Monday, October 12, 2015

REVIEW: 'Jane the Virgin' - Jane, Michael and Rafael Do Whatever it Takes to Get Mateo Back in 'Chapter Twenty-Three'

The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 2.01 "Chapter Twenty-Three"

After Jane discovers Mateo's abduction, chaos ensues, especially when they learn Sin Rostro is involved and demanding a ransom. Trying to help, Rogelio tweets about Mateo's kidnaping making the family targets of the paparazzi. Despite everything that has happened, Jane must also focus on motherhood and turns to Xo and Alba for help, leaving Rafael feeling left out. Petra is conflicted with what to do with Rafael's remaining sperm sample.

"Chapter Twenty-Three" has a lot of ground to cover story wise. It starts with Jane, Rafael and Michael frantically doing whatever it takes to get Mateo back from Rose and ends on Jane doing a celebratory dance when she starts leaking milk for the first time. Going from those two plots seems impossible. Jane the Virgin does it with ease - like it does with so many wonderful things. It deals with these big emotional stories in these grand, elaborate ways. It also makes sure to handle all of these things with the appropriate reaction and urgency that they deserve. Things are very complicated for Jane and the family right now. This first episode of the new season does deal with the big cliffhanger immediately but also finds a lot of value in the smaller worries of new parenthood for this fantastically distinct and lovable family.

Getting Mateo back from Sin Rostro is all about what Michael is willing to risk in order to be the good guy for Jane. He would do anything to make her happy - even if that gets in the way of his job. He complies with Rose's demands. He informs Rafael and Jane what they need to do. They don't even think about it. They just act. That's how strong their love is for Mateo. They would do anything for him. Sure, they will spiral afterwards over how they let this happen in the first place. But in the heat of the moment they will do absolutely anything to reunite with the one person they love the most in this world. Michael makes that happen. He gives away a crucial resource just in order to make his ex-girlfriend happy. That shows just how good and genuine a guy he really is. That could create several complications for him in the future. His boss is already suspicious about how his former partner knew about the tracker that was on her phone. But right now, he's happy because Jane is happy and with her son.

After that though, Jane is worried about needing to do the right thing for Mateo. She has a plan and she wants to stick to it as best as she can following this traumatic event. But things are only becoming more of a frenzy around her. She just wants to relax at home surrounded by her loving family. She doesn't want any other bad thing to happen to Mateo while he's home with her for the first time. She wants to make sure that he is happy and healthy. And yet, the world around Jane is having a reaction to her giving birth and the baby immediately being kidnapped. This story did draw attention last season for just how unique it was. Pair that with Rogelio's celebrity status and it's not so surprising that a crowd of paparazzi are outside her house just wanting some scope of this amazing story. It continues to be an awesome but ridiculous story. But right now, all Jane wants to do is enjoy her son and produce some milk for him to enjoy. That's her simple goal and she's not even able to do that. It's disheartening for her. She just wants to be a good mom after her maternal instincts failed to kick in with the nurse in disguise who took him from her.

It's a major victory for Jane when she finally starts leaking milk from her breasts. It comes at a particularly exciting time as she calls out the nuns for benefiting from her story. It's an exciting moment for her and her dancing to celebrate is infectious for the audience. When Jane laughs, the audience laughs. And when she cries, the audience cries. It's still amazing just how effortlessly the show is able to go from those big laughs to tears to laughing again. That was abundantly clear in the middle of the episode as Michael had to tell Rogelio to get off Twitter for a little bit followed by Jane, Xo and Alba bonding over needing to do the best thing for Mateo followed by the hilarious sequence of needing to feed him every 30 minutes. It's fantastic to watch. It's a tone that this show has mastered and it's so great to see it in action once more.

Mateo is the main focus of this premiere - as he should be. Everyone's lives have changed because of him. The family is together to celebrate this miracle. Both Michael and Rafael are there as well just trying to figure out their proper place in this family dynamic. Rafael is Mateo's father but he doesn't want to step in on the wonderful dynamic of the Villanueva women. He doesn't want to do or say the wrong thing that would take him out of his son's life. He wants to be there with him during these important first days. Jane wants that as well - even though her feelings for him are still so complicated at the moment. Michael continues to prove himself as a really good guy though by giving Rafael the advice he needs in order to impress Jane, Xo and Alba. He also makes sure that the people outside the house are dealt with as quickly and easily as possible. This moment is suppose to be about the family not the spectacle of the situation. Jane is grateful that he was able to do that for her. In fact, she loves everything that he does for her. Right now, Mateo is the only important man in her life. But things are definitely starting to heat up with the love triangle again.

And then, there is Petra who is seemingly off on her own show but is just as important as everyone else. She is faced with the major decision of what to do with Rafael's other sperm sample that was just recently found by the clinic. She wants Rafael back more than anything else in the world. Her love for him outweighs all the potential consequences that come from having a baby. But she's still not sure what she wants to do. She is protective of the sample at all costs. She needs it close in order to make this decision. She needs to protect it no matter which outcome she ultimately decides to take. She is reminded of how happy the two of them were the first time she was pregnant. That was a simpler time. It was before their lives completely fell apart. She desperately wants to get back to that point. So, it's no surprise that she ultimately inserts the sample in the hopes of creating a baby. It's Petra being Petra in the most delightful way. Even the narrator is slightly confused when he starts cheering her on. She's just as complex and entertaining a character as everyone else. The world is constantly changing on this show. But she remains such a crucial part of it.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Chapter Twenty-Three" was written by Jennie Snyder Urman and directed by Brad Silberling.
  • Rafael standing over the canister that holds his sperm and the arrow that makes sure the audience knows that fact is one of the best visuals this show has ever done.
  • Rogelio continuing to refer to Mateo as Matelio remains just as delightful as before. It's also hilarious that he doesn't like being called a grandfather. He still sees himself as the sexy leading man type.
  • Xo shares the news to Jane and Alba that she and Rogelio drunkenly got married during their trip to Las Vegas. Their response was pure laughter. This is just what normal is when it comes to this family now. They've come to accept that and laugh at it.
  • The various mothers telling their daughters that they don't need to be strong all the time was such a beautiful message for the story of this premiere. It definitely brought a tear to my eye every time it came up.
  • For some reason, Rogelio's former stepdaughters pop up for a second to tell Jane that her story has three trending topics on Twitter and then they disappear. That was slightly strange.
  • Love that the narrator catches the mistake of calling Luisa kind of a trainwreck. She totally is a trainwreck.
  • Who is the mystery woman in the end who sees the story about Jane and wants to take action because of it? It's teasing a new story arc for the season that could be just as juicy and entertaining as the Sin Rostro one.