Jane the Virgin Review: Chapter Fifty-Nine
By: Angela Russo (@Amaruki99)
This Week on Jane the Virgin:
Jane makes a bumbling return to the dating scene complete with rusty flirting skills and an awkward first date with Michael’s former partner Dennis. Things between Alba and Jorge are heating up as the two enjoy a much more successful evening. Rogelio closes his lawsuit and begins shooting his new telenovela. He and Xiomara profess their love for one another and are reunited at last. Petra quickly moves past her drunken night with Rafael, going to great lengths to finally win back Chuck. Unfortunately, the police are now monitoring her every move in an attempt to find Anezka.
This week’s installment Jane the Flirt finally acknowledges what has been painfully absent…romantic love. While the past few episodes have been scattered and lacking direction, Chapter Fifty-Nine was much more cohesive. All sub-plots fit neatly into the overarching theme of flirting, reading signals, and the perceptions and miscommunications of the dating scene. Jane’s missteps in parenting have finally moved to the back-burner!!! The return of romance also ushers in a renewal of the quirky comical hijinks, commentary, and asides classic to the show. I greatly enjoyed this episode’s running, “flirt alert,” gag. When Jane gets a few serious contenders I would like to see some asides with an old daydream friend – bachelorette Jane!
The Romantic Adventures of Jane
Jane the Virgin is famous for having the narrator drop major foreshadowing with a casual sentence and not mentioning it again for a season or longer. A notable example of this occurs in season one, ominously predicting Michael’s inevitable death. Since that proved to be true I’ve had my radar on scan for any seemingly innocuous commentary from the narrator. Chapter Fifty-Nine drops some not-so-subtle foreshadowing straight out the gate:
“It should be noted that Jane Gloriana Villanueva had been passionately in love with exactly three men in her life.”
He then goes on to purposefully skip the first, and list Michael and Rafael. Now that Jane is back on the dating circuit, I have to imagine we will be revisiting this teased nugget of her past either via flashback, or as a potential love-interest further down the line. Rafael is alive and well, but he and Jane are still quite firmly in the friend-zone. Nonetheless, the intimacy and trust they share is no less prominent as Jane repeatedly turns to Raf for dating advice. It’s clear that the writers want to perpetuate the strong bond between these two former lovers. For now I see them putting Jane through a more interesting phase of self-discovery now that she has emerged from the cocoon of motherhood. She needs to figure out who she is and what she wants post-Michael.
As it is, her first forays of flirting were predictably awkward and uncomfortable. I literally cringed when she confronted Alex about maintaining a professional relationship, and was immediately skeptical when she accepted a date with Michael’s former partner Dennis. It was too safe. Too similar. Much more of an ice-breaker experience than anything else. Her physical attraction to Fabian is sure to be just another phase in the process of her dating awakening.
Petra & Rafael
Until Jane gets a few impractical infatuations and flings out of her system and starts dating in earnest, the show needs a love triangle to hang onto….which leads me to Petra and Rafael. The dynamic between these two is frustrating to say the least. Now that Xiomara and Rogelio are finally back together do we really need to revisit this whole will-they won’t-they nonsense? The inconsistency in this episode alone makes me roll my eyes. Rafael vacillates between sheer horror, awkward dislike, and then in a quite cliche and predictable twist, childish jealousy as Petra quite naturally continues to pursue Chuck. As a former playboy, he is not used to being tossed aside so easily. No matter what the narrator says, I don’t view Rafael’s jealousy as anything other than him protecting his ego.
History has had Petra constantly being passed around the male cast from Lachlan to Rafael, then Roman, then Milos…Lather. Rinse. Repeat. A strictly platonic relationship with Rafael has been a very positive nurturing experience for her, providing a familiar foundation so she can breathe and grow away from the manipulative ways encouraged by her mother. Some fans aren’t pleased to see Petra dating a brand new character, but I find the change to be refreshing…so long as it leads to something different. Unlike past boyfriends, Chuck seems to be more than up to the task of meeting Petra on equal footing. He calls her out constantly, holding her accountable to how she really feels. Reformed or not, Petra definitely needs a strong man who won’t get trampled under her penchant for scheming. Chuck’s opposites-attract cowboy charm definitely takes her down a peg and balances her out.
Scott – The Plot Thickens
All the pheromones running rampant this week have overshadowed the crux of this particular story-arc: What happened to Scott? For weeks I have been wondering where Anezka has been. The police seem to think that Petra has been protecting Anezka somehow keeping her under wraps. The suspicious email she writes in Czech would seem to indicate as much…or does it? Perception and misdirection are hardly limited to the romantic aspects of the series. Viewers frequently see misleading representations of reality to advance the twists and turns of the plot. Could Petra be writing to Anezka? Certainly, but there is insufficient information to determine whether either one of them is the killer or even involved in Scott’s death. Let’s not forget Rafael’s role in all of this. What happened during his nine months in prison? Why was he so keen on getting the burn book first? What secret is he hiding? Jane the Virgin will be on hiatus until April 24th. In the meantime, catch up on past episodes with Nerd HQ’s recaps and reviews!
Chapter Fifty-Nine was directed by Anna Mastro and written by Deirdre Shaw.