Jane The Virgin 4x08 "Chapter Seventy-Two"
Jane the Bud-Nipper
This review was coauthored by two Truth Bee Told writers, Sam Makowski and Michaela Martin.
Sam: Something Jane the Virgin has always done well (if at times a little heavy-handedly, although I can overlook that, given the genre) is weave themes throughout the various storylines that take place over the course of an episode. Two of the themes present in this episode were family—and how dysfunctional family experiences growing up can affect decisions you make as an adult—and perception—how two people can experience the exact same thing and come away feeling very different about it.
Every character on this show has had dysfunctional relationships with members of their family; we’ve spent a fair amount of time with Jane, growing up without a father and having a mother who was oftentimes more immature than she was, and Rafael, who’s had two crime-lord mother figures— one of whom murdered his father— an unstable half-sister, and a murderous half-brother.
This episode, the focus is on Rogelio and Xo’s familial relationships. During a therapy session, Rogelio realizes that having his mother as a “momager” and placing so many expectations and responsibilities on him as a young child affected much of who he became as an adult. Xo has a breakthrough of her own, regarding her “perfect” relationship with her father (I’m still dying for more information on the older Mateo, by the way), realizing that it wasn’t as perfect as it could have been because she didn’t get to spend as much time with him while he was alive as she would have liked.
Michaela: I don’t know how I never realized that Xo’s father died when she was an older child—we don’t know how old she was, but (as far as I can remember) this was the first time she’s really talked about him, which had given me the impression she didn’t really remember him. Hearing the story of how Mateo worked 6 extra shifts in order to buy her a special doll is bittersweet, since Xo ended up wishing he had just spent time with her instead.
Sam: The realizations that their relationships with their parents shaped so many of the decisions they made and fears they have (Rogelio not wanting to find out for sure whether Xo was pregnant way back when, because he didn’t know how he would be able to face his mother’s disappointment; and Xo being angry at Rogelio for never coming forward to her because it caused her daughter to grow up without a father presence in her life, the way Xo herself sometimes had) allows Ro and Xo to have a real conversation and at last forgive each other for past grievances.
Michaela: Rogelio has been having trouble getting Darcy to let him spend time with his baby, Baby, and between Darcy laughing at Rogelio’s request to have Baby for an overnight visit and his conversation with Xo about their parents, he realizes something had to change. His telenovela is coming to an end and the producers have decided they wanted to do a sequel, but when he hears Alba apologizing to Xo at the wrap party for overreacting to Xo’s regrets that her father hadn’t spent more time with her, he makes a snap decision. Instead of Rogelio’s character squashing Esteban at the end of the first series and then going on to the second, he tells the producers to have Esteban lead the spinoff, as he is going to take a year off from television in order to be a better father to Baby.
Sam: I loved that character development for Rogelio— for someone so driven by pride, it spoke volumes of how much he loves and cares about Baby that he chose to give up his goal of becoming a bigger star than Esteban just to spend more time with her.
For Jane and Rafael, the focus is always on providing Mateo with the family experience neither of them had growing up. In this episode, that means sending Mateo to his first day of kindergarten, at a school in a district that’s much wealthier than the one Jane and Mateo actually live in. Things quickly spiral out of control when Mateo wants to have a playdate with his new friend, and Jane and Rafael have to pretend that Xo and Ro’s house is actually theirs.
It’s impossible for them to maintain this pretense for long (racy pictures of Xo and Ro in the bathroom as well as bottles of Darcy’s breastmilk in the fridge help give them away), and one of the consequences is that Jane and Rafael need to have a talk about lying with Mateo: that it’s bad, but in some cases it’s necessary. The nuance is too much for the little boy to understand, and he starts to get worried about the necessity of lying to people about where he lives while he’s at school.
Michaela: I felt my heart sink a little right along with Rafael and Jane when Mateo vocalized his confusion at having to lie about where he lives—children at that age are very impressionable, and his trouble understanding why it’s okay to lie in this case makes Jane and Rafael’s decision all the harder. (Side note: we’ve both been watching The Good Place lately, and when Jane told Mateo that it’s okay to lie sometimes, I couldn’t help but remember Chidi’s insistence that lying to anyone for any reason is always wrong—for shame, Jane, for shame!)
Sam: But moral particularism, Michaela! After finding out that Petra has (once again) been lying to him, Rafael realizes that asking Mateo to lie on their behalf is too much, and decides to rent a small apartment in the school’s neighbourhood that they can use as Mateo’s address. (I really like that Raf is no longer a millionaire and so spending money is something he has to be careful of in a way he never has before—but at the same time, he understands now that he can provide more for his son than a wealthy inheritance. He had to lose his hotel in order to both understand the value of money and to understand that not everything is about money.)
Perception also plays a role in this episode: aside from Jane and Rafael wanting to be perceived as something other than they are for the benefit of Mateo’s new friend’s mothers, we see Alba grow furious with Xiomara for remembering her father differently than Alba remembers her husband. When Xo mentions that she missed her father even while he was alive because he spent so little time at home, Alba insists angrily that Mateo did what he needed to do to provide for them and that Xiomara shouldn’t betray his memory in such a way.
Meanwhile, Jane and Rafael perceive their kiss from the night before in very different ways: Rafael thought it was the best kiss of his life, while for Jane, it was missing the spark that she had used to have with Rafael years ago. This leads to some awkward moments between the pair.
Michaela: Including a Giada De Laurentis-worthy fake smile on Jane’s part!
Sam: But they handle it in a much more adult way than they may have in years past. Rafael is a little hurt that Jane didn’t feel the same way he did, but makes the decision to move out of the house because he’ll never be able to let go of the possibility of them otherwise; as for Jane…well, we find out that maybe some of reason she wasn’t feeling the first kiss was because Rafael caught her off guard, after all.
Michaela: As for Petra, after shoving her sister, Anezka, off the balcony in self-defense at the end of the last episode, she has once again found herself the focus of a murder investigation. She’s sure, however, that since it was self-defense, she won’t have any charges filed against her. At Rafael’s suggestion, she finds a lawyer, who also happens to be named Jane (Ramos), played by Rosario Dawson. After accusing Jane of just trying to scare her with the possibility of being charged in order to bill her more, Petra’s emails and phone records are subpoenaed, so she pleads with Jane to come back to represent her. But of course, all is not as it seems with this new Jane, as she calls someone on a burner phone after Petra hires her, asking an unknown entity what she should do now.
Petra keeps claiming she has nothing to hide, and will have no problem turning over the evidence the police request, including security tapes, but she seems scared of what they’ll find. I can’t be the only one thinking that Anezka may have faked her death for a second time and killed Petra instead, right? If there’s anything I know from 4 years of watching this show, it’s that nothing is ever as it seems. How many times has Anezka pretended to be Petra? I think I’ll actually be more surprised if it turns out that it was in fact Anezka who died.
Sam: I have to admit, the same thought occurred to me—one last twin switch for the road? It would have taken an incredibly quick outfit swap on Anezka’s part to pull it off, but the show has done crazier things in the past. (Side note: what happened to Anezka’s forehead tattoo? Has she just been covering it with makeup?) I hope that’s not the case, since Petra has surprisingly grown on me since her evil ways of Season 1, and Anezka doesn’t hold nearly the same draw as a character. (Although at least either possibility means the continuation of Yael Grobglas on the show, which is always a pleasure!)
To wrap this up, I want to spend some more time talking about #TeamJafael (as an aside: thank you, JTV writers, for being the second TV show I watch this year to acknowledge to presence of the online fanbase in such a sly way).
Michaela: Having Alba declare herself Team Jafael was adorably funny!
Sam: I’ve been calling Jane and Rafael endgame since early Season 1...and I believe we’ll get there; but this is a telenovela, after all, and the road is guaranteed to be winding with plenty of bumps along the way.
Michaela: I vacillated between being #TeamRafael and #TeamMichael for the first 3 ½ seasons, but always knew that Jane was going to end up with Rafael and that Michael would die (that foreshadowing was anything but subtle), and while I do miss Michael, I’m loving where the writers are taking Jane’s relationship with Raf.
Sam: While I was frustrated to learn that the magical kiss that closed out the midseason finale more than a month ago was apparently less-than-magical on Jane’s end, it was inevitable that something would stop them from immediately finding their happily-ever-after. And while this episode ended with another, even steamier kiss, it’s already a foregone conclusion that something next week will stop them from pursuing a romantic relationship.
That obstacle seems most likely to be their son, Mateo—no doubt Mateo will want to see his parents together, especially after witnessing them kiss, but there are sure to be complications that will be difficult to explain to a five-year-old child. Jane, forever a planner and still recovering from her most recent heartbreak, will likely resist a romantic relationship with Rafael if only to avoid all the possible problems that it could cause to arise in her relationships with both her son and his father.
One last thing I wanted to touch on here was the nature of Rafael’s pitch to Jane. In my review of last week’s episode of The Good Place, I talked about how much I loved how Eleanor knew exactly how to talk Chidi down, because of how well she knows him and how much she loves him. It’s the same thing here: Rafael knows Jane so well that he anticipated all the arguments she would have, wrote them into a list (Jane loves lists), and then countered them in a way that she would be able to understand.
Michaela: I wrote the same thing down in my notes while I watched the episode—not only does Rafael know Jane well enough to know that a list would appeal to her, but he also knew all the hesitations and reasons against being with him that Jane would have.
Sam: Also, I found the fact that every time Jane tossed aside Rafael’s arguments he had another copy waiting for her unintentionally hilarious!
There’s a lot of examples of dysfunctional relationships on this show, and while Jane and Rafael are by no means perfect—it was only a couple of episodes ago that they ended up screaming at each other every time they tried to talk— when they’re on, their relationship is beautiful and something that I think is absolutely worth pursuing.
Not to mention that I love Rafael. He’s been my favourite since the beginning (yes, I know he has made plenty of mistakes), and he deserves the world. He deserves a functional family unit, since he never had one. He deserves a partner who isn’t always lying and scheming. He deserves happiness, damn it.
Michaela: If she is in fact dead, I’ll miss Anezka’s confusing of English idioms, such as her referring to gaslighting as “lighting her gas” when talking to Petra.
Sam: “I like her! She’s my friend!” The friendship that’s bloomed between Rafael and Alba is undoubtedly one of my favourite things about this season, and I love nothing more than their dish sessions. (It also serves as an interesting parallel to the friendship between Michael and Rogelio in earlier seasons.)
Michaela: Alba telling Jane that she was feeling fine, then quickly backtracking and saying she wasn’t feeling great about her recent heartbreak when she found out Jane had a bone to pick with her was so funny to me, not to mention incredibly relatable.
Sam: Rogelio would absolutely make use of all 280 characters on Twitter.
Michaela: I loved that Xo and Ro had a copy of Jane’s book on their mantle!
Jane The Virgin airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW.