Saturday, October 14, 2017

REVIEW: The CW's 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' and 'Jane the Virgin' (October 13)

Various reviews from The CW shows for October 13, 2017:

The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Episode 3.01 "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge"
The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 4.01 "Chapter Sixty-Five"

In 2017, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage of various shows, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on The CW on October 13, 2017. Enjoy!

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge"
Abandoned at the altar by Josh, Rebecca works to plot her revenge with the help of Paula, Heather and Valencia. It might be a bit tough to figure out, since he ran off the day of the wedding to become a priest. White Josh and Darryl have some problems to work on. Paula and Scott confront some unusual issues in their marriage. Written by Aline Brosh McKenna & Rachel Bloom and directed by Erin Ehrlich

The second season ended on such a turning point in the story of Rebecca Bunch in West Covina. She was left at the alter by her crush, Josh Chan, and vowed to take revenge. She had her girl squad standing firmly behind her ready to strike. That's what makes it so fascinating to see the third season open and no one knows where Rebecca is. It's a mystery that doesn't last for too long. Even the song about it eventually reveals what she's been doing. But it's also a great way to open the year because it shows the transformation that Rebecca wants to have at this moment in time. She wants to be the villain. She's watching Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct for inspiration. It's a stunning moment when she makes her grand return at work. She wants to be that devious persona. That's what makes it so much fun when she's still Rebecca and not the best at coming up with great strategies for the actual revenge. She becomes obsessed with sending Josh a cupcake made of her own poop or filming a sex tape with a Josh Chan lookalike who proclaims that he hates God. They are absolutely ridiculous and show that she has no concern for her well-being or reputation at all. She just wants to destroy Josh at all cost. Her squad is willing to put up with all of it because they know she'll come to her senses eventually. Of course, she doesn't. The sense needs to be knocked into her. But that rational side creates a really fun revenge scheme moving forward. Rebecca suing Josh for leaving her is an inspired take on the story that is so absolutely in keeping with everything that this show does well. Meanwhile, it's a little scary to see how Paula is dealing with Scott as she begs to be called "Tonya" in bed. But it's empowering to see her get her groove back in the end as well. And finally, the fight Darryl and White Josh get into is genuine. It highlights how their personalities got themselves into this situation but can also bring them the clarity they need right now to accept the need for change. It's really fascinating. This is such a strong premiere. Plus, "Let's Generalize About Men" is already a strong contender for song of the year. A-

Jane the Virgin - "Chapter Sixty-Five"
When Jane is reunited with her first love, Adam, she is shocked but happy to see him. However, Xo and Alba are less thrilled that he is back. After Rafael loses ownership of the hotel to his sister, he finds himself at Jane's house, broke and homeless. Jane and Rafael learn that Petra has been found and they rush to her aide, but Anezka is nowhere to be found. Xo and Rogelio's wedded bliss is interrupted when they confront the realization that Darci is having Rogelio's baby and she wants full custody. Written by Jennie Snyder Urman & Paul Sciarrotta and directed by Brad Silberling

Telenovelas run the risk of growing repetitive after awhile. That's the challenge Jane the Virgin runs into as well as it ages. The stories with Petra and Anezka pretending to be each other and Rose killing a guy for mysterious reasons are plot beats the show has done many times previously. The show being aware of that and commenting on it in the narration is fun but doesn't lessen these issues. And yet, this premiere does a nice job in breaking up the formula as well. There's no indication on whether or not the dual narrator structure will be a consistent feature of this season. It could grow tiring after awhile. But here, it is absolutely delightful to see the two narrators fighting for attention. It immediately makes it seem like Jane and Adam are on equal ground even though Adam has just been introduced. It's weird that after all of these years no one has once mentioned that Jane was once engaged to someone. However, it's a perfectly fine twist as well. This premiere conveys what their relationship was like when they were 19 and how it has changed now that they are 28. Of course, it's still wrapped up in Jane's uncertain but romantic feelings towards Rafael. She still needs to address those feelings before she can properly explore things with Adam. He's surprisingly understanding of that too. That makes him seem like a good guy. Though he still has some huge shoes to fill if he's meant to replace Michael in the foundation of the show. But the best scene of this episode comes when Jane returns home to have a talk with Rafael. She immediately believes it's sexual in nature. She put her feelings out there early on in the premiere. It's been awkward and they need to address things between them. It's not about that though. It's about their respective financial situations. At first, it's a great showcase for Gina Rodriguez's physical comedy skills. But then, it's absolutely heartbreaking and tense to watch their fight. They both feel like they are right about how they want Mateo to be raised. They both feel they deserve to be making the decisions. It's a moment that ensures all kinds of romantic feelings toward Rafael are done. It's an important scene to have to ensure that there is something to root for with Adam. But it's also just exciting to see what will happen to Jane and Rafael now that they are fighting and living together. They've tried to be civil and careful. But it's just led to more problems.  B+