Wednesday, March 27, 2019

REVIEW: 'Jane the Virgin' - Jane Is Stunned to Learn Everything That Has Happened in Michael's Life in 'Chapter Eighty-Two'

The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 5.01 "Chapter Eighty-Two"

Jane makes a shocking discovery and looks to Rafael for answers but is confused by his decision to put everything he and Jane have on hold. Petra is trying to secure a future with the hope of it being with JR, but her past might jeopardize everything.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season premiere of The CW's Jane the Virgin.

"Chapter Eighty-Two" was written by Jennie Snyder Urman and directed by Gina Rodriguez

The fifth and final season premiere of Jane the Virgin offers a unique inverse of the story from the very start of the series. In the very first episode, an insane plot development completely disrupts Jane's life. She is happy in a longterm relationship with Michael when a surprising face from her past reappears in Rafael, who is the father of her new baby. And now, Jane is happy and ready to get engaged to Rafael when she suddenly learns that Michael is still alive. That was the revelation at the end of the previous season. It was such a jaw-dropping moment. The show completely turns into the telenovela conventions here as well. Michael has amnesia. That's why he never returned to Jane's life. Rose faked his death and then tortured him until he lost all of his memories of his life with Jane. He was then dumped in Montana and completely started over as a new man named Jason. It's a wild and crazy story. Jane only knows about it now because Rose had this leverage she could use to manipulate Rafael. Luisa is very understanding of the decision her brother made as well. She is willing to confront Rose as the tragic figure from her own past. And yet, this premiere gains its power from focusing on how Jane is coping with all of this. She has endured so much over the course of the show. The various plots have broken her down before. Michael's death was such a sudden and devastating event. It completely shook up Jane's entire life. And now, his return does the exact same thing. She was ready to make a full commitment with Rafael. He is very understanding throughout all of this even though he's scared that he will lose her once more. She chose Michael over him so many times. He understands if she is willing to do so again. And yet, the Michael who has returned isn't the same person. As Jason, he talks slowly and has a completely different physicality. He is cold and distant to the rest of the family because he sees them as total strangers. He has no memories at all of the relationships they used to have. They don't come back no matter how much Jane talks about the meaningful moments they shared together. Instead, he is only responding to them as a strange outsider. They are no longer the sweet and romantic moments Jane and Michael shared. That is so difficult to watch. It all culminates in a wonderful sequence in which Jane finally loses it. It's a breathtaking sequence with no cuts whatsoever for seven minutes. It all presents as one big monologue from Jane as she tries to cope with every little detail this changes for her. She doesn't know how to understand or cope with any of this. She has had a process for dealing with every tragic and unexpected thing that has happened in her life. And now, this experience completely alienates her. Xo and Alba don't interrupt her during this big showcase moment. That is unusual for them. But the show is also calling attention to the fact that this is so demonstrably different than everything that has happened before. It shows just how much the show relies on the Narrator and the frequent cuts to all of its stories. And yet, Gina Rodriguez is able to carry that burden completely as Jane spirals out of control over how to feel about all of this. When she does get that support and clarity that she needs, it's still beautiful and meaningful to watch. She isn't the only person coping with this shocking revelation. There is even the suggestion that the chemistry still exists between her and Michael. Right now though, she is choosing to still be with Rafael. She doesn't want to delay moving in with him. She doesn't want to wait for things to settle down because she knows just how chaotic life can be. She has already had so much happen to her. She wants to protect the people she cares about. But all of this will only continue to put the future into question for everyone involved. Michael is staying around. His presence will continue to loom over every single action taken. This isn't a settled issue here. Jane makes her choice. That could change depending on Michael's memory. But it's also just as important to forge a new dynamic with Jason and be patient with everything he is going through. That too has to be special and unique.