Jane the Virgin: S04E10, “Chapter 74”

Episode Grade: A

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this show has been spending it’s 2018 episodes to address all the complaints I had been making about it this season, because lo and behold, we finally get some quality time with Alba tonight. Instead of feeling wedged into an episode, she was upfront and center for what was easily the funniest episode of the season. It finally felt like all the moving parts in this story were working together to make a great installments, with no real weak point in the hour and plenty of laughs.

The night starts off once again right where we left it, with Jane and Rafael getting hot in heavy in the car. If you thought Jane was going to be the one to slam on the breaks because it was not the most appropriate of locales for their long awaited first time together, you’d be wrong. It was Raf who put a stop to it and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since he was the one back in season 1 who kept them from having a romp when Jane was wanting to lose her virginity before having the baby. Back then it seemed like he stopped it so she wouldn’t have any regrets, but this time felt like it was for his benefit to wait til the right time. It’s only been 4 years folks, why rush now?

Instead the episode has Jane spending more time getting closer to the other Solano. Jane might be having some regrets agreeing to ghost write Petra’s book. I certainly wouldn’t blame her. Not only does Petra’s work ethic seem a bit more harsh than most people could handle, but with such ideas as making the book Petra-shaped, maybe she shouldn’t have one at all. There’s also the annoying detail of Petra leaving her hours and hours of recordings of random thoughts or barking orders, none of which sound like a pleasant listening experience. On the plus side, after absorbing all of Petra’s advice for success, Jane does find herself becoming more assertive. It leads to one of the funniest lines I’ve ever heard on the series (I’ll get to that in a second) and Jane renegotiating how the 2 of them will conduct business moving forward on their project. My favorite thing about this is that it means the show isn’t just dismissing the partnership after one week of trying. That means more scenes with this pair, which has always been an asset to the series.

When Jane’s not busy with the Solanos (or getting busy with one of them), she’s spending time trying to help her abuela out with her love life. First she tries helping her out in online dating, a task that would feel daunting to anyone at any age. Alba is a woman who knows what she wants, but her rigid requirements might not find her too many eligible suitors. But she’s not too concerned about that because she wants to find someone on her own in the real world (which to me sounds just about as daunting). She manages to do just that, but with under the guise of setting up Jane with her church crush’s eligible grandson. While the guy sounds like a catch on paper, and may have been great IRL, Jane’s too busy getting sexts from a jealous Rafael who is watching on from the bar. Damn you sensors for not allowing Jane to move her head to find out where the rest of this was going.
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I felt last week they had done a decent job in saying in not so many words that Alba’s fear of physical intimacy is holding her back. In case any one hadn’t gotten that, there’s a scene post date where she says just that and once again my heart was aching thinking about how much harder it must be to try to find love again once you are of a certain age and accustomed to thinking that the romantic or sexual part of your life is over. Alba’s lucky to have the kind of relationship with her granddaughter that allows for Jane to take her into her first sex shop. Not many shows can get away with the slur “I’d rather date a Protestant” but it was a genuine giggle, hell most of the stuff inside the adult entertainment store was making me giggle. Seriously, who thought of bondage gear being made from candy necklaces (if this is real I have lived a sheltered edible undies free existence for nothing)?
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To no surprise, Alba’s completely uncomfortable in the setting and takes off without a single purchase. Jane ain’t giving up so easily and decides to purchase her a toy for her to rediscover her sexuality. It’s here that Petra’s earlier lessons first come in handy, when the sex-shop employee tries screwing Jane over for the cost of her toys but Jane is having none of it. I’d like to think the entire scene was written around the desire to have someone say for the first time in the history of existence “Oh! And you’re going to comp me my grandma’s lube”. Alba first discovers her new toy when it slips out of her purse at a very unfortunate time, but then gets a chance for an upclose inspection later on at home. I contemplated sharing a gif of this moment, but I’m not wanting to make light of what was an intimate (and probably profound) moment for my 2nd favorite character on the show.

But Alba wasn’t the only one having a sexual awakening that night. After a discussion with Petra about Raf’s dominate side and his sexual prowess (yet another in a slew of awkward conversations handled like they were no big deal in the hour), Jane decides that it’s time to find that out for herself. Once the cable repairman leaves, the two finally do the hibbity dibbity in the shower. If you ask me, its about as crappy as a place a car for doing the deed, but it sure looked steamy. Petra too finds herself in a new experience, waking from a sex dream with Jane the Lawyer. Right now is when I’d publicly pat myself on the back for calling this right after Rosario Dawson joined the show, but we’ve yet to find out if Petra’s feelings are unrequited. We do learn a little bit more about the shady lawyer who might not be as shady as once thought. Apparently, once she believed that Ansheka’s murder was at someone else’s hands, she could no longer help blackmail her twin for the crime. This doesn’t leave Petra a whole lot better off, because the final moments show someone planting the removed screws in her desk. I still don’t believe the culprit on the other end of the phone is Luisa, but I sure as hell hope its something more exciting than Sin Rostro, a character whose expiration date is well past due.

The oddball story of the night belonged to Rogelio, whose plot subject was probably the most serious but handled in the silliest way possible. He wants to educate the masses to the truth of male postpartum depression. I wasn’t even sure this was a real thing (per WebMD it is)and neither was River Fields (the clever cover name for guest star Brooke Shields). After battling it out briefly on social media, the two take their dispute onto The Talk, cause that’s what celebrities do, I guess. As a general rule, whenever CBS inserts its daytime talk show into one of its fictional shows, I roll my eyes and brace for it to be over as quick as possible. While true again this time, at least it all paid off well when Rogelio accidentally incited a wolf to attack and eat off the toe of the star of The Green Lagoon. The humor in the absurdity of that was the payoff for me, but for Rogelio it was even better. The national exposure was enough to get the network to make an American version of his show and I’m guessing this is the end to #Danny as Ro explores the chance to become a crossover star.

This was easily my favorite episode since I’ve started reviewing the show, and I hope all my asides in parentheses weren’t too distracting. The more excited I am about a topic, the more I rely on them. I have so many things I want to say at once, its the only way I can think to organize my thoughts. I hope everyone got as much as a kick out of this installment as me, but if not, feel free to tell me about what did and did not work for you in the comments.