In the thirteenth episode of the fifth season of Jane the Virgin, events begin to speed up, but Jane and Rafael wonder if they shouldn’t slow them down. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Jane the Virgin.
So, let’s start with something that’s sillier than much of this episode. Well, even though I’m opening this review like that, there’s actually something very cool within this. I think this whole plot isn’t just to bolster Xiomara’s story. Rather, I think that we just saw some unannounced growth in Rogelio. If a plot like this had happened seasons ago, I believe Rogelio would have spent most of the episode freaking out and taking the director’s feedback as a personal attack.
Instead, Rogelio readily admits that the scenes in the dailies that the network had a problem. He doesn’t complain at all; there’s no ego-trip here. He forces himself to do something DEEPLY bizarre and embarrassing (and in public!) so that he can be BETTER. Which actually happens! So it was nice to see this unfold as it did.
It was also a great counter to the INCREDIBLY stressful plot that unfolds over multiple games of Lotería. There are three of them that play a significant part in the story of “Chapter Ninety-Four.” There’s the one in the past that Xiomara played against Alba in order to determine the fate of a Disney audition that Xo wanted to go on. I think this was one of the rare times we actually saw Mateo, Sr. as an older man! I’m so used to the other actor playing him. The legendary session created a longstanding problem with Lotería in the Villanueva family, and for understandable reasons! They used a GAME to decide a life-changing decision. Even worse, Mateo Sr. cheated so that Xiomara would lose and would be unable to audition for the part, all because he felt that this was the better decision.
What this episode tries to address is the complicated threading of a specific needle: What do you do when you think someone you love and care about is making the wrong decision? You could let them make that poor decision, but what responsibility do parents have when it’s their child? Alba and Mateo Sr. both know that this audition is not going to end well for Xiomara. Is the way they go about this great? No, not really, and I was pleased that the writers gave Xiomara the chance to tell Alba that even all these years later, this still hurt her. Because a situation like this is so delicate! I totally get why Xiomara felt like other people were making this decision for her. So what’s the compromise? How can you actually make the right decision here?
Well, first of all, you don’t cheat at a game of Lotería. Actually: Don’t use Lotería to make important life decisions unless you’re going to do what Rafael does! I know it seems like a simplistic answer, but wow, they all just needed to talk to one another? It was interesting to me, though, that Alba never really got through to Xo; it was Rogelio! He was the one who got through to Xo AND through an absurd means: a tail. A TAIL. But he helps her realize that she gave up on a possible nursing career the second it seemed hard. She hadn’t given it a chance at all. My hope is that Xiomara gets into this and discovers that this is the career she was looking for. I also love that it would follow in the footsteps of Alba!!! THE POETRY OF IT ALL.
The Con of Milos
I gotta say: This CLEARLY took me by surprise. It’s a pleasant surprise, though, because it means that the issues I thought I was going to have over this plot line are moot. Holy shit, Krishna and Petra were working together to MANIPULATE MILOS. Oh my god, did Petra come up with this after Jane asked her if there was some other way she could resolve this? I kinda wish we’d seen some of the planning, but it also means that what we DID see was a performance: Krishna and Petra had to behave a specific way because they thought they were being bugged. Does that mean their rapport has changed??? I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW. I hope so!
Oh, wow, this is moving so fast. And I get why. As I said on video, I can appreciate the entire Michael “twist” from a telenovela standpoint. It’s exactly the kind of trope that I should have seen coming in a show like this. At the same time, every episode prior to this has been emotionally challenging. Since Jane the Virgin deals with the realism in these tropes, that means the first half of this season has been BRUTAL. It really has! It’s been hard to watch at times, and this episode made it easy to reflect on that. All of what happens here should have been a joyous thing: Rafael and Jane are back together! He proposed in the most perfect way during a game of Lotería. THEY ARE PLANNING A SUDDEN WEDDING BECAUSE OF MATEO! (Which… wow, that whole plot CRUSHED me. I can’t believe I didn’t consider that THAT was the reason he wasn’t excited about his Mom and Dad getting engaged.)
And yet, the old wounds—actually, scratch that, the RELATIVELY NEW wounds are still there. It’s not like what happened with Michael transpired years ago. It was months. Months ago! So Rafael is still dealing with trust issues; Jane is still overwhelmed by the guilt of it all. Thus, the wedding planning brought out the worst of both of these emotions. Rafael’s doubt hit him hard. Would this all happen again? Would Jane change her mind and disrupt his life? (Which is similar to what Mateo was feeling, at least in the context of stability.) On Jane’s end: Would she continue to make decisions due to the guilt she felt for exploring a relationship with Michael? Would Rafael ever trust her again?
Really, the best decision here WAS to postpone the wedding, both for logistical reasons and emotional ones. These two might be picking up where they left off, but in the interim, new issues have popped up, and they need to address those, too. There’s an adorable compromise within this all, though. Oh, Mateo officiating a “wedding” for his parents? With an audience of stuffed animals? HELP ME, THAT WAS THE CUTEST THING IN THE WORLD. Oh my god, I love this family so, so much.
Here’s to hoping that these remaining episodes aren’t nearly as stressful. Well, I say that knowing that the narrator’s final words were a terrible warning about the wedding. GOD, COULD NICE THINGS HAPPEN UNINTERRUPTED ON THIS SHOW.
The video for “Chapter Ninety-Four” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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