#TeamMichael or #TeamRafael?
That’ the question that dominates “Chapter Twenty-Four” as Jane tries to decide who she’s “leaning toward”. Is it ex-fiance Michael, who is sweet, sexy and handy? Or is it the dreamy Rafael who is also the father of her son? Jane has no idea, and with the help of Bachelorette Jane (and encouragement from Alba and Xiomara), Jane tries to make a definite decision. Though there are hints of the discontent between Michael and Rafael, it pales in comparison to Jane’s complicated feelings for them. Love triangles have been a staple of many shows, but few have done them as well as Jane the Virgin, which has built both men up in such a way that neither is a bad choice for Jane. Both have their positives and their negatives, and while both have taken part in their share of fantasy romances, both have also played their parts in breaking her heart. Some viewers may have an easier time deciding which guy Jane should end up with (I’m Team Michael), but that’s not the case for Jane who ends up hurting both of them when she confesses to being in love with them both.
I admit to laughing a lot when Rafael and Michael appeared in confessionals, describing their reactions to Jane’s news. Their hurt feelings make sense, as the good will between them following Mateo’s rescue has dissolved. Now Rafael’s annoyed with Michael’s constant presence, and Michael’s just annoyed with Rafael. And Jane’s enjoying time with them both (though not at the same time because their lunch is awful). I even have my own pleasant opinions of both of them, but even this episode has me disliking them a bit. In between being very sweet, Michael grates by telling Jane how she feels about Rafael (okay well how do you know?) and Rafael blames Mateo’s kidnapping on Michael (okay…what?). See? Lots of layers.
Michael’s painfully sweet, stopping by with coffee daily for an exhausted Jane and installing a security system to ease fears of Rose’s return. Michael and Jane’s relationship in the beginning was also sweet, though eventually thrown for a loop with Jane’s accidental insemination so the show has developed them through dreamy flashbacks that make it easy to see why there are still a lot of feelings between them. The snowing indoors scene returns (and is even almost recreated in present day) and Michael assures an anti-camping Jane that there are no dealbreakers with them–not even that Alba is an undocumented immigrant. And now, it’s not a problem that Jane has a baby with another man.
Then there’s Rafael who’s making an effort to prove to Jane that he’s invested in their family, transforming his apartment into a baby dreamland and being just as present as Michael. Their fantasy-laden relationship gave way to more realistic struggles as they progressed, and those haven’t been abandoned. The fantasy element between them has mostly been dropped, or at least it’s been replaced in Jane’s mind with a fantasy of a traditional family unit. I hesitate at calling it a fantasy, since I don’t want to limit Rafael and Jane’s love story to being made up of just Jane’s idealistic vision of Rafael and the life they could have. But there’s no doubt that Petra’s new pregnancy is going to throw cold water on whatever reunion could be on the horizon for Rafael and Jane. It’s unlikely that her ideal future is one that includes Petra and the child she’ll have. When Jane finds out about Petra potentially being pregnant (not knowing who the father is) she thinks this will be the chance they have to be rid of Petra, and boy how wrong she is.
There’s a lot going on in “Chapter Twenty-Four”, but Jane the Virgin can stuff its episode full of stuff without making it overwhelming or any less emotionally resonant. The love triangle shares the episode with Xio and Rogelio’s cruise ship performance, Jane’s anxieties about Rose returning to steal Mateo, Jane’s awful neighbors (one of whom is Kesha), Scott blackmailing Petra, Rafael and Petra negotiating with Lachlan, and Luisa trying to learn the family business and “Chapter Twenty-Four” revisits Alba’s status as an undocumented immigrant. But Jane the Virgin is able to consistently work these disparate plots around one another until they connect. With everything rooted in the emotional complexity of its characters, there’s never any issue maintaining interest. Xio and Rogelio are back on (but still getting an annulment), Alba’s going to apply for her Green Card, Luisa is abducted by the henchman of a new villainess, and just as Rafael learns Petra took his sample, a test confirms her pregnancy. These threads are all mostly unrelated, but all end up coming together by episode’s end. It’s to Jane the Virgin‘s credit that it’s able to make these disparate threads connect, even while zooming quickly through its plot lines.
- Xiomara: “Have one of your boyfriends take you.”
- Luisa: “Rick!”
Lachlan: “Lachlan. We’ve met several times”
- I honestly have no clue how Petra being pregnant is going to play out. It will be a mess that’s for sure.
- So is the shady lady connected to Rose or what?
- Bridget Regan turns up a few times to help portray Jane’s worries over Rose’s return, but Michael also says it’s possible she’s had plastic surgery to alter her appearance. I certainly hope the show hasn’t dropped Regan in favor of someone else, and I can’t even see them doing that.