Jane the Virgin / Screen

Jane the Virgin: “Chapter Thirty-Nine”

 

“Chapter Thirty-Nine” is supposed to be a happy episode. All the promos said it was Jane and Michael having their bachelorette and bachelor parties, which are supposed to be fun. Everyone’s supposed to be happy. But my god if this wasn’t the most miserable episode of Jane the Virgin I’ve ever seen. It’s not a bad episode, there’s just a pretty consistent period of the episode where nothing is going right, everyone is stressed out and it’s a guarantee someone’s feelings are going to get hurt. Jane and Michael have their respective parties hijacked by Xo and Rogelio, which makes for a bad time for both of them. Drunken Jane is a crazy cool Jane (I’d party with her). Good things have happened to her when she’s been letting loose: she met Michael! And the last time she and Lina went out on the town, Jane and Michael had the kiss that sparked their (almost) reconciliation. But this time around Jane’s weighed down by worries and unable to have fun, and it’s all Xo’s fault. 

While Alba politely refuses an invitation to Jane’s bachelorette party, Xo’s certain Jane wants her there. I’m frankly surprised Jane doesn’t want her there, and I can see how Xo misses Jane’s discomfort so completely. Jane’s invited Xo to take part in all her big moments ands talks to her as candidly (and more often) than she does Lina, so it’s a shock to see Jane so averse to her mom being in attendance. But it’s not an aversion to Xo so much as it’s an aversion to Party Xo. Xo’s drinking makes her unpredictable and even embarrassing. Four years ago, right after Jane was riding the high of her and Michael’s first meeting, Jane was irritated and embarrassed to see Xo passed out on the porch (and to see her puke on Michael).After a season of Xo being relatively reserved, it’s strange to see her suddenly being so blase about Jane’s TA job being put at risk, drunkenly calling and insulting the professor she works for and then making out with Lina’s semi-boyfriend (?) like, as Jane puts it “a drunk sorority girl”. Jane tells Xo she’s a control freak because she had to be, having been raised by her out-of-control mother, and it’s hard to buy into Jane and Xo’s final confrontation in which Jane refuses to accept Xo’s apology (which is identical to the apology she gave Jane four years ago) and simply demands Xo “grow up. This could be a good storyline if it had come earlier in the show’s run when we had a less firm understanding of Xo’s character, but this episode makes her look unbelievably childish and shallow, when that’s just not the Xo we’ve had for this entire season.

Michael’s bachelor party doesn’t go much better, but it definitely ends on a higher note than Jane’s. Michael’s just as uncomfortable with Rogelio being there as Jane is with Xo, and he and his friends try to make do with Rogelio’s posh version of a bachelor party. An elegant dinner and a steam room do not a bachelor party make, and Michael accidentally announces that he didn’t actually want Rogelio there. Its quickly resolved as Rogelio overhears and Michael explains himself and how the party’s dynamic is altered with his future father-in-law in attendance. Seeing as how little we’ve gotten to see Rogelio and Michael since his and Jane’s breakup, they have some really nice interactions this episode. Their relationship is solidified as Michel assures Rogelio that he likes him and values his opinion of him, and Rogelio promises Michael that his feelings haven’t changed (Michael’s still his Dream Man). One of Jane the Virgin‘s biggest strengths are its earnest relationships between characters. Even when Michael and Rogelio are at odds, there’s a simplicity to how they interact that’s grounded without being sapped of all the drama, and it doesn’t blow up the potential fracture in their friendship bigger than necessary. and I wish Jane and Xo had that luxury this week.

Jane and Michael have equally lovely moments. They don’t spend a lot of time together, but the time they have is especially sweet and poignant. Their texting midway through the episode is surprisingly wonderful as Jane explains to Michael what’s going on at the party and Michael picks up on her not wanting her mom around. It’s probably just the sad music, but it was really working. When all the festivities are concluded, Jane and Michael exchange their vows. Jane’s are, as expected, incredibly sweet as she tells Michael that she feels most free with him because she doesn’t have to worry about anything since she knows he’s looking out for her. Michael’s are kept under wraps, because he doesn’t want to share with anyone else the depth of his feelings for Jane. We got through the whole episode without a single jealous Rafael moment, and it was a relief to see the show not giving in to the temptation to include Rafael in this storyline. Once Jane and Michael ended up at the Marbella, I was certain we’d see Rafael peeking in and being moody, but I’m so glad we didn’t. Next week won’t be as fulfilling however.

Unfortunately Jane and Lina don’t have the same benefit.  There’s a weird subplot where Lina is made insecure by questions related to what she’s doing and where she’s going in life especially compared to the hyper organized and college-educated Jane. Lina and Jane’s relationship has always been a sore spot for me, since the show just hasn’t had the time to develop them as much. Lina feeling awkward about Jane’s rapidly progressing life and the path she took makes sense, as friendships change as things start advancing in those ways, but seeing so little of Lina makes it really hard to care. I’m sure we won’t see her again next week, and we’ll be lucky to see her again this season (though I assume she’ll put in a appearance at the wedding), but if Lina is going to be such a sporadic addition to the cast then I wish the show wouldn’t attempt to apply depth to a relationship it hasn’t given any to.

But you know who didn’t score an invite to the festivities? Petra. Considering the uptick in hers and Jane’s relationship, I’m surprised Petra wasn’t asked to come. At this point Jane’s spent more time onscreen with Petra than she has with Lina and definitely more time than with the other women aboard the party bus, but Petra was too busy on the run. Or so it seems. I was totally blown away by Petra’s brown-haired double wandering the halls of the Marbella, seemingly having changed her mind about leaving, only to pop up at Petra’s door and embrace her “long lost sister”. I should have known Petra wouldn’t get on a bus!

Stray Observations

  • The “married three times” arrow pointing at Rogelio was hilarious.
  • I feel some kind of way about Rogelio pushing Michael to break the law for him.
  • I totally forgot about Valeria and Victoria.
  • Another episode where Rafael has very little to do besides kind of investigate Derek and take part in some accidental insider training.
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One thought on “Jane the Virgin: “Chapter Thirty-Nine”

  1. Pingback: Why Aren’t Jane the Virgin’s Men Taking Care of Children? | The Chelsea Review

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