Rasha: I am torn because I both love this episode and it also makes me very angry and a bit worried for the show long-term.
Gemma: Wow. I just straight-up do not love this episode, but I’m interested in your deeper analysis here.
R: One thing I love: the defused bomb of the Petra-Jane relationship. I appreciate it that the show can find enough drama to go around that they do not need to pit two women against each other in a catty way over some dude.
G: This show’s problem has never been a lack of enough drama to go around.
R: Also loved: the return of Magda! I hadn’t realized how much I missed her. I said “NO!” really loudly at my phone video app when the grenade went off in her hand because they hadn’t even given me enough time to think “surely they won’t blow her up.” But no, they just made her more like herself with a hook and eyepatch.
G: You know what? I do not like Magda. (Sorry if I’m heavy on the negatives; I was just annoyed by this ep.) I find her pretty repetitive, and she doesn’t push anyone else forward. I kind of wanted her to get blown up. But I did enjoy hook and eyepatch.
R: Thing I didn’t mind that I usually mind: the time jumps. Maybe they needed to do it practically to recast the baby actor?
And to advance the romance/detective intrigue plot believably. I usually mind, but I didn’t mind it as much here as I do when most shows pull it.
G: I did mind, but the new baby is adorable, as was Imaginary Future Kid Mateo in all his incarnations.
R: Oh totally. That rich kid swagger, that Oliver Twist Mateo, and the Michelle/Angelina mentee Mateo who has a point to make about global access to education for all girls? Adorable, and an example of how this show manages to sprinkle very pointed fairy dust over serious contemporary political issues…Though I wonder how Mateo will feel about the educational rights of his future twin sisters. Family can be tough.
G: There are many, many possible futures for those twin sisters. Which was also probably another reason to accelerate the time.
R: Ok, though, here’s the thing that irks me so deeply. This episode for me Marks the Milestone of First Episode Where It Was Irrefutably Clear that JTV has a Gay Character Problem that is Systemic.
R: No Luisa! And the new dude is a conniving two-faced dude who conspires with conniving Scott to take advantage of Jane.
G: I was trying to be fair and/or equivocal about it, but I’m not sure there’s room.
R: No, there is not. Every gay character presented in this show is either incompetent or a devious, conniving betrayer.
R: The motto of the show might as well be: “Gays, you just can’t trust ‘em.”
G: Seeeee, I’m not prepared to go quite that far, because you pretty much can’t trust anybody who’s not a primary character. But it becomes more and more of a viable critique of the show as we are more and more compelled to assume we can trust Rafael. Which we were not always required to.
R: There is no reason that writer dude had to be gay. He could have been a conniving writer straight dude. It is already totally legit NOT TO EVER TRUST KNOWN WRITERS WITH THE DETAILS OF YOUR SALACIOUS LIFE STORY. They will steal that sh*t and sell it.
G: That is fair, yes.
R: I already knew that dude was trouble and Not Actually Jane’s Friend.
G: Well, yes, they foreshadowed the crap out of it.
R: I just thought the show was going to be shallow and try to sell him as a disposable friendship.
G: No, I actually saw that twist coming from the moment at the picnic table. Which is unusual for me. I didn’t see that it was Scott he’d be working with, but I got the rest.
R: Doesn’t Jane have better radar than that? I guess she was friends with Michael’s stalkery ex.
G: Her radar’s shot to sh*t, she’s exhausted.
R: But yes, this show has a Big Red Dog problem that is more specifically a Luisa Problem. Like, we need to tweet the bejeezus out of them until they address it because it is now officially troubling….and sets off deep, resonant heteronormative bells that perhaps should have gone off earlier for a show so centered around Virginity. But I had hoped they were lampooning it to decenter notions of sexuality!
G: Well, in some ways they were and did, and they’ve done a good job of making Jane’s Virginity an individual and nuanced choice, and retaining some sex positivity, meaning that we still get to like characters who like to have sex a lot.
R: I did appreciate that we get #RafaeltheVirgin, father of 3 in this episode.
G: Yes, that was cute. Although we’ll note that we’ve dropped any questions about Ro & Xo being married.
R: Right? What’s happened with Ro and Xo?
And are they together or what? Unclear! I need this resolved! Even if they’re going slow because Ro needs to work through issues, this episode seriously covered 4 MONTHS OF TIME.
G: But I think the issue is combining the Luisa Problem with the fact that all our main characters, who are all straight—Villanuevas, Rogelio, Michael, Rafael—are now Assumed To Be Trustworthy/Honorable.
In S1 we had more twists on their behavior—Xo’s and the men’s, at least—that made it allowable for other characters not to be trustworthy. Luisa, the Gayest Kid We Know, is super untrustworthy and no new characters are coming up in the series to disprove her as a thesis that the show holds. Instead, we get kids like Wesley, who is Supporting Evidence.
R: Yeah. Not a good scorecard. You know, for a moment, when Jane told her story to the writer’s group, I thought they were going to tell her that she should write about her own life because it was more exciting than the romance stories she was working on. But then, I’m also glad that she didn’t. I’m not ready for some repeated meta-TV show within a TV show à la The L Word.
G: Well, The L Word‘s expertise seemed to be in making you hate the writer/hate writers, and JTV is not willing to go there.
R: But I am severely disappointed with what the JTV writers chose instead. Like, if writer-betraying-dude and Scott were both demonstrably straight, then it would be fine if they were plotting. But then I guess we’d have to see their girlfriends to know that, or they’d have to protest too much about having girlfriends, and I guess that led the writers to assume that the only reason two young men would hang out conspiratorily would be IF THEY WERE GAY. UGGHHHH.
G: Well, we’ve had some significant, and slightly annoyingly stereotypical, indicators that Scott is gay, have we not?
R: God, I was ignoring it. You mean his vests?
G: No, I feel like there were some other hints he dropped when first we met him. But I don’t remember it that well, so I might be making it up. I mean, we’re pretty clear that Frank on HTGAWM isn’t gay, and that man has vests up the wazoo.
R: Well, I’d be willing to presume bisexuality about Frank, or at least some flexibility on the Kinsey scale given his assessment of Oliver’s spankability…but yes. And he also has a beard.
G: Beards benefit everyone.
R: !!You just did that.
G: I totes did.
R: I swear, Luisa had better be wearing like some kind of supergirl cape in this next episode, or Rose has to save them from some other, even bigger Bad to pull this out of the fire.
G: But see, this is why I was ill at ease about the possibility of a lesbian crime matriarchy. Other shows could handle it. I do not think this one can.
R: …or Scott has to double cross betraying-writer-dude. Writer dude is unsalvageable. I refuse to even learn his name. Seriously, what does Scott have to gain from trashing his employer?!
G: Same thing he had to gain from manipulating Petra re: the sperm. POWERRRRRRRR.
R: But he’s giving away the store! He’s not using it for leverage with Rafael, he’s just blabbing about him anonymously. That’s not EVEN HOW POWER WORKS. YOU ARE BAD AT BETRAYAL, SCOTT. STOP EMBARRASSING US MASTERMIND QUEERS.
G: Well, we don’t know that there’s not a more sophisticated Super Secret Gay Cabal deal at play.
R: Oh god. I think we need to issue JTV, this beloved show, a stern and uncompromising ultimatum.
G: Get your queer act together.
R: Restore Luisa to power. Sigh. I don’t think I have anything else to say. I don’t even care about Hombres Locos.
G: Restore? I think we do need to question whether she was ever in power. But I guess she had more than this.
R: First episode promised a lot for Luisa. Even as it tore her down. She was the grounded sibling.
G: I take comfort from the fact that we’ve seen a show recover admirably from its shoddy bi politics in the past. It is technically possible.
R: Yeah, this made me think about HTGAWM‘s last season. I like to think they mended things specifically because we blogged about them. Personally.
G: That is clearly why. Let’s get on it.