Jane the Virgin: S04E11, “Chapter 75”

Episode Grade: B-/C+

Hi Janeiacs. We’re back. Not only from another brief hiatus, but also back to where we were a couple episodes ago. Only this time with more sex, since Jane and Raf are doing the bippity boppity (which is far too close for comfort to my preferred term of hibbity dibbity). We’ve officially reached that portion of a season (and I fear portion of the series) where the writers have burned through enough compelling stories to hook us and are either keeping us dangling for a big finish or to buy themselves some time to figure out where do we go from here. Maybe it’s not so much of a coincidence that pretty much all of our characters are also still trying to figure out what comes next.

It was just a few episodes ago we saw Jane struggling with what to do next in her career. She achieved her dream of publishing a book but it didn’t change her life like she thought it would. I was excited about the potential of a Jane and Petra professional partnership, but after just one episode, it looks like Petra’s book is dead thanks to her most recent arrest. With a little help from her former adviser, Jane finds herself looking to explore the potential of teaching. There’s just one awkward issue, the contact Jane knows to get this job is her original academic adviser turned romantic interest Jonathan (aka Adam Rodriguez). I’m genuinely curious if it was always planned to bring back the Magic Mike hottie or if this was a plot line thrown in directly as a result of the #metoo movement. I have strong suspicions it’s the latter, which might be why it felt like it was a story that came out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate using storytelling to help educate people about how the power dynamics between in professor/student relationship makes for a skeevy romance but it felt like the show addressed this the first time around and tried to dismiss it. Sure, seeing a bigger picture that shows Jonathan has a habit of exclusively dating college students definitely makes him out to be a creep, but shouldn’t they have done that the first time around? Instead they had Jane excuse away all the problems which is pretty much what society has done up until now. I would have preferred the show not remind me of that plot choice.

Jane’s not the only person worried about the direction of their career. Raf finds out that the real estate jobs that are available to him are the kind he doesn’t want. He may have given up trying to regain the Solano fortune, but he’s still driven to be a real estate mogul. After turning down a sleazy job trying to con retirees out of their money for crappy condos, Jane finds herself on the wrong end of an argument when she admonishes Raf for turning down a job. I say she’s wrong, because it’s not Rafael’s dignity that interferes, it’s his ambition. And as unfulfilled as he is in his role of bartender, it’s a job he keeps to support himself and his family. But Raf is looking at the big picture and following his dream, something he has always been supportive of Jane doing. At least the fight and all this contemplation lead our clandestine lovers to the decision to come out in the open…..something they did a couple episodes ago.

When it comes to career goals, Rogelio seems to be the closest to achieving his dream: an American version of The Passion of Santos but with one large caveat. The producers want Ro’s newest rival, River Shields and Ro wants a Desperate Housewife. Eva Longoria to be precise, but since she proves too elusive (or #evasive), even Teri Hatcher is preferable to a 9 toed She-Devil. Through a disturbing amount of research Ro finds out that he’s actually related to Ms. Longoria and he finally has an in. Too bad for him that the two discover they are too closely related for comfort, at least for the chemistry required between leads on a telenovella. (Side note: I will say that the nod to the shows own roots of Juana la Virgin was one of the high points of a fairly mediocre episode.) So Ro is off to New York to beg River to join his show, but not before thoroughly upsetting his wife trying to put her on baby Baby watching duty. Xo’s story of a middle aged woman trying to figure out her place in the world could have been the most compelling part of the episode, but much like her husband, the episode only payed attention to her when it was convenient.

At first, I thought that Petra’s story was the only one of the night that felt like it had really any momentum (as well as one of the 2 climax jokes I shamefully giggled at). I admit that I was surprised by reveal, to Petra that is, that Jane the Lawyer was actually working against her at first. This seemed like something that would have come up after the 2 had gotten to know each other more intimately to throw a wrench in their relationship. I really hope that it wasn’t a cop out and that Petra’s sexual orientation is explored further down the road and the fact that the 2 ladies are still working together is giving me hope for now. But much like so many other plot points in tonight, we pretty much end up where we already were. Petra is back to trying to figure out who is trying to put the screws to her (no I’m not proud of that joke) and she’s working with a woman she can’t really trust to make sure she doesn’t go to prison for a murder she didn’t commit. Oh, but we know it’s probably not her mom SO PROGRESS!

I apologize to those of you who really enjoyed this episode cause I didn’t go into writing this review to denigrate it. But the more I thought about it, the more it felt like this week was just the show spinning its wheels. I do remain ever hopeful that next week things are back in full swing, because if there’s a show that knows how to keep moving on, it’s our Jane.