It only took four words from Jane the Virgin‘s narrator to remind me of just how delightful this show is, and how much I had missed it over the break.
But then, things got a little bit heavier.
For all of the twists and turns inherent in Jane the Virgin, there’s a routine structure to all of the episodes. We get a flashback to a young Jane who usually points us towards the theme of the episode through her actions, and this idea is then explored through scenes that, for the most part, are focused in and around the hotel. There’s a lot to process in each chapter of Jane the Virgin, and through consistent formatting, the show has made it easy for so much information to flow through its episodes. Jane the Virgin is both earnest and campy; it makes fun of itself while simultaneously extracting the most serious emotions from the wildest of plots. The narrator constantly makes fun of the characters in what feels like a nod from the writers as if to say yes, we’re really doing what you’re thinking right now, and yeah, it’s silly, but more than that, it’s ambitious silliness. This show has soap opera plot points, but the execution and characterization of the people that are pulling off these schemes and scenarios are flawless.
Jane the Virgin is spinning about ten different plates in the air, all of different sizes and speeds, but they’re all still there, suspended and spinning. The show has so much going on in every episode, and has asked so much of its leading characters, and tonight, we see Jane and Xiomara collapse under that weight a little.
The show itself is still as onto it as ever, but “Chapter Ten” hits the breaks a little bit, if only to show us how Jane and Xiomara are dealing with the hurtling changes that their lives have been going through. Alba is in hospital after Petra/Natalia’s mother pushed her down the stairs, unconscious but with promising vitals. Whiile her family wait for her to wake up, unsure of what injury may have occurred, we see their grief and the faith that they desperately reach for in order to stay strong through the turmoil.
But that’s not the only thing happening — of course — with “Chapter Ten” showing us Louisa deciding to make a break from her mental hospital after a visit from Rose; a storm taking place which forces Rafael to lockdown the hotel- with Jane inside, looking for Alba’s prayer beads- and Ivan finally making his escape from Petra and Magda after the weather breaks the hotel’s glass doors and gives him access to a weapon. There’s movement on the Sin Rostro front too, after the hidden underground room in the hotel that Nadine and Michael found is revealed to be a surgical room where criminals have been having surgery to alter their appearances and hide their identities.
But what’s really juicy is the deal that Xiomara makes with God if he can somehow get her mother to wake up, and Michael’s actions for and towards Jane. XO makes a bargain to remain chaste until she gets a ring on her finger, something that I suspect will be abandoned in an episode or two, knowing XO and Rogelio as well as we do now. Meanwhile, Rafael is running his hotel again and finds himself having to fire a good percentage of the staff- including one of Jane’s friends. Because of this, he’s distracted from Jane and the issues surrounding her grandmother. He certainly cares, but Jane’s family are not people that Rafael know well, or is really even that welcome with- which is where Michael comes in. Trapped in the hotel elevator with Jane, he finds out something that Rafael doesn’t: the hospital are going to deport Alba after the storm passes. Rogelio attempts to do something about it through his connections, but mostly just offers his comfort- and his concealer, bless him, to XO — with Michael making the call that saves Alba. He pretends that she’s an important witness that needs to remain in the US, something that XO catches onto and thanks him for, but that Jane doesn’t.
Jane’s love triangle isn’t over, and although Jane and Rafael have a child that connects them, Michael has a connection with Jane’s family and two years of history that Rafael doesn’t.
After nine episodes of madness, Jane finally reaches her breaking point in “Chapter Ten.” She can’t save Frankie’s job — and she doesn’t have the position to do so, either — but her connection to Michael does allow her to save her own grandmother, even though she doesn’t realize that she’s had anything to do with the hospital’s decision.
Jane’s faith, in the end, gets rewarded. Just not in the way that she thinks. When she was a child, she prayed that heritage day at her school would go well, and her mother heard her. In “Chapter Ten,” it’s Michael that hears her.
- “If you recall, we last left Michael and Nadine in a rather exciting position. Not that one, you perv.” It’s pretty hard for me not to just quote everything that the narrator says in these notes, guys.
- “Should we go through the crazy things you’ve done just in the last six months?” “Ooh! Yes! Let’s!”
- “For the record, Michael is really enjoying this.” And I really enjoyed watching Michael interact with Jane, rather than just passive aggressively antagonize Rafael.
- Rogelio has a swag bag. Which he really, as a rich celebrity, doesn’t need. Keep preaching the truth, Jane the Virgin.
- #ImmigrationReform displays perfectly the incredible combo that this show achieves every week. Serious matters underline every silly joke that Rogelio makes, and every soap opera twist that is deployed.
- Honestly, Rafael is so pretty that him being a bad guy would kind of make sense, you know?? But alas, it looks to be his father making the shady deals. In at least some capacity, anyway. Rose herself seems fairly suspicious too, though. And Magda, we can’t forget about Magda!
- And of course, of course(!), congratulations has to be given to Gina Rodriguez for her highly deserved Golden Globe win (The CW’s first as a network), and the announced renewal of Jane the Virgin for a second season.