Oops! Last week, we had a pretty boring Jane the Virgin episode, and more than a few complications which added up to a missed recap! But worry not, we fixed our login issues and are back to full functionality, here to get you caught up with the episode we skipped before jumping into the latest one.
Chapter sixty-eight starts five day after Ro and Darci’s baby is born, and tries to balance an episode full of fighting and resentment about some ridiculous animal-themed baby photos and a dozen “possible” names for the newborn baby. It’s cute, but the whole episode feels badly paced, missing the mark on the usually flawless balance of drama and comedy that Jane the Virgin has been perfecting for four seasons.
The episode wasn’t all bad, though. Jane and Adam took a week apart to determine whether they truly are ready for this relationship that they rushed into, and we got to see an honest and heartfelt discussion about dating, children, and heartbreak. Adam realized that even though it might require a lot of effort, he was ready to be a part of Mateo’s life. Jane admitted to herself that she was using Mateo as an excuse, and her real fear wasn’t that Adam would break Mateo’s heart, but that he’d break hers.
Another positive, we finally got the focus on Xiomara that we’d been begging for! The enrollment to Xo’s dance studio was down, so she decided to team up with her high school nemesis, Slutty Crystal, to lower costs and get more students. The plan quickly fell through, but it allowed for Xo to get screen time that was actually about her, not Rogelio; and it ended with Xiomara and Ro talking about what the baby means for them. Rogelio was worried that Xo “hated” his daughter, and she finally confessed that she was actually scared that she’d love the baby too much and end up sidelining her own needs and her career in favor of taking care of the child. After so many episodes of Xo being the voice of reason to Ro’s dramatics, it was nice to see her get to be emotional and to see Rogelio step up to reassure and comfort her.
The rest of the episode was just a string of fight after fight after fight. It’s been four seasons, and it feels like every step that Jane, Rafael, and Petra take towards becoming friends is trumped a second later for the sake of drama. It’s draining, and it’s even more draining to see that, over and over, the characters are more willing to empathize with Rafael’s struggle than they are with Luisa and Petra. Yes, as Jane said at one point in the episode, Rafael’s ultimately good intentions are thwarted by his self-destructive tendencies and his pride. But, while Jane made an effort to sympathize with him and Alba gave him a loving-if-stern speech, Petra and Luisa are painted as villains more often and rarely granted this kind of understanding.
The episode ended with Rafael finally coming to his senses, after Jane reminded him that putting his morals aside for money landed him in jail once, and Alba shared with him some wisdom about the real value of money. He ended up coming clean to Katherine, admitting that he really wasn’t as committed to the relationship as she was, and hoping that she would still want to go through with the deal. Instead, Katherine ran him over with her car.
Now, onto the latest episode! Jane the Virgin decided to honor its 69th chapter with a sex-focused, sexuality-oriented episode. From its title and core plot, this show has always had cultural perceptions of sex, virginity and reproductive rights at its very center; but this episode will tackle some subjects that haven’t been discussed before. So let’s dive in!
The episode starts with Jane and Xo discussing the return of our favorite girl, Lina! You all might remember, she’d moved away and started dating Danny, right? Well, they’re now getting married, and Jane is in charge of the bachelorette party. We expected this, but we definitely didn’t expect Lina, the wild one of the duo, to want a 1930s murder-mystery themed party. Still, Jane is more than happy to organize it, and also more than happy to suggest contraceptive methods for Xo, who keeps forgetting to take the pill. It’s nice to be reminded that our girl’s views and knowledge on sex have grown so much since we first met her.
We get to see a glimpse of Rafael in the hospital, when Petra calls Jane to inform her that he had “a little car accident” and that there is nothing to worry about. He actually looks pretty banged up, arm in a sling and all; but Petra seems unimpressed. As she herself says, her sister tried to drown her at sea (among all the other awful shit she’s gone through), so her standard for what qualifies as violence is more than a little skewed.
When we go back to Jane, she’s already brought the decorations for Lina and Danny, and Adam arrives just in time to join the trio. Lina seems less than thrilled about the theme of the party, and maybe about Adam too. We can safely assume that she was Jane’s shoulder to cry on when Adam broke her heart at nineteen, and she only-sorta-jokingly tells him “don’t mess things up this time”, which Adam takes with a smile. It’s when she introduces Danny and Adam that the big reveal of the episode happens! Realizing that they know each other from somewhere, Danny and Adam go through their mutual Facebook friends to try and find their connection, and realize that Danny is friends with Adam’s ex. Adam’s ex being the (ugly) white guy in the picture. So, yeah, Adam is bi, and he has truly tragic taste in men.
Unlike Adam’s unflinching smile when Lina took a jab at him, Jane seems more than a little rattled by these news. She asks Adam why he hasn’t told her that he was bisexual (yes, they actually used the word!) and he admits that he was nervous because it’s been an issue in some of his previous relationships. Your dearest reviewer here can attest that coming out to our partners (both straight and gay) can indeed cause many relationship issues, so it’s nice to see that acknowledged. Jane promises that it absolutely won’t be an issue with her, but we can already tell that she’s lying through her teeth.
Back at the Marbella, Petra offers Rafael the use of her guest bedroom, but Luisa isn’t happy to see him in her property. She’s learned that he was working with Katherine Cortes, and wants him off her hotel as soon as possible. Rafael calls her “nasty and hateful” and Luisa, never one to pull punches, tells him he’s “obsessed with money and power, just like dad”. They both look obviously hurt, but their argument is interrupted by the twins barging in. When Petra sends her daughters down to the gift shop in an attempt to keep them unaware of the fighting going on in the family, the girls tell Alba that “daddy is getting kicked out of the hotel again, so we’re supposed to buy something”, which of course leads her to insisting that Rafael stays with the Villanuevas.
Jane feels compelled to put her anger and pride aside — remember, even if Rafael came clean with Katherine, that doesn’t magically erase the weeks of Douche Rafael that Jane’s had to put up with — and seems almost ready to do so when she sees Rafael limping to bed, but the doorbell rings just in time to stop her. Lina is at the door, begging Jane for advice. Lina’s divorced sisters have convinced her that her marriage is doomed to fail, and now she’s afraid that Danny is too boring and doesn’t know her well enough.
After Lina point-blank asks Jane to decide for her whether she should marry Danny or not, Jane calls Xo for advice. As usual, Xiomara tells Jane to keep her nose out of other people’s business, but we know Jane isn’t very good on that front. After dropping some no-nonsense advice, Xo hangs up on Jane and turns to Rogelio with a no-nonsense request. She wants Rogelio to get a vasectomy since, as she told Jane earlier this episode, Ro’s preferred contraceptive method is “pulling out”. Rogelio is offended and horrified, and expresses his outrage in an expected Rogelio-like fashion. He tells Xo that, if she wants to quit the pill, she can tie her tubes, but Xiomara argues that that’s invasive surgery, in opposition to the non-invasive process she’s suggesting. The scene ends with Xo rolling her eyes as Rogelio backs out of the room with his hands covering his crotch.
While Ro makes no pretense of being okay with Xo’s request, Jane is still trying (and failing) to act like she has no issue with Adam being bi. The next day, during a date out, a waiter compliments Adam’s tattoos and Jane reacts with blatant jealousy. Adam tells her that he didn’t really notice if the waiter was hot or not because he’s with Jane. Adam is uncomfortable, but Jane reassures him that she’s not hung up on it.
Jane later talks about it with Xo, and admits that she is, indeed, hung up on it. She tells Xo that she’s only uncomfortable because Adam took so long to tell her, but also mentions “the double standard”. She says “when women hook up it’s looked at as sexy, but men are immediately marginalized because our whole culture revolves around the male gaze”. Though it’s a pretty simplistic analysis that completely erases how women’s attraction to women is only valid as long as it’s performed for men’s pleasure and ignores that sapphic women are often targeted by abusers and predators specifically because our sexuality is seen as “sexy” and thus “for male consumption”, it’s nice to see a network show having these discussions.
Back to our average heterosexual drama, Lina tricks Jane into spending some time alone with Danny, and straight up texts her “tell me if I should marry him”. That’s a big responsibility, especially when Jane tries to get a feeling of Danny and finds herself utterly bored by him.
And, back with the De La Vegas where Xo uses her womanly charms to convince Ro to make an appointment for a vasectomy. As cute as Ro and Xo are, this plot has been done by nearly every show in existence and the men always pull the same kind of annoying dramatics, so we know how this plot is going to play out. They try to give it an interesting twist by making it about Rogelio feeling insecure about his age rather than his “masculinity”, which makes a lot of sense given his career, even if actors suffer ageism less than actresses do. Still, because this is how these subplots always end, Rogelio will come to terms with it.
Rafael’s inevitable redemption arc starts next. Jane heard him falling in Mateo’s room and finds him struggling to get himself up, which leads to some emotional confessions as they both sit on the floor, against the bed. Raf can always pull off the redeemed douchebag really well, and this is no exception. He tells Jane that he feels lost, that he’s scared that he’s becoming his (not) father, and finally starts making peace with the possibility of having to start fresh. Right now, I can’t think of any novela that actually makes the rich guy lose all of his fortune and never recover it, so I’m actually rooting for this to happen.
Speaking of the Solano fortune… last week’s episode ended with Luisa introducing her new co-conspirator Carl to Anezka, who later told Magda that there was nobody there and that she thought Luisa was hallucinating. Now we learn that Luisa indeed hallucinated a person called Carla during her nervous breakdown back in med-school. Uh-oh, right? We can see Carl, and Luisa clearly can too, but it seems that nobody else can! After Petra tells Rafael that Krishna told her that she overheard Anezka telling Magda about the hallucinations, Rafael is compelled to help his sister.
But now we go back to Jane, who’s still irrationally jealous every time she sees Adam near a guy. When she admits that she was wondering whether he hooked up with his roommate or not, Adam says that he thinks he was right in not wanting to tell her and they part ways on shaky grounds, with an obviously hurt Adam telling Jane that he doesn’t know if he wants to see her after the party.
Feeling guilty about hurting Adam’s feelings (cough, with her biphobia, cough), Jane has to face Danny. Earlier today, Lina managed to force an honest opinion out of her, and Jane admitted that she found him boring but refused to tell Lina not to marry him. Now Danny tells her that he feels something is off with his fiancee, and confides to Jane his plans to surprise Lina with a party that’s more to her speed, strip-tease included. Jane confesses that she expressed some (obviously misguided) doubts about Danny to Lina, and Danny storms off.
As Lina admits to Danny that she was the one with the doubts, not Jane, it changes scenes to Rafael as he goes to the Marbella to talk with Luisa about her hallucinations. There’s a tasteless bit (at the murder mystery party, the director of the event yells about “a lunatic on the loose” before cutting to Luisa, and god are these jokes about her mental illness tiring as hell!) but these two scenes showcases what Jane the Virgin does best: dramatic pacing and comedic line delivery. We jump from one scene to the other, each line falling on top of the other as the two dramas unfold without missing a beat.
We need to have at least one scene where Jane and Lina get drunk together on a bathroom floor each season, right? This time, with no breast-pumps in the equation, Jane confesses to Lina that she also had a million doubts before marrying Michael, and Lina comes to the realization that organized, responsible, nerdy Danny is “a male version of Jane”. Lina calls her friendship with Jane “the longest relationship she’s ever had”, and this seems to remind Jane of when, earlier in the episode, Adam suggested that maybe it’s not that she doesn’t like women, but that she never bothered to explore that attraction. When she finds herself trying to kiss Lina, Jane admits that her issue isn’t that Adam took too long to tell her about his sexuality, but the fact that he’s bisexual. After pecking Jane on the lips, Lina runs off to hook up with her fiance in a bathroom stall.
Once the party is over, Jane goes to Adam’s to apologize. She confesses to the real reason why she was freaking out. She says that she just has “questions, which are silly and stupid…” and of course, Adam offers to answer anything she needs him to. And this part isn’t that great. Because we know Jane is an investigator, y’know? Jane Gloriana Villanueva always does her homework, and the show has repeatedly shown her doing hours of online research on more than a couple random topics (it happened a lot back when Mateo was a baby). So how come she has to ask Adam himself if “being bisexual is a stop on his way to coming out as gay”? That’s exactly the kind of thing that the Internet is for!
Sure, the scene is cute and Adam reassures her that, while it’s true that dating Jane will be nothing like dating a guy, it’s also nothing like dating other women; and she has nothing to worry about because he’s fully committed to a monogamous relationship (which, again, she could have found out by Googling). It ends on a positive note, and Tyler Posey can really pull off earnest and patient, but the scene put all the emotional labor on Adam, the bisexual character, instead of on the straight woman with the biphobic prejudices. Maybe it would be less annoying if Jane wasn’t exactly the type of person who would rather do her own research than ask the wrong questions; so the whole thing feels out of character.
But the writers obviously tried, and maybe this will be a turning point for a show that so far has only had non-straight characters as tokens without personality (Krishna the lesbian secretary and Luca the gay waiter), bad people (Wesley Masters, the gay writer who leaked the Solano story; and Manuel de la Vega, selfish husband who burdened his wife by being gay) and straight up villains (Luisa and Rose). Or maybe Adam will also be villainized and/or victimized for the sake of heterosexual characters, so we can’t help but be more than a little wary.
Talking about victimizing and villainizing non-straight characters, the episode ends with a resolution to the Luisa situation. Luisa asks Anezka to tell her if she can see the man sitting next to her, but — though we can clearly see Carl right there! — Anezka apparently can’t. Convinced that she’s having another breakdown, Luisa decides to get herself checked into a mental hospital, but not before thanking Rafael for being honest with her. As a gesture of gratitude, she hands him the papers giving back the hotel.
But it wouldn’t be a telenovela without a plot-twist, and it wouldn’t be Jane the Virgin if it didn’t constantly torture it’s mentally ill lesbian, right? Because, guess what? Turns out Luisa wasn’t hallucinating at all, and “Carl” was in cahoots with Anezka and Magda, in a ploy to gaslight Luisa and drive her into institutionalizing herself. With Luisa’s mental health in question, the papers she gave Rafael are null and the temporary control of the Marbella goes to the person she’d assigned before… Yes, you guessed right! Anezka.
Maybe the only positive in this whole situation is that now Luisa knows that Rafael genuinely cares for her, and that Rose can’t manipulate her into doing her bidding while Luisa’s institutionalized. And, with this bittersweet note, we have to wait until the next episode!
Editor: Trianna Nguyen