In the twelfth episode of the fifth season of Jane the Virgin, some weird shit happens, but mostly I just wanna yell about THE THING. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.Â
Trigger Warning: For talk of medication, trauma, brief mentions of cancer.
This is one of those episode where I have to promise myself I wonâ€™t just yell about THE THING because there are actually other important parts of this episode. BUT I WANT TO YELL ABOUT THE THING.Â
OH, SCHOOL MUSICALS. I had a moment where I flashed back to elementary school in Idaho, and we had to perform Bette Midlerâ€™s â€œWind Beneath My Wingsâ€ during a big school assembly. I was stuck on a riser in the back row, which made no sense, since I was dramatically taller than most of the other kids in my class. So I stuck out even more, which gave me anxiety, and then I was convinced everyone could likeâ€¦ extra hear my singing? I donâ€™t know, I was seven! It made sense at the time! I HAVE HAD ANXIETY SINCE I WAS VERY LITTLE, OKAY?
Anyway, that has virtually nothing to do with the plot of â€œChapter Ninety-Threeâ€ aside from the obvious. This was more about Jane and Rafaelâ€™s attempts at utilizing strategies to help Mateo, all while grappling with an inevitable situation: behavioral adjustment isnâ€™t working. Sometimes, it helps, and for what itâ€™s worth, I think it was good that Mateoâ€™s parents tried as hard as they could. But what we see here with Mateo is something else: awareness. Initially, that was awareness that Mateo was being treated differently than his fellow students, which was heartbreaking to watch. Thereâ€™s a whole discussion to be had about how much this world refuses to cater to neuroatypical people, and I admit that this episode doesnâ€™t touch that at all. Rather, it is about centering normalcy and how best Mateo can fit in. Thereâ€™s no infrastructure or support for kids like Mateo, is there?Â
At the same time, I canâ€™t ignore Mateoâ€™s awareness. He knows he doesnâ€™t fit in, and by the end of the episode, when a crying baby derails his focus during the musical itself, he believes that there is something wrong with him. WHICH IS A MILLION TIMES MORE HEARTBREAKING, Yâ€™ALL. He literally says he doesnâ€™t want to be â€œthis wayâ€ anymore!!!! CHRIST. Itâ€™s such a painful moment, and while I once more canâ€™t claim any sort of authenticity with this experience, I did appreciate that the writers approached all of this without the usual stigma that I see attached to taking medication. They established this earlier this season by revealing that Rafael is on an antidepressant, and itâ€™s reinforced again here. This is such a huge thing for a mainstream television show, yâ€™all, since Iâ€™m so used to medication being used in mostly negative contexts. Will this help Mateo? I donâ€™t know yet. No one does. Thatâ€™s why this is so stressful for the characters involved. But now that Mateo has spoken out about how distressed he is, it seems like the right time to try something else.Â
I will also say that I know people who struggle with executive dysfunction, who are often just as frustrated as Mateo is here. Like I said, it doesnâ€™t help that this world is frequently unkind to people who are dealing with executive dysfunction, either. They get called lazy or selfish or a ton of other, much more cruel things than that, when itâ€™s actually something thatâ€™s often painful to deal with, both emotionally and literally. So, at the very least, Iâ€™m glad that Jane and Rafael made sure Mateo knew that they werenâ€™t angry with him. Thatâ€™s important, yâ€™all.Â
In a purely positive subplot, JANE AND PETRA CONTINUE BEING BEST FRIENDS. I honestly have moments where I canâ€™t believe that their friendship is at the level it is, but here we are. It happened. And the show earned it! I think thatâ€™s important to note here. This was such a gradual, slow-burn of a friendship, and I am certain that when I get to the finale, itâ€™ll still be one of the very best things about this show.Â
In â€œChapter Ninety-Three,â€ both Petra and Jane are able to be there for one another as they navigate the post-breakup world of singledom. That manifests in two ways: First, both women do what they can to encourage the other not to fall into familiar patterns of checking up on their exes. If they are to truly move on, then they have to ACTUALLY move on. That means no Instagram stalking; no waiting around for things to change; no obsessing over what could have been or what might be. And so, the two of them dip their toes in the pool of single ladies! I LOVED THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PETRAâ€™S BISEXUALITY HERE, TOO. Plus, that scene at the bar was just fun. A lot of this show has been pretty stressful ever since the return of Michael in the season four finale, so itâ€™s nice to have moments like this. I am so happy about this! And the other thing. But weâ€™ve more to get to before that.Â
Well, this isâ€¦ weird. Immediately, this episode fulfilled exactly what I wanted it to! Krishna was justifiably forceful about calling out Petra and making sure she stuck to treating her better than she ever did. That was an interesting story to me! How would Krishna change Petra? We already saw how Petra changed because of JR in regards to Milosâ€™s bullying. Petra now wouldnâ€™t dream of doing anything unethical to get her way, whereas the Petra of years ago absolutely would.Â
However, now it seems as if Krishna took the job just to get revenge? I mean, I get it. I understand the basic motivation behind it. I just donâ€™t know how compelling of a story that is? Krishna is still a background character, and I was looking forward to her getting a meatier storyline. I mean, maybe itâ€™s still on its way? It just feels a little strange that she would work with Milos, who tormented her through blackmail, so that she couldâ€¦. work with someone else who tormented her. Surely there are other choices Krishna could have made? Iâ€™ll give this a chance, though. UGH, EVEN THOUGH I HATE MILOS.
I also donâ€™t know where this story is going, but I do have an idea where I want it to go: I think Xiomara should get back into singing and dancing for herself. I really miss that part of her, and it was a delight seeing her do that again with Mateo and during the musical number at the end of the episode. But that is my dream. The whole point here? Xiomara wasnâ€™t granted the answer to the existential search she was on prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer. She doesnâ€™t know what her passion is, and she doesnâ€™t know what she wants to do with the rest of her life. Iâ€™m glad that she has the space to be able to continue to pursue this, but I still donâ€™t have a guess as to whatâ€™s going to make her feel happy. And Iâ€™m gonna hypothesize that we wonâ€™t find out until closer to the finale.Â
What aâ€¦ weird plot??? Like, is that it? Was this all some really bizarre revenge plot orchestrated by River because she got rejected? I get why Rogelio feels relieved, but Iâ€™m not. This was such a creepy, self-centered response to being rejected??? Rogelio was not in the wrong here! There was nothing for River to get revenge for!!! I suppose itâ€™s possible that her claim that she let Rogelio sink into his paranoia is actually a lie, and she IS dealing with an unhealthy obsession with him. Still, this episode makes it seem like everything was resolved BUT ITâ€™S NOT??? River just did this awful thing to Rogelio??? Yâ€™all, Iâ€™m LOST.
Being the Bigger Person
IT REALLY SUCKS SOMETIMES. But hey, I thought that it was a good exercise for Jane to do this. Jane is a deeply flawed protagonist, and her problems with boundaries, her judgmental attitude, and her obsessive nature are well-documented across the show. That made the situation with Rafael dating again even more complicated because all of these things came out in full-force at some point. Though thankfully not around Rafael! It was Petra who helped Jane temper down some of her more destructive and harmful impulses, even though it clearly hurt for her to give Rafael advice that would push him to be closer with Julia. So I didnâ€™t see this as a bad thing in the long run. Rather, it was good practice, a chance for her to maintain respectful boundaries with Rafael and not punishing him for moving on. It is also deeply weird to write about this plot in hindsight because Iâ€™m not sure itâ€™ll necessarily matter in the long run. Why?
Love, Love, Love
BECAUSE IT HAPPENED. OH MY GOD. Oh my god, I didnâ€™t see it until it was right there in front of my face. I had resigned myself to a new reality by this point. Rafael was dating again, yâ€™all. It was over, there was NOTHING onscreen to even give me a shred of hope. This was a fully platonic relationship at this point. I do want to say that even knowing the end, I actually still think thatâ€™s the case. I donâ€™t think Rafael was entertaining a relationship with Jane again until he picked up that list he made of his desired qualities. So this really was what we thought it was.
UNTIL IT WASNâ€™T. Oh god. The musical number! The relief! THE SHEER JOY I FELT. It was all such a telenovela trope, but I gotta say, the show nailed it. At least to me, this moment was also earned. Holy shit, it happened. THEYâ€™RE BACK TOGETHER. Oh my god, how will the others react? HOW WILL MATEO REACT??? He always wanted this, too! UGH, I NEED THE NEXT EPISODE NOW.
The video for â€œChapter Ninety-Threeâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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