Episode Grade: A-
I start this week with an apology for those of you Janeiacs who might have come looking for this review sooner but none was to be found. I wish I had some salacious or fascinating tale of some misadventures that kept me busy, but in reality I was basically out being my family’s personal Uber and when I got home, I discovered my DVR had failed me. I do appreciate the patience of the 4 of you who regularly visit my feature. I did finally manage to watch the show online, and even with the app’s commercial breaks, it was worth the wait.
The episode picks back up in the aftermath of Xiomara’s surgery. While cancer is one of those things that makes the world seem to stop when you are having to deal with it, the outside world is quick to remind you that life is always moving on. Xo finds herself at home with her mother presiding over her recovery efforts with Jane being the research-freak trying to figure out all the things that can make you sick (sorry Jane, it’s just about everything). You know who’s not around too much during this process? Her husband.
Remember all that goodwill Rogelio had built over the last couple episodes with being so supportive? Because he was too afraid of Darcy’s scorn with the truth of why he can’t Baby-sit anymore, he nearly ruined all of it by pulling out the Cancer Card. Luckily the ladies in his life figured out fairly quickly that he was lying so he didn’t spend any more time with me losing respect for him. I really don’t like when my thoughts of Ro are anything less than warm and fuzzy. I will say, even with me mad at him, I could help but giggle watching him keep his vow to not lash out at his ex. It’s insane he’s made it this long without chewing her out, so she should be glad that deep deep deeeeeeeep deep down, he likes her.
Both those exes weren’t the only two admitting to feelings. Our reunited pair of Jane and Rafael exchanged their first I Love Yous since reuniting and the moment was quite underwhelming. Personally, I enjoyed the way the words just kind of slipped out and it was a non-moment, cause how do you make it something big when its been well established their is love between you. I thought Raf was completely fine with it too with that adorable smile, but his sweet gesture of giving them a romantic night together proved he wanted something more. Unfortunately, all his charms inspired Jane to write, but it turned out her writing was all about Michael. I can completely understand why this is and will probably always be a sore spot for Rafael. I can’t hold his insecurity against him, especially when he keeps a line of dialogue open with his love so those feelings do not fester. And he was rewarded with his honesty by the revelation that it was the anniversary of Michael’s death that inspired Jane, an anniversary she nearly forgot thanks to being so happy again. And that right there was bigger than any I Love You in affirming these two are working as a couple. I do believe the show is doing the right thing by playing this romance very low key. They went fantastical the first time around with these 2, and it didn’t work out. Maybe keeping things down to earth with lead to longevity.
You know who doesn’t want to talk about her feelings? Petra: a woman who’s approach to saying I Love You comes about as naturally as it does to me (Can I say it in Czech?). Petra is one who plays it close to the vest, so it’s not shocking she’s yet to introduce JR to any of her family. After an awkward double date with Jane and Raf, the two get cozy making fun of “basic” Jane. The discomfort between the two Janes ends up leading to more confessions of feelings: that Jane loves Petra (like family) and JR is important to Petra. It’s too bad it wasn’t Petra that got to reveal that tidbit to JR, but the two still share a special moment at the end of the episode that gives me hopes for these two (despite JR’s distaste for children). We’ll see if Petra is able to start communicating her feelings more openly from here on. I can say from experience it’s a hell of a lot harder than you’d think, but stranger things have happened.
Side complaint: As much as I am digging seeing Petra be happy and her bond with JR deepening, I really did not care for that moment where the two were riffing on Jane. Had they stuck with just Petra being turned on by the fact JR disliked Jane, I would have been amused. But despite Jane and Petra having been in a really good place together lately and their deepening bond, it felt like a mini-betrayal for her to insult her ersatz sister to her girlfriend. I had honestly hoped after her “turned on” comment she would have followed it up with a “but seriously, Jane grows on you” kind of remark instead of making fun of her. It might not have been that big of a deal, but it was a tarnish on an otherwise perfect Petra episode. I will never tire of seeing her all giddy.
The only other character left with something to get off her chest was Alba. For reasons I am still not entirely certain of, she is yearning for Jorge again. And as it turns out Jorge is back on the market, a detail of his life he offered up in what Alba thought must have been a signal. The Narrator chiming in with an “Mmmmmhmmmm” reminded me how lucky I am to be taking in this story with him as both my guide and co-audience. You’d think she’d be so distracted with her daughter’s health and her impending citizenship test for her to be too concerned about her love life, but she confesses her feelings with her heart all aglow. Too bad Jorge has hardened his heart to his ex, and the rebuff leaves her too upset to go take her test. I’m not sure I entirely bought into the authenticity of this plot. Perhaps its because they’ve spent so little time on the series trying to get us invested in Alba/Jorge, but mostly I just agreed with Jane and Xo. How was she going to let boy problems stand between her and her dream?
Xo, who had recently revealed that it wasn’t recovery standing in her way of going outside, it was her pride, tossed that aside to make sure her mother made it to her test. I loved watching Xo go into her badass mode and admonishing the clerk who was going to deny Alba the chance to get her citizenship because she was 2 minutes late to the appointment. Take notes Rogelio. That’s how, when and who gets to play the Cancer Card. Much to the delight of everyone, including myself and Barack Obama, Alba passed her test with flying colors and will get to become a citizen of the US. It so nice that at least one huge weight will be off her shoulders.
All and all this was a solid episode of JtV. They managed to have an episode centered on open communication come off as something other and cheesy or preachy and there were happy feels all over the place, while not ignoring the seriousness of Xo’s condition. Between JR’s apprehensiveness towards kids and Petra’s newest legal woes, I know the lovefest is not likely to continue for much longer, but I thank the show for giving me a week to have hope and joy for this big crazy family.