have to cope with when they’re dating. At what point do you introduce a prospective romantic partner to your kid or kids? Actually, it’s not even that simple here. Mateo is used to a specific situation, and THAT is changing because Jane and Rafael are considering dating again. Obviously, Mateo already knows his dad. Prior to this, Rafael lived at the Marbella, and now, Mateo’s gotten used to having Rafael around all the time. So of course he’s struggling with stability and certainty here, which is causing him to be anxious. I’m sure he’s also noticed that his family isn’t quite like the parents of his friends and classmates, and suddenly, there’s a chance things might look “normal” to him, right? 

All of this makes sense. It doesn’t make the situation any less complicated! If that was all Rafael and Jane had to deal with, perhaps it wouldn’t have been so hard for them to make a decision. But on top of it all, Jane STILL isn’t sure she should pursue this relationship. Should she follow her heart? Be more practical? Both? What’s the “right” decision to make here? I don’t fucking know, to be honest. I like the idea of Jane and Rafael actually working out, but I’m also super nervous about what the fallout from that would be. At the same time… that’s the risk. That’s the risk of any relationship, romantic or platonic or otherwise. We never know how they’ll be tested or how they’ll end. So, that can’t really be the best means of deciding whether to start one or not, can it?

Jane and Rafael’s ultimate decision to barge on ahead at least has afforded them some privacy for the moment. And you know what? I get that, too. They’ve got the entire Villanueva family watching them ALL THE TIME, so they’re making space for themselves. Can they keep it that way? We’ll see. I am tentatively excited, and I am at least relieved that they gave Mateo some stability. 

Stay-At-Home Dad

I was impressed that Rogelio gave this a good try, and I actually thought the show would focus a bit more on Rogelio giving himself a break. I suppose it did, just in a way that was more roundabout. Rogelio really DID want to spend more time with his daughter, but he’s learning that childcare isn’t all selfies. Yes, that sounds absurd when I type it out, but that’s Rogelio for you! He imagines events will unfold a certain way because he’s so inexperienced when it comes to things outside his wheelhouse. That includes caring for a newborn! What I know about it from all the people in my life who have had children is that it’s mostly exhausting. Literally all of my new parent friends talk about how little sleep they get. So, it’s not a glamorous thing, and on top of it all? Rogelio is bored by it. That doesn’t mean he has no love for his daughter or anything like that. So, I thought we were leading towards a very specific conclusion to this subplot. Rogelio would admit to Darci that she was right, that he wasn’t cut out for child care, and he would find a way to maybe star in a different telenovela? There is no way Esteban is giving up the lead on the show. 

Except then Xiomara’s plot, about how she isn’t satisfed running the dance studio anymore, affects Rogelio in a way she isn’t even aware of! I am in full agreement with Alba on this. Xiomara gave three years of her life, and she simply doesn’t like all the administrative stuff that goes along with running the school. There is no reason she can’t pursue something else in order to find happiness! Yeah… Rogelio didn’t give child care THREE YEARS. He gave it like… ten hours? Maybe eight? Does that mean he’s going to keep doing this? There’s a chance that he might grow accustomed to it. I bet there’s definitely a way to not be bored with it all. But I don’t actually know where this story is headed. That’s kind of exciting. What does Rogelio’s future look like?

Alba’s Decision

There really are so many big decisions being made at this point of season four. While Alba isn’t a main plot in “Chapter Seventy-Three,” she’s dealing with the choice she made to turn down Jorge’s proposal. I get that she still doesn’t feel ready, even though I had hoped she understood that her love for Jorge could be completely different than her love for Mateo. 

What I did not expect was to see Jorge with his previous girlfriend so quickly after Alba turned him down. Wow, that moment was CRUSHING. It’s only happened to me once in my life, but my first boyfriend moved on frighteningly fast after dumping me (but still refusing to get out of my life), and there’s nothing quite like THAT feeling on top of heartbreak. Alba broke things off and rejected him, and I’m sure that hurt immensely. I don’t think he’s being intentionally cruel here either! He’s allowed to move on. But oh, this stung to watch. Does it mean that Jorge and Alba are officially over? Ugh, it looks like it!

Petra’s Moral Compass

HI, WHAT THE FUCK, IS THIS SHOW TEASING ME???? Like, I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m being queerbaited, as I don’t consider this as something that qualifies for the term. (Especially not when there are just so many queer people on the show.) But I sometimes think… am I just TOO GAY because this seems INCREDIBLY FUCKING OBVIOUS TO ME. First of all: Jane Ramos IS flirting with Petra, right? I do worry that this is happening because of whoever has hired Jane Ramos to get these blueprints. My guess during the video was that it’s Luisa who is behind this. But why blueprints? I don’t quite get that detail. 

Anyway, let’s talk about what Jane Ramos does for Petra here. Maybe this is all a manipulation, and she’s giving Petra this kind of attention in order to get her trust. Fine. I can accept that. At no point did Jane Ramos need to vocalize that perhaps Petra was so obsessed with Jane because she loved her. That wasn’t necessary EXCEPT EMOTIONALLY IT WAS, AND IT WOULD EXPLAIN LITERALLY FUCKING EVERYTHING WE HAVE SEEN BETWEEN THEM. I just??!?!?!?!? oh my god. YES. That would not negate the fact that she views Jane as her moral compass, which is why she can tell when she’s straying so far. But holy shit, y’all, this is? too? much? I cannot be imagining this, I JUST CAN’T.

A Dream Deferred

I don’t think this was an intentional thing, but you know what Jane could have used during that conversation with her publisher? An agent. Traditionally, that’s what they’re for. For many conversations, they’re an intermediary. I get messages from both my publishing houses sent through my agent all the time. And if they ever tried to call me and talk about my performance as an author, that would 100% have to go through my agent or my agent would have to be present for that.

That being said: What happens to Jane is very realistic. Publishing contracts generally have an option clause, which states that a publisher has an exclusive submission of an author’s next work. (Though a good agent will have that specified; in my case, my first YA contract had an option ONLY for my next young adult story. That allowed me to pursue books in other age groups. I really hope Jane gets an agent soon!) It is sadly true that a publisher can pass on an option for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of your work, but merely your sales. This business is not a meritocracy. How hard you work or how good your work is often doesn’t matter or doesn’t play into big decisions.

I was bothered by how QUICKLY they made this decision. Her book’s been out maybe a few weeks at this point? How are they determining she won’t sell much more? See, again: agent time. I’d have my agent ask what the marketing plan was, what the team did to build pre-publication buzz, and what they plan to do in the future. Here, it seems like Jane’s team had a few ideas and did some basic marketing, but kinda just left it all up to Jane. They didn’t even send her anywhere outside the state, despite that there are romance readers all over the country. 

It sucks, though, and my heart hurts for Jane. I don’t talk about them, but even though I got a book deal, I’ve been dealt some pretty devastating rejections in the past three years. Projects seemed to be ready to take off, and then they just fizzled out. I have a submission in with a publishing house that was promised to be taken to acquisitions, and it’s been… shit. A year and a half now? That editor has gone radio silent on us. Last year, I thought I was about to get the deal of a lifetime. Like… literally life-changing, I would never be the same again. And I got rejected, first for some pretty racist reasons, and then for some very in-your-face homophobic reasons. 

Jane’s right. Some of us don’t get second chances. I feel lucky some days to have been able to publish what I have, and I’ve got two middle grade books coming out in the near future. But I also know that I’ve had to work so damn hard to carve out a very tiny space. I’ve taken on so many fiction projects because I also don’t make a fraction of what white, cis, hetero authors make in advances. 

But I was given good advice years ago by my agent. Always have another project. I was writing Each of Us a Desert BEFORE Anger even sold. While I was editing Anger, I was completing the first round of edits on Desert. My first middle grade project was ready to be pitched in early 2019. And my current backlist of ideas to turn into stories is—and I just checked on my phone—thirty deep. THIRTY! (Write down all your ideas, friends!!!) That way, when these rejections hit, I have something else to work on. 

Jane will, too. Well, shit, she already does. I actually think she’ll be a great ghostwriter? FUCK, I would be too for $300 an hour, billable up to 150 HOURS. OH MY GOD THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY. Someone hire me to ghostwrite your shit????

The video for “Chapter Seventy-Three” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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