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Jane the Virgin - Chapter 29 & Chapter 30 - Review

Jane the Virgin returns this week with a new episode, so like our favorite Narrator (Anthony Mendez), it’s time to re-cap to be ready! I can’t help but be disappointed that Gina Rodriquez (Jane) didn’t win the Golden Globe this year, but hopefully her nomination will bring some new eyes to the program, which is still struggling in the ratings. I’m convinced that people are still stuck on the “concept” without actually giving the show a try – and it’s just so good every week! It’s also easy to jump in to the show at any point because of the Narrator’s hilarious – but thorough! – recaps. So, not as good as Mendez, perhaps, but here’s my recap to catch you up!

“Chapter Twenty-Nine” was written by the team of David S Rosenthal and Dara Resnick Creasey and was directed by Edward Ornelas. Creasey joins the team from Castle, Mistresses, Pushing Daisies, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, so she has a good background in mystery and romantic-comedy. This episode finally catches the story up to Thanksgiving.

This week’s flashback is teenage Jane (Montse Herandez) babysitting. We’re told she already knows the value of hard work, and her charge (Duncan Joiner) is making her work hard for her money. Xo (Andrea Navedo) calls to see how she’s doing – and what the big house is like! It’s another reminder that the Villanueva women are only used to girls and that the come from modest means. Jane gets locked out of the house, solidifying in Jane’s mind that even a babysitter as conscientious as she is can have problems. I liked how these themes all play out as the episode unfurls.

In the present, we are at Target for Black Friday. Rafael (Justin Baldoni) is allowed to join, but there are rules! No chit chat, no digging in the bins – those are for suckers, and no looking in anyone else’s cart. I loved the slow motion hero walk as they walk down the aisle! Jane runs into Michael (Brett Dier), who she naturally sees through falling snow. It’s awkward, and Michael finally tells her that he can’t do it. He’s not interested in catching up. He’s moved on. And we all know he’s lying – except Jane. When Rafael arrives he sees that Jane is upset and asks if she’s alright.

Meanwhile, Jane is preparing for the big writer’s Christmas party. She is planning on approaching the famous Dr Bolton (Joyful Drake) to be her supervisor. Like always, Jane has done her homework. She’s wearing a riding boot with her party dress because Dr Bolton rides. She has five anecdotes to slip into the conversation. She tells Wesley (Brian Jordan Alvarez) her plans and commiserates with him about how Professor Chavez (Adam Rodriquez) hates her. She tries to send his evaluation to Wesley, but ends up sending it to Chavez – which will come back to her later in the episode.

Because Jane has been breast-feeding, she gets drunk way more easily than normal. When she finally goes to talk to Bolton, she is drunk (on just two glasses of wine!). Everyone else seems to have beat her to the punch as far as her icebreakers go. To make matters worse, Jane manages to knock a plate of deviled eggs all over Bolton. Naturally, Xo gives her good advice when she tells Jane to apologize the old-fashioned way by writing a note. She knows her daughter’s strengths!

Jane writes the letter but when she tries to deliver it, it has become soaked by her water bottle. Bolton catches Jane going through her desk in an attempt to find pen and paper to re-write the note. Bolton is not happy, but when the plug shorts on the fridge in her office, Jane discovers a real in with Bolton – they are both new mothers. I liked that Jane is able to explain how she got drunk so quickly and then Bolton thanks her for the tip, telling Jane that she’s going to New York that weekend and was planning to “pump and dump” – something we already know about from Lena’s birthday party!

This natural and spontaneous connection is the in she needed with Bolton who agrees to consider being her supervisor – but she’ll want to see some of Jane’s work. I loved the scene in which Bolton critiques Jane’s work. This is one of my favorite sequences in the series as the scene is cut with Wesley’s “interview” with Luisa (Yara Martinez). Wesley is writing a smear piece on the Solanos and has found out about Luisa from Jane. He’s gone to her AA meeting, even pretending to have been to the same Ashram as Luisa!

As it turns out Bolton gives terrible writing advice. However, her critique dovetails perfectly with the scene between Wesley and Luisa. Bolton tells Jane that her writing shows great promise, but she needs to turn the volume up. This is followed by a “Pardon?” from Wesley. Bolton says, “and I really want you to make me gasp” and Wesley gasps! Bolton’s non-advice is capped by “make it more sparkley!”????

I also liked the scene as Jane struggles with the re-write and Bolton keeps popping in to help. Jane finally decides to look at Chavez’s comments again and finds that they are really good advice. He visits her while she’s writing too, but he sits quietly in the rocking chair! Jane goes to Chavez and tells him how clear and helpful his comments were. She asks him to be her supervisor, but he says the “Emperor of Smug Condescension” doesn’t have time – and oh, by the way? That email was sent to him…

Jane is not yet ready to give up, however, and it’s actually Rogelio’s (Jaime Camil) courageous choice that sends her back to Chavez. She tells him she’s going to take his class again for no credit just to get the benefit of his comments. She’s there to become a better writer and she knows now that he can help her achieve that. In the end Chavez relents because as her supervisor, he’ll have to see her less! He’s kidding, of course, and is impressed at Jane’s determination.

Rogelio goes to LA in a final last ditch effort to get permission from Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner to do his new show. Weiner doesn’t actually appear, but the back of “his” head tells Rogelio no. It’s revealed that Rogelio’s backer was…. Himself and he’s lost everything! He can’t sell anything because he leases everything. Rogelio decides to swallow his pride and go back to the television executives (Cate Cohen and Julianna Barninger). They offer him a “new” show which is really just a re-tread of a western show he already did.

I loved the scene in which Rogelio is reading lines with Jane. She notices that he’s completely not into it, and he tells her that it’s an acting choice. He’s going to play it like the character has Lyme disease! He finally admits to Jane that the show feels like a creative step backward. But he never wants to go back to being poor.

Meanwhile, Xo’s song was supposed to be on Rogelio’s new show. She’s disappointed when it won’t be used and then she’s worried about Rogelio’s reaction when Esteban (Keller Wortham), but he says it’s fine. However, he’s convinced that Esteban is only using the song to get back at him. Of course, when Rogelio confront Esteban about it, Esteban didn’t know anything about the song, but uses it to make Rogelio be the court jester on his show and be humiliated if they are still going to use the song.

When Alba (Ivonne Coll), Xo, and Jane show up for the first day of shooting, Rogelio realizes that he’ll never be poor again because he’s rich in love, and he literally rides off into the sunset! Xo doesn’t even know about what’s happened with the song, but she shows up to support Rogelio even thinking that her song has been dropped. I loved the scene in which Xo gets the call that they are using the song again, and the Narrator points out what a good actor Rogelio is by how he’s acting so surprised!

Jane and Rafael have their date in this episode, but first they must find a babysitter. I loved them playing Babysitting Idol. Rafael has also bought a baby cam but Jane doesn’t want to use it. Much like Goldielocks and the three bears, the first nanny is too hard, the second too soft, and the third too hot! However, the fourth is Chepa (Lidia Porto), a former Pediatric nurse who all three like. However, on their first attempt at going on a date, Jane manages to piss Chepa off enough that she leaves. She does come back, however to give Jane another try when Rafael pays her for three hours for working one.

Jane and Rafael’s date isn’t what she was expecting. It’s very low key and they only have one hour, so he takes her to see a house with a white picket fence that he’s considering buying. If it’s not the house from the flashback at the beginning of the episode, it’s very close! I loved the two of them bantering back and forth and then Rafael’s heartfelt explanation about the house. While on the date, however, Lina texts with news of Wesley’s expose “Ocean Drive: The Curse of the Solanos.” Jane is shocked and Rafael calls his lawyer to start a defamation suit. Jane apologizes and Rafael forgives her because she didn’t know.

Jane has gotten over her fear of leaving Mateo and even asks Chepa to babysit again the next Thursday for her at Jane’s house. However, Jane did use the Nanny cam and caught something she was not expecting. She sees that Rafael did hire Eric Wu (Jonathan Ohye) to lie about Michael. Jane is livid and storms out.

Meanwhile, Michael wasn’t actually fired! He’s been working undercover all these months and Armstrong (Greg Collins) and Susanna (Megan Ketch) have been in on it from the beginning. I loved the scene in which the three go over the case and we have the computer screens in the air – nice effect! I miss our magic realism! Michael is struggling, however, as he clearly blames himself for Nadine’s (Azie Tesfai) death – which we see in a flashback. She dies saving his life.

They’ve managed to use Nadine’s connections to get them to a money laundering operation at a bar owned by the Maracay Group since 1983. It was owned by Emilio and inherited by Rose. I do hope we get some Bridget Regan this winter! Ironically, they get their big break from Wesley’s article. Luisa’s mother jumped off a bridge in 1983 and the funeral was a closed casket – is she still alive? Is she “Mutter”? The final scene is Luisa at the cemetery looking at an empty casket!

Finally, Petra (Yael Grobglas) is having problems of her own. She runs into Jane at the hotel as she tries to smuggle a ton of ice into her rooms to hide the smell of poor, dead Ivan (Christopher Corbin). She ends up being rude to Jane, but then calls to apologize. When Jane accepts her explanation about not feeling well, Petra is surprised and pleased – the Narrator reminds us she doesn’t have much experience with friends! She invites Jane to lunch and is pathetically pleased when she says yes!

Of course, the lunch is not to be as Petra has to cancel it when Magda (Priscilla Barnes) runs into her in the lobby with a new “Weekend at Bernie’s” plan. They use vodka and lemons to cover the dead man’s stench and smuggle him out in a wheelchair. When Petra again bumps into Jane, she is forced to tell her they don’t need to be friends – and Petra is pathetically sad when she drives Jane away. Petra and Magda burn the body….

“Chapter Thirty” was written by the team of Paul Sciarrotta and Carolina Rivera and was directed by Uta Briesewitz. The Narrator reminds us that we now have not one but two crime lords to worry about – Rose and Mutter – and remarks, “I know! Cray-cray, right?” Things are heating up.

We learn in the flashback that Jane isn’t perfect! She has always been kind, smart and a rule follower, but she also has a temper! Alba teaches six year old Jane (Jenna Ortega) an anger management technique. She tells Jane to think of things that make her happy or C.A.L.M when she’s upset. So Jane thinks of Cheese, Abuela, Lists, and Monkey. I loved that she eventually turned Monkey into Michael and because that was now a painful subject, she turns Michael into Mateo. It’s also hilarious when we see Rogelio uses the same technique using Cellphone, Avocado mask, Lavender, and Mirror! We definitely get our magic realism back in this episode as we see smoke coming from Jane’s ears on several occasions and her calm thoughts coming out as smoke first too.

Jane is so angry at Rafael for lying to her that she even snaps at Santa! Rafael shows up for Mateo’s picture with Santa because it’s on the calendar they share. A woman in the line sees them bickering and suggests counselling which neither of them are keen on.

Jane also loses her cool on Wesley and confronts him at school to tell him she’s reporting him to the Dean to get him kicked out of school. She gets sidetracked once there when she learns that her tuition hasn’t been paid by the scholarship she won – the Elodea Gale Vigor – a nice anagram for Rogelio! I loved his singing voice mail message!

Jane refuses to tell Rogelio – and later in the episode, it’s clear that he thought the tuition had been paid for the entire year. She also swears Xo and Alba to silence on the matter. She goes to Chavez to see if she can still get a TA position, only to learn it’s too late. He does suggest that she try to win a short story contest which has a cash prize for the best story in historical fiction, thriller or science fiction. She asks which he thinks she should try and he suggests a few pages of each and then he’ll help her pick.

It turns out that there is no restriction on genre, but Chavez wanted to push Jane out of her comfort zone. It’s a nice gimmick when the story suddenly veers into the different genres, especially Jane tracking down the shady number and Rogelio being confronted by shapeshifters! Chavez wanted her to develop a sense of time and place with the historical fiction, the element of surprise with the thriller and to break the rules a bit with science fiction. He also reports Wesley to the Dean, which opens up a TA spot for Jane, which in turn hopefully means she won’t have to take out a loan or trade in her car.

I really loved the way that Rogelio and Jane were both struggling in this episode and how the two issues dovetailed together. While Jane is struggling with her anger over Rafael’s lies, Rogelio is struggling with needing someone to talk to. He asks his new Intern, JD (Jorge Diaz) if it would be appropriate for him to still be friends with Michael. Even though JD says no, Rafael still manages to “run into” Michael at Michael’s favorite coffee place. I do love these two together! Rogelio asks if Jane okays it if they could hang together again because he misses Michael and they were in a pretty good bro-mance. Michael wants to say, “Sure bro. You crack me up!” but what he does say is that it’s better for all of them if he simply moves on. Rogelio is obviously unhappy.

That’s why I was a little curious when Jane announces that Rafael won’t be joining them for tree trimming because she’s locked him out of the event calendar. After all, shouldn’t he simply be pulling for Michael to get another chance? When Rafael learns he’s been shut out of the calendar, he messages Jane to say that he wants Mateo for Christmas. This leads to a heated argument between the two – computers smoking in fury! And escalates to them saying they are going to lawyers.

When Jane asks Alba’s immigration lawyer for advice, he suggests that she contact the author of the smear article to get his sources on Rafael’s shady finances. She could use the information to get full custody of Mateo! Alba says she doesn’t want that, and Jane agrees, but she does want to know what else he lied about. Wesley quickly gives up Scott (Wes Armstrong) who gives up a number. When Jane dials the number she finds out that Rafael has actually been supporting a battered women’s shelter!

Rogelio is upset that JD has failed the Prince William test – Rogelio told him he slept with Charo and JD leaked it! Xo sees that something is wrong and asks Rogelio why he’s so desperate for a friend. He tells her that sometimes he needs a friend to vent to about the 23 years that she kept him out of Jane’s life. When he sees Jane doing the same thing to Rafael, it brings up feelings for him – thus the reaction at the tree trimming!

Xo encourages Jane to go to therapy and when she asks Rafael, he agrees. I loved the scenes with Dr Dampry (Megan Park), and I hope we see her again. She tells them to tell her what’s going on but tells them not to place blame but talk about what they are feeling. I loved how they both started their sentences with “I feel” and then went on to blame the other anyway! I also loved how she had them role play the other’s experience and we got Jane’s voice out of Rafael and Rafael’s out of Jane’s. It turns out to be a pretty good technique as Jane suddenly realizes that she hadn’t even thought about Rafael’s father’s death. It turns out that Jane’s biggest concern – her trigger – was that Rafael had been lying for six months.

I loved the scene between Rogelio and Jane. She tells him that the therapy went very well. She then confides in him that the 23 years they lost had a profound effect on her. It was the lying for 23 years that has made lying a trigger for her. I definitely get that!

Rogelio confronts JD about his betrayal only to discover that it wasn’t JD – there were two other people in the room when Rogelio told him! JD doesn’t want to patch things up as they aren’t friends – Rogelio doesn’t even know that he’s a writer not an Intern! He’s been reading terrible scripts for Rogelio, but he leaves him his own to read – or not – before leaving.

Meanwhile, Michael and Susanna question Luisa about her mother. They bring Rafael to the station where he runs into his mother (Fabiana Udenio) who has been brought in for questioning about Luisa’s mother too. She tells him that she hasn’t stopped thinking about him and the things she wanted to say to him. He stops her cold, telling her that now that he has a son of his own, there is nothing and no amount of money that would ever make him leave Mateo. Rafael is also disgusted with Luisa after she admits to having been in touch with Rose via the Internet for several months.

Michael and Susanna trace Mia to a care facility and enlist Luisa to help them get access to her. They discover that Mia has managed to swap identities out with a non-verbal patient and is long gone. I loved Luisa’s blatant flirting with Susanna and how uncomfortable Susanna is with it!

Rafael is worried about Petra. Magda puts him off, telling him she has low blood sugar, but Petra is hallucinating a dead Ivan – who is hilarious. Eventually, Dr Hamagaki (Charles Kim) tells Petra she has high blood pressure and needs to take it easy. Rafael is now very worried about her and the babies, and Petra has reached her breaking point. She confesses everything to him.

Shockingly, he isn’t as shocked as you might think after his first reaction. He tells Petra he doesn’t hate her. As soon as he tells her that, Ivan winks out of existence! Rafael tells her that he finally understands her, and now it’s time to get her mother out of her life for good!

Meanwhile, Jane is working on her story, factoring in all the things she’s learned. It turns out that Michael is still her Knight at the end. She comes out of her room to find a box and the mail on the porch. Jane opens the box to find the missing Angel that Alba’s husband Mateo (Dennis Mencia) had given her on their first Christmas in the US and that Xo had dropped and broken the day of the baptism and which was missing when they were trimming the tree! There’s a note in the box from Michael. He’d found the broken angel and fixed it, but then forgot to return it… until now. As Jane reads this miracle, Alba opens the mail to find her green card has arrived! Rogelio comes out to declare that JD’s script is fantastic and is his next passion project!

While Christmas miracles are raining down in the Villaneuva household, things are not so cheery at the Solano household. Rafael encourages Petra to call the police on her mother, but before she can there is a knock on the door. It’s the police! With Magda! She’s accused Petra of Ivan’s murder!

And that’s where we left everyone. I loved the careful writing of this episode and the terrific performances, particularly from Gina Rodriguez, Jaime Camil, and Justin Baldoni. We now have a lot of balls in the air, and I can’t wait to see them all start bouncing! Who is Mutter really? Will we see Rose sometime soon? Will Petra have her babies in prison? Will Rogelio get a backer for his passion project? Will Jane choose between Michael and Rafael? What did you think of the fall run of the series? What are you looking forward to in this half of the season? Let me know your thoughts below!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Defiance, Bitten, Killjoys, and a few others! I'm active on the Con scene when I have the time. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.
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