In the third episode of the fifth season of Jane the Virgin, Jason forces Jane’s hand; Mateo lashes out; Rogelio does a lot of awful things. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of misogyny, racism, trauma, violation of boundaries, grief.
Not me watching this extremely stressful episode ON ELECTION DAY. Lord, I spent half of “Chapter Eight-Four” feeling like I was gonna EXPLODE. Let’s get into it!
One Last Date
All three of the major plots in this episode were designed to be frustrating, so I get why my reaction was what it was. STILL! THIS WAS SO MUCH. And while the final moments mostly helped me understand why Jason behaved as he did, I still have to admit that Jason pissed me off here. Asking Jane once to go on a date? Fine, he felt compelled to do it, she said no, and he should have signed the divorce papers and left. Instead, he is disturbingly persistent, all the while wearing this cutesy face as if what he’s doing is charming instead of DEEPLY FUCKING UPSETTING. I hated it! She said no! That is a complete sentence! Go away!
I was particularly upset, though, when he brought flowers to Jane at the Marbella and frightened Mateo. He knew Jane was trying to protect Mateo, but was he careful? No! And the next time he runs into Jane in the Marbella, does he apologize? No! He doesn’t seem sorry at all. How self-centered of him, y’all. He could’ve traumatized Mateo, but he was concerned about that at all.
So this whole thing felt like coercion. I mean, it basically was. He coerced Jane into a DATE because he believed it would help them both discover their feelings for one another. In order to do that, though, he ignored Jane’s incredibly clear boundaries. I DIDN’T LIKE THIS. I was viscerally uncomfortable the entire time!
And in the end, the feelings didn’t come back. They’re both different people! I do understand how difficult this was for Jason, and I sympathize with how jarring and upsetting the process was for him. Like, I can’t imagine seeing all this evidence that not only were you a different person, but you were deeply in love with someone. Still! Listen to people when they set boundaries!!!!
I… I don’t even know how to touch that final twist. Because this just got a million times more difficult. What a heartbreaking twist, too. Jane just definitively rejected him, and he signed the divorce papers. AND NOW HE REMEMBERED. UGH. OH MY GOD.
There’s one last thing I wanted to talk about. I don’t begrudge anyone who believes that soulmates exist. I used to not believe in that, and then I met Baize. I admit that now, so much of my rejection of the concept of soulmates Is wrapped up in grief, but I also want to make space for my own growth. I have come to accept that clinging to the notion that my ex was my soulmate did more harm to me than good. It made it harder to see when things weren’t going good. It absolutely made losing him probably a million times worse. Because you don’t get two soulmates, right? The whole idea is predicated on the notion that there’s one person out there who is just right for you. After he passed, I spiraled for a long time. Would I be alone for the rest of my life?
But relationships require work to stay healthy and balanced. It is far more interesting to me now to think about a person not as a soulmate, but as someone who has potential. How will the two of us work towards that potential? I say all this because I found the talk of soulmates to be deeply meaningful to me. I’m proud of Jane; it couldn’t have been easy to let this go, but she did it because it was the best thing for her.
Mateo, Annie, and Ellie
You know, I had initially thought that Mateo’s bad behavior was mostly due to seeing Jason, but I think what the episode explored instead was way, way more interesting. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF THAT BIG EMOTIONAL SCENE IN THE TENT. It’s true that children often receive cues from their parents, and I definitely did. (HI, TRAUMA, HOW ARE YOU.) By the end of this plot, I came to understand that Anna, Ellie, and Mateo had all subconsciously or consciously recognized friction between their mothers. They were acting out their frustrations on one another, and then, when Petra and Jane tried to get them to resolve their problems, their mothers continued to fight and argue either right in front of them or in the background.
I feel like I’ve said this a million times in regards to this show, but: Kids are so much more observant than we think they are.
I am so pleased with where this story went. Look, I didn’t even notice that Petra had been left out of Jane’s current predicament. But Petra was right! Jane never sought her out for advice or comfort or anything, and after they’ve both worked so hard to keep up a friendship… yeah, that would sting! Especially after Petra just went through that awful break-up with J.R. I just… there’s that moment where Petra tells Jane to start at the beginning with regards to Jason, and they’re sitting so close, and they genuinely look like sisters during a slumber party, about to talk about romance problems. This scene wouldn’t have worked in the early seasons, but that’s a sign of how far these two have come. It made me so happy, y’all. THIS IS ALL I EVER WANTED, AND IT’S REAL.
Rogelio vs River
I can see the intent behind a lot of this, but… this is sloppy.
The two issues brought up in this frustrating plot are very real. There is a massive disparity in Hollywood along lines of gender, race, and certainly the combination of the two. I don’t mind the show being humorous or ridiculous about this, but I think they make two critical errors in the execution.
If Rogelio’s behavior was based on him feeling devalued and ignored because he is a person of color and an immigrant, then perhaps he should have brought this up before? Because my interpretation while he fought River was that his ego had gotten in the way. That’s it. He’s horrible to River, and the entire time, it just looked like he was being a raging misogynist who was unable to accept that a woman was making more than him. To then have this pivot to him feeling like it was unfair that his show, his culture, and his story was being exploited so that River can benefit from it… it’s odd. Why? Why wouldn’t he say that earlier? It doesn’t make sense! Unfortunately, it makes people of color who are seeking parity of pay seem petty, childish, and unable to articulate their position.
Then there’s that magazine cover… that was supposed to be a joke, I get it, but it was way too far and extremely racist. I guess that’s supposed to be the point? But now I’m pissed at River, too, because she made the racial equity conversation about her! It’s such an aggressively white thing to do! Are they going to address it? I hope so. But if that ended up being a disposable gag… yuck. No thanks.
The video for “Chapter Eighty-Four” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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