In the second episode of the fifth season of Jane the Virgin, Jane tries (perhaps too hard) with Jason; Rogelioâ€™s ego arises again; Luisa takes a risk. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For talk of trauma, death, grief.
I gotta say this: I appreciate that this show is willing to go to places it hasnâ€™t been. Because wow, pretty much every plot here is deeply uncomfortable?Â
You know, letâ€™s focus this initially on me. Because guess what? Iâ€™m also guilty of a focus that isnâ€™t fair, even though these are all fictional characters. Even in the previous review, I kept bouncing between using Jason and Michael, when this isâ€¦ this is Jason. The end. Thatâ€™s who this person is. Admittedly, it was hard to figure out what to say, but I feel like the greater point here is that Jane in particular kept trying to force Jason to be Michael. I understand why, but River Fields, even while being self-absorbed, helped Jason process something he hadnâ€™t been given the space to process.Â
Over the course of â€œChapter Eighty-Three,â€ we see a lot of Jane trying her best to trigger Jasonâ€™s memories. At the same time, itâ€™s clear that Jason is increasingly bored or irritated by Janeâ€™s attempts. (Or at least I thought that was what Jason was going through.) Jane wasnâ€™t letting Jason guide anything. She chose what memories to go through; she chose what to do with any of the things that she saved, rather than let Jason make decisions. At every step of this, Jason was was not actually centered in this process. Jane was. And itâ€™s why it hurt so much whenever Jane was disappointed! Of course Jane felt bad whenever these deeply personal moments didnâ€™t resonate with Jason. At the same time, none of this was his fault. He was deliberately traumatized by Rose, his memories were wiped, and he was DROPPED IN A STATE HE HAD NEVER BEEN IN AND HAD TO RE-START FROM NOTHING.Â
I know that there are complicated feelings about the word â€œvictim,â€ but for Jason, it helped him put his feelings into words. Awful things were done to him, and it wasnâ€™t fair that he was being made to feel like he was letting people down.Â
Thatâ€™s why the line dancing scene worked so well. Up to a point, that is. Jane had to stop keeping Jason within this rigid definition of who he is. She actually didn’t know who he had become since being forced to live in Montana, and that had to feel awful! That being said: I DID NOT EXPECT JASON TO DO WHAT HE DID. I mean, I thought that when he spun Jane towards him while dancing that theyâ€™d have an awkward moment, but NO!!! He kissed her! That one act set in motion the stuff Iâ€™ll discuss later involving Jane and Rafael, but thisâ€¦ this is not something I anticipated. I was busy worrying about Jane re-discovering her feelings for her (technical) husband, BUT NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.Â
Within an episode that deals with Janeâ€™s complicated feelings on the Catholic church was something surprising: Jane deciding that sending Mateo to Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes wasnâ€™t a good idea. I went to these as a teenager, as my church had a whole separate division within their CCD program that was for converts. Itâ€™s an important part of being a Catholic, so I had to learn much of what children learn, but at a greatly accelerated rate. It took me just under two years of consistent classes to be able to get baptized, confirmed, and take communion, all of which happened on the same night.Â
It isâ€¦ not a space wherein questions are encouraged. You are taught the teachings of the Gospel and specifically of the Catholic church so you can participate in the sacraments. So, yes, itâ€™s very important part of the process. Thus, I get why Jane initially believed Mateo had to go.
However, Janeâ€™s crisis of faith is so tangible in this episode. I appreciate that itâ€™s so obvious that everyone is losing their shit because thereâ€™s just no precedence for this. Thereâ€™s no way anyone could have been prepared for this! Which is precisely why Jane struggles with this in the terms that she does. How can she ask Mateo to accept that God has a plan for everything when everything is so deeply chaotic? Does she even believe this part of Catholicism? What I enjoyed about this is that Jane the Virginâ€™s writers are taking Jane through this doubt she has in a nuanced way. She hasnâ€™t lost her belief in God and she certainly doesnâ€™t want to stop being a Catholic. But when you combine this with the whole divorce plot, Janeâ€™s characterization here is about what sheâ€™s willing to compromise when it comes to religion. I think thatâ€™s something thatâ€™s deeply relatable for people of various faiths, and as an ex-Catholic? I knew so many Catholics who had to do the same spiritual arithmetic. What tenets did they follow? Which were they willing to let slide? How did their circumstances dictate that? And in Janeâ€™s case, will she change her mind about this?
Oh, Rogelio, you came so far. A big reason his plot is so damn frustrating is that I had hoped he had learned to let go of these toxic behaviors. He had been taught so many difficult lessons last season, so maybe that growth had stuck! However, I also understand why this seemed to press every button Rogelio had. Remember, Esteban already did shit like this with Rogelio. So did Fabian. Rogelio is used to being the center of attention and heâ€™s used to having everything catered to him. He had to give up some of that last season, both with the birth of Baby and co-parenting with Darci, as well as in his professional career. Pursuing River Fields was part of that, too!Â
Itâ€™s not lost on me that much of what River does here is what Rogelio has done in the past. And itâ€™s clear that he canâ€™t really deal with the very same behavior heâ€™s used to getting away with. Likeâ€¦ holy shit, he stretched a single word to the length of a monologue? Because he was trying to talk about fairness? How was it fair to bring on Jason as an â€œexpertâ€ in being an amnesiac and only do so as a way to manipulate the writers? It immediately backfired! Plus, it was one of the things that helped Jason find the means to talk about how frustrating it was to be a disappointment to other people. Silver lining, sure, but that was just an incidental thing. Rogelio is awful here!
Hopefully that verbal criticism from Xiomara will get him to stop lashing out when his ego is threatened. I amâ€¦ also worried about what River hands Xiomara at the end of the episode. What have the writers decided to do now? While I think we should criticize Rogelio, I also canâ€™t help but wonder if she is deliberately trying to gain the approval of the writers so that she gets better scenes and parts. Thatâ€™s totally in-character for her, and itâ€™s only going to make this harder.
Jane and Rafaelâ€™s Fear
MY HEART CANâ€™T HANDLE ALL THESE EMOTIONS. Oh my god, this whole plot between Rafael and Jane is so fucking raw. Again, thereâ€™s no precedence here to make this easier, and part of why this arc is so disorienting is because itâ€™s such a completely wild reality to deal with. So itâ€™s natural that everyoneâ€™s reactions are going to veer between such disparate feelings. Honestly, I gotta reference the monologue from the past episode again, since that demonstrated so pointedly how Janeâ€™s emotions whiplashed from one end of the spectrum to another. In â€œChapter Eighty-Three,â€ the shock of the return of Janeâ€™s husband as Jason has mostly worn off, and nowâ€¦ well, itâ€™s fucking confusing!!! Sheâ€™s married to someone she believed was dead! Who has not become an entirely different person who remembers nothing of her!Â
Throughout this, there is a pervasive fear, though, and it manifests differently for Jane and Rafael. But both of them are terrified of Jason regaining his memories of his time as Michael. Rafael is afraid that will mean the end of the relationship he has worked so hard to build with Jane. Jane is afraid of that, too, but sheâ€™s got a guilt that Rafael doesn’t have: She feels guilty that she wishes that Jason never came into their lives. It is a horrible thought, because it means she would rather â€œMichaelâ€ to have stayed dead. I donâ€™t blame her though! She grieved! For four years. And Rafael wasnâ€™t the only one who built up this relationship. Jane has worked just as hard to try differently. Their partnership is so much stronger than it ever was the first time around. The timing of this is a nightmare; the unfairness and injustice is gut-wrenching. None of these people should have to be dealing with this, and yet? This is their lives.
Iâ€™m glad, then, that Jane and Rafael were open with one another about these complex, challenging emotions. Neither of them wants Jason to tear their relationship apart. They want each other! While I do feel good about this, I admit I am worried about Jasonâ€™s refusal to sign the divorce papers. THIS IS BAD. NOT GOOD. OH GOD.Â
Sometimes, it is hard to root for changed behavior and growth on this show because the writers like to pitch fastballs at me. So, let me make this all a tentative, hesitant thing: It was really cool seeing Luisaâ€™s commitment to her own boundaries. Honestly. Getting away from Rose has been so good to her, yes, but I was worried about her having time alone with this awful human. And yet, despite temptation, despite what seemed like some obvious desire, Luisa resisted. She didnâ€™t let Rose get a single thing past her. Well, in person. I still donâ€™t get what all those â€œoperativesâ€ are for. (I donâ€™t know what to call those people who she spoke to over video.) I am worried about that, but for what itâ€™s worth, I was so proud of Luisa. SHE DID IT.Â
Also, I am not sure the torture of Michael was all that random; I suspect thereâ€™s more to Rose here, since thatâ€™s very much on-brand for her. Still, if she told the truth here: Fuck. Chance. Thatâ€™s all it took: random chance. And then Michaelâ€™s whole life changed forever.Â
The video for â€œChapter Eighty-Threeâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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