You are my flesh and blood. I will always forgive you. – Alba Villanueva
I don’t know what to say, I’m as surprised as you are. – Latin Lover Narrator
I saw the last half hour of the Oscars when I got home from work, and then I watched the previous three hours, give or take an “Everything is Awesome” and “Best Documentary Feature” award. But I feel like there are enough thinkpieces about Birdman for tonight (this one by Alex Abad-Santos and Todd VanDerWerff is particularly good), and I enjoyed watching Jane the Virgin much more than I enjoyed watching the Academy Awards. There’s something great about a show that is really good and also just fun to watch (I don’t think that Breaking Bad was fun to watch by its end, it was just so grim). What I like about Jane the Virgin is that the characters and their relationships are so well established that the telenovela aspect of it just makes it fun.
This week focused on family and forgiveness; when Jane borrowed and lost her Abuela’s favourite earrings, she was worried that what she did was unforgivable. However her Abuela says: “You are my flesh and blood, I will always forgive you.” The themes of forgiveness and family run through The Passions of Santos, as well as the relationships between Luisa and Rafael, and Petra and her mother (I still don’t know her mother’s name, which isn’t great, but if she was a more interesting character I might make an effort).
We’ll deal with the Petra storyline first, because it’s the one that’s least connected to the other characters this week, aside from the moment that Petra confesses everything to Jane in the stairwell. Rafael goes to Petra, who is terrified of Milos coming because Lachlan set it up (at least her mother has figured out not to trust Lachlan), because she hasn’t been doing her job. So, Petra goes down to the lobby, where she meets Milos! It turns out that Milos never meant to throw acid at Petra, but at her mother:
Is that supposed to make you feel better? That you meant to throw acid at my mother?
Despite the horrible things that Milos did, I think he’s just as interesting as Petra, and I’d watch a version of this show where they take over the Solano business, they’re two crafty people. Milos insists that it was Petra’s mother that drove them apart, hence the acid, but Petra doesn’t believe him. So they set a trap. Milos pretends to slit Petra’s throat (I didn’t put the Chekhov’s fake blood together until just now, but I knew she couldn’t be dead), and Petra learns that her mother lied to her about not being able to walk. Jane eventually forgave Xo for lying about who her father was, but does Petra have Jane’s capacity for forgiveness?
The best part about Petra and Milos’ trap for Petra’s mother is the way the show cut between their fake fight and Rogelio’s death scene (complete with the line: “And now back to our other telenovela”). This is masterful writing and editing, as the words Jane wrote for her father are mirrored by the words that Milos speaks before he “kills” Petra. And then Santos actually dies. We know that Rogelio is not actually going to die, but we don’t yet know what Petra’s fate will be, so there’s a lot of tension in that scene.
Which brings us to the end of Rogelio’s career on The Passions of Santos. It turns out that the writers were buttering Jane up because Carla from Scrubs and Rogelio’s assistant had been scheming to get Rogelio fired so that he could be replaced by his assistant, who played his son. I don’t know a world where the writers (who aren’t also the executive producers) just get to decide that an actor is fired because they don’t like him, whereas (SPOILER ALERT), Joss Carter’s death on Person of Interest makes sense for the narrative and the character. But I also don’t know anything about telenovelas, and Jane the Virgin exists in a heightened universe, so I can accept it. Jane doesn’t want to write her father’s death scene, but Rogelio insists that she does, and that she also writes him the best death scene ever. She’s stuck, but then Alba comes up to her, wearing the earrings that Jane gave her to make up for the lost earrings. Then Jane realises that Abuela’s words, “You are my flesh and blood, I will always forgive you,” are the perfect ending to Rogelio’s time on The Passions of Santos. And when Rogelio is given a round of applause after his death scene, he thanks the crew, including the guys in cargo shorts. Then Jane called him ‘dad’ and I teared up, but I wasn’t crying as much as I was during the performance of “Glory” at the Oscars.
The remaining storylines are intertwined: the identity of Sin Rostro, and the ongoing feud between Rafael and Luisa. Luisa invites Rafael and Jane to attend a therapy session, but Rafael doesn’t want to go, but Jane talks him into it. The session goes exactly how Rafael expects it to, but then Luisa tells him that his decision to commit her hurt. Given that Luisa was wrongfully committed, this is fair, but we also learn more of why; their mother had a psychotic episode and killed herself. Then Luisa finds out that a bellboy was killed by a corkscrew, so she writes a letter to Rose saying that her father must have been the murderer, and asks Jane to pass it on. But then Rafael holds onto it, and only reads it after Jane tells him that Luisa’s mistake gave her the two most important things in her life. What I love about this show is that it doesn’t feel the need to underline what those two things are, it just trusts the audience to get it.
So, Luisa’s letter intimates that she’s scared of her father (it was probably his idea to commit her, so that’s fair enough), and given that Rose has been planting the seed that Emilio is Sin Rostro, Rafael has made up his mind when he reads the letter. Rafael also doesn’t seem to concerned that Luisa talks about being in the hotel room with Rose, given that she had to tell him that she made the Rose thing up. Michael, after getting suspended and having a fight with Nadine, who reported him because she thought it was the right thing to do, but he’s decided she’s jealous of Jane (classic telenovela), is also on the Emilio train. How does Michael get there? He pretends to be a patient of the plastic surgeon who was supposedly giving facelifts to criminals, and then gets his brother to call up pretending to be another patient who is really nervous about his surgery, so that he can check the surgeon’s computer. What Michael found is large transfers of money from an account in Emilio’s name to the plastic surgeon (I was also just really impressed with Michael’s plan). But Emilio isn’t Sin Rostro. Rose is. And she kills her husband by encasing him in cement because she’s awesome.
- The Latin Lover Narrator on Sin Rostro: “No one knows who he is, but they know he’s really bad”
- Rogelio made a vision board about his future relationship with Jane: “I made a vision board, but I didn’t think it would manifest so quickly”
- Rafael was actually investigating the possibility that his father was Sin Rostro, and seemed to be doing more proper detective work than Michael. Wait, why didn’t the police just obtain a warrant for the Solanos’ books?
- Gina Rodriguez is really committed to her part in her physicality. When she talks to Petra, she makes an effort to sit and moves the way a pregnant woman would.
- Rogelio: “If you don’t mind, I need a moment to prepare for my death. Please”
- The Latin Lover Narrator, reading Luisa’s letter: “Wait, what am I doing? Luisa should be the one reading this!”
- There was also some really great typewriter work this week, as Jane read the storyline for the episode, and the text depicting Rogelio’s death showed up on the screen. Then, when Jane said “Wait, what?” the text showed up on the screen again as Jane was rereading it. This show is great.
- Because of the weird stuff with Petra being called Natalia on the same night that Zazzo died, I thought that Milos was Sin Rostro. I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.