As always, it’s been a busy few weeks on Jane the Virgin. Petra is now a co-owner of the Marbella, Rogelio’s got a new acting gig as a spaceman cop (…I think), Xiomara has decided that she’s ready to move in with her famous boyfriend, while Jane has settled on the opposite conclusion with Rafael.
Which brings us to the big event in last week’s episode: Rafael’s proposal. It was an impulsive decision that felt out of place and far too fast — and that’s saying a lot for this show — and in “Chapter Sixteen,” Jane lets Rafael know about all of these feelings.
For a show that burns through plot fairly alarmingly, Jane the Virgin still has an amazing sense of self. When I watched “Chapter Fifteen,” I knew that I didn’t want Jane to say yes and be swept up in Rafael’s romantic gesture. But so many other times before, I had been, and I did want Jane to say yes. This show works excruciatingly hard to stay true to its main character, and it’s something that pays off. Jane wondered, last episode, if Rafael knew her at her core — and despite whether or not he does, it was clear to me that we, as the viewers, really do. And even from the pilot it felt like Jane was easy to know. Jane is an incredible character with real authenticity. She lives on a show that should be ridiculous, and inside of plots that should seem ludicrous. And in some ways, it is and they are, but in many more ways, the show and Jane are so much more than that. Gina Rodriguez’s acting adds meaning to everything that she does on this show, and even though I thought that things got a little bit cheesy in “Chapter Sixteen,” Jane the Virgin is a show that I trust implicitly to take care of and stay true to its characters. (Well, not the minor ones who all end up dead, but you know, the main ones. The people that we care about.)
But wider musings aside, in “Chapter Sixteen,” fantasy clashes with reality as the honeymoon period between Jane and Rafael begins to wane. He’s a businessman trying to run a declining hotel, and a consequence of that is that he’s running a little short on time. He’s also moping over Jane’s rejection of his proposal, something that turns him into a disagreeable and passive aggressive boyfriend.
But while he’s having a bad day — he and Petra have to team up to look after a famous performer’s dog (a seemingly stupid but delightful plot) — Rogelio and Michael have a great one. After Twitter mocks Rogelio for his unrealistic spaceman cop performance (and yeah, the irony in that statement isn’t lost on me), he decides to shadow Michael for the day to get tips on how to pull off the role of being a convincing detective. While Rogelio isn’t exactly fond of Rafael, he instantly bonds with Michael, especially after Michael pulls out his impressions on their stakeout. In the end, Rogelio even helps Michael catch the bad guy, after he calls for his fans to create a human barrier in a busy crowd.
“Chapter Sixteen” isn’t the most succinct Jane the Virgin episode — and honestly, I couldn’t get on board with Jane’s cheesy fantasy dance — but like always, this week’s episode mixed a myriad of different characters and plots to get to that sweet spot of silly yet affecting drama that Jane the Virgin always hits.
Jane’s a romantic at heart, which sometimes, causes Jane the Virgin to be a show that functions through rose coloured glasses. But Jane is also a pragmatist, which is where the tension between her and Rafael often lies. Xiomara is taking a chance because of her daughter — she’s moving out to live with Rogelio, a decision that Alba won’t accept — and although Jane doesn’t jump to accept Rafael’s proposal like her mother does when she decides to leave home, she does stand beside him and has through quite a lot now, since having made the decision to choose him and not Michael. In short: she’s not going anywhere. Rafael acts impulsively because he’s scared, but Jane’s realist tendencies don’t allow her to jump into things the way that Rafael — and Rogelio, too — do. Marriage doesn’t feel right for them just yet, and Jane’s gut feelings can’t be ignored, something that Rafael accepts by the end of the episode.
Through Jane, Rafael is learning patience. And by the end of the episode, he takes another chance, on a completely different kind of risk. He decides to reach out to his mother, a woman that he’s only heard about through his now-deceased father. As the episode ends, his search begins. Rafael only really proposed because he didn’t want to lose Jane and because he’s so desperate to keep the family that they’ve begun to form together. But his world is bigger than just Jane, as she reminds him, so he hits enter on the search button and begins the hunt for his mother. Jane’s new writing teacher (Jane Seymour!) taught their class about ending their chapters on suspense, which is a little nod to the fact that when it can, Jane the Virgin does that very same thing.
- Rogelio’s limp, insincere handshake with Rafael means everything to me.
- Michael’s Jim Carrey impression! Brett Dier seems like a totally adorable goofball behind the scenes, so I’m glad he got a chance to have some fun with Rogelio — including a fantasy dance scene!
- Also, thanks for NOTHING, Rafael, because now I’ll never get Livin’ on a Prayer out of my head. Jane was right. He should have rethought that favourite song decision.
- Speaking of Jane’s writing, at the seminar she attends to try and fix her writers block, she meets a new friend — and someone that we later find out is Michael’s ex-girlfriend. I guess Nadine is firmly back in the partners-only role?
- Rogelio says gif with a ‘j’. This seemed like an important note to make.