Rasha: I am here and ready to rage blog.
Gemma: Go for it!
R: I feel so cheapened by this episode, particularly after last week, that I want to start everywhere at once. Apparently, the time jump in the last episode was primarily so we could see the Villanuevas shopping on Black Friday at a Big Box store.
G: Yessssssss, I was definitely thinking of your comments on product placement when that scene transpired.
R: I hate this so much more than Empire advertising for a cola. That at least has plot integration with the company showing up in the process of creating an advertisement. This…this just feels like all the Mouseworld advertisements that have started featuring only people of color in their various “ethnic garb” as a way of enrolling immigrant families in a particularly consumerist model of aspirational citizenship. I am sick. It also reminds me of crappy right-wing attempts to deploy “candidates of color” in totally tone-deaf ways. I get it, this particular Red-flavored Big Box Store wants all the customers that might otherwise go to the Blue-flavored Big Box Store. Ugh.
G: The only wrinkle I would add is that the meta-criticism of anti-Black Friday sentiments tends to be that Black Friday is the only time working-class people can afford to get “adequate” gifts in a consumerist culture, and I did see it as addressing the working-class life of the Villanuevas. But it was basically branding, and annoying.
R: The plot did nothing to dramatize or humanize the reality of trying to pull off the holidays on a very limited budget while working. It was all sunshine and Big Box store magic Prozac.
R: Also, I am angry that Nadine was shot,
that we were so pre-emptively offered a “replacement” character in Dr. Bolton,
that her character ends up being sparkly and magic in unhelpful ways that just send Jane back to Professor Adam Rodriguez, who I am now sure she’s going to develop a crush on/have a torrid affair with.
G: Yes, that was a cheap cheap squandering of Nadine. I didn’t think about Dr. Bolton as a “replacement” for Nadine, but I didn’t really see the point of her. And I really hope we don’t have a thing where Michael dies and we replace his point in the triangle with Dr. Chavez.
R: No, Michael isn’t going to die. Bolton’s offered as a replacement in the sense that she was a candidate for Recurring Role by a Black Woman. I hate that I have to think about it this way, but with Roman and his twin killed off pretty quickly in S1, and Nadine mostly absent then dead in S2, this show doesn’t not have a great history with Black characters.
Dr. Chavez won’t last either, but I am not looking forward to the detour. For one thing, Jane: Have you not seen Empire? Dr. Chavez is already involved with Taraji P.! Girl, don’t get sprung for Cookie’s man-toy.
G: He is getting to display his range this season, isn’t he?
R: I am glad he had a career after CSI Miami, but Magic Mike has taken him into some very predictable places. I did appreciate Jane realizing that a harsh critic was actually a helpful one in her writing and that she didn’t need to have a Famous advisor to have someone helpful with her writing, but that nuance is totally lost for me in all the trashy meta parade of awfulness.
G: I mean, I wouldn’t mind a story where a male mentor actually turned out to be a good mentor for a female writer. I would appreciate Jane not being attracted to every man who plays a role in her life and is good-looking.
R: I would appreciate the story you would write in this situation, but I no longer have faith that this show will take us there.
G: But, I would also like Jane’s mommy-understanding connection to have led somewhere, and yes, I wouldn’t mind a story of substance for a black woman.
R: I know! Make Dr. Bolton a real character! Like, is she just going to disappear after this episode with no development? I am hoping that Wesley dropping the story about the Solano’s will hasten his exit.
G: …although I suppose there’s still a chance that more Nadine Story will unveil in the past.
R: No. Nadine’s being replaced in the plot with this dude that Rafael hired to lie to the police.
G: Okay, make Dr. Bolton a lesbian mom please and thank you?
R: That would be so great! Prolly not going to materialize.
G: Well, I did want Rafael to get worse, and I got that wish. That’s something.
R: Yes, that was fine and good. And now we’re going to meet Luisa’s mother, who is not Rafael’s mother, which clears up some questions I had lingering from last season, and which I would otherwise be excited about, except that this whole episode felt like they were trying to reel out this meta-commentary on “rewriting” the show as Jane was rewriting her story, and it just felt like harsh and forced course-correction–when they weren’t on as bad a course before!!! And Luisa’s mother is Mutter.
G: Yes, we sez crime matriarchy, we means crime matriarchy, apparently. But the Luisa we have is not going to weather that conflict in an interesting away.
R: Mommy complexes will abound. Mutter is probably a lot like Magda, right?
G: I bet she’s hypercompetent. I mean, she has managed to keep herself hidden after faking her death for like 20 years.
R: Probably. She’s definitely straight.
G: Although we did see, officially, that Luisa took on her mom’s surname. I do wonder what that’s about. I could see Mutter and Magda having some interesting crime partnership. That or Mutter went away and became Heidi von Ocher’s mom and Luisa slept with her half-sister. I mean, soon enough Magda’s gonna have to start connecting with people other than Petra.
R: You are too much on this incest trip lately. There’s no winning with Mutter, is there? If she’s straight, it confirms the straight=capable trend of the show. If she’s queer/lesbian/non-binary, then she affirms the non-hetero=bad trend.
G: Mutter is straight. If Rose wins the crime war, then she’s competent and evil, just like Wesley. Except more evil. And Luisa will just be freaking out and fluttering in the middle of it all.
R: What do you think about the way this episode attempted to “rewrite” the JTV canon and re-orient the show? To me, that felt the most troubling, because it indicates that the showrunners feel the need to tweak the formula, and that I do not agree with where they are going.
G: I don’t feel like I saw a substantive rewrite yet, just a bad episode. They told me they were rewriting, but I didn’t yet see a defined direction. I need to see how they play it out.
R: I think the combination of the time jumps in the last episode, the break between Michael and Jane, the now abrupt break between Raf and Jane, the murder of Nadine, the introduction of two different characters to balance Nadine’s death, then the affirmation of Adam Rodriguez as Jane’s adviser, plus the Mutter=Luisa’s mother feel like a lot.
G: But the story is always that densely packed, with the exception of the time jump.
R: And now Rogelio’s poor-ish. That and the Mutter lines I could co-sign without the rest of it.
G: Well, I wanted a break between Raf and Jane, but I am not clear why they rushed either the break with Michael or the break with Raf.
R: So they could tease a girl crush with Petra. They were so clearly playing for the tumblrverse there. They want some SwanQueen level ish out of it that is just not ever going to happen.
G: Siiiiigh. Do people really want Jane/Petra femslash?
R: Misguided. It just feels so misguided. Like even Rogelio going on a budget, which is an overdue storyline to explore, gets defanged by being so easily solved when he #ShopsTheRedStore.
G: I want to see the reason they are rushing the menz. If it has to do either with product placement or with a crush on a professor, which seem like the possibilities now, I will be pissed. But this show has surprised me before.
R: They’re going to play more with Jane’s relationships with Chavez and Petra, I will bet.
G: I care zero amounts about Jane’s relationship with Petra! I’m bored already!
R: On the XoRo tip, did you catch that Rogelio called Xiomara his “girlfriend” to Esteban?
G: Yes, I did.
R: So, I guess we are just pretending that the wedding didn’t happen and no one’s even getting an annulment? It’s like annulment via obscurity.
G: Yes. The annulment obvs happened on the boat.
R: I am grumpy about this show now. I have not cried for two whole episodes.
G: Stringent, my dear. Very stringent.
R: Without this show, how will I experience the happy-sads? No, but seriously, I’m getting worried, like Sleepy Hollow level of worried.
G: Oh, wow, really? I’m not there yet. But I tend to give shows a lot of rope.
R: Like: Why Don’t You Appreciate What We Have Together, Baby? kind of worried. I have a lower tolerance these days than I used to.
G: Well, then, final words: they are gonna need to justify some choices right quick.
R: Yes. I am monitoring this situation with an electron-tunneling microscope.