By: Andrea Merodeadora
After an astounding fourth season premiere episode, the second episode of Jane The Virgin followed a glimpse of the side of Jane we see the least: partying, fun Jane. Sadly, we only get to see the last round of beer pong with Adam’s roommates, and we have to say goodbye to “Fun Jane”, because “Mom Jane” has an early morning tomorrow. Adam and Jane are in the “can’t stop kissing long enough to say goodbye” stage still, and they’re cute as hell! As are Adam’s drawings of Jane.
Back to “Mom Jane”; she’s not very fond of Dad right now. Rafael has gone back to his business-focused self. For some reason (Jane and the Narrator are as confused as we are) Alba is delighted to have him at her house. And is Jane on board with this plan? Not so much. They soon start fighting again, and they’re both terribly mean to each other. We learn that Mateo’s trust fund has been frozen, so Jane and Rafael weren’t able to pay for tuition, so today they’re gonna enrol Mateo into public school.
We learn that, since Rafael can’t buy the Marbella without any money, Petra has been saddled by withholding her shares until they get a viable alternative. Anezka and Luisa, of course, are trying to convince her to sell her shares. It seems like this might take a while, and that means that Rafael might stay with the Villanuevas for at least another episode. He’s a sour addition to the usually sweet tri-harmony between the women; and it’s hard to root so much for these rich people and their multi-million drama, so let’s hope they find a solution soon.
Speaking of unwanted houseguests; after a stress-induced false labor, Darcy can’t be alone, so she’s staying at Ro and Xo’s place. She was already our favorite villain, but seeing Rogelio struggle to keep a straight face when she insults him only adds to the fun. Jaime Camil and Justina Machado are both incredible comedic actors, and their scenes are never boring. It’s even funnier with Xo in the mix, as they are the three most over-the-top characters in the show.
We learn that Rafael was offered a job (a real person job, as a real estate agent) and found the suggestion ridiculous, and that Mateo’s school will be awful! The show takes this bit as a chance to comment on the disparity in education quality between districts. Jane is a ranter, and her rants always manage to make the explanation about social issues get across without being annoying. Plus, we get a scene of her and Xo chatting in the kitchen (Xo suggests Catholic school) and those are always fun and heartwarming. They laugh and joke and share secrets, and Jane even tells Xo that she thinks she wants to have sex — and she says it so confident, too, which is great growth from a character like Jane.
Yes, the relationship is going quite fast by Jane’s standards, but it’s about to get a lot faster. Because as soon as Jane gets to Adam’s, we learn that he got a job offer in LA. Tyler Posey is disarming when he quickly transitions from earnest excitement to confusion and disappointment, as Adam realizes that the job means moving cities. Jane’s face falls too, and she stammers out “I’ll miss you,” but Adam seems absolutely honest when he says that he’s ready to stay if she wants them to be together. He might not say “I love you,” but that’s a pretty big declaration.
Jane feels that Adam has placed a burden on his shoulders. We know Jane well enough to understand that, if she says that she wants a relationship and Adam gives up on his dream, she won’t forgive herself if the relationship doesn’t last.
Meanwhile, Rogelio is back to work. That means Fabián is back on the show and, to be honest, he isn’t that funny. Rogelio carries their scenes together but, good news! The war between them escalates, and it seems like one way or the other, we’re getting rid of him. The problem is that the executives don’t know which one of them they want to kill off, and Ro losing his job would create too many rich people crying about their economic struggles, which gets tiring fast. So let’s hope that isn’t what they’re going for.
Back at the Villanuevas’, Rafael and Jane fight over sending Mateo to Catholic school. Both are stubborn and confrontational, and their arguments are always explosive. So are Rafael and Petra’s, usually, but the two of them are trying to be “mature”. The Narrator himself thinks they’re dull, and so do we.
But what’s not dull at all is Jane and Adam’s date. Some of the best scenes in this show are the ones where Gina gets to play two or three characters at the same time, and now Jane finds herself flanked by “Mom Jane” and “Fun Jane”. Fun Jane looks like a brown Avril Lavigne, it’s cute. Adam doesn’t have delightful imaginary alter egos, but he’s just as fun to watch. He suggests to play “roofball”, and Jane thinks it’s childish but she quickly gets into it. We’re into it too, honestly. These two have great comedic and romantic chemistry, and I think most of us are rooting for them to stay together. Also, seeing these two cute idiots maybe hook up on an inflatable swan would be hilarious.
They actually decide to take things to bed, but fate isn’t in their favor. They get locked out and, when jumping over the wall to enter through the street, Jane breaks her leg. Adam takes Jane to the hospital and after she’s sedated and with her leg in a cast, Jane gets a little talkative. She gives away that Adam’s question has been stressing her out, so Adam tells that he doesn’t need her to reply.
Sadly, the next morning doesn’t come with more Jane/Adam cuteness, because Jane wakes to the realization that she missed the interview to get Mateo in Catholic school. Rafael comes up with a solution: enrolling Mateo in a school in another district using Ro and Xo’s address. Jane reacts by saying that Rafael is spoiled and a liar, but he counter-argues that that’s what Jane’s mom and grandma did for her. Alba confirms to Jane that Rafael was telling the truth, and that sometimes one has to bend the rules to succeed in an unfair system. It’s nice to be reminded that Jane is flawed, and she can be self-righteous and mean.
To resolve the dilemma set up at the beginning of the episode, the studio sets up a focus group of women who’ll decide which actor they prefer. Jane comes over by the studio to talk to her dad, and she notices that one of the women in the focus group is Fabián’s grandma. Rogelio decides to do a very Rogelio thing and, fueled by the memory of Darcy’s digs at his acting abilities, he gets in full costume and infiltrates the focus group as “Judy”. Jaime (and Rogelio, of course) plays a pretty convincing character, but it’s always fishy when the core of a comedic scene is a cis man dressing up as a woman. Still, seeing Rogelio dramatically rip off his wig while staring triumphantly at Fabián, after they’ve both gotten their calls informing them that Rogelio is keeping his job (and Fabián isn’t) is pretty hilarious.
A small moment, but worthy of mention, happens during the next scene. The doctor who checks on Darcy is a hijabi, and it’s still rare to see hijabis in American media shows as simply existing rather than as part of Islamophobic stories or gags.
Rogelio and Xiomara continue to prove that they’re the best relationship on the show, after Ro tells Xo that he got a Camerino for her at his filming set. After focusing on his own drama with Darcy for the last episode and a half, Ro’s realized that Xo might not be vocalizing all of her needs and is now trying to be a little more thoughtful. These two are always bettering themselves and each other, and their growth as characters and as a couple is delightful to watch.
Trying to make this thing with Darcy is great, specially in a show that’s so focused on unconventional family dynamics. Xo tells Darcy that they’re family now, and that means trying to get along with each other; and then the three of them also have an honest and sweet talk after Rogelio shows Darcy the nursery that he built at his workplace, too, and agrees that Rogelio and Darcy will try to be friends again.
Jane and Rafael also try to get along. They exchange some apologies, agree on enrolling Mateo in Xo and Ro’s district, and even share some smiles.
One of the sweetest parts of the episode is when Jane gets an envelope with a comic book in it. It’s a fully colored booklet (a hell of a lot of work) that tells the story of Adam and Jane, without any words in the speech bubbles. It’s Adam saying that he stays. The problem is that, after having to make these big decisions recently, Jane doesn’t think Adam is someone that she can make big decisions with. She tells him so, and he tells her that she can’t know that yet. They raise their voices quite a bit, but Adam says “I’m staying” and the scene ends with sweet smiles and kisses.
The episode ends with Rafael and Petra breaking up. After being entirely boring during the entire episode, Petra tells Rafael that she doesn’t want to be with him any longer. In a second it becomes obvious that this is a way to keep Petra isolated, since Rafael is the only person that Petra really trusts. Because, shocking plot twist, Petra’s mom is back.
It’s an overall great episode, with great pacing, pleasant character developments and a lot of romance; but the ending is a bitter reminder of the bad luck that continues to creep on this family. The show has a poor habit of pushing its abuse survivors (both Petra and Luisa) back with their abusers, and this is not the first time they’ve brought Petra’s mom back for those purposes. Petra’s mother is also the embodiment of the show’s issues with disability (ever since that terrible “fake disability” plot twist of the first season). So, that’s not a great note.
Before the end, the Narrator tells us one more thing that got us quite worried: Before the end of the season, one of six characters will die…
Editor: Ammaarah Mookadam
Keshav Kant, aka Mx. KantEven, is a med student tuned Executive Director of Off Colour!
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From consulting on films & shows, manuscript review, conducting interviews, or hosting podcasts & panels, if there is some way to bring sensitivity and authenticity to diversity, inclusion and equity conversations, Keshav will be there.