Jane the Virgin: S04E09, “Chapter 73”

Episode Grade: B

Life is full of having to make decisions, and the more people affected by those decisions, the harder they are to make (and later on change). If I had to say there was a theme to this week’s episode, it would be to know when you should stick with those decisions or when its best to cut loose and try something else. No one likes to admit they were wrong, not to themselves, and certainly not to others. And when you throw your family’s feelings into the mix, those kinds of choices are even more difficult to make.

If you thought trying to explain to a child the nuances between what’s right and wrong was difficult, that’s got nothing on trying to explain relationships, especially of the romantic variety. This week starts back off right where it left, with Jane and Rafael immediately having to dive head first into that murky water when Mateo busts the two of them kissing. Ever so predictably, the show wastes no time throwing a wrench into this pairing while the 2 of them are more concerned than ever about how their rebudding romance is going to affect their son. I will give the show some credit where credit is due and apologize for assuming back at the winter finale that Jane had forgotten all about Douchey Raf who was playing a rich woman for a fool and being super sketchy. She does call him out for that, which was much appreciated, but after putting Rafael as the starring roles in each of her fantasies, she decides that she wants to forge ahead anyways. So of course that means Raf wants to put on the breaks, because I guess it would get boring if these 2 were always on the same page. In the end, they decide lying is actually the best policy (which I doubt will work for long) and let the family think they are back to being friends. In truth, Jane is planning on having lots and lots of sex with her on-again, off again then on-again, off-again, etc. love.

Every week I seem to forget the idiotic name for the baby, and then I remember, oh right, I have to actually use a capital B when discussing the baby Baby. Turns out Rogelio making the impulsive decision (after thinking about it for 5 seconds) to drop his career for a year to be a stay at home dad wasn’t the best idea. Our Ro was a lot less fulfilled at being a dad/nanny than he was being #Danny. Too bad being compared to Heidi and Spencer ruined his social media high and without it, he was already considering going back to work. Timing is the key to everything however, and Xo’s decision to close her dance studio after years of giving it a go made Rogelio think twice about immediately resigning his danny position. I’m sure that choice was fostered by shame rather than inspiration to not give up, so I can’t see things improving much on this front.

Speaking of career decisions, just as Jane is having doubts in hers as a writer, Petra decides this might be a good time for her to add that to her resume. Jane’s blossoming writing career seems to have withered and died on the vine with the failure of her first book. Its left her without a publisher and even worse, without any ideas for a new project. I’m sure there were watchers who were quite amused or, um, entertained with the 50 Shades scene, but my annoyance with it nearly dropped my grade of this episode down a full letter. Fortunately the interactions between these 2 ladies raised it right back into B terrority. It’s not that I care for the idea that Petra is going to have a lifestyle book, or that she’s going to pay Jane well to ghost write it for her. It’s that Petra admits in the course of the episode that Jane is her moral compass, and works on restoring their relationship. Not for the sake of family, not for the sake of Rafael, but entirely for the bond they made with each other after the death of Michael and the birth of the twins. It’s not often the show gives a tender moment between these 2, so I cherish them for when they come up, especially as organically as this one seemed.

And before I close out for the night, I should bring up that Alba too is struggling from her big decision to not wed Jorge. If it feels like I’m shoehorning this story into the review, it’s because for me, it feels like (yet again) Alba’s solo story is always shoehorned in. It could be worse. She could be relegated to a role of only being the wise loving abuela who only is there to service other people’s stories, but I just wish they could make it seemed like her story was integral. At least her conflict is one that’s fairly relatable: regretting a decision you know/knew to be right. Not only is Jorge being a dick to her now that he’s just her boss (#BurnitDownSis takes the prize this week for best faux twitter hashtag), but he’s also back with his ex-girlfriend. It’s at that point Alba realizes she was the rebound. And more heartbreakingly, she realizes one of the reasons she turned him down was that she was afraid of the next step that comes after marriage. With Xo being an excellent shoulder to lean on, I hope this means in the future we will see her getting to aide her mother in her adventures in dating and all that entails.

At the end of the hour I felt conflicted on how to rate this episode. There were not too many laughs (I will admit the Law and Order chiming did make me smile even when overused) and I’m not heavily invested in Jane and Raf’s love life. I am definitely getting intrigued to know who is working with Jane the Lawyer (aka Rosario Dawson) and with the recent patch of grounded episodes, I’m ready for the show to get back to its wacky telenovella roots. Really hoping the other Jane’s reveal delivers that. I miss the days of completely absurd reveals and twists and I’m ready for a juicy one to throw everyone for a loop.
In the end, Petra’s involvement proved key to elevating my opinion of it.