AKA “Learn to turn off the baby monitor, Jane!”
As I continue to watch Jane the Virgin, I realize: as over-the-top as it is, at its core, the show is about healthy relationships and how even the healthiest of them can have issues.
Honestly? This episode was amusing, but didn’t do much for, well, anything.
We see three main plots: Jane trying to balance her life outside Mateo; Jane and Rafael attempting to navigate their weird relationship with regards to love and yet also custody of Mateo; Sin Rostro and her connections to last episode’s Heidi von Ocher, who turns out to be a Swiss yodeler. Or jodeler. The show was very insistent about jodeling.
It’s quirks like that that made the episode so amusing.
There’s stuff about Rogelio and Xo too, about how Rogelio’s ex-wife Luciana is blackmailing him with Scientology confessional videos. There’s a funny gag with Xiomara stealing an entire RV full of bunnies belonging to Luciana, but it’s mostly there to give a reprieve from the baby and love issues.
Luisa gets brought back to Miami, too, and interrogated by Michael and his new partner Susanna, who is super perky and annoys him. Until she asks Luisa what kinds of ties she was restrained with, and connects it to what must have been Sin Rostro’s former mentor, Mutter. It’s too bad she’s spying on Michael for the rest of the police force.
That’s really all there was to Heidi’s plot, too. Michael attempts to interrogate her, leading to a scene where Heidi’s milkmaids translate her angry Swedish ranting, and Luisa sleeps with her, but she’s mostly there to provide another small clue to finding Rose; after Luisa and Heidi sleep together, Rose emails Luisa.
But really? That’s all just extra.
This episode really made me realize how relationship-centered Jane the Virgin really is. Jane frets for part of the episode about the kiss with Rafael, wondering if she should tell Michael, but Petra beats her to it and shows him the photo she took.
So Jane apologizes to Michael. Sure, there’s macho posturing between him and Rafael over Mateo, but ultimately Michael reminds Rafael that Petra’s still in love with him. Jane’s having a hard time trusting Rafael, giving him a list of ways to take care of Mateo and considering bringing lawyers in for custody issues, but the two of them ultimately communicate almost as much as Michael and Jane do.
Rafael tells Petra she deserves someone great, but someone that isn’t him. She admits she’s terrified she made a mistake in taking his sperm sample since she won’t be with him.
Michael admits to himself that he wants the best for Jane, even if he thinks Rafael is wrong for her. He admits to Jane, too, that he let Nadine go even though she was one of Sin Rostro’s henchwomen. (It’s a bad idea, because the baby monitor for Mateo is still on. Luckily, the unit in the living room was not.)
Jane admits she can barely think of anything other than Mateo… and after apologizing to her best friend Lina for missing her birthday, parties it up, then drunkenly kisses Michael. And promptly realizes it’s him she’s in love with.
So she tells Xiomara that.
And realizes the damn baby monitor is still on. Rafael is asleep on the couch, having babysat Mateo.
But the end of the episode shows him opening his eyes: he’d heard it, turned off the baby monitor, and pretended to be asleep.
There’s a great scene, too, with Lina and Jane drunkenly taking pictures while Jane pumps out her booze-tainted milk and texts Rafael that things are fine. Out of all the shenanigans in the show, it’s actually really cute and realistic, and though I’ve never had to use a breast pump, it reminds me of drunken evenings with my own friends. It’s a wonderful relationship Lina and Jane have.
I’m not going to say Jane the Virgin is about perfect relationships; far from it. Michael likes to posture macho against Rafael; Rafael sets up an unfair expectation of either being with Jane or needing custody of Mateo; Jane procrastinates in telling people things they might want to know, to the point where she breaks down crying trying to tell Rafael she’s exhausted because all she can think about is motherhood and Mateo. They’re all flawed characters, and it makes for not just compelling television but for realism. More importantly, though, it gives viewers something to aspire to:
Sure, Rafael’s bad at it sometimes, like we saw last season when he breaks up with Jane. Michael, too, since he didn’t tell Jane about Nadine (though she figured it out because subtlety isn’t exactly in his repertoire). Jane, too, worries about things until it’s too late to fix it.
But they all try.
It’s something I really appreciate the show for. It’s not Arrow, where its brooding protagonist refuses to talk about things with the people he loves; it’s not Ugly Betty, where Henry and Betty struggled to admit their feelings; it’s not Carmilla, where Carmilla and Laura just talk over each other when they have issues.
The characters in Jane the Virgin aren’t exemplary humans. They lie, they manipulate, they have issues, be it Luisa or Rafael or Jane or Michael or Rogelio. But they try.