Wednesday, April 24, 2019

REVIEW: 'Jane the Virgin' - Jane Doesn't Feel Like Celebrating for Her 30th Birthday in 'Chapter Eighty-Six'

The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 5.05 "Chapter Eighty-Six"

With everything that has been going on, Jane reluctantly agrees to let Rogelio throw her a big 30th birthday party. Jane's mentor gives her some important advice that may help her start writing again. Petra thinks she and JR are finally in a good place, until she realizes that JR might see things differently. 

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 next episode of The CW's Jane the Virgin.

"Chapter Eighty-Six" was written by Joni Lefkowitz & Madeline Hendricks and directed by Gina Lamar

This is a dramatic and uncertain time in Jane's life. She doesn't feel like celebrating even though it's her 30th birthday and she previously agreed to a big party thrown by Rogelio. She is worried about the damage that has been done to her life whenever she has begun to explore her complicated feelings at the moment. She was prepared to marry Rafael. She still loves him. He feels the same way. And yet, he has forced her out of his life. He can't go through the love triangle of her choosing between him and Michael again. It's even more painful now because of how deep the feelings have actually developed. Jane and Rafael are an actual family with Mateo now. Mateo rejects Jane just as much as Rafael does. That's absolutely devastating. She can't rely on her "Mr. Sweet Face" as much as she has in the past. He sees her as the one breaking up their family. He too is terrified of what Michael being around means to their family. Michael is still coming around and interacting with Jane because they have to face a dispute with the life insurance company that believes they were scammed by this whole situation. That's another burden that Jane has to carry here. It means she doesn't know how to put into words anything that is happening. During her first attempt, it feels like she is suffocating. All of these emotions are pouring out of her but she doesn't know how to grapple with any of them and put them into coherent thoughts. Her mentor, Marlene, tells her she should take notes as an observer of the entire situation to ensure that all of the memories stay with her for when she is eventually ready to write again. Jane had such a breakthrough with her writing before Michael returned to her life. She has been stuck since his return. It's so freeing and passionate that the creative side of her starts working again. It just comes with the realization that even as an impartial observer she still clearly has feelings that are pointing her in a specific direction. She understands that she has major feelings for Michael. She is trying to understand them without feeling guilty over what it's doing to Rafael and Mateo. It's overwhelming. She lashes out at Rafael for failing to be a respectful co-parent with her. She runs away from her own birthday party without ever going inside. She even breaks down in front of Mateo. These are all explosive moments because they show how she is trying to put her best foot forward but it being so much more difficult than she can truly process. Mateo wants to be mad because it's a difficult situation. But he is just concerned about his parents. He doesn't want to see them angry or upset. At times, they can shield him from the pain of the world. And yet, sometimes they yell and cry. They run away recklessly too just like he did. That's such a scary moment. One where Jane freaks out as a parent. Nothing happens. But there is the fear lurking over the entire proceedings that every action taken could lead to newfound tragedy. This time it's Rafael's turn to run away. He just chooses to do so in a different way than Jane or Mateo. That's just as devastating because he consistently feels like he is pushed away in favor of something else despite how open and loving he has always been with his family. This entire situation is difficult and unfair. But it's the current reality they all have to deal with. Michael and Rafael both have birthday gifts for Jane that show their love for her. Michael delivers his but Rafael doesn't. That too is very telling. And yet, the love triangle isn't the only dramatic thing happening either. Rogelio also struggles as a co-parent while Petra learns that she can't just blindly ask J.R. to trust her after everything that has happened. Life and relationships are constantly difficult. They are worth it in the end because it's a joyous celebration. The show is just really enjoying the drama at the moment while never losing sight of the amusing interactions amongst the characters.