Jane the Virgin
Xiomara and Rogelio got back together! I ran around in a circle and clapped my hands and possibly jumped a little bit, because even though this was the most obvious, most easily foreseeable development imaginable, I just really want these two crazy kids to make it work. Jane the Virgin separated them with far more delicacy and care than I thought possible, and the initial days of that separation gave us some unquestionably effective, heartbreaking stuff. Wow, though, was I ever ready for that to be done. Poor Bruce, I guess?
Look, Bruce has never been more than a stopgap measure for Xiomara, even when given the additional humanizing elements of a snotty teen daughter and sympathetic romantic backstory. I just do not feel that bad for him. Especially when he’s being dispatched within the glorious context of Xo and Ro declaring their love for one another in the middle of a settlement discussion that ends with Rogelio agreeing to sign over most of his salary for a year of Los Viajes de Guillermo. Especially when Rogelio and Xiomara are so happy to be back together that Ro has to admit to Jane that he “just made love to your mother in the car” on the way home. I hope things work out for Bruce; I hope some other person who is not on this show makes him very happy.
Xiomara and Rogelio’s big reunion is the primary motivation of “Chapter Fifty-Nine,” but in typical Jane style, that central impulse is also carried through all of the show’s many plotlines. After succeeding in talking about Michael’s death without weeping, Jane has decided that she might be ready to start dating again, and sadly discovers that her flirting radar is now highly out of whack. This leads to some extremely unfortunate exhibitionism on her walk to work, a painfully awkward encounter with Mateo’s school aide Alex, a classic “oh yeah, I’m a widow” blunder at the Fairwick bar (as well as dismissing a guy in a hoodie as “… Mr Robot?”), and finally, an underwhelming mini-golf date with Michael’s former police partner, Dennis.
I am unendingly appreciative of this Jane plotline. Cringe-inducing though it is to watch her flail so badly while trying to get back into the swing of things, Jane’s dating incompetence feels plausible and valuable. She has no idea how to do this — she hasn’t done it in many, many years. She’s been through a lot. So it makes sense that she’d have some serious miscalculations, and also that one of her earliest attempts to date again would be with someone who was close to Michael. I’m pleased that she failed with Alex, not because I don’t want her to be happy, but because he has a much too youthful, chipper, about-to-go-play-hacky-sack vibe for where Jane is in her life. I’m similarly pleased that things didn’t work out with Dennis. Like Bruce, he seems like a nice enough guy. Also like Bruce, he seems more like a relationship of comfort and convenience than like anything that would be truly satisfying for Jane.
Most important for Jane, we get the continued impression that while she may be ready to date again, this is not going to be an overnight love match. Or if it is, it’s probably going to be out of lust, and not out of an instant connection with a new partner. That’s why I’m so appreciative of the Jane tries to date and mostly fails plotline. It lets Dennis continue to be part of this show — which it seems like Jane needs for telenovela crime reasons — without overburdening the “maybe they’re meant for one another!” idea. It gives us further confirmation that Jane is still working through her grief. And we get that final moment of the episode, with Jane spying Rogelio’s new co-star and feeling a warm glow … not in her heart. Yes. She may not be ready for emotional intimacy yet, but this is something I’m sure we can all believe Jane needs.
I will confess, however, that I was briefly hopeful that when half-naked Guillermo co-star Fabian walked out and Rogelio looked dismayed, it was because he was Rogelio’s new telenovela love interest. Jane’s lust and Rogelio’s jealousy are good outcomes too, but c’mon — now you kind of wish that were happening, right? Ah, well.
Things on the romantic front are also progressing nicely between Alba and Marbella gift-shop manager, Jorge. Sure, they end up on a mini-golf course hiding from Jane and Dennis, and a security guard catches them making out in a cave behind the Eiffel Tower. But Alba sees Jorge’s face in a piece of toast, and while it’s Jane who ends the episode with various body parts glowing, Alba’s the one who shows up the next morning wearing the same clothes as the night from before. I’m so happy for you, abuela. I hope Jorge is good to you.
The last piece of the romance puzzle in “Chapter Fifty-Nine” is Petra and Rafael, who are on different pages about the events of the previous episode. While Raf’s heart is glowing for her — that’s right, his heart — Petra still carries a flame for Chuck Chesser, so much so that she gets up on the bull at the Fairwick and ends up knocking her tooth out. It’s sad for Raf, it’s slightly perplexing for Petra (whose prowess in nearly all things makes it hard to believe she wouldn’t be the best bull rider in Miami), and it’s a little frustrating for Chuck, who I am not convinced deserves Petra.
The Petra story line, Chuck versus Raf and all, is caught up with the ongoing drama around Vests’s murder, Anezka’s disappearance, and the red burn book. As it turns out, Petra did make contact with Anezka, with an email suggesting that she’s been supporting her twin sister financially and they’ve been in touch throughout Anezka’s supposed disappearance. Which is all fine. I mean, it’s probably not fine. Detective Dana, whose name briefly eluded our Narrator, thinks Petra covered for Anezka in Scott’s death and will no doubt be investigating that connection further.
Here’s my small regret: Once again, Petra’s romantic life is all wound up with the show’s telenovela crime plots, and it’s not as though she’s alone in this. Jane, Raf, and Michael have all had their romantic lives get mixed up with the more sensationalist, twisty, melodramatic elements of the show at one point or another. But it feels like Petra can never seem to escape them, especially when it comes to her love life. Sure, a lot of that is because she was actively nefarious for a while. It would just be nice for her to get some of the humanization and warmth of a romantic partner who doesn’t come intertwined with the burden of criminal enterprise for once. It doesn’t even have to be warmth; I know this is Petra I’m talking about. But maybe just once she could have a relationship with someone who didn’t then launder money, or have bones discovered on his property, or who wasn’t a drug-selling serial killer. Just once. To be continued!
From Our Narrator, With Love
• Jane’s romantic misadventures in this episode are varied and disappointing, but our Narrator does drop one very interesting hint about what might be coming. Jane, he tells us, has loved three men in her life. Michael, Rafael, and … a first one, whose identity has not yet been revealed. Hmmmmm.
• It always cracks me up when Our Narrator can’t remember someone’s name. Detective D… Dana?
• I also love it whenever he’s supposed to be watching and then misses something, as when he overlooks Chuck’s presence in the Fairwick bar. “Oh, shoot, I missed him too. My bad!”
• So much love for Alba’s walk of shame. Is she actually wearing the same clothes as yesterday?! “I noticed it too, but out of respect for Alba, I wasn’t going to say anything.”
• YAY ROGELIO AND XIOMARA!
• I’m so looking forward to Los Viajes de Guillermo, especially now that Fabian has shown up and we’ve seen some test footage of tiny Rogelio riding around on a horse. I’ve missed the straight silliness of Tiago, which was always an excellent opportunity for Jane to shoehorn in its most high-flying meta-commentary impulses and political inclinations without overburdening the rest of the series. I’m hopeful Guillermo will fill that gap again.