Jane the Virgin, Season 1, Episode 11, “Chapter Eleven”
Monday, January 26, 2015, 9:00 PM (EST), CW
Jane the Virgin is a show that’s always bursting with story, but this week was particularly stuffed – romance, life decisions, yellow tulips, chastity vows, pirate dialogue, and baby updates being the main concerns. Despite how much ground was covered this week, it didn’t feel like an overwhelming episode at all. An increased amount of handholding via on screen text and flashbacks (not of the insulting variety) helped to keep it under control. What continues to astound me about Jane’s character is just how honest and forthright she is. Faced with the people she loves the most trying to dictate the next step in her career, she stays true to herself without causing unnecessary pain and strife. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Jane is an incredibly fascinating and refreshingly decent protagonist.
The opening flashback this week marks the first time we see teenage Jane. While working on her laptop, she overhears a fight between her mom and her grandmother. Conflict makes her so uncomfortable that she writes apology notes to her grandmother pretending to be her mom in order for them to forgive each other. It’s an incredibly heartwarming and unsurprising Jane thing to do. Now that she’s an adult, she has to bring her mother around on Rafael. Xiomara still has reservations about the way Rafael has treated her in the past but Jane has forgiven him and accepts that he’s changed. As a viewer, it’s hard to have any view other than Jane’s, but Xiomara hasn’t been privy to Jane and Rafael’s conversations the way the audience has. I felt impatient with Xiomara, futilely begging for her to just give the boy a chance.
Throughout the season, we’ve learned about Jane’s secret desire to be a romance writer but that she’s working hard to finish school and become a teacher in the meantime. On her last day as a student teacher, her students give her a present and she’s moved to tears. Due to their extremely positive evaluation of her, the headmistress nun offers her a permanent position filling in for another teacher going on maternity leave. The plan is for her to fill in until she goes on her own maternity leave. Later that day, Rogelio offers her a writing internship on his popular telenovela “The Passions of Santos.” Faced with this difficult life decision, she avoids conflict and chooses to take on both jobs, all the while keeping her waitress job at the hotel. She wants to find out from other writers if she has any talent, but the security and independence a teaching job could give her is also very attractive.
Jane’s attempt to bring Xiomara and Rafael closer together is to have a family dinner. She coaches Rafael ahead of time so he’ll be prepared for Xiomara and Alba’s tough line of questioning and to hopefully impress them enough to soften their opposition to him. To Jane’s surprise and dismay, all three have very strong opinions about what career move she should make next. Alba suggests she should take the teaching job for the stability. Xiomara wants her to go after her dream of being a writer. Rafael agrees, but when he adamantly offers to provide for Jane financially, Xiomara objects. She sees his role as only providing for the baby, while he sees taking care of his entire family, including Jane, as a given. Jane tries to stay out of it but it’s clear she’s taken aback by Rafael’s plan.
Xiomara is still considering Michael’s feelings after his admission to her last week that he still loves Jane and wants her back. When she admits this to Jane, her opposition becomes clearer, but it’s still Jane’s perspective that holds strongest. She is not the type to hurt someone for purely selfish reasons, but she’s willing to make the difficult choice and stick to it. She chose Rafael so she will do what she can to make sure Xiomara respects him on principle. It isn’t until she and Rafael both feel Jane’s baby kicking for the first time that she seems to reconcile herself to the fact that Rafael will be sticking around despite his differences from Jane and her doubts about him.
When it comes to Xiomara’s romantic prospects, she’s doing her best to keep the vow she made to God next to her mother’s sick bed that she’ll keep her legs closed until she’s married. Alba was actually conscious when Xiomara said this, so she takes pleasure in discovering that Rogelio will wait for her to complete her vow of chastity. Alba thinks this means he truly values her, and Xiomara reluctantly agrees. However, Xiomara and Rogelio’s chemistry is still too powerful. Despite her best efforts to look frumpy and “casual” and shovel garlic into her mouth, Rogelio is still attracted. They end up in bed but a hallucination of her mother in bed with them snaps her out of it and she kicks Rogelio out. It isn’t until later that she comes clean about her vow of chastity and he agrees to respect it.
Rogelio does a lot of the comedic heavy lifting in this episode. He got the best one-liners (guess which ones in the round-up are his), made out with a nun, fought a nun in Jane’s fantasy sequence, and dressed up like a pirate, and said “Argh” in the most unconvincing manner possible. On any other show, he’d be a one-dimensional punchline machine, but here, he’s a fully realized sympathetic character. His motivations are completely grounded in reality even if his personality lends itself to telenovelas and a delusional view of the world. I love that the show is trying its best to keep Xiomara away from him even though it’s abundantly clear that they’re right for each other, because they’re forced to develop these two characters separately. When they’re finally allowed to be together without drama (I know it’ll happen, even if it’s short-lived), their romantic reunion will feel earned and triumphant.
The Jane-Rafael-Michael love triangle has been mostly a duo with Michael as the loser-outsider-looking-in for the past few episodes, but this week he plants himself firmly back in Jane’s mind as a possibility. Jane ends up in the hospital after a minor accident caused by her exhaustion juggling three jobs and a pregnancy while Michael ends up in the same hospital after getting beat up by one of Sin Rostro’s henchmen. Jane seems sure of herself when she tells Michael that she sees herself with Rafael, but his equally confident reply that he’s in love with her will not go unnoticed. Michael and Nadine have existed on the periphery in their cop world separately from the rest of the action in the past few episodes, punctuating breakthroughs on the Sin Rostro case with hot make-out sessions. Nadine is by far the least developed regular character on the show, but her shocking phone call at the end of the episode positions her as a clear villain. When she peers through Michael’s hospital room window, she sees the longing on Michael’s face but is unable to hear Jane rebuff him. She then makes the terrible decision to rat Michael out to his boss, possibly jeopardizing his career due to her jealousy. It’s the one twist that weakened this episode, because it’s a choice to turn the only black woman on the show into a relatively undeveloped villain. I’m biased, but still.
At first, it looks like Jane may not be the best fit for Rogelio’s show. She offers a story solution when asked by head writer Dina. When she makes an unconventional choice, Dina compliments her and says she’ll put it in the script, inflating Jane’s ego. However, it was a false boost to her confidence because they went with a different storyline – a pirate instead of the beggar she suggested. Later when Jane asks Rogelio to truly test her, he gives her the task to write a scene for him. In the opinion of the narrator (whose opinion I wholeheartedly trust), it was a cute scene. Even though Rogelio says it isn’t right for him because pirates don’t talk like that and there’s no drama with people yelling at each other, she gets positive feedback from Dina. Jane decides to take the writing internship and pursue her dream. It’s inspiring because any writing work could be valuable experience for her, but it’s a far cry from her dream to write romance novels. Next week, her task is to kill off Rogelio on “The Passions of Santos” which should be hilarious and revealing.
- “At this rate, we’ll have to recap the recap.” The narrator is my second favorite character besides Jane.
- “As you all know, like Kanye West, I have recently acquired a daughter.”
- “Jane. I’m an actor. I’m trained to read emotions.”
- “Write me a scene. I don’t usually read unsolicited manuscripts, but since you’re my daughter, I’ll make an exception.”
- “Seems like a sign.” This is the only show that can get away with a line this cheesy and have it make a potent emotional impact.
- “Why are you so afraid to have your pelvis touch mine?”
- So much happened in this episode that i couldn’t go in depth about Petra’s troubles – Lachlan is back to manipulate her and she lets him because she sees him as her best chance at escaping Milos. Milos has this habit of leaving her yellow tulips and Lachlan uses this information against her.
- Also, it’s pretty clear that Rafael is not Sin Rostro but his father probably is. I’m still thinking there’s a chance Magda is.
- The baby kicking feeling like butterflies was so adorable I felt physically ill.
- The out-of-left-field cliffhanger this week is in the form of Dina “The Passions of Santos” head writer and Rogelio’s assistant are having an affair and that apparently spells doom for Rogelio.
What continues to astound me about Jane’s character is just how honest and forthright she is. Faced with the people she loves the most trying to dictate the next step in her career, she stays true to herself without causing unnecessary pain and strife.