Posted in TV

“Jane” Falls Flat Again

So, this episode of Jane the Virgin wasn’t just disappointing, it was infuriating. Most of the season so far has been hot and cold, but this episode was a new low. The A plot is Jane’s struggling with Jorge’s new presence in the family home, while the B plot is Xiomara losing it over River Fields’ new infatuation with Rogelio. Both were poorly conceived and were only watchable because of how talented the show’s actors are.

Jorge

Jorge is probably the worst part of the episode. Pretty much everything he does is the wrong thing. He acts essentially like he’s a guest in the house, and expects everyone to alter their lives for his convenience. Turning up the TV when Mateo is having a temper tantrum, acting as though he’s okay with Jane’s reasonable requests and then complaining to Alba about it? That’s teenage behavior, not that of a grown adult man able to communicate effectively. He knew going into the situation that Jane lived at home, and regardless of how he felt about that, he should have understood that this would mean she would probably, you know, have stuff there. He is somewhat considerate of Alba, asking Jane to take the farther parking spot, but overall he’s self-serving and kind of an asshole about the whole thing. It’s almost like he wanted to annoy Jane into moving out.

Alba

Alba enabling the situation is almost as bad- when Jorge comes to her upset, she immediately yells at Jane, despite him not telling her what it’s about. She immediately blames Jane, and then tells Jane that her marriage is none of her business and that Jane never minded when Alba was taking care of her and Xiomara. The thing is, this argument doesn’t ring true. First of all, Alba never keeps her opinions about other people’s relationships to herself. If Jane were to see something troubling in any relationship, I think she would speak up. She’s a busybody, and she cares about people. Secondly, Jane and Xiomara also contributed to the household. While Alba worked, so did Jane and Xo, and Jane took on a lot of family responsibility from a young age. They all had a symbiotic relationship. Alba being sexist and saying that Jorge deserves consideration because he’s “The man of the house” is so awful, and frankly unworthy of her. I expected more from Alba, since she’s grown so much.

I really wanted to see Jane talking to her mother about this- is it something that existed in Alba and Mateo senior’s relationship? Ordinarily, in a problem like this, we would see Jane consult Xiomara and get advice. I missed that. Jane moving out is a good call, and honestly I could see her being Petra’s roommate. They’re stronger together than separately, and while their parenting styles might clash, I think they could learn a lot from each other.

River

This came totally out of left field for me, if you’ll forgive the pun. Honestly, it seems like they’re playing River deluded and unhinged, as opposed to her previous moderate level of crazy. Rogelio has really grown as a person, and I can see why she’d fall in love with him, but we got zero warning about this. The twists on this show only work it the groundwork is laid, and the job wasn’t done right here. I guess we’ll see where it goes, but it doesn’t look promising.

Xiomara & Rogelio

The idea that Xo and Rogelio wouldn’t trust each other absolutely after all they’ve been through is a little far-fetched. The idea of getting back to normal is great, but I’m not really interested in Xo being insecure, it doesn’t suit her anymore. She’s grown so much, seeing her regress this way is kind of painful. However, Rogelio being honest with Xiomara, but realistic about his job, is a breath of fresh air. He can’t avoid River, but he can defer to his wife’s feelings as much as possible.

Overall, the actors pulled off the episode, but it wasn’t a good time to watch. I was hoping this week I would be back to enjoying the show, and not just watching it out of commitment. It seems I was wrong.

Small Things

  • Will Rafael help Jane find a place? This could help them spend a little time together.
  • Krishna coming back to work for Petra is ringing bells in my head- I feel like they’re going to get together.
  • What’s going on with Luisa? I never want more of her, but after last week I do.

 

 

Posted in TV

“Jane” Gets Back on Track

I’ve been putting off catching up on the last three episodes of JtV. Honestly, Jane has been backsliding into self-destructive behavior, and having watched her grow so much these last few years, it was disappointing and uncomfortable to watch.

Rafa-Ew

Rafael was also giving me reasons to be annoyed with him, because of the way he’s been treating Jane. I get him being frustrated, and even angry, but given his relationship with Petra, I think his feelings toward her are a little over the top. He’s forgiven Petra for cheating on him, stealing from him, lying to him, blackmailing him, spying on him, and impregnating herself with his sperm without his consent. I get that the love triangle is a sore spot for him, but I think he’s being overly harsh, especially considering how much he has grown over the last few seasons. Rafael has developed into a supportive, empathetic, principled person, and his actions in the last couple of episodes haven’t felt honest to his character.

Petr-Oh No!

Petra trying to get J.R. a job close by is a sweet gesture- if she’d asked about it beforehand. So is her purchase of a gorgeous engagement ring approximately the size of Miami. But a big pitfall of Petra’s relationships has been her inability to communicate, and that’s what has happened here. J.R. realizes, with some distance, that she’s not going to be able to move forward with Petra, while Petra is planning to propose. It did feel a bit rushed, them breaking up, but it’s also been a long time coming. Obviously, they were one of the better couples on the show, both in terms of hotness and dynamic, and we’ll be sad to see Rosario Dawson go. This breakup feels very final, so I’m pretty sure that’s a series wrap on J.R. and Petra.

Luis-Ugghhh

So, as usual, Luisa is the worst, but I have some faith in her this time. I think she might try to work with the police to figure out what’s going on, and thus is pretending to work with Rose. Uncovering whatever it is that Rose is planning is the only way to put the Sin Rostro plot to rest, and it centers Luisa firmly in the center of the story, which is where she started. Luisa desperately wants to prove to her brother that she’s clean and trustworthy, and bringing Rose down would be the only way back into his heart at this point. It wouldn’t surprise me if she did just decide to go back to Rose, though, just because she’s been written so inconsistently. Sometime she’s smart, sometimes she’s easily tricked, it makes little sense. It would make sense if she were vulnerable when she’s off the wagon, but she’s made some of her worst decisions while completely sober. So, I have some hope, but it’s not exactly a lock.

Back on the Jane Train

I really liked episode ninety-one, which was a change from most of the season so far. It’s been pretty weak overall, but I think we might be getting back to our favorite things about Jane now. Jane and Rafael are working together again as co-parents to tackle the new challenge posed by Mateo’s ADHD diagnosis. Rogelio has acknowledged his growth and change as a person and promised to do good by the long-suffering Dina. Jane and Petra are close and providing support for each other in their times of need. Some of the best elements of the show are firmly in place to make the last nine episodes good, the team just needs to deliver. There are a lot of plot-threads to tie up, and this is just a short list:

  • What is Rose up to, and how does it involve Rafael? Why did she really fake Michael’s death?
  • Will Petra retain control of the Marbella? Who even really owns the hotel at this point? Milos? What will happen to him?
  • How will Raf and Jane find their way back together?
  • Is Luisa betraying her family again? What is she gonna do with all that sweet drug money?
  • Will Xiomara beat cancer?
  • Will Jane get her book published?
  • Will Rogelio’s telenovella take off in America?
  • Who is running the Marbella gift shop while Jorge and Alba are on their honeymoon?
  • Will Alba ever reconnect with her family in Venezuela?
  • And finally, who is the narrator?

My biggest concern is how they are going to tie up the Sin Rostro plot, but I’m really worried about them messing up the whole Rafael/Jane reunion. It has been coming for literally years and the writers have already done such a mixed job of things, I’m concerned they won’t be able to pull it off. I hope they prove me wrong next week.

Posted in Books, TV

Don’t Read “Snow Falling” if you love “Jane the Virgin”

I initially had no interest in Snow Falling, the novel based on Jane’s book, but it passed through my hands, and my curiosity was peaked. I thought it would give me new insight into Jane, maybe, and I’m always up for a little romance.

Big. Mistake.

Other reviews on goodreads can give you a good idea of why this book is not worth reading, but here are just a few notable reasons you shouldn’t read it, if you actually enjoy watching Jane the Virgin.

It’s a straight-up adaptation- and a bad one

Snow Falling pretty much exactly mirrors the events of season one of JtV, with some deviations for period-accuracy. Obviously, artificial insemination was unheard of in the nineteen hundreds, so that couldn’t be in the book. But, aside from the names and some occupational changes, almost everything is the same. Josephine and Martin meet and are together for two years, then she becomes pregnant by someone else and their relationship is tested. Even the drug dealing stuff is part of the story, as Martin is investigating it, but it’s all less interesting than in the show, flatter and lacking depth. They do supposedly get their happily ever after, but the book honestly doesn’t hold a candle to the emotional weight of the show.

 

Michael isn’t interesting

While I’m more invested in Rafael as a character, Michael is undoubtedly a lovable and interesting part of JtV. This is due in part to Brett Dyer, who is fantastic, and his performance is a huge part of the reason Michael is so beloved by fans. However, little of TV Michael’s charm and charisma carries over to the book. His love for Josephine and his desire to protect her are huge parts of his character, which is important, but he’s given little meaningful characterization otherwise. Michael in the show is so engaging, it’s a pity he’s so watered down in the novel that is supposed to eulogize him.

Main characters are barely there

If it was going to be a straight adaptation of the story, it would make sense for Josephine to have the most important people in her life be her mother and grandmother. But they barely make an appearance and aren’t all that well served when they do. Petra, one of the most compelling characters on the show, barely makes an appearance at all. Louisa is a mostly benign, if flat character, and Rake is honestly kind of a joke. His desire to have a family, and to be successful, are all we really get from him. He want Josephine because she can give him a child, and because she’s beautiful, but otherwise his love for her seems pretty superficial.

The Narrator is superfluous

We are all familiar with the Narrator, whose identity is still a secret. What I really wasn’t expecting was for him to appear in the book. The Narrator makes sense for the show, and has provided a great frame for the viewer, but in the book is just kind of annoying and out of place.

No appeal to non-fans

As a fan of JtV, reading the book was disappointing. Any other reader probably would have been twice as peeved, because they wouldn’t even have the anticipation for the things a fan would know are supposed to happen. Having sampled romance before, I can say that this is pretty bad writing, even within a genre not known for subtlety. It’s a pity that it was so poorly done, it could have found fans in the romance community who would also like the show.

Shoehorned characters/plot lines

Important parts of the show, like the identity of Jane’s father, and his relationship with her mother, don’t really feel like they belong in the book. Josephine’s dad is also a performer, and they develop a strong relationship, but it feels out of place and as though the book was more interested in reflecting the reality of the show than developing the plot. The book should have been a straight-up romance/drama with the investigation of Sin Sombra and Josephine’s love story, but it deviated in places. That weakens already fragile parts of the book- Rake barely gets any play in the book, only really appearing as an obstacle to Martin and Josephine and as a source of temptation.

It makes the show worse

My main issue with the book isn’t that it’s bad- I’d hoped it would be good, but I wasn’t counting on it. My problem with it is that it makes watching Jane worse. Knowing that the book she supposedly worked on for so long, and pored her heart into, is crappy, makes the whole second half of season three and part of season four feel dishonest. Whenever someone talks about how good Jane’s book is, and how much they love it, it makes my heart sink a little. I hope they don’t publish a tie-in for Jane’s next book, just because I don’t want to be disappointed again.

Posted in TV

We need to talk about that episode of “Jane”

jane the virgin petra solano GIFSo this week’s episode of Jane the Virgin was garbage, we’ll get that out of the way. There are a lot of reasons it was bloated and unnecessary, but it also made me think worse of Jane in a lot of ways. In general, it was a wasted episode in a short final season, and we deserve better. I’ve been watching the show since season one, and I haven’t been invested all of this time just to be handed a load of crap.

The premise

The whole idea of the episode is Michael and Jane getting back to basics, leaving Miami behind and seeing how they feel about each other without the context of their collective past. But here’s the thing: That’s BS. Jane’s whole life is that context- her son, her family, her community. She’s lived in Florida her whole life, she’s lived in her grandmother’s house the majority of her life. That’s not something she’d realistically want to give up. I get Jane wanting to run away from her problems, but the whole trip sat poorly with me. A relationship isn’t just about love, it’s also context. The idea that they would take time away and try to make it work without that context is ludicrous.

Rafael

No way would Jane go away on a trip with Michael with the way things are with Raf. He would assume that they had slept together, and that the trip was about them reconnecting and getting back together. Even though they are broken up, Jane knows that Rafael is having a hard time. Rafael is her best friend, and she shouldn’t and wouldn’t treat him this way. Her concern for his feelings just shows that she’s guilty about the way she’s been treating him.

Wasting Time

We are seven episodes in to a nineteen episode season, and they spent a whole episode on this weird Montana adventure. The central conflict of the bull and Charlie was contrived and uninteresting. The conflict with Michael’s boss added some suspense, but not much, and just put pressure on an already difficult situation. There is so much ongoing in the show, that this taking so long is unacceptable. Not to mention that we were deprived of Petra so that fans could see Jane diffuse the situation between Michael and an angry rancher.

jane the virgin eye roll GIF

We’ve seen so much character growth this season, especially from Alba, who has really opened up, become more sex-positive, and been honest about her feelings. We’ve been seeing Xo reconciling with her new identity, and Rogelio trying to be supportive, rather than the center of attention. Petra is in love, trying to navigate her new relationship, and Rose is up to something. I would have been happy to see any of that explored this episode, rather than all of this campy manufactured conflict.

Jane’s Choice

Jane has finally made the definitive choice between being with Michael or Rafael, and, as Rafael told her, she did it way too late. Rafael was pretty patient, all things considered, and it is a complicated situation, but Jane should have just signed the divorce papers and let it go. She was too indecisive, and while Michael was willing to deal with that, because Jane has always chosen him, Rafael was not. I feel confident they’ll still end up together, but I have a feeling that Jane is going to annoy me for the next couple of episodes. She’s never been good at respecting other people’s space, and I hope for her sake she is subtle about waiting for Rafael to come around.

season 2 jane villanueva GIF

So this week was disappointing, but hopefully, we’ll get something more satisfying next episode.