Jane the Virgin
This is a great episode for Our Beloved Narrator. This is a fun episode for Tiago, Time-Traveling Feminist. This is a surprisingly satisfying episode for telenovela action sequences. This is an excellent matchup for Jane and Petra. This is a no-holds-barred, cards-on-the-table, heart-stoppingly good episode for #TeamMichael.
What I’m saying, in case you hadn’t gathered, is that “Chapter Thirty-Four” is a terrific episode. And in classic Jane the Virgin style, there’s a ton to talk about, so let’s get cracking.
Headline No. 1: Sin Rose-tro is dead! She was killed by Mutter, probably, and Luisa set the whole thing up as a plan with the cops to catch her by faking a serious injury! (It seems fairly plausible that Rose was actually killed by someone else copying Mutter’s signature strangled-with-blue-silk-cords move, but for now, let’s just go with “Mutter did it.”)
It’s a relief that this plot has come to an end, or is at least heading in a new direction. Jane the Virgin has successfully moved Jane out of the love-triangle mire and into new territory, but it feels like this telenovela plot has been stuck spinning its wheels. For weeks, it’s been Rose or Mutter or someone else constantly shifting identities, something about a computer chip, Luisa being generally useless — and most frustrating, very few connections with the characters we care to see.
This week’s death may not do much to change the Mutter situation, but Rose’s death does feel like the end of an era for Jane the Virgin. It reminds us why we were supposed to care about the Sin Rose-tro plot in the first place: She kidnapped Mateo and threatened Jane’s safety in a very real and terrifying way. Although we’ve drifted far from that, Rose’s death gives this plot a heft it hasn’t had. And most crucial, it allows Michael to come back and connect with Jane … but I’m getting ahead of myself.
So let’s move on to headline No. 2: Rogelio and Xiomara’s breakup. For all the silliness and theatricality that comes with these two characters, the recent course of their relationship has been remarkably human and reasonable. After the bombshell in “Chapter Thirty-Three” that Rogelio really wants kids and Xiomara does not, they’re both trying to salvage the relationship. Rogelio proposes to Xiomara again, but he also asks her to consider freezing her eggs in case she changes her mind about motherhood. She thinks about it, but comes to realize that this is something she just doesn’t want, and she has the courage to tell Rogelio that it’s unfair to keep him hoping. I certainly hope that these characters will find their ways back to each other, but it will obviously take some time. And it seems like delay might be prolonged because Rogelio’s prison pen-pal Lola is getting out soon?!
Speaking of Lola, this episode revives a small plot thread that I did not know I desperately wanted back — but I really did, and I was thrilled to see it again. In trying to work things out with Xiomara, Rogelio offers to show her the Scientology audit tape that his ex-wife held over his head as blackmail. The answer to #WhatsOnDisc142PartC, it turns out, is that Rogelio was a Pretty Woman. Or, as Our Narrator spells out for us onscreen, Rogelio de la Vega = A Revealed Gigolo. I’m with Xiomara here: I expected something much worse. But I cannot deny that Rogelio would make a truly stunning Julia Roberts.
While Luisa’s getting pulled into Rose/Mutter madness yet again, and Rogelio and Xiomara are debating egg retrieval, Jane has a pair of issues on her plate. First, the increasingly very pregnant Petra needs help with impending motherhood, and Rafael asks Jane to give her some tips. As Jane offers up suggestions from her own baby registry, it becomes clear that their nascent friendship is unlikely to go very far right now. In a moment that seems a little over-the-top onscreen but eerily true to life, Jane and Petra discover they have very different ideas about child-rearing. Jane thinks Petra is snobbish and disconnected; Petra thinks Jane has a martyr syndrome. Both opinions probably contain nuggets of truth.
Anyhow, increasing hostilities over baby gear (Five for $10 pacifiers versus two for $12 pacifiers — wars have begun over less) lead Jane to regret throwing Petra a baby shower. Petra is prickly, Jane is exasperated, and the party is a bit of a mess, but it does lead to a vital moment of closure. As they try to suss out exactly why they have so much animosity toward each other, Jane realizes that Petra fears Jane still wants a relationship with Rafael. And in a moment of patent sadness for Rafael, Jane makes it very, very clear that her feelings for him have changed. Sorry, #TeamRafael. It looks like your ship has sailed.
And on that note, we turn to the other major Jane thread this week, the one that leads to a new and suggestive title card: Jane the Virgin? As was heavily previewed in the last episode, Jane decides that being a virgin mother is absurd, so she might as well get it on with Hot Professor Jonathan. This plot fuels all the symbolism and special-effects imagery in “Chapter Thirty-Four” — sexually aroused Jane sparkles like a Twilight vampire on a sunny day, and the rose metaphor that has followed her from episode one returns with a vengeance. Here, it’s cleverly expanded beyond just flowers (which bloom or wilt in time with Jane’s libido) to include an entire rose-tinted theme. It’s skillful tie-in with the death of Sin Rose-tro, and also a sharp way to underline the reemerging connections between Jane’s plot and Rose’s.
In any event, Jane wants to hand in that V card, and she tries to do it a number of times with Hot Professor Jonathan. Each time, though, her emotions get in the way. First, she brings up Abuela, which is a notable anti-aphrodisiac. And then, after a particularly spicy round of sexting, she gets pulled over by Ladyboner Killer Cop, who reminds of her of Michael, and who causes her to burst into tears at Jonathan’s place.
Frustrated, Jane has a sweet moment with Abuela, who’s been a little short-changed as of late. At last, Alba admits she’s been so strict with Jane because she regretted her own premarital sex. (With the aforementioned and surely returning Pablo Alonso Segura!) Alba tells Jane that her sexual life is her own choice, and if she ends up being judged by God, that’s no one’s business but Jane’s.
And so Jane hears a knock on the door, opens it, and standing there — of course — is Michael. Michael, who’s been so unfairly sidelined this season; Michael, who’s gone through some crazy stuff, what with a computer chip being implanted in his leg and that whole bit with Nadine; Michael, who loves her so. And Jane cannot help but love him, too. To be continued!
From Our Narrator, With Love
- Our Beloved Narrator was on FIRE this week! There were a lot of interruptions, which I always enjoy. For example …
- Jane: “I’m a virgin mom! That’s weird!” Narrator: “Totally weird.” Jane: “What exactly am I holding on to?” Narrator: “NO idea.”
- I am delighted that Our Narrator shares my enthusiasm about breaking open Rogelio’s dark Scientology past. Be quiet, Xo, it’s going to play the disc!
- Our Narrator on Gus, who helps set up Rose and whose face was changed in the evil plastic-surgery ring: “Okay,sorry, is it just me, or was he way cuter before?” And when Gus tries to get it on with Susanna: “I think he’s forgetting about his new face. And that she’s a lesbian. And that he’s killed like 32 people.”
- There was also a heavy dose of metacommentary this week, including: “Shh, we must be very quiet, because we are now in the midst of an official telenovela action sequence.” And earlier, from Jane: “Novelas explore serious themes! They just don’t scream it.”
- So much great Rogelio this week. Rogelio and Scientology. Rogelio’s unauthorized biography. But none of it holds a candle to the glory that is Tiago, #FirstMaleFeminist. Tiago traveling back in time to the women’s suffrage movement may be all I’ve ever wanted from this show, or from all of television.
- If it had just been Susan B. Anthony trapped under a horse, that would’ve been enough.
- If it had just been the detail that this episode of Tiago has a female director, that certainly would’ve been enough.
- But on top of all that, we get this: “I’m sorry, Susan B. Anthony. I have to go. I’m not from this time. I was sent here to secure women’s right to vote … and their right to love.” TIAGO FOREVER.