“Chapter Thirty-One” and “Chapter Thirty-Two” were two really good episodes of Jane the Virgin, and I love almost everything that’s going on. I only just got to last week’s episode because I went out to the theatre and decided to review the two at once. This is probably going to be a shorter review than I had originally planned because I was busy this week, and everything seemed to get away from me. It’s impossible to summarise just one episode of Jane the Virgin in one paragraph, so I’m not going to be able to do it with both. These episodes were good, and “Chapter Thirty-Two” was excellent, so let’s get to it!
The relationship stuff is the heart of this show, so let’s get the Sin Rostro/Mutter stuff out of the way. Michael and Susanna manage to find Luisa’s mother, who died peacefully at her favourite spot eight years previously. We’ve finally moved away from crime lords being the important women in Luisa’s life, but two thirds of Emilio Solano’s wives ended up being crime lords, so the hotel must have been a really great cover. Michael and Suzanna realise that Elena married Emilio the same year that Mutter’s network became operative, which means Elena is actually Mutter! Given that Emilio paid Elena $10 million to never see Rafael again, I wonder at what point her empire collapsed. Meanwhile, Elena keeps calling Rafael, and he eventually agrees to meet her. Unfortunately, she asks for her things back, and Rafael realises that she’s Mutter just before she knocks him out trying to get the chip back.
Rafael calls Michael and Suzanna to tell them what they all figured out at the same time. He then pulls Michael aside to tell him that Elena was asking about the flash drive that they gave to Nadine. Rafael is surprisingly sensitive to the fact that Michael wouldn’t want them talking about this in front of Suzanna, but then he asks Michael if they broke the law. Michael admits that Rafael didn’t do anything illegal, but Michael broke the law in defiance of his role as a police officer. It’s at this point that Michael decides to tell Suzanna everything, and she would have turned him in if it wasn’t for the fact that he knew the most about the case. It turns out that Nadine managed to plant the chip on Michael via methods that were slightly extraordinary even by Jane the Virgin standards. This case isn’t my favourite part of the show, but I’m intrigued enough to see how it all unfolds.
Compared to everyone else’s lives on the show, Jane’s is perfectly normal. Yes, she argues with Alba about the best way to get Mateo to sleep, but she’s separate from everything that’s going on with Petra, Magda and the Marbella. Some people pointed out that the characters in the show aren’t as connected as they were in the first season now that Jane’s not working at the Marbella, but I’m mostly okay with that. Jane and Rafael probably never would have had anything other than a slightly awkward boss/employee relationship if it hadn’t been for the fact that Jane was artificially inseminated with Rafael’s sperm. The difference between their lives is highlighted when Jane talks about her worst day ever: having a great day of writing only to have Mateo start crawling and her laptop fried by orange juice, and Rafael tells her that his mother is actually a crime lord. It’s all about perspective, you see.
I think my favourite storyline in the show at the moment is Jane’s love life, or lack thereof. Michael has moved on, and she doesn’t want to be with Rafael, even though their co-parenting is going pretty well! The text-message conversation they had after Jane’s “Cynder” date shows that things are still a bit awkward between them, but it was the longest conversation the two characters had had since their couples’ therapy session in “Chapter Thirty”. Jane and Rafael didn’t have a single scene together in “Chapter Thirty-One” because Rafael was busy trying to get Petra off a murder charge, and Jane was busy trying to get Mateo to sleep through the night. See? Completely different worlds. Anyway, Jane has a flirtation with the guy at the computer store, and Lina (it’s always great to see Diane Guerrero) encouraged Jane to get out there using the Tinder ripoff Cynder. Jane tries online dating, but it doesn’t work. She even kisses the computer guy, but it turns out he has a girlfriend, because of course he does. Jane was with Michael for two years, then she was with Rafael, and now she’s single. Of course the shole idea of meeting people is terrifying, she hasn’t done this in a long time, and now it’s even more complicated. Furthermore, Jane is a relationship kind of girl, she’s not likely to meet her soulmate on a dating app. Fortunately or unfortunately, it seems that Professor Chavez ticks most of her boxes, so things are about to get more complicated.
The main reason Rafael hasn’t spent much time with Jane is because he’s been spending time with Petra, first trying to get her acquitted of a murder charage of which her mother is guilty, and then acting as her nurse. Thankfully it turns out that Magda falsified evidence in the case, so that wrapped up pretty quickly. Petra is one of my favourite characters on the show (although they’re all my favourite), but the Magda stuff drags her down sometimes, so I’m glad that she’s out of the picture for at least a little while. What really worked between Rafael and Petra were the scenes in “Chapter Thirty-Two.” Petra had a scare with her pregnancy because she started bleeding, and she’s never been able to carry a pregnancy to term. So Petra’s on bed rest and Rafael hires a nurse for her, but Petra fires her and the next nurse very quickly. Rafael has no idea why she’s acting the way she is, but it’s because the nurses are telling her everything is going to be okay. Rafael immediately understands what she’s going through, and the scene works much better with the on-screen text than it would have if that exposition in the dialogue. All we need to know is that Rafael knows exactly what Petra’s talking about, and he does. They spend their time together picking names out of a hat for their babies, and who knows, there may be a chance for these crazy kids after all.
Amongst everything that’s going on with the love polygons and crime lords on Jane the Virgin, it’s important to know that Rogelio’s mother makes her return in “Chapter Thirty-One”, which is also where his father Manuel makes his first appearance. Liliana tells Rogelio that Manuel isn’t coming, but she doesn’t say why, which gives Rogelio the impression that his father is severely ill. He isn’t, he’s actually gay. Liliana tells Jane, and it eventually makes its way back to Rogelio. Rogelio’s immediate reaction is that his mother didn’t want to tell him because she thought he might be homophobic, so of course Rogelio hatches a plan to host a dinner with some of the family’s acquaintances who happen to be gay in order to showcase his acceptance of the gay community. When Manuel arrives, he has a lovely conversation with his son about the real reason he stayed away from Rogelio’s career – it’s not that he didn’t want his son to be an actor, it’s that he’d been with men in the theatre scene, and he didn’t want to be outed. The best scene however, comes from Rogelio’s decision to make Liliana his manager again, since he knew his father wasn’t going to try and repair the marriage. It doesn’t work out well, and he confides to Xo that he’ll have to fire her. After the fact, Xo tries to take the blame for it, and Liliana finally sees a woman worthy of Rogelio’s love. She gives her old engagement ring to him and tells him to marry Xiomara, which was the sweetest moment from these two weeks. I like that Xiomara and Rogelio’s relationship is the stable one amongst all the chaos of everything else that’s going on. Rogelio is a Villanueva at heart, and that’s the most important thing.
- There was a great article on BuzzFeed about the way Jane the Virgin handles immigration. It turns out that the fantastic Diane Guerrero who plays Lina, came home one day when she was young to discover that her parents had been deported.
- Meanwhile, the DeLaVega family speak Spanish to each other, except when Rogelio and Liliana are on set.
- Now that we’re pretty much getting Jane the Virgin on the same day as the US, I’ve taken to reading the comments section over at The A.V. Club. By far the most interesting theory I saw this week is that Suzanna is actually Rose because she looked quite disappointed when the boss got the chip from Michael before she could have a look. I wouldn’t like that, because it’s repeating the very pattern we were worried about when Michael and Suzanna thought Mia was Mutter.
- I’m never doing this two episodes at a time thing again, that was about 8 episodes of a regularly paced show, or possibly 10 seasons of Rectify. I didn’t even get to the ridiculously long close-up.
- After I finished “Chapter Thirty-One” I tweeted this:
Rule of thumb for #JaneTheVirgin: If your mother’s surname isn’t Villanueva (or DeLaVega), she’s probably evil.
— Leah (@forthejokes) February 2, 2016