Fear is a powerful motivator. And in “Chapter Seven,” Jane takes steps to get past hers.
Jane has lived a cautious life. She lives at home with her mother and grandmother, is becoming a teacher because of the uncertainty that a writing career would provide her with, works at Rafael’s hotel to save money when she’s not teaching, and is a virgin. While her mother, Xiomara, is still following her dreams, singing and teaching dancing lessons in their home, it’s Jane, at just 23, that has already stuck herself into a certain kind of life because of her fear that things could turn out wrong if she goes for what she really wants. Jane is a wonderful character, and the kind that you don’t usually see on television. Not only because she’s a primetime latina lead, but also because she’s the kind of girl that would usually be a sidekick character. She’s pure and sensible and honest to a fault.
Which is why it’s a little hard seeing her lying to Michael and going out with Rafael, where they spend the entire night talking, ignoring Xo’s phone calls. This isn’t the Jane that we’ve come to know, but instead a girl that is rubbing up against her self-created binds. It’s hard seeing Michael find those flowers — just like Jane herself admits — but like she tells her mother at the end of the episode, this is Jane’s last chance to let go. In a few months Jane is going to be a mother. And while that’s not it for her story and the kind of life that she can lead, it is the end to some kinds of freedom. And while she’s never taken some of the more reckless chances that have been available to her before, upcoming motherhood has reminded Jane of what little time she has left to attempt them if she does want to.
This baby, when it comes, is going to change everything. But for Jane, it already has. It’s given her a new and shortened time frame, one that she intends to take full advantage of. She considers all of her options and everyone’s feelings, but in the end goes with what she really wants: a date with Rafael. Who, this episode, manages to look stupidly smitten with Jane at nearly every opportunity. Already, I miss Michael and Jane’s closeness, but she and Rafael do have an undeniable spark. As for Michael, he’s miserable but already on the rebound with his work partner (and after two years of celibacy, it’s not hard to see why that happened so quickly).
But Rafael and Jane aren’t the only ones with chemistry, with Xo gaining a new admirer thanks to one of her dance students setting her up with her father (Sleepy Hollow’s Nicholas Gonzalez). Somehow, Xo and Rogelio antagonize each other into a double date at the hotel, and while Xo’s goes well, Rogelio’s doesn’t. He’s jealous, big time, and it’s hilarious to watch. What proved more surprising, however, was his threat to Rafael after Jane spends the night with him without contacting Xo. Rogelio hasn’t been Jane’s father for long, but already, he’s protective of her and of Xo. He’s ridiculous, but ridiculously sweet, too.
Petra, meanwhile, poisons a man this episode, before reuniting with her former flame Lachlan, promising him a secret that will bring Rafael down. All she needs in return is the money that is needed to get rid of her blackmailer-turned-hostage, Ivan. She’s doe-eyed, beautiful, and a schemer till the end.
Which is why Rafael appears to be fired at the end of the episode, while Jane is left waiting for him at the site of their next date. He’s on his way to Mexico- for his sister, perhaps? It’s hard to say, but already, he’s left Jane waiting. She made the decision to be with Rafael last week and then again tonight, and at the end of the episode we get a glimpse at some of the consequences of this unsafe, as Jane would categorize it, decision.
As for what’s next, it’s clear that something’s going to go down: with Rafael, Petra and Sin Rostro, too.
- Rogelio, pretending not to be the complete drama queen that he is: “Please take it away; I’ll be happy to drink normal people wine.”
- “I’m gonna tweet my 6.3 million followers with the hashtag #PleaseFindJane.” Speaking of twitter, this Rogelio account is perfect.
- Finally, I have to say, it feels a little wrong talking about such joyous, soapy television on a night like tonight. Darren Wilson has been convicted of absolutely no crimes in regard to his shooting in Ferguson, and I know that while I remain safe and unafraid at home in my bed, so many others are experiencing a type of fear and grief that I will never know because of my race. And maybe this is just a meaningless disclaimer so that I can push away my guilt for being white and free enough to write this recap with nothing more to concern me, but it feels wrong to try and separate the fiction from the harsh reality that is taking place tonight. It feels important to me to say, from my home across the world, that I am outraged and disappointed for Ferguson tonight, and that I am hoping intervention will occur. As for Jane the Virgin, I am relieved that it is this show I get to comment on tonight. Because although change is hard (for even one person, let alone societal structures that millions of people live by and in), it is shows like Jane the Virgin, Black-ish, Cristela and other programmes that include diverse voices, that will change our views and expose our societies’ collective problems when it comes to race. I may have watched Jane the Virgin this evening but we are all, everywhere across the world tonight, watching Ferguson, too.