In the eighth episode of the fifth season of Jane the Virgin, Jane tries to recover after a rejection, while others reconnect with those they love. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
Trigger Warning: For discussion of trauma.
Reconnecting and Reading
My experience with what Jane goes through in “Chapter Eighty-Nine” is limited, but I wanted to open with a discussion on being romantically rejected and boundary setting. I’ve been in four long-term relationships, and the other person ended things in three of them. Even so, it wasn’t until I initiated the end of a break-up that I finally experienced something close to what we see here: that intense longing and irrational pining that seems impossible to overcome. It doesn’t help that we live in a society here in the States (and elsewhere, too) that pushes the message of true love and persistence as part of the “normal” romantic experience. If true love exists, then those people are “destined” to be together. This, however, does not account for the confusing, horrible experience of realizing that the image of one’s true love that a person has in their head doesn’t actually match up with reality. That dissonance hurts, y’all, and it took me four relationships to finally understand why some people become so messy, chaotic, and intense after a break-up.
But I’m still speaking in a very general sense. Once you start including the specific context of Jane’s break-up with Rafael, though, this became more complicated. Jane is only certain now that Rafael is her destiny, and throughout this episode, she makes it clear through her actions (and sometimes her words) that she wants Rafael to get over his resentment towards her as soon as possible. If she can just prove that her love is true, that they’ll be better off together, then everything will be fine!
Except Rafael already told her his problem with Jane and why he can’t get back together with: Trust issues! And instead of actually listening to him and working on said trust problems, Jane does… a lot of bad things. She ignores Rafael’s boundaries. She stalks him. She follows him. She uses information from her son in order to be in the same place as him. (Which ended up having a positive affect, but that doesn’t negate what she did prior to that.) Then the whole thing with the home and the grand gesture? Oh my god, Jane, HE SAID HE DIDN’T TRUST YOU. Don’t go and do something that will make him trust you EVEN LESS!
The problem (of many, sure) is that Jane spends most of this episode, right up until she makes that terrible mistake, only thinking about herself and what she wants. She isn’t trying to make amends; she’s just trying to prove herself. Also, another thing: THE OTHER PERSON SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN YOU MAKING AMENDS!!! That’s a key part of this! But Jane doesn’t involve Rafael; she merely inflicts herself and her desires on him. This has to be an active process, and look, even though I acknowledge that Jane was heartbroken and her intent was good, there was such a better way to go about this. Let’s take the misinterpreted signal, for example. If Rafael really had wanted to begin to repair things, then Jane should have respected that this needed to happen on his schedule. She shouldn’t have tried to jumpstart it because she didn’t want to wait any longer!
Look, this is also out of my lane of experience because it’s all wrapped up in co-parenting. If Jane is going to successfully manage this, she’s got to separate the two, like Rafael was trying to do. This hurt to watch, of course, because I know what it’s like to want someone you cannot have. But as Xo points out, loving someone is not ownership, and that was the hard lesson Jane had to learn.
Amidst this, though, was a really nice story about Jane and Rafael learning to adjust in their education of Mateo and reading. I was an early reader, but kids like Mateo are far less frequent in fiction, so I’m glad we got this whole plot. In particular: you can’t expect anyone to learn the same way others do. We all learn best through different means and at different paces, too. Flashcards might be how Jane best synthesizes information, but clearly, this didn’t work. Humor, however? Look how Raul began to connect to rhyming once he got to be silly. And I also hope that if Mateo grows up to dislike reading, he’s not treated differently for that.
I’m only realizing now as I type this review that this plot is on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of boundaries and break-ups. First of all: I NEVER SAW THIS COMING. TRULY!!! I thought that Petra’s daughters had seen one of Rose’s henchmen on the balcony and that the issue they had with JR was completely separate from that. However… holy shit. This went a really upsetting place, but it was one that was explored so respectfully and so kindly. And I mean that from all angles! As freaked out as Petra was, she was so great with her kids when she spoke to them. There was no yelling, no judging, and instead, she just listened to them. They felt safe enough to tell her the truth: They were trying to sabotage JR. This is not the first time this show has addressed the strange ways in which the human mind copes with trauma. Here, we see a new context: Children witnessing something violent and misreading a situation because of it. They were told guns were bad, and so, they saw JR’s actions as being unsafe. Which, of course, is the terrible irony here; JR saved Petra’s life!
However, the conversation that JR and Petra have? It’s one of the healthiest ones they’ve EVER had. Both characters are deeply understanding of the other, and they both communicate extremely well. Petra sets a boundary and makes it clear that she has to be a good mother to Annie and Ellie first. That is her priority. And when JR counters that she wants to work harder on spending time with Petra’s daughters, she doesn’t assume she knows best. She fights for her relationship with Petra… with Petra. It’s the exact opposite of what Jane does with Rafael. Petra is involved in the entire process! They come to an agreement together!!! UGH I FELT SO GOOD ABOUT THIS, I’M VERY HAPPY. Please let a good thing last?
New Pilot and Ro-morse
Well, I didn’t expect this either! I figured that Rogelio’s show was ready to go and would be picked up after all that work, but… Hollywood. That’s what Hollywood does. I should have expected this! What comes from this news, though, is a really fascinating story. It was hard to watch, yes, because Jane delivered a double dose of disappointment here. (That’s a mouthful!) After upsetting Raul, she also upsets her father when she doesn’t finish the proposal for his new show. While that’s an important plot point, I was more interested in what Rogelio asked of Jane. This isn’t like what she did before, where she wrote out her father from his show. A proposal is a completely different beast! (I’ve only written fiction manuscript proposals at this point in my life, but fundamentally, they’re not all that different across industries.)
So what will this do for Jane? She’s been stuck for so long on her second novel, and sometimes, working on something else is exactly the right solution for writer’s block. I’m also interested in the her idea. It’s absolutely ridiculous to try and cram all of the network’s hot items and topics into a single pitch, but the dual timeline narrative—with one timeline in space—actually seems kinda cool. Will River be into it in the end? Is Jane’s writing career going to lead her to television, or will she stay in the novel world? I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES.
Oh, wow, this plot crushed me AND THEN HEALED ME AGAIN. It fits so well with the other two relationship stories, too, since it’s about boundaries and the complications of love. As Alba was telling Jane not to read too much into what Rafael was texting her, she was having to put the same advice into practice in her own life. She’d gotten pretty good at it, too! Not just that, but she involved Xiomara in the process to help her when things got too rough. So, I braced myself. I wondered if this would be the end of Alba’s story with Jorge. If they passed their immigration interview, then what reason was there for them to stay together?
I LOVE HOW THIS CAME TOGETHER. I love that this acknowledges why Jorge behaved as he did after both of Alba’s rejections, but also, there’s so much more depth to all his scenes post-marriage this season!!! Because he did feel something for Alba!!! HIS PRIDE WAS JUST GETTING IN THE WAY. Oh my god, Jorge declaring his love for Alba… A GOOD THING HAPPENED. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. Ugh, I’m so happy for Alba!
Y’all, I DON’T GET IT. TRULY. What the fuck? What exactly is the plan here? One of Rose’s henchmen has infiltrated Luisa’s life, and apparently, he’s trying to get Luisa to allow Rafael to let her see his kids. For… what? What possible benefit could this provide for Rose? I genuinely don’t get it. Is this a revenge plot? Why are these people doing Rose’s bidding? For money? WHAT’S HAPPENING???
The video for “Chapter Eighty-Nine” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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