Jane the Virgin Review: Chapter 36

Duck!  JTV spoilers are coming your way!  And if you haven’t read it yet, here is the review for the previous chapter.

Theme

This week’s theme was about releasing the regrets of the past.  Jane regrets her earlier rejection of Michael and keeps envisioning the “Sliding Doors” versions of themselves as a year-old, happy couple.  There were also secondary plots (THOUGH IT FELT PRIMARY TO ME) about Alba’s past mistakes and how she damaged Xiomara with her inability to let that go.

Infuriatingly,  even the stupid names of the new twins, Elsa and Anna, even contribute to the “let it go” theme.

I teared-up exactly three times during the episode, because I’m a weak little bitch, so let’s go chronologically.

  1. Jane’s Regret

Jane’s visions of her life sans-breaking up with Michael are filled with the right amount of wist and ache to make me emotional.  It really killed me when she throws her kinda-but-not-really one-year anniversary party for Michael.  I like how in her Sliding Doors universe, Rafael and Michael get along really well.  But of course she would want them to.  It’s not just about her and Michael, she cares about her family and its positive vibes.  (It was also a treat for my friend and I to watch, as we ironically ship Michael/Rafael 😉 )

It is imperative that this internal conflict was resolved in the way it was.  Otherwise, her reunion with Michael could be seen as backward character development: Jane falling back to her comfort-seeking, look-before-she-leaps personality.  Petra’s flippant but very true “If things were really that great, you wouldn’t have broken up in the first place” proves that Jane has moved past those days — she is selecting her true love with her newly-found boldness and with a certainty solidified only by experience.

As ecstatic as I am to see them happy, I hope the writers don’t forget Jane and Michael still need to sort out some things.  To me, Michael’s anger is a critical issue that must be addressed thoroughly.  He better not lie again, and there’s also a lot of shady stuff in his past and family.  That BETTER not mess up my OTP!!

2) The Fight

The explosive and emotional arguments between Alba and Xiomara are some of the most human, true representations of life that this show has to offer.  As early as episode one, Alba has been subtly (or not so subtly) slut-shaming, creating growing and unresolved tension between her and Xiomara.  Finally, finally that tension erupts into this outburst, just as familial arguments tend to happen.

As much as this show is romance-oriented, my favorite part of it is the Villanueva women’s hilarious antics and heartwarming closeness.  In the tumult of breakups and love triangles, I often enjoy watching the family plotlines more.  So when this went down, I was seriously worried.  It seemed like a big deal.

Alba’s attitude towards sex is probably the most problematic aspect of the show, and in Chapter 34 it began to be dismantled.  Now it is being pulverized to a dust, first with Jane’s gentle but definitive alignment with her mother (“She’s right, Abuela”), and then with this scene:

Hard and fast rule of life: when the Villanueva women cry, I cry.

I thought it might have been more realistic to have this particular conflict stretch out for more than one episode.  It seems like too big of a deal to be resolved/forgiven so quickly, though I can’t really complain because I am thrilled with these developments.  (And my family fights are definitely that bipolar and whiplash).

3) Dorkiest Proposal Ever

The proposal was adorable and tear-worthy.  The clumsiness and informality of it, ironically, shows how close and in-sync they are with each other.  I think there’s something symbolic in Jane also going down to her knees, and I’ll throw a couple theories at you: 1) Jane immediately matches Michael’s height because they are both equals in the relationship. 2) Jane kneels because she is an active participant in this proposal, not just a reactive “yes/no.”  She’s a part of this proposal.  3) If Michael goes down, she’s going down with him. 4) They’re stupid dorks who can’t even bear to wait a second after the “yes” to make out with each other.

It’s interesting to see that the writers probably did put that much thought into it, as these notes show:

But I hesitate to call the proposal perfect.  I think it’s timing would have been better at least an episode or two later.  I know they’ve been dating for years, so they’re technically not “rushing” into this, but I suspect that the earliness of the proposal was mostly for the sake of shock value, not for the natural progression of their relationship.  You know how salty I get with shock-value gimmicks.  I just feel like maybe Petra’s babies “blasting out of her body” is drama enough for one episode.


Petra/Jane, or Jetra as Gina herself coins it:

I think supportive female friendship is one of the most powerful combatants to internalized misogyny, and these two are just like fire and ice: totally opposites with a very interesting, very hilarious dynamic.  I’m excited to see these two become even closer mothers and friends.  After all, when Jane passed down “Five minutes of pain; a lifetime of happiness,”she was accepting Petra into the family.

Other Notes:

  • Nice to see Rafael being productive and useful!  His work with Michael can only (eventually) lead to friendship, right? 🙂
  • Nice to see Rogelio breaking out of his usual air-headed demeanor and actually being sly and inventive in trying to escape his captor.  His plight is so dangerous!!!
  • Elsa and Anna’s names are sooooo stupid
  • I also enjoyed this moment a lot, for some reason:

Though I try to mix things up on my blog, I’ve been posting about Jane the Virgin consecutively because a kind reader asked for this chapter review, and I don’t get requests like that very often.  I probably won’t review Chapter 37 immediately, and I’ll probably be reviewing chapters in pairs from now on.  But I still have much to say about Jane’s writing, Petra’s development, etc.  I’m not going anywhere!

-M.L.

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