Diablog: Jane the Virgin, S2 E16

Screenshot from 2016-04-12 00:08:01

Rasha: What can be said of this episode? It subverted biblical patriarchy by creating parallels with the actions of our female characters.

Gemma: It was better than last week’s.

R: It did, it is. I am still puzzled. The writer in me appreciated the tidy transitions between scenes.

G: That’s always a strength of this show’s. I found the Biblical stuff a little clunky, to be honest, but I did appreciate the idea. They are rushing their stories these days, though. Rushing through Rogelio’s trauma, rushing through Pablo.

R: I know! That’s exactly what I was thinking. They spend half a dozen episodes leading up to something and then finish the story in 2 episodes with no aftermath. It makes me think of Rilke’s poem where he laments all the faces we burn through in this life until we’re left with no faces.

G: It feels like it’s essentializing, somehow. Like we’re supposed to think Jane and Michael, who are notably less interesting right now, are What’s Important, and we just need to get through all these other stories to get to them.

Wallpaper from The Birdcage notwithstanding.
Wallpaper from The Birdcage notwithstanding.

R: I was worried about the heavy hetero-ness of WEDDING storylines, and while I was glad for Alba not to marry Pablo, I would have liked a more interesting reason than that “he’s a cheating cheater jerkface.” And somehow, out of all that, we didn’t get anything reflective about Jane and Michael getting married so quickly.

G: Yes yes yes and yes.

R: Will they actually get married?

G: Jane and Michael? I think so. We can only go through that whirlwind so many times. And at the beginning of the ep, I thought they were going to use Alba to do something clever about abstinence-only policies, challenging us by having it be with an older woman. And then they just dropped it.

R: Really? So #TeamMichael wins for good? Are we then going to be subjected to back and forth storylines of separation, kidnapping, and divorce….and death? Dude, that episode would be awesome to watch. Talk about a woman who both has no reason to wait and every reason to have boundaries.

Screenshot from 2016-04-11 23:56:24

G: That was where I thought they were going! I was all “good job, JTV!” And then, yes, he’s a cheating cheater jerkface and I am bored already. Even Alba’s biblical confrontation could not redeem that.

R: I did enjoy the narrator saying “still, that’s the third doorknob this week.” That would be a more substantial reason to call it off.

Ugh, this guy....is this guy.
Ugh, this guy….is this guy.

G: Indeed. As to #TeamMichael winning for good…you’re right, I might be wrong. Because I really wonder how they’re going to pull off a third season of her virginity, but you know they’re gonna try.

R: What will they call the show when Jane has sex? [ETA: they’re going to draw a line through the V-word]

G: I could not say. I mean, for a while I thought this would be just the show to change its title, but now I’m not so sure.

R: I think that is the existential paradox of this show: you’re both setting up the character’s challenge that they must grow into, and also really potentially limiting their ability to grow. But maybe they’re really going to go in on deconstructing the social value of virginity and its use as a tool of social control that benefits patriarchy.

Yeah, or maybe not.
Yeah, or maybe not.

G: Perhaps. But much of the time the show is so engaging and clever that I think they’re just the folks who could navigate that paradox. Then we have a slightly boring episode with missed opportunities like this, and I feel less sure.

R: Is it crass of me to wonder what kind of sex will be Jane’s first kind of sex?

G: No, I think it’s completely appropriate.

R: and like, is this show going to be all coy about what actually constitutes having sex? Because people in this modern contemporary moment even as we speak are being kinda stupid about saying what does and doesn’t count as sex.

G: Particularly straight people.

R: I mean, Michael’s not a virgin, right? Does that mean he’s going to lay out all the options for her and let Jane pick what she’d like for her first time? or are they just going to cruise on an automatic mission for their wedding night? This is also what makes me think they won’t be married.

And will a serenade from Charo be one of those options??
And will a serenade from Charo be one of those options??

G: Unfortunately, my bets are with the latter. I am going to say, though: I did like the postpartum storyline. And it was another foray into this show doing one of the things it does best, have a light touch about the brutality of new motherhood.

R: Yes. I thought Yael Grobglas was so subtle in her first scene. I think it’s also interesting to show a woman who doesn’t otherwise look “depressed” in that she’s rocking her professional life and walking around looking like a boss.

G: Yes. I am liking Grobglas for the first time, and it’s a much more nuanced portrayal of the concept of postpartum than I have seen onscreen ever.

Motherly ambivalence.
Motherly ambivalence without everything going up in flames.

R: And at the same time: eye patch prison mom ranting about how everyone in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s was depressed.

G: Well, that’s JTV. Always in for the contrasts.

I'm required to screencap Magda at least once per eyepatch. Y'all, its ORANGE.
I’m required to screencap Magda at least once per eyepatch. Y’all, its ORANGE.

R: So Petra’s going to run away? Without the twins, right? or is she going to take them with her to find them some other parents?

G: No, without the twins. I suspect we’ll find her and then Rafael will be conflicted re: whether she gets to be around the twins, OR Magda will somehow have arranged to get her tied up in some crime syndicate.

R: Damn, now I’m annoyed with the Milosz storyline for only existing to make Petra wealthy. This is the annoying thing about stories that aren’t. They feel like chess moves that are just to get the pieces into position. Alba needs to date!

G: Which perhaps brings us to the oversimplification of money issues in this episode?

I guess Rogelio did compromise by building a "dream set" that was actually very restrained.
I guess Rogelio did compromise by building a “dream set” that was actually very restrained.

R: Oh, say more.

G: For a moment, it seemed like they were going to address the actual complexities involved in wealth imbalances among intimates in a capitalist society, and take on the way the very real desire to show care through the resources one has available, including money, comes up against the inevitable tie between money and power, and the relationship between more-American-than-not desire to be Independent of anyone else’s desires and needs in your choices and the frequent power plays involved in an ostensible gift. And then they were just kinda like “NAH THAT’S OKAY.”

Not so subtle Versailles reference notwithstanding.
Not so subtle French Revolution references notwithstanding.


G: I mean, yeah, perhaps I’m asking too much of a network dramedy. But still.

R: Except that they were going there!

G: Seriously! They came so close!

R: Except no TV show can take on capitalism, not really. Let’s be honest.

G: I know. Doesn’t mean I can’t want it.

R: Much less go into some anarcho-syndicalist critique of how unevenly distributed resources can become communal goods.

G: It’s actually impressive how close they came given their in-depth ties to the Big Red Box. But it would be better if they had left it hanging a little, unresolved, rather than so actively Dropped It.

R: Anyway. My predictions are: no wedding. Possibly interrupted by something to do with 1)Petra’s exodus, 2) Raf’s brother, or 3) Rogelio’s re-emerging trauma.

G: I sincerely hope 3 plays a role.

R: Well, Petra did buy their house, which is bound to be important again at some point.

This I loved.
This I loved.