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

Unpopular Opinion: Michael Sucks Now

So, we are four episodes into the fifth and final season of Jane the Virgin, and I have to say, Michael is making me so mad. Of course, he did turn out to have amnesia, which was what we predicted, and that wasn’t his fault. But, he is being an ass now that his memory is intact.

Allow me to explain: Jane is in a stable, loving relationship with the father of her son. He has recently taken a job to support them so that they can live together and she can write her novel. They are co-parenting their child effectively and maintaining a close familial connection with both Jane’s family and their extended family of Petra and the twins. Frankly, things are good. Jane has a good life, one that makes her happy. There is a future that she is excited about. She took three years to mourn her husband, and now she has her life back.

Then, Michael returns. First of all, he was kind of a dick when he was Jason, and now he’s back to himself, and still being awful. He’s being so selfish, trying to get Jane to be with him again when she has her life together and is happy. If he loves Jane, he shouldn’t be trying to disrupt her life. He knows Jane really well, and what does she want? Stability. Jane loves lists, and order, and Michael deciding to try to win her back brings her world crashing down in a big way. When he was going to leave without seeing her, he was doing the right thing, the selfless thing. He was going to allow Jane to make peace with their past and move on with the rest of her life. Then, he saw her and they had to talk it out. That’s fine- but he still should have left. It would be one thing if Jane and Raphael were just dating, or had feelings for each other- but they just moved in together! Raphael was about to propose to Jane, and she was going to say yes. They are committed to each other, and in a healthy way. Their relationship is good, and trying to break that up because he still loves her is peak selfish of Michael to do.

Jane is obviously not blameless in all of this- her conflict is understandable but still hard on everyone involved. What she needs is a therapist, and some patience. It is understandable that Rafael needs to take a step back, but heartbreaking. He has to protect himself, for his own emotional health. Asking Jane to move out is a huge step back, and how are they going to proceed? They haven’t technically broken up, but is that coming? If so, it probably won’t stick, but it was truly terrible thing to watch, and it helped Jane realize her new greatest nightmare, hurting her son and losing the man she loves. Hopefully, this is a wake-up call for Jane to get her shit together and tell Rafael that he’s the one she wants to be with. It is possible that the middle of the season could see Jane single, because there’s no way she’s going to get back together with Michael. There has just been too much change for their lives to ever fit together again. Is he going to be a detective again? What’s going to happen to Bo?

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you are team Rafael or team Michael, as long as you’re team Jane. Jane will decide what she wants to do, and hopefully with minimal hurt on all sides. Breaking up with Rafael would cause the most structural damage to her relationships and life. This conflict has been set up to mirror the previous times Jane has had the choice between Rafael and Michael. The first time, when she broke her engagement to Michael because she’d fallen in love with Rafael. The second time she’s at a crossroads, she chooses Mateo over them both, in order to focus on herself and her new baby. The third time, she chooses Michael, and then soon after has to break up with him for Mateo’s safety. When Michael comes back into her life, they get back together, and get married. At that point, Rafael was still in love with Jane, but he knew that she was happy and wanted to marry Michael, so he respected her decision. He was tempted to tell her he loved her on her wedding day, fifty feet from the alter, and he kept his mouth shut. Why? Because he cared about her.

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Initially, when the whole story started, Michael and Jane had been together two years, and Jane and Rafael had kissed briefly in the past. Then, the whole artificial insemination thing happened, and everything went bananas. Michael was about to ask Jane to marry him, and she was about to say yes. Then, blast from the past, Rafael shows up.

Now, Jane and Raf are happy, and Michael, blast from the past, returns from the “dead.” They are about to get engaged, but are shocked by Michael resurfacing. In this case, it’s a resurrection, not a pregnancy, that disrupts Jane’s life. I feel certain that Jane and Rafael will end up together, but I understand his distaste for the love triangle. It’s been played out before, and she’s never chosen him. I hope that Raf has grown enough as a character that he can give Jane the time she needs to make her peace with Michael, so that they can start their lives together. Their story has been a convoluted one, but they deserve a happy ending.

jane the virgin couple GIF

Posted in TV

Jane the Virgin: Final Season Predictions

Jane the Virgin has been a real ride- from her accidental artificial insemination to her turbulent romantic life, Jane and her family have provided us with a lot of emotional and hilarious moments since the show premiered. While there are a lot of twists and turns along the way, we’re all enthralled by the main conflict of the last four seasons: the choice between Rafael and Michael, Jane’s decision about who to spend the rest of her life with.

While bringing a character whose death was so emotional back from the dead initially seems a little like a ratings-grab for the last season of the show, it makes more sense than at first glance. Rafael, who has healthy self-esteem, is insecure about his relationship with Jane after all they’ve been through. The best way to dispel that insecurity is to have Jane choose him over Michael when both are an option, or he will always believe a little bit that she only is with him by default. So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the final season of the show.

Jane writes her new book

Obviously, having the revelation that all of her novel drafts are actually one book was huge at the end of season four. Jane will probably take some time to process the changes in her life, but she processes a lot through her writing. With how invested Jane is in all of her stories, this one is bound to be a hit. Probability: 99% Jane will write an amazing new book 

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Xo finds a new career- and defeats cancer

Xiomara can’t die- her role in the family is too important, and her death would be too much in a show that promises so much drama in this last season. We can’t watch the Villanueva women suffer like that! She’s going to be cancer free, and find a new direction with her life, possibly even working as her husband’s personal manager. We saw her explain Rogelio’s feelings and needs perfectly at the end of last season, to his overbearing co-star. If she can handle seeing that much of him, at work and at home, Xo would be the perfect manager. Probability:  99% Xo gets better, 60% she finds a new career

Alba’s marriage falls apart

With the bittersweet way the season ended with Alba’s green card marriage to Jorge, fans are not sure what to think. She did the right thing for her friend, but for herself? It’s hard to tell. Jorge, after having a proposal turned down twice, might not want to be with Alba. She has spent half of her adult life as a widow and in love with her dead husband. It’s unlikely that the marriage will last, but hopefully they got the paperwork processed fast enough for Jorge to see his mother one last time. Probability: 50%

JR goes to prison

JR, Petra’s amour, shoots an unknown assailant in the season four finale. As she is a lawful good character, she is unlikely to want to hide the evidence and escape prosecution for her crime. She might not have killed the person attacking Petra, but she definitely did some damage. It is likely that she would turn herself in and serve her sentence. JR loves Petra, so they might stay together, but it seems likely that the two would argue over what to do about the crime. Petra is a self-preservationist, as she has had to be to survive her mother, evil twin, and vindictive exes. She would want to protect JR, no matter the consequences. JR might have some moral disagreements with Petra, but they’re in love. Here’s hoping they make it. Probability: 60% JR goes to prison, 70% JR and Petra stay together

Michael has amnesia

jane the virgin boom GIF

Jane would never forgive Michael if he knowingly allowed her to believe he was dead, so he has to have amnesia, or be faking it. He also did not seem to recognize his BFiLF (Best Father-in-Law Forever) Rogelio, which is further evidence of the amnesia theory. The show has never shied away from telenovela tropes, so this seems like a likely theory for why Michael has been absent and presumed dead. I don’t get how the death certificate and everything else could have been faked, but it Sin Rostro had a hand in it, there’s room for skepticism. It’s possible she had him abducted and is still controlling the criminal underworld from prison, since she knew he was alive somehow. Maybe he is still somehow a cop? Almost every scenario has him lying to Jane, which is pretty much unforgivable. Probability: 70% Michael has amnesia, 50% Sin Rostro faked his death 

Jane is pregnant

Pregnancy plays a huge role in the show, from Jane’s unintended insemination to Petra’s intentional one. It is not super likely, but it’s possible that Rafael could have gotten Jane pregnant again. When she comforted him at the end of the last season, there’s a bright transition and then we see them relaxing together. This might indicate that the scene isn’t just a normal sex scene, but something important. It’s not super likely, since Rafael is supposedly infertile and a pregnancy would force Jane to make a choice sooner rather than later. It would give the show some symmetry, with Jane having another baby at the end and choosing again who she wants to be with. Probability: 10%

Jane will choose Rafael

The whole show has been about Jane growing and changing, becoming an adult and making adult decisions, changing her mind, and becoming open to life. Initially, she loved Michael and wanted to be with him because they had so much in common. Now, Jane loves Rafael because he’s built himself from nothing, and become a new man. Where he was once a morally ambiguous character, he has become one who always does the right thing, because he knows it’s right. That appeals to Jane, and the viewer. Michael has just always been less interesting than Raf- he’s certainly wholesome, sweet and kind, but he doesn’t have depth. It’s not that Michael isn’t a good guy, but the story isn’t really about his relationship with Jane. Jane was always going to outgrow him- he’s a first love, not a soul mate. What’s been interesting about Rafael has been him growing, changing, becoming a better and fuller version of himself. Rafael breaks patterns we see in early seasons- he stops making self-destructive choices and starts following his moral compass. When we see him drunk and angry in the season four finale, we see him in his worst place. He thinks that everything he wants with Jane is going to be over because it’s all based on Michael being dead. Jane shows her growth by staying to be with him, even though he doesn’t want her there, and Rafael shows how he has changed by coming clean and being honest with Jane. Rafael shows trust, but also faith, that his relationship with Jane is strong enough to survive this hurdle. He also shows good judgement in telling her the truth, not just morally. Rose wanted to ruin his happiness, but he didn’t let this fester and destroy him, he set the secret free. Rafael made a selfless choice, one he wouldn’t have made in previous seasons. Probability: 100% Jane will choose Rafael

jane the virgin family GIF

I think it’s fairly obvious that Raf and Jane will end up together, but I can’t wait to see how things shake out. Jane the Virgin will return to television March 27th.

 

Posted in TV

Jane the Virgin Season 2 Finale Analysis

The season two finale of Jane the Virgin aired more than a month ago, but we’re still not over it. A lot has changed in the last season, and there’s so much to cover, so let’s begin.

Mateo is one, and adorable. Jane becoming a mom and coming to terms with her new life was the central theme of season two, and the show was really successful in conveying its message: every mom is different, no mom is perfect. Seeing Petra become a mother this season was pretty amusing, and the relationships between the Villanueva women are always fascinating. The center of Jane has always been family, and it has remained the core strength of the show.

jane jane the virgin jane villanueva gina rodriguez jtv

The romance in Jane the Virgin has always been flawless, but this season failed to win me over entirely. Jane’s ill-fated attempt at internet dating aside, her failed liaison with her academic advisor derails half of the season. I love her new advisor, but Jane is, above all, practical. No way does she try to get with the guy who has her future in his hands. Jane is a romantic, but she isn’t stupid. It just isn’t believable that her character would throw away a good student-teacher relationship because she thinks he might have a thing for her.

Watching Ro and Xo dance around each other this season, both literally and figuratively, has been entertaining, but the two reached a breaking point this season, resolving their differences pretty satisfactorily in the finale: Ro wants more kids, Xo does not. Every kid dreams of their estranged parents getting back together, but it’s not to be. It makes decent sense, Rogelio is still very much the young man. He has his moments of darkness, and a complicated life, but he has the fresh, childlike excitement of a younger man. Xiomara is just as youthful and lively, but more serious. She sees things as they are, and she and Rogelio want different things. Xo not wanting more kids, even with a man she loves, makes sense too. She was still a kid when she got pregnant, and she hasn’t had the easiest life. Wanting to spend the rest of her life focusing on her goals is something her character would want.

There were approximately  a hundred dramatic reveals in the last few minutes of episode 44, a typical day in Miami with Jane and the Villanueva clan. First of all, Sin Rostro faked her own death, Rose is alive and has been posing as the folksy Susanna, Michael’s partner. As fast as Michael got fired, he was rehired at the department when he had a break in the case. Don’t ask me how that works. Rose shoots Michael when he figures out that she’s a fraud, and we’re left not knowing his fate. Rose asks Luisa to run away with her, citing their true love in spite of their differences, those including that she kidnapped Luisa’s nephew and killed her father. We also see Xiomara staring at a positive pregnancy test in horror, leaving her future in question. Finally, Anezka, Petra’s twin sister finally shows her hand, drugging Petra and putting her in the hospital, taking her place. Posing as Petra, Anezka seduces Raphael, leaving her plan somewhat unclear.

no screaming jane the virgin 2x03 nooo

Now to unpack this whole mess. Jane and Michael just had their fairy-tale wedding, and now his life is in jeopardy. There are two ways this could go, to my mind. Michael could be dead, or he could end up in intensive care, unresponsive, to give Rose and Luisa time to get away. I have no doubt that Luisa will chose to run away with Rose, her decision making is pretty much universally terrible.

Raphael letting Jane go without trying to win her back shows how he has developed as a character, he loves Jane enough to want her to be happy, even with another man. We’ve seen Raphael jealous, petty, selfish, and, at his worst, shady. He still has a ways to go in terms of growing up, but he’s getting closer to being worthy of Jane. It seems obvious to me that Jane and Raphael are end-game for the show. The plot of the show got them together flawlessly, then drew them apart just as well. They need to walk away from each other before they can be happy together. Raphael has become a better man through loving Jane, and Jane has become a better person having been challenged by Raphael’s complexities. Michael is a simple character, lawful good. He is the right choice for Jane to make, but he isn’t her destiny. True love is complicated, and what Jane and Michael had was pure, and sweet, what first love should be. But Jane and Raphael have a future together, Michael only would hold Jane back from her true potential for greatness. However, Jane and Raphael can’t be together until they meet on even footing, as equals. He has always had the upper hand on her, he’s older, he has money, and worldly influence. Jane fundamentally cannot be with him with such a gulf of differences between them, we saw the fissures in their relationship forming due to those differences last season. This next season will hopefully be about Jane becoming the successful, powerful woman she has the potential to be. Once we see that, hopefully Jane and Raphael can begin to detangle the complications in their lives and make their way back to each other, to be a family.

Xiomara’s path seems pretty clear. The pregnancy is something I wasn’t expecting, and it will make things difficult for Xiomara early in the season, but it seems obvious that she’s going to get an abortion. She doesn’t want more kids, and it seems likely that Rogelio’s telenovela rival is the one who got her pregnant. That being said, nothing is certain when it comes to Jane. 

When it comes to Petra, I’ve generally lost interest. Her issues with her mother have been played out over the last two seasons, and having her in jail honestly has been a relief. Anezka being in league with Magda seems out of character, but we really can’t put anything past her. Nothing about Anezka can be trusted, since she’s been a double agent this whole time. She is an unknown commodity. I think it’s safe to say that she’s got it bad for Raphael, but other than that, she seems to have been acting a part for the entirety of her time in the lives of the Solano-Villanueva family. She probably is going to pose as Petra for the foreseeable future, possibly to get the charges against Magda dropped. The twin trope should probably be retired after this season though, because so far we’ve had four sets of identical twins on the show and that’s just a bit much. Any more and they should probably test the water supply, because there’s gotta be something in it.

Wow, that was a lot. Never will the Jane the Virgin team be accused of a dull moment. I’m not making any bets, but I think my theories have some merit. Jane has never been predictable, but in order for the plot to move forward, I think at least some of these things gotta go down. Hopefully, we won’t suffer any more broken hearts, but given Jane’s track record, I think it’s highly unlikely that any of the characters get through the next season unscathed.