Monday, January 26, 2015

REVIEW: 'Jane the Virgin' - Jane Makes Choices in Both Her Career and Her Romantic Life in 'Chapter Eleven'

The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 1.11 "Chapter Eleven"

The nuns surprise Jane by offering her a permanent teaching position, but things get complicated when Rogelio offers her a writing internship at his telenovela. Alba encourages Xo to keep the promise she made to God about Rogelio. Michael is convinced of Rafael's involvement with Sin Rostro and disobeys his boss' direct order to leave Rafael alone.

Jane's life has constantly been changing ever since she got accidentally artificially inseminated in the premiere. This baby is drastically altering her life - sometimes for the better and sometimes tragically. Most importantly, the baby has forced her to make firm decisions about two very important things in her life: her career and her romantic relationships. She has been dealing with both of those things throughout the first season so far. She has dated Michael for a couple of episodes. She has dated Rafael for a couple of episodes. She's gotten success as a writer. She's gotten success as a teacher. The core story of "Chapter Eleven" focuses on Jane having to make firm decisions because of the growing responsibility of the baby.

Most prominently on display is a big dilemma with her career. The nuns at her school have offered her a permanent position as a teacher once she returns from her maternity leave. Her students gave her the highest marks a student teacher has ever received at the school. Even though they don't remember much about the plays they've just seen, Jane has obviously made an impression on them. However, the offer comes just as Rogelio has secured a position for her as writer on his telenovela. She doesn't know much about writing for television but writing has always been a passion for her. So she at least deserves a chance to explore this opportunity to see if it's something she's even interested in pursuing. It's presented as this big choice for Jane and she has never been one for conflict. She has always been able to solve the fights between Xo and Alba by writing letters posing as her mother. She wants to try both of these opportunities in order to make an informed decision. Her family presents various reasons why she should take one over the other. She's gone to school for teaching which can provide a financial certainty. Working as a writer is risky but it's her dream. If she doesn't chase her dreams now, she never will. But is she even good at writing telenovelas? That's the big question that asks for an answer and then delivers one by hour's end.

Jane is all set to continue as a teacher until the head writer of the telenovela loves the script Jane wrote for Rogelio to read. It's that confirmation that excites her. She really does feel passionate about this job. So, she chooses to stick with it for now. Yes, it's unpredictable and scary. But she also believes in herself and her abilities again. She gets that approval from others but she is reminded that she needs to believe in herself above all else too.

It's the choice I was expecting Jane to make because the hour simply spent more time developing the sexy world that is the telenovela set. The story had its ups and downs. But she also believed she was getting those excited butterflies in her stomach while working there. That is a strong confirmation that this is the place for her to be right now. However, I always expected those "butterflies" to actually be the baby kicking for the first time. She's starting to show now and this baby is only going to have a greater impact moving forward. She needed to make this choice quickly to keep herself and her baby healthy.

For a moment, she lands in the hospital because she was trying to do it all. That's simply not a lifestyle that she could maintain over a long period of time. She was bound to crash - and she literally did just that too! Landing in the hospital forces Rafael and Xo to agree for the first time. They both need her to understand that she needs to be safe and careful for the baby's stake. It's the first time that Xo looks at Rafael and sees a decent guy who's just trying to do the best possible thing for Jane and his baby. She often sees him as a wealthy guy looking down on families just like her's. They come from two different worlds and she believes that he'll never understand Jane as well as Michael did.

And yet, Xo does start to come around on Rafael. But it also comes just as Michael's spiraling continues to get worse. He so desperately believes that Rafael is connected to the Sin Rostro investigation. He's now risking his job just to prove so. He claims that he's not doing all of this just because of Jane. But he obviously still cares very deeply about her. He just doesn't believe that Rafael is a decent guy. However, everyone else is starting to see Rafael as a man who cares about Jane and their baby. Xo was one of Michael's last advocates. And now, he's starting to lose her as well. But he could always rely on Jane being there to listen to him. He believes it's fate that they both land in the hospital on the same night. She's still listed as his emergency contact. But their little reunion only serves to kick him further down his spiral. He proclaims that he is still madly in love with her and not willing to move on with his life. But she has moved on. Her relationship with Rafael is only getting more and more real with each passing episode. She's telling him not to hold on anymore and that is devastating. But the true kicker is the fact that his partner, Nadine - who he's also sleeping with to get all that pent up sexual energy out - is just outside the room unable to hear but sees the immense love in his eyes. She knows that he can't be trusted with this investigation and reports him to their boss. How much lower can Michael go before something big happens? I don't know. But this tragic arc has been phenomenally plotted and is headed to big confrontation very soon.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Chapter Eleven" was written by Gracie Glassmeyer and directed by Joanna Kerns.
  • I love Petra a lot, but her story with Milos and Lachlan needs to cave into the rest of the narrative at some point, right?
  • Lachlan is also manipulating Petra just to get her to fall further into his embrace and support. She got upgraded to a penthouse suite with top-notch security, but he still felt the need to strike fear into her to get even more trust.
  • Xo seems committed to her vow of chastity for now. It's hilarious watching her try to break the news to Rogelio - from her casual outfit to her seeing her mother in bed with the two of them to Rogelio's line about her being afraid of their pelvises touching.
  • The head writer on the telenovela and Rogelio's assistant are having a secret affair and they have some nefarious plans for Rogelio's future. That's ominous.
  • Rafael is also busy trying to learn more about the secret tunnels in his hotel. He finds the man who constructed those bathrooms but that ultimately serves as a way for Michael to get his beating that puts him in the hospital. But still, who did the man call when Rafael left?
  • Also fueling my speculation that Jane was always going to chose the writing internship? The fact that the flashbacks focused on her writing as a way to deal with the fights within the family in her youth.
  • Alba sure is getting around fairly well for a woman who was just pushed down a flight of stairs and had swelling in the brain just a week ago.