Jane the Virgin: S04E07 “Chapter 71”

Episode Grade: B

Just when I felt I was getting some footing in how to writeup this show, the CW benched it for a few weeks and just threw in one episode before it went off for its little winter break.  Good thing the narrator does a thorough (and thoroughly entertaining) recap at the top of each episode, cause I was a little lost on where it left off.  Where it picks back up is sending the gals on a roadtrip, and while Jane and Xo didn’t look too happy once Alba jumped in the car, I was so happy for this little outing for the Villanuevas.

Ok, so Alba might not start off as the best road trip companion.  She wants the top up on the convertible and she needs lots of pee breaks, but she’s an absolute delight compared to the mess Jane is being.  She’s not handling being dumped by Adam all too well and I will say that some of her anger seems righteous, because as she’s pointed out repeatedly, she gave him so many chances to back out before they got serious.  And Jane’s problems don’t end there.  She’s trapped in a tacky honeymoon suite, she has a breakdown at her Oprah-adjacent book reading with Iyanla that goes semi-viral, and her first book review is less than great.

To make matters worse for her (if she were notified of it), Matelio comes down with a cold just as he’s been left with his dad and Ro to watch out for him.  It’s not often discussed how the loss of Michael affected Mateo, but the show explores how it’s left the little one fearful that any little illness might be one that kills him and it’s quite heartbreaking to think about.  Luckily, Raf is aware of his son’s fears and pulls a good dad move by using this illness as a learning lesson that he’s much stronger than he thinks he is.

Speaking of heartbreaking, JtV brought out the tears in me tonight with bringing Michael’s mom back into the show.   Its revealed in flashbacks that after her son’s death, she distanced herself from Jane because she blamed Jane for his untimely demise.  Sure it misguided anger and a burden that’s weighed on Jane the past 3 years, but it seems like all is forgiven between the two when Patricia shows up at a panel Jane is doing and not only endorses the novel. but says it made her feel Michael’s presence for the first time since his death.  Niagara Falls, Janeiacs, Niagara Falls.

The episode also focuses a little bit on the loss of another member of the show, Anezka, who turns out is not so dead after all.  It’s a twist I hoped was not coming but was all kind of made worthwhile by that growl she made at Petra when startled.  Anezka explained she faked her death to find out which person she could trust: her mother or her sister.  The answer is obviously neither and Anezka decides to burn bridges with both.  Icing out Magda is probably the smartest move Anezka’s ever made, and I hope for the shows sake this is the last we see of the twins’ terrible mother, though I highly doubt it is.  Anezka decision to screw over Petra though by pinning the plot to make Luisa think she is crazy on Petra and Raf is definitely one that will be addressed in the near future, especially since it appears it enraged Petra enough to toss her too-dippy-to-be-truly-evil twin off the balcony killing her for reals this time.  I can’t say bringing her back for one episode was a total waste since she did some stuff to move the plot forward, but making the Narrator not entirely reliable yet again might hurt the show a bit.

I apologize in advance for shoehorning in this last topic to discuss, but honestly, it seems to be coming out of left field for the show right now so I couldn’t think of a way to organically bring it up.  Sure, the show has largely revolved around the relationship between Raf and Jane, so it’s not like him having a glowing heart for her again is the most random thing to do, but the timing of it just seems terribly out of place and I can’t help but think this was a push to have a big hook for viewers to dangle on over the next few weeks off.  Personally, I didn’t really feel much of anything when Jane passionately kissed Rafael back because for her, it comes off completely as a rebound move and not something she was truly desiring or something that’s even good for her.  It already feels like this kiss will turn out to be a bump in the road for their drawn out romance and not the move that will send them to blissful coupledom. 

Overall, I’d say this was a solid B effort for the show.  The varying plotlines seemed to be told in a more concise manner.  I wasn’t stuck for an hour figuring out how to map it in order to talk about it.  On the other hand, a lot of the big moments felt unearned.  I didn’t even get into Alba’s proposal rejection, because it too felt more like an afterthought made to get the abuella on a journey with her girls than any real consideration giving Alba a substantial plot.  At least we got an excellent dance seen with the three, and some wise words about staying young at heart.