Wednesday, June 19, 2019

REVIEW: 'Jane the Virgin' - Jane, Rafael and Xo Make Big Decisions About Their Futures in 'Chapter Ninety-Four'

The CW's Jane the Virgin - Episode 5.13 "Chapter Ninety-Four"

With Jane and Rafael finally in a good place, they are concerned to discover Mateo's treatment might be a problem. Alba and Rogelio are worried about Xo's recent behavior. Petra is secretly pleased when Rafael and Jane begin fighting over her.

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 Ninety-Four" was written by Valentina L. Garza & Deidre Shaw and directed by Fernando Sariñana

This episode starts as a celebration. Jane and Rafael are finally back together. They quickly get engaged and begin actively planning their wedding. Elsewhere, Xo has found her new career path while Rogelio is honoring the last day of shooting for his telenovela pilot. All of these are big events that should be celebrated. Petra even gets full control of the Marbella back from Milos as well. That story is very lackluster but at least it wasn't dragged out for too long. It's nice to see Petra and Krishna getting along now. But more importantly, it's fascinating to see how the show depicts marriage and how it can fuel conflicts that those characters then have with other people that they love. At first, it seems like the old feud between Xo and Alba about a board game was trivial. Xo accused her mother of cheating and even flipped a table. But it then became clear that they were actually betting on that game to determine Xo's future. Her father was the one who actually cheated in order to prevent her from dancing on a Disney cruise. He wanted her to finish her education. Alba was willing to take the blame and animosity from her daughter because they already had a complicated relationship. She didn't want to do anything that could ruin the love Xo had for her father. But the truth does eventually come out when the two decide to bet on Xo's future once more. Xo is looking into going to nursing school. Everyone is so supportive and loving of this decision. And yet, she is absolutely terrified because she already thinks it's too difficult and too unlikely for her. She quickly believes that she can't actually do it. Alba cheats at the game in order to build up her daughter's self-confidence once more. But it's also a fascinating story about being willing to put in the hard work in order to make one's dreams a reality. That is perfectly exemplified throughout Rogelio's ridiculous story as well. Him having to live an entire week while wearing a tail may be the single most outrageous thing the show has ever asked him to do. And yet, Rogelio remains committed to it because he will do absolutely anything for this dream project to go to series. He is putting in the hard work to make it a success even though it may make people uncomfortable in the short term. He concludes the hour by really mastering the tail and how to incorporate it dramatically into life. However, it's just an absurd and delightful visual joke throughout the hour that also informs so many crucial plot beats as well. Whenever the tail just sneaks into the frame, it's such a deserving and rewarding moment. It allows the audience to easily laugh at the situation while never detracting from the genuine emotions happening at the center of the story. All of this also extends to Jane and Rafael's decision to get married right away at the courthouse. They see that as what they need to do in order to secure this relationship. They are still scorned from the damage done by Michael's return to their lives. Jane feels guilty about exploring her feelings after her husband came back from the dead. Meanwhile, Rafael doesn't know if he can trust her completely if she's not willing to make this kind of commitment. It shows that they aren't getting married for the right reasons. They are rushing things just in order to appease what they think others might need in this particular moment. It's not about their desires and their feelings for one another. They don't get married here though. Instead, they have a wonderful conversation that shows how they are continuing to work on these feelings of regret and guilt. They don't believe they will hurt each other again. And yet, Michael's return uprooted so much for them. They can't avoid it. They understand it's difficult. But it's also meaningful to see that the characters are continuing to evolve. Plus, it's sweet that the hour ends with an impromptu ceremony performed by Mateo that helps him see this as his parents officially being together forever after being promised that for so long.