Tuesday, May 23, 2017

REVIEW: 'Jane the Virgin' - Jane Deals with Many Obstacles on Her Parents' Wedding Day in 'Chapter Sixty-Four'

The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 3.20 "Chapter Sixty-Four"

Jane struggles to find the right words for Rogelio and Xo's ceremony, when she learns about a mysterious letter that Michael wrote before their wedding. Rogelio and Xo are excited for their big day, but Rogelio gets some shocking news that could put things on hold. Once again Rafael is upset with Luisa and asks her to leave, but Luisa has a plan of her own. Petra is skeptical about Jane's feelings for Rafael which leads her to make a rash decision.

Three seasons in and I'm still constantly amazed by Jane the Virgin. This season was full of soaring highs and crushing lows. The show handled them all wonderfully. All of the characters grew so much this season. They are constantly evolving. The show is changing alongside them. Jane is no longer a virgin. She finally had sex with Michael and the show has had to change its title in every episode since. It was a nice reflection on how the goals in one's life are constantly changing. Jane was proud that she waited to have sex. She expected to have it only with Michael for the rest of her life. That didn't happen though. He died and it was so devastating. She's still grieving that massive loss. But Michael dying didn't derail the show and its unique tone. Now, Jane is a widow who has a more sex positive outlook on life. That's different while still being completely truthful to the character. That's the strongest quality of the show. These extraordinary things happen to these characters. And yet, they all react to them in a grounded way that makes sense given where they currently are in their lives. Their reactions may change over the years. But they are still inherently the people they have always been. That's just so amazing and comforting to watch.

Xo and Rogelio's wedding is the big focus of the finale. It's the marquee event like Jane giving birth to Mateo in the Season 1 finale and Jane marrying Michael in the Season 2 finale. Jane is at the center of this story as well. She's been asked to marry her parents. It's a job she gladly took on because she loves them so much and wants them to get married. And yet, the struggles that come from the job are fascinating too. They don't completely stem from memories of her own wedding to Michael. However, Michael does return in this episode via flashbacks. They serve as a reminder for how great their love really was. Jane takes inspiration from those emotions to give her parents a wonderful and distinct ceremony. And yet, Michael's death informs the event as well. Jane isn't the romantic she once was. She's gotten more realistic and jaded. She gives a speech about all the obstacles that have been in Rogelio and Xo's way over the years. But she mentions that it's commitment and love that keeps them together. They are fighting for each other because this is what they want no matter how hard the universe tries to keep them apart. That's special and so moving.

Of course, the universe does throw one last obstacle in Rogelio and Xo's way. Darci makes a surprising return and is seven months pregnant with Rogelio's baby. At least, she's not ready to give birth at the same time as the wedding. But children were the source of so many of Rogelio and Xo's problems. She was happy with Jane and being a grandma. Meanwhile, he wanted more children. He mellowed on the subject because of having Mateo in his life. That dynamic is so fun to watch. Rogelio can be very self-centered but he is still great with kids. He'll be an excellent father. This reveal just has the potential to ruin things all over again. The show has been down this path before. But now, it has new meaning. Rogelio and Xo are finally ready to commit to each other. The timing is finally right for the two of them. This reveal could ruin all of that. It doesn't though. They don't allow it. It doesn't play as Rogelio or Xo completely dropping something they were passionate about either. It's simply the two of them dealing with the reality of their situation and trusting that their love will help them conquer any problem that may happen. The wedding is different than how they planned. It's not an extravagant production because of a hurricane. But it's still wonderful and personal for everyone involved.

And then, there is the resurgence of the love triangle between Jane, Rafael and Petra. This too could have the feeling of the show just repeating its best stories once again. It doesn't because all of them are completely different now. They are one big, happily blended family. They care about each other. They want to know what the others think about the choices they have to make. Heading into this episode, Rafael and Petra were starting to have feelings for each other again. Meanwhile, Jane was warming up to Rafael again too. It's all much more complicated now because they have so much to lose. They are happy with what their family has become. It's the first time that has ever been true. The weekend brunches have really brought them closer together. A romantic relationship could ruin all of that. It took them all a long time to get over each other. They finally did. They each found some happiness as well. But these feelings are still creeping in again. They want to act on them because Rogelio and Xo seem like good role models for fighting for love no matter what the obstacles may be. But fear is still dictating their actions. They can be motivated to speak truthfully about their feelings. But complications still arise that keep them all from being completely honest. This doesn't seem like a good time for any of them to be worrying about romance.

In an episode that features Michael again and how much he loved Jane, it's hard to see her develop feelings for someone else. She spends the hour focusing on the wedding and the letter Michael wrote to her. It's so emotional and devastating whenever Michael pops up again. No other characters comes close to what Jane felt for him. Her fling with Fabian was a strong story too. Jane's life does continue on. And now, it'll feature a new choice between Rafael and her first love, Adam, who suddenly reappears in her life. It's the kind of twist that may allow Jane to believe in fantasy and fate all over again. Meanwhile, things end on more tense notes for Rafael and Petra. For Rafael, Luisa is pissed that he lied to her and got Rose arrested. So now, she's using Emilio's will to kick him out of the family business. Meanwhile, Anezka learns that Petra drugged her and orchestrated her break up with Scott. And now, she wants to exact revenge on her in a similar way. Anezka and Luisa come to these conclusions after talking things out together. That's a very strange character pairing that absolutely works and should make things very complicated and uncertain for the future. 

Some more thoughts:
  • "Chapter Sixty-Four" was written by Micah Schraft & Jennie Snyder Urman and directed by Melanie Mayron.
  • Not every scene Michael is in is designed as an emotional crying scene. And yet, that's the reaction to have knowing everything that has happened. The character history is so rich and nuanced. It's moving to see him rehearsing his vows with Alba and remember the night he first met Jane. 
  • Petra and Darci have a sit-down too in which they discuss how much they are annoyed by the Villanueva family. Again, it's a random character pairing that works. It also inspires Petra to chase after Rafael and fight for what she wants. 
  • It's a bit disappointing that the show couldn't get Justina Machado and Rita Moreno onscreen together. They are fantastic on Netflix's One Day at a Time. They both have a connection to Rogelio. And yet, Rogelio's mother is mysteriously absent during his wedding. 
  • Rose is in prison now. She was arrested for a crime she didn't commit. It was the real Eileen who actually killed Scott. I hope the show called that character Eileen just to have that "Come On Eileen" musical cue. Plus, Rose deserves to be in jail for a number of other crimes she's committed. But will she stay there for long? It seems doubtful.
  • It's fun to see Luisa in a position of power. She's devastated that her brother lied to her about his cancer returning. And now, she wants to take everything away from him. A poor Rafael could be very amusing to watch. He does take the bus in this episode and doesn't quite know how it works.
  • Of course, the most emotional moment of the finale cones when Alba is telling Xo how proud her father would be with the life she has. It's funny because she's yelling the entire conversation. But it's still moving as well.