Jane the Virgin is a bizarre show, but it wears its heart on its sleeve, which is one of the reasons it feels so appealing. There was a lot of comedy in “Chapter Thirty-Three,” but it was all grounded in character, which meant the schtick was slightly toned down. Some plots work better than others, but this show has now made one and a half hours of solid television, and that’s not an easy task. The reason it works is that everything these characters do comes from the heart, and it’s why we know that as much as we love Xiomara and Rogelio together, one or both of them will likely end up unhappy if they get married. Furthermore, the more outlandish plots of the show have become more grounded in character, and we’re finally seeing the impact that Rose has had on Luisa.
Sometimes you love someone but when you start talking about what you want from life, it turns out you want different things. What do you do in that situation? Last week I wrote that I’m enjoying the stability of Xiomara and Rogelio’s relationship, which changed this week, but in a way that felt realistic. Rogelio is looking after Mateo (more on that later), and Jane and Xiomara find Liliana’s ring while baby-proofing his apartment. Jane overheard Liliana telling Rogelio that he should propose to Xo, but when Rogelio discovers they’ve found the ring, he gives it to Jane as a family heirloom, and you can see both women’s faces sink. It’s great acting from Andrea Navedo and Gina Rodriguez, because they don’t overdo it. As it turns out, Rogelio is planning to propose to Xiomara, but he bought a diamond himself.
In a more conventional sitcom plot for this show, Rogelio shows his dear Matelio the diamond, and Mateo swallows it (I think this happened on Scrubs). Jane’s car was reading out Rogelio’s tweets, so she called her father in a panic because she was worried about her son. Rogelio is actually telling Mateo (who is eating cereal in his high chair, which is adorable) about his plan to propose to Xo when Jane rings. Rogelio is distracted, which is when Mateo swallows the diamond. Jane is furious at her father in the moment, and it’s only the next day she realises she was too hard on him. When she apologises, Rogelio reveals that he’s worried he might not be good with children, and he wants to have children. He missed out on a lot of time with Jane. He also worries that he would have ruined Jane’s life if he was present for her childhood, but Jane said that she wanted him there more than anything in the world. The relationship between Jane and Rogelio is beautiful. They didn’t have each other when Jane was growing up, but they have each other now, and they help each other out. It’s also one of the relationships that frequently brings me to tears.
This week however, it was the potential end of Rogelio and Xiomara’s romance that nearly brought me to tears. Xiomara wants to focus on her career, and when she gets a singing gig that clashes with the “small birthday blowout” that Rogelio planned, they got in a fight. Xiomara never wanted the party in the first place, and it’s gotten to the point that she needs to commit to opportunities when they present themselves, after Felix turned her down earlier in the episode because she kept cancelling. It’s a wonderful moment when Rogelio puts his ego aside and shows up to Xiomara’s performance, which is undercut by his proposal. The proposal is beautiful, but Xiomara says she doesn’t want to have any more children. It’s not because she doesn’t love Jane, she just wants time to focus on herself. Jane has so many people upon whom she can rely upon to look after Mateo while she’s following her dream, while Xiomara only had Alba. She’s put her dreams on hold for 25 years, and she wants her time. Rogelio doesn’t know if it’s a dealbreaker just yet, but he’s rethinking the proposal. I’ll be sad if these two crazy kids can’t work it out, but I don’t want them to be together and unhappy either.
Meanwhile, it turns out that Rose and Elena Solano have really done a number on poor Luisa. It’s taking the computer lab a while to decrypt the chip they were fighting over, but they made the significant discovery that Rose is actually Elena’s stepdaughter from her second marriage, whom she trained to take her place as Emilio’s wife. Luisa told Rafael that she was never a fan of his mother, but no one could have predicted just how much her ex-stepmother would ruin her life. One of the few people she truly loved turned out to be a drug lord who killed her father, and it all happened because of Elena. The Sin Rostro plot can sometimes feel a bit too wacky, and the show has done the right thing by grounding it in Luisa’s character. Yara Martinez wasn’t a regular in season one, so we couldn’t really get into what makes her tick as a character, but she’s been in all but one episode of this season so far, which has been helpful for the audience. The writers still like to go to the ‘horny lesbian’ well a bit too much, but “drilling down” on her character has worked this season. Her relationship with Susanna has been cut short, as Susanna hears the message Luisa leaves for Petra, and doesn’t think it’s the right time for them. This works on Luisa’s end but not Susanna’s – she’s a new character that we don’t really know that much about, but Luisa’s just been stood up by someone she really loves, and dumped by someone she could fall in love with. It’s been a rough day for her.
Like Susanna, Petra isn’t ready to jump into a romance, as much as she may want to. The difference is that it’s with her ex-husband, but Luisa Alver and Rafael Solano share more than just a father. They’re both people who are profoundly affected by love, so just as Susanna stops Luisa, Petra stops Rafael from kissing her, because she knows he’s not over Jane. Wesley Masters is causing more havoc for the Marbella, and one of their events gets cancelled. A woman that Rafael knows from his playboy days is getting married, and she decides to move her wedding. The reversal comes when she reveals it had nothing to do with organised crime, but the fact that Petra was helping to run the hotel. Petra was rude to her once, which inspired her greatest piece of artwork. Every time we get to know more about Petra, the more she makes sense. Petra was that person once, even though she doesn’t remember it. Her mother chastised her for falling in love with Rafael on her wedding day. The worst part is that people saw her as a trophy wife, as not having any real skills, but we know that’s not true. A lovely flashback depicts Rafael and Petra walking along the beach and organising their wedding. Petra thought that the caterer was ripping them off on the fish, and she was right, she went to the fishmonger herself to check it. Petra didn’t come from money, so even though she married a rich man, she knows how to keep track of her finances. That’s what Rafael remembers about his ex-wife, it’s one of the reasons he fell in love with her. They’re becoming closer as Petra’s due date draws near, but Petra doesn’t want to get involved unless Rafael’s 100% committed, which is very sensible, especially on this show.
There’s a lot of potential romance in the air this week, as Jane tells Xiomara about her Professor Chavez sex dream. Of course Jane isn’t dating anyone at the moment, so we’re not having a “Chapter Four” situation this time (I miss you, Michael!). Gina Rodriguez is a versatile actress, and she does the comedy in this situation so well. From the hot and bothered meetings she has with Jonathan to him asking to take his mother on a set visit to meet Rogelio, Rodriguez nails it. The best part is #awkwardsweaterkiss, followed by the voice in her head replacing the voice in her car. Jane fought hard to get Jonathan to be her advisor, and when she realises that she nearly jeopardised her dream for potential romance, she makes the choice to switch to another advisor. Xiomara and Jane both chose their dreams this week, and it seems to have worked out for Jane, as Jonathan asks her to dinner, but we don’t know what will happen with Xo and Rogelio. Jane’s also reconsidering her decision to stay a virgin until she’s married. It’s a promise she made when she was ten, and she didn’t know just how difficult it would be. Whatever Jane chooses, I trust the show to get it right.
- Some people are saying that the show has to change its title if Jane is no longer a virgin, and I disagree. The title will be ridiculous whether Jane’s a virgin or not.
- Line of the night goes to Rogelio, when Jonathan’s mother visits the set:
“This happens all the time. No need to talk, just grab my arm and I will give you a tour of the set.” – Jane was similarly speechless when she met Rogelio for the first time, before discovering that he was her father.
- That cut from Jane listening to Rogelio’s tweets to him saying “Where’s Matelio?” is some fantastic editing.
- Can we have more Matelio time please?
- I remain #TeamMichael, but I’m perfectly happy with the idea of Jane and Chavez having a fling, because just look at Adam Rodriguez.