Monday, January 19, 2015

REVIEW: 'Jane the Virgin' - A Hurricane Strikes Miami as Jane and Xo Fear for Alba's Health in 'Chapter Ten'

The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 1.10 "Chapter Ten"

As a hurricane rips through Miami, Jane is forced to stay at the Marbella, where the storm is the least of her concerns. When Rogelio hears about Alba's condition, he rushes to Xo's side at the hospital to comfort her. Rafael is reinstated as boss but is soon faced with a difficult decision regarding layoffs at the hotel. Michael helps Alba but does his best to keep it a secret.

Big things have happened since Jane the Virgin's last episode a month ago. First of all, The CW renewed the comedy for a second season. That's further proof that when networks give shows time to develop and grow they have a stronger chance of winning the trust of the audience. Seriously, who has the time anymore to commit to a show without some guarantee of it being worth it in the long term. Granted, Jane the Virgin is worth watching no matter how many episodes it produces simply because of its ability to juggle so many balls at the same time and have fun while doing it. Secondly, Gina Rodriguez won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy. That is the first big award won by a CW series in the history of the network. And Rodriguez deserves all of that recognition too. She is fantastic as Jane. Put these two things together and I'm hoping the show gets even more buzz and viewers in these 2015 episodes.

The show itself is still riding one heck of a wave of creative momentum. So far, the only lackluster thing they have done was the resolution to Jane's lawsuit against Luisa. I understand her motivations and it's likely the best possible answer the show could have given without changing the core premise. It was still a letdown. But one letdown in ten episodes? That's very impressive! The show went big in its midseason finale. And now, "Chapter Ten" has to pick up the emotional pieces - while also cleverly staging a flash hurricane that hits Miami.

Obviously, the most pressing matter is Alba's health after getting pushed down the stairs by Magda. This brush with death reignites the core family dynamics that have been so amazing all season long. Jane needs to pray for her grandmother's safe recovery. But the only way she can do that is by using Alba's rosary - which was accidentally left behind at the hotel. So, Jane gets stuck away from the hospital during the storm and Xo is in way over her head with figuring out how to support her mother and all the hospital problems that come up. Plus, the show hasn't forgotten about Alba's illegal status in this country. It was that threat of deportation that made Jane drop the lawsuit. And now, it's introduced again with actual weight to it. Alba is unconscious and the doctors are already informing the family that she will be extradited back to Venezuela after the storm passes. That is devastating. Xo freaks out and can't even believe stuff like this can happen. #ImmigrationReform.

But the family does have support - in both Rogelio and Michael. Rogelio is there to comfort Xo and be her support system while her mother's fate is up in the air. The stuff with the swag bag was hilarious but also crucial to their scenes. And then, Michael is there for Jane in a way that Rafael just isn't comfortable or intimate enough yet. Michael and Jane were together for two years. They had an incredibly close and emotional bond. She told him so many things about her past and her dreams and he respected and listened to all of them while still caring for her. Right now though, she's with Rafael and sees Michael as trying to undermine their relationship. When they get trapped in that elevator, she's upset because he's the last person she wants to be stuck with. And yet, he's the only person who could comfort her in this moment. He's been so focused on the Sin Rostro investigation lately. However, he is still able to take a minute and be there for the person for whom he has deep feelings. Rafael couldn't do anything to help Jane and he doesn't have that connection with Jane's family yet. Michael does. So it's easier for her to rely on him. He can keep Alba in the country. But he doesn't want to be seen as that shining knight quite yet. He still carries that torch for Jane but he's fine with letting her have some space as her life gets more and more hectic.

Meanwhile, Rafael is busy dealing with the storm's impact on his hotel as he has just regained ownership of it. That responsibility also comes with the difficult task of figuring out who should be fired as layoffs have to happen throughout the staff. Jane gets sucked into that story as well. Her friends want her to use that connection she has with Rafael to figure out if their jobs are safe. It's a task that Jane really isn't prepared to deal with - especially when her grandmother is in the hospital! And yet, she does so anyway. She learns that one of her friends will be let go and there's nothing she can really do about it. To Rafael, they are just employees. To Jane though, each one is a friend and has a life outside of the hotel which makes the decision even more unbearable to make. She knows she shouldn't learn who is on the list. And yet, she does anyway because it's just too good an opportunity to give up. But knowledge is a curse in this instance. She has job security. She's dating the boss and has a rich father. The rest of her friends don't know what they'll do if they lose this job. That is devastating to Jane. But she too is at a loss of what to do.

Jane also learns about Sin Rostro and Michael's investigation at the hotel in "Chapter Ten." It baffles me that this is the first time that Jane has heard about the criminal enterprises going on here. And yet, it makes sense. Michael has a job to do and isn't just letting his personal feelings drive his actions against Rafael. And yet, he did show an eagerness to tell the truth about what he discovered to Jane when given the opportunity. The reveal of Sin Rostro is looming over the show and we are definitely heading to a reveal soon. Progress is being made with Michael's investigation. The secret room he and Nadine discovered holds a surgery ward where criminals can change their faces. Gotta love the symmetry of Sin Rostro aka The Man Without a Face running a business of helping criminals change their appearances. It's a promising new lead but one that is also paired with an ominous threat by everyone's favorite voice-over guy. The episode ends with the proclamation that Michael loved Jane until his last breathe. That would be a major upheaval for the show to kill off one of the people in the main love triangle. And yet, it's something just crazy enough to work for Jane the Virgin.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Chapter Ten" was written by Meredith Averill & Christopher Oscar Peña and directed by Elodie Keene.
  • Xo finds prayer again at her mother's bedside. When she promises to close her legs until she gets a ring, Alba wakes up. Of course! That should make for an interesting new road block in her relationship with Rogelio.
  • Rose also fears that her husband may have a connection to Sin Rostro. But she has to visit Luisa in the mental institution in order to get the information - which unknowing to her may lead to Luisa escaping!
  • Rafael is now refusing to give Petra any money because she signed the prenup as her alias and not as her real identity.
  • Also, the man whom Petra and Magda were holding hostage escapes during the storm and Petra is unable to get to Magda's gun quick enough to stop him. That could be very dangerous to them real quick.
  • What are the odds that the hurricane would only last through one day though?
  • So many great onscreen graphics. My favorites were listing all of the things that Petra has done, #ImmigrationReform and the "Pun. Intended." joke after Rose had sex with Luisa.