Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-Four”

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Gina Rodriguez and Yael Grobglas. Image courtesy of The CW

Then everyone sent Mo Ryan Rogelio gifs, it was great. When my alarm woke me up this morning, one of the first things I remembered is how much I enjoyed “Chapter Thirty-Four.” I don’t even know how to write about it, it’s that good. I did make the mistake of reading Oliver Sava’s fantastic review over at The A.V. Club last night because I enjoyed the episode so much, and I wanted to share it with someone other than my brother. He’s great, but he’s not the best television watching companion. Two weeks ago we left off with the possibility that Jane might not be a virgin for much longer, which is reflected in this week’s title-card with an added question mark at the end. Whether Jane is a virgin or not is irrelevant, because as Josh Oakley wrote, “Jane the Virgin has both outgrown and encapsulated its name.”

Throughout the series, we’ve seen Jane struggle with her promise to be abstinent until marriage. She wanted to sleep with Michael, and she suggested sex as a way to fix her relationship with Rafael. This week, as we see Jane prepare for her date with Professor Hottie (Xiomara nailed that nickname on the head), we see her discuss the possibility of having sex for the first time. Jonathan is definitely a hottie, and we can all see why Jane wants to go there, but it doesn’t work out. Jane has a lot of baggage when it comes to her romantic history, and she needs to work through all of that before she’s ready to have sex with anyone. It doesn’t work out with Jonathan, but it was never supposed to, because even though Jane is rethinking her promise, we know that she’s not the kind of girl to do casual sex, even if the sexting gets really steamy.

When Jane drops Mateo off at Rafael’s before her date, Rafael mentions that Petra’s having some trouble with getting things for the baby. Jane offers to help, because that’s who she is, but most importantly she wants Mateo to grow up knowing his family. A hilarious scene (in an episode full of them) shows Jane and Petra looking at items to put on Petra’s registry, and the waitress comes up to give Jane a glass of water and Petra some olive oil for her bread. Jane tries to get everything for the best value possible, while Petra wants to make sure that something’s quality. These women come from different worlds, and the fantastic editing in this show has them complaining about the other to their various confidantes. Petra initially refuses to attend Jane’s baby shower complete with her yoga friends, the woman downstairs in the lobby, Marbella employees and Xiomara, who is just a seat filler. Petra doesn’t want Jane to feel sorry for her for her screwed up family, but Jane’s doing this because of her own. The Villanueva women are the emotional core of this show, but Jane’s upbringing wasn’t perfect. She spent her childhood in constant fear of Alba’s deportation, and she didn’t even meet her father until she was 23. She wants Mateo to have a better life, and accepting Petra as family is part of that.

One of my favourite things about Jane the Virgin is the Latin Lover Narrator (Anthony Mendez), who is equal parts narrator and cheerleader for our characters. Like some of the audience however, he seems to have gotten a bit bored with the Sin Rostro/Mutter case, and his exasperated tone is perfect. The case has become more convoluted each week, and this week it all comes to a head, and it works because it’s rooted in character. Michael and Susanna both have romantic feelings towards people who are involved in the case, one of whom is their trap for Rose. Luisa tries to apologise to her brother again, but it doesn’t work. The next thing we know, Luisa had some alcohol and has been in a car crash. Rose shows up at the hospital so Susanna can arrest her in what is the weirdest love triangle for this show so far. But Rose has someone at the other end of her earpiece who has a clean shot at her little brother. This is how she gets away with everything. Rose shoots Susanna in the shoulder as the SWAT team swarms in, but it doesn’t matter. Rose is strangled, and Luisa has lost the love of her life.

So, after all reports are made, Michael goes over to Jane’s house. Jane has just finished talking to Alba, who told her about the first time she had sex, as well as imparting the wisdom that if you’re crying it’s not the right guy. On the way over to Jonathan’s for a booty call, Jane is pulled over for speeding, and the policeman’s face becomes Michael’s. This is the man who upon hearing that Jane was waiting until marriage said that he’d wait until they got married. There’s no sculling of whiskey like Rafael, or awkwardness then crying with Jonathan, just an acceptance of Jane’s choices, because he loves her. That’s one of the many reasons she fell in love with Michael in the first place. Then he shows up at her door and tells her that Rose is dead. He’s been keeping his distance to keep her out of danger, because Rose knew exactly what his weakness was. He tells her that he still loves her and asks if she still loves him. She says yes. It’s perfect. Maybe she was just waiting for Michael – after all, he’s the one that said “we’ll just have to wait until we’re married,” without hesitation.

Other thoughts:

  • I don’t take notes when I watch this show any more, which is probably not the best thing. As others have pointed out, the rose-tinted frame for romanticised moments was a great use of colour by the show (which has always used colour really well), and the lack of pink makes that final scene’s impact even greater.
  • Speaking of colour: in the scene where Jane goes to tell Rafael that she doesn’t have feelings for him any more, Rafael is dressed in matching colours to his suite. I didn’t check Jane and Petra’s outfits to see how they matched, but the costume department is great.
  • “I just couldn’t let her go” – Rafael has more in common with Luisa than he’d like to admit.
  • When Rose said Susanna’s name, I was worried that Susanna would be revealed to be a crony, but what actually happened was worse.
  • Xiomara ends her relationship with Rogelio, who this week was playing the #FirstMaleFeminist. He says he’s certain about Xiomara, but he asks her to freeze her geriatric eggs just in case she changes her mind. Xiomara’s made a choice about children the way Jane did about her virginity, and Rogelio doesn’t understand that choice, because he didn’t get to raise Jane. I sympathise more with Xiomara, but at the same time she kept Rogelio’s daughter from him for 23 years. It’s a relationship ending for the right reasons, but it doesn’t hurt any less, because they really do love each other.
  • As Oliver Sava pointed out in his review (link at the top), this was writer Madeline Hendricks first television script, and she served as showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman’s assistant during the first scene. I’m really looking forward to what she does next.
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