Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Twenty-Nine”

This is going to be another short one, because my sister gave me video games for Christmas. My current obsession is Banished. Anyway, back to Jane. This week Rogelio finds himself in financial difficulties, Jane and Rafael go on a date, and Jane gets drunk at her grad school Christmas party, because it’s the first time that she’s had any alcohol since she stopped nursing. This episode picks up almost exactly where the previous one left off, or at least the next day, which is Black Friday – this episode was sponsored by Target. My analogy for Black Friday is Boxing Day sales, but on a much larger scale. I also refuse to go on the first day of Boxing Day sales, because you can go two days later and still pretty much get everything you need without the claustrophobia or getting injured.

The two most important things about Black Friday this episode are that Rafael is so rich he has never been shopping on Black Friday, and also that Jane runs into Michael at Target. Michael is incredibly aloof, which is understandable – Jane is over Michael enough to go on a date with Rafael, but it still hurts when he acts that way, which he does because he’s trying to get over Jane. Michael has returned to Miami to bury Nadine, who was shot and killed when she jumped in front of him in Mexico City. Eric Wu was at the funeral, and told him to go away. Given what we learned later in the episode, it’s worth questioning whether Eric actually knew Nadine. Michael’s fake firing/undercover operation was quite lazily handled by the show, and it’s easy to see this as a retcon.

To escape from the love triangle for a bit, let’s move onto Jane’s grad school Christmas party, where she hopes to impress a possible advisor. Of course Jane gets drunk off two glasses of wine because it’s the first time she’s had a drink since she stopped pumping breast milk. It seems that Jane’s only friend in her course right now is the evil Wesley Masters, who is just using her to get fame by writing a piece on the Solanos. Anyway, Jane’s drunkenness backfires on her twice. The first thing she does is knock a plate of finger food all over the potential advisor and make a mess cleaning it up. She goes into her office the next day and they then bond over the fact that they’re both new mothers, and the professor agrees to read Jane’s work. The only problem is that her advice is completely empty phrases, like “make it sparkle”. When Jane’s working on her story, she finds herself turning to Professor Chavez’ feedback, and finds it helpful. She asks him for his advice the next day, but it turns out that the email she was forwarding to Wesley titled “the supreme lord of smugness” or whatever, ended up being a reply. Given that Wesley is evil, I thought he would have sent it onto Chavez, but he’s just using Jane to get ahead, he’s not actively undermining her. So Jane tells Chavez that she’ll take his class again next semester for no credit, because that’s how serious she is. Now Chavez is her advisor, because he doesn’t want to see her three times a week.

Meanwhile, Wesley has been using all of his time befriending Jane to gather dirt on the Solanos for a piece he wrote called “Curse of the Solanos”, which is pretty true, because they are the whole reason Jane had a baby. He ingratiated himself to Luisa, who loves to talk about herself, and the story practically wrote itself after that. He publishes the story while Jane and Rafael are on their date, and Rafael has to do damage control. While they were out, their babysitter said Mateo waved to her, so Jane has a look at the nanny-cam and discovers that Rafael paid off Eric Wu to go to the cops and get Michael fired (they still don’t know that Michael kept his job). Rafael obviously didn’t know that this would result in a fight that got Mateo hurt, but it’s a decision he made consciously and maliciously. He knows that Michael let Nadine go, but Jane also knows that, and she understands that, and it’s part of why she loves Michael – because he wants to believe the best in people.

I try to stay away from the love triangle of it all, but it’s been so central to the story this season that I can’t not write about it. One of the reasons that Jane and Michael broke up last season is because Michael wasn’t honest with her. He felt like he needed to tell her the truth about Nadine so they could move forward. Compare that to Rafael, the entitled jerk who overhears an incriminating conversation, pays someone off to get Michael fired, and then has the nerve to tell Jane he’s fighting for her and her family. That’s not fighting for your family, that’s refusing to accept another woman’s decision that she is not in love with you, and actively sabotaging her happiness. Given that we’ve just had Christmas and the Love Actually debate has had its annual revival, if you compare Rafael’s actions to some of the more questionable storylines in that film, they’re not too different.

The other thing that emerges from The Curse of the Solanos is that Michael and his new partner discover that Luisa’s mother committed suicide the day before Emilio purchased his hotel group. Based on the fact that Luisa’s mother had a closed casket funeral, and that she was kidnapped by Mutter earlier in the season, they come to the hypothesis (I don’t want to say conclusion just yet, although they’re probably right) that Mutter is in fact Luisa’s dead mother. While all of this is going on, Luisa decides to look inside her mother’s coffin, which is of course empty, and she’s just happy to see her mother again.

Unfortunately for Rogelio (and for all of us), he was unable to convince Matthew Weiner to let him continue with his telenovela adaptation of Mad Men. Even worse, it seems he sunk all of his own money into the pilot, and the next thing we see is the Villanueva women budgeting for him. They say sell the house and cars, but it turns out they’re all leased. Xo suggests moving into a condo, which is smaller, but Rogelio has bad memories of the days before his success. He eventually realises that he has a family now, and they’re worth making a financial sacrifice, which is beautiful.

This episode of Jane the Virgin was a little all over the place thematically, and there were great moments for every character, and I haven’t even gotten to all of them yet. I’m hoping next week is a little less scattered and overstuffed.

Other thoughts:

  • Petra: wants to be friends with Jane, but has to blow her off because Magda is doing Weekend at Bernie’s with Ivan’s body.
  • At least we got to see Rogelio’s pitch for Hombres Locos, which included the phrase “I’d like to buy the world some coke,” which is one of the greatest things that’s happened on this show.
  • Like Magda hiding things from Petra, Luisa’s connection to yet another drug kingpin is a bit repetitive. Why can’t we just see Luisa be bad at the hotel business or something?
  • There’s also a storyline involving Xo writing a theme song for Hombres Locos, which the network bought and chose to use for Esteban’s new show. Rogelio confronted Esteban about it, and Esteban blackmails him into playing a court jester who gets thrown in mud so that they keep it. It’s sweet, and it’s good to know that Rogelio is able to put his ego aside for his family, but there was so much in this episode that it was overwhelming.
  • I also love that this season we’re getting more of Jane’s flaws, and Gina Rodriguez plays it perfectly. She obviously also had a bit of fun with that Christmas party scene.
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