People can get past most things. If, that is, they know what they’re facing. So many dramatic television shows fuel their stories on the basis that their characters are liars (at least to some degree) and have secrets to keep.
And sometimes, Jane the Virgin is no different to these shows. Jane isn’t afraid of embracing its melodramatic, telenova roots and the storylines that come along with this, but it also has someone un-apologetically honest leading its cast. If there’s drama in Jane (and boy, is there drama) it’s lightened and given validity every week by the honesty policy that Jane implements in her life.
Everyone has secrets; Jane (Gina Rodriguez) just wants to know the important ones from the people that she loves. Jane is an incredible, upstanding person who is charming and warm with high moral standards. So it’s hard for her when the people around her don’t live up to these. And they really, really aren’t living up to them this week, with Michael (Brett Dier) lying about both his knowledge of Petra’s affair and his brother’s penchant for trouble, while Jane spends most of the episode brooding (validly) over her mother’s decision to keep her father’s identity a secret from her. A man that, she realizes, she seems to share nothing in common with besides blood.
Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) explains her decision by telling Jane that she doesn’t know about the fear that she as a mother felt in disclosing this information, because Jane doesn’t know what it’s like to have a child. Not yet, anyway, but by the end of the episode she decides that she will, with her and Michael facing Rafael (Justin Baldoni) to tell him that they want to be a part of the baby’s life. Jane isn’t a story about the nuclear family, and I think it would be fitting to have a family raising this child rather than two parents, because of it.
But, I suppose, we have to see what state Rafael, Jane and Michael are all in by the time this baby is born. Because after Jane finds out that Michael knew about Petra’s cheating, him keeping it from her so as to keep up the facade of Rafael and Petra’s happy marriage, Jane is furious. All she wants from Michael and her family is honesty, and they keep letting her down.
In fact, the only one who gives her any honesty this episode is Rafael. He finally visits her and admits the state of his marriage, telling Jane that he’s getting a divorce. He still wants the baby, but he wants it on his own terms. Unfortunately, their honesty doesn’t end well for either of them, though. Jane is left reeling over the secrets that so many (both wittingly and unwittingly) have shared with her, while Petra (Yael Grobglas) takes on the ultimate lie at the end of the episode, one that dragged down my opinion of the episode and the future trajectory of the show with it. To get out of her prenup, her mother hits her, with Petra then telling the police that it was the result of her husband’s domestic abuse. It’s a nasty way to end the episode, and faking domestic violence is a fairly heinous crime when already, so many women suffer proving the validity of their own abuse and rape claims.
But I get it, I do. Jane the Virgin is a show with deep roots in soap opera, and I trust them to carry through this storyline to better places, one where hopefully Petra can be redeemed for this, and her mother punished.
But for now, all it did was leave a bitter taste in the mouth for a show that is usually so joyously sweet to chow down on.
- Michael and Jane are adorably sweet, and it’s so easy to root for them — and him — because of how honestly they portrayed his rejection to Jane’s pregnancy in the first few episodes. He didn’t want to raise this baby, but you can see why he changed his mind, and it makes his character so much more legitimate because of how we previously saw him behave. With Michael, we know his motives. Well, most of them. Also, he’s a pretty good crier and I WANT THESE KIDS TO WORK IT OUT, GODDAMMIT.
- But then again… Rafael. And the repeated footage that they played of him going down on Jane in his dream. Damn. Hot damn, Raf.
- Jane’s father, played by Mexican telenovela actor Jaime Camil, is hilarious and sweet. But mostly hilarious. Every week, he makes me laugh like I’m watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine. And he made an excellent grand entrance. You can see how hard he’s trying, something that forces Jane to think about her own child that she decides she doesn’t want to miss out on.
- Jane: “You’re disgusting, Tom.” Narrator: “Hence his nickname: Disgusting Tom.” Bye, bye Disgusting Tom. You almost will be missed because of that voiceover joke about your name.
- “Oh my god, that’s a clue, right?” “Easy, Veronica Mars.” Good timing for that joke with Michael’s brother being an ex-Veronica Mars guest star. I see what you did there, Jane.
- “I kept telling myself going in, ‘no expectations, no expectations’…” “It’s impossible not to have expectations.” And unfortunately, mine were let down a little this week. But there was still so much to love, as there always seems to be with this show.