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Jane the Virgin - Chapter Thirty-Nine & Chapter Forty - Review

Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Thirty-Nine” was written by Carolina Rivera and was directed by Matthew Diamond, whose other credits include 90210, So You Think You Can Dance, and General Hospital. This episode was the twin/parallel episode. Valeria (Vanessa Merrell) and Victoria (Veronica Merrel) show up for the first time in some time, and we get yet another good/evil twins in our telenovela! Or maybe Petra (Yael Grobglas) and her sister (also Grobglas!) will turn out not to be twins or not to be one or the other! The parallel story line involves both Xo (Andrea Navedo) and Rogelio (Jaime Camil) trying to horn in on Michael (Brett Dier) and Jane’s (Gina Rodriguez) bachelor/bachelorette parties with rather different outcomes.

The opening flashback tells us that Jane didn’t lose control very often, and we flash back to her meeting Michael on her wild 21st birthday when she stole his gun and shot the ceiling. We continue a little further into the story when Michael comes back to the door to tell her that someone is passed out on the porch – it’s Xo, who promptly wakes up, tries to flirt with Michael and then throws up on his shoes. And this is exactly why Jane takes control of her bachelorette party – she doesn’t want a repeat of that! And as it turns out, she was right to worry.

It was somewhat sad to see this side of Xo – the side that feels she missed out on her youth and is desperate to recapture it. Yet Navedo is able to infuse the character with sympathy too. I love that the writers can write such broad character stereotypes and still make them human and relatable. It certainly doesn’t hurt when you have such talented actors to bring the nuances to life though!

Alba (Ivonne Coll) has no intention of going to the party and doesn’t want Xo to go for the same reasons that Jane would rather have a boring party than have her mother embarrass her. Lina and Xo conspire behind Jane’s back to give her the kind of party they think she should have – or at least the one that they’d like themselves.

Valeria and Victoria show up because they want Rogelio to invest in their new fashion blog – Seeing Double. Love it! They want to be like the Olsen twins – but with no old creepy French dudes! Rogelio wants Jane to talk them out of it, so she invites them to College Day where she’s been asked to speak by Professor Blake (Oliver Vaquer).

Rogelio tells them to congratulate Jane on her wedding to the best man on Earth! I love how much Rogelio loves Michael – but of course, the twins think she’s marrying Rafael (Justin Baldoni). Rogelio has also commandeered Michael’s bachelor party – and he wasn’t invited at first either! Michael and Jane are both having problems with their wedding vows and they have to be printed in the Catholic program.

The first disaster associated with Jane’s bachelorette occurs during her speech when she’s interrupted by a Don Quixote stripper (Joe LoCicero) – sent by Xo and Lina (Diane Guerrero). He was supposed to come to her office, but of course, he hunts her down when he doesn’t find her there. It’s utterly fitting for it to be Don Quixote – the famous tilter at windmills – always seeking a dream he can’t quite catch. And obsessed with the romantic trope of chivalry. It’s a nice reflection of Xo’s quest for eternal youth. And Lina’s own issues in the episode in realizing that she has just been spinning her own wheels.

The prospective students at the talk love the stripper, but of course, the parents are horrified – and it may mean that Jane will lose her TA position! Xo pretty much brushes it off, but Jane says this is why she didn’t want any surprises – and then Lina shows up with the party bus. Lina says she refused to throw Jane the lamest party ever. And she’s got her covered in all the practical ways. She’s covered her work shift for the next day, Alba is looking after Mateo, and Lina brought Jane’s party dress. Xo even got her an extension on her vows. Xo insists that it’s better than some boring dinner party!

And that’s exactly what Rogelio has planned for Michael. Rogelio insists that you only get married once – we’re reminded that he’s been married three times! Michael’s friends are totally confused! And of course, they were expecting something a little wilder, but Michael is uncomfortable even talking about previous exploits with his future father-in-law!

The gimmick for this episode is a loss of control meter for Jane. While Jane seems to be holding on to some control – or at least awareness, Xo is well on her way to getting utterly out of control. Jane gets a message from Blake that her job is safe, and Xo once again screws it up by drunkenly sending him a message.

Jane enlists the twins to sneak into the College Day party and steal Blake’s phone to erase the message before he hears it. They agree but suddenly want to be invited to the wedding AND they want to be bridesmaids and wear their own clothing so that they can sell the pictures to finance their blog! Jane agrees, and the twins end up stealing his phone and wallet. Jane deletes the message and then they make a hasty retreat.

Jane and Michael text each other about how bad their nights are. Michael points out that she just didn’t want Xo there – because he knew that she’d spend her time worrying about what Xo was doing rather than having a good time herself.

Michael is having a hard time letting himself relax with Rogelio there. When Michael’s friends complain about how weird it is to have the bachelor party at a spa, Michael tells them that he didn’t want Rogelio there – and Rogelio overhears. Again, if Camil wasn’t such an amazing performer, you wouldn’t feel nearly so badly for Rogelio.

Michael apologizes to Rogelio. He admits that he’d never meant to invite Rogelio. Rogelio says that he thought Michael liked being pampered. Michael says the problem is that it changes the dynamic with his friends when Rogelio is there. Rogelio maintains he’s cooler than that, but realizes that he isn’t as cool as he thought when Michael starts to tell a risqué story from his past. This is the man who will marry his daughter after all! In the end, Michael’s friends decide that they aren’t really in a bar mood anymore – they’re enjoying the pampering!

Michael and Rogelio share a couple’s massage, and Michael apologizes. Michael admits to Rogelio that what he thinks of him really matters. Rogelio is touched and tells Micheal that he’s “massaging” his heart. How do you not love Rogelio!?

In the end, both parties end up at the Mirabella. Jane is finally able to lose control because Michael is there to be her safety net. We get an hilarious comparison of what drunk Jane thinks her rendition of Sweet Lady Jane compared to the reality. Of course, Rodriguez is a terrific rapper in real life!

Jane and Michael both admit that they are having trouble with their vows. Jane has too much to say, and Michael wants them to be private. They decide not to print them in the program – and the Narrator (Anthony Mendez) won’t let us hear them either!

Jane catches Xo making out with Chad (Will Brandt) – Lina’s semi-boyfriend – in the hallway after having lost everyone’s phones too. Jane completely loses her temper and tells Xo that this is why she didn’t even want to invite her – she knew Xo would act like a drunk sorority girl. Jane recognizes that she’s a control freak because she grew up with Xo who is so out of control.

Lina doesn’t have a good night either and complains to Jane about Angela (Charlyne Yi). Jane eventually apologizes to Lina, and Lina takes Xo as a cautionary tale. She’s worried she’s done nothing with her life. I suspect that Lina’s goal of becoming a style consultant will end up being important to the twins’ fashion blog! Jane, of course, makes an action plan for Lina.

The episode ends with Jane really losing control – it was EPIC – and not accepting yet another apology from Xo. We get a nice mix of Xo’s identical past and present apologies. But in the present, Jane tells her, “I don’t want your apology. I want you to grow up!”

The other major development – besides the reveal that Petra isn’t running away but has a twin – is Rafael’s getting to know Derek (Mat Vairo) better…. Maybe. When Rafael can’t get Michael to check the GPS on Derek’s boat, he turns to a private investigator who gives him an all clear. However, Rafael wakes up from a night of drinking with Derek and his buddies to find out he’s just made $5 Million dollars on a stock trade through insider trading! Derek insists that that’s why he tried to stop Rafael from doing it.

“Chapter 40” was written by the team of Jessica O’Toole and Amy Rardin and was directed by Anne Mastro, whose other credits include Royal Crush and Finding Carter. The Narrator begins by telling us that he hates it when Xo and Jane fight and that he hopes it ends soon! The gimmick in this episode is Jane’s love of Salsa – which we already know about. However, we didn’t know that Young Jane (Lillianna Valenzuela) took lessons! Or that she wasn’t very good at it. Or that Xo spirited her away to save her from a performance. In the present, however, Jane has cast her lead character as a Salsa dancer – and I love watching Jane play her character and her character talk to her throughout the episode.

Alba and Michael both try to get Xo and Jane to declare a ceasefire, but have no effect. When Xo backs out of babysitting, Michael is happy to watch Mateo. And of course, rather than be bothered by a list, Michael asks for it. The more detailed the better! And also of course, Michael is fantastic at it. Maybe too fantastic, when Mateo calls him DaDa and reaches for him from Rafael’s arms.

Meanwhile the wedding is having an impact on everyone. Rogelio is keen for Jane to pick her dress, but she can’t without Xo. She tries to do it with Alba, but it’s just not the same. When Rogelio turns her office into a wedding pop up store, Jane runs afoul of her supervisor – Marlene (Melanie Mayron). The stress of her fight with Xo has Jane losing it with Marlene. She finally asks her if her problem is with Jane’s writing or her. Jane really loses her cool – and almost her place in the graduate program – when she tells Marlene that she doesn’t much like her either!

Jane finds out from another student that she has to get Marlene’s approval in a letter to continue in the program, and Marlene maintains that she will need to see more of an improvement in Jane’s writing before she’ll write it. She keeps telling Jane that her story needs more context. Jane loses it again in Marlene’s office when she has to ask for an extension – she even bursts into tears. It seems like Marlene may be becoming slightly more human, but she ends up telling Jane that the deadline for the re-write is the deadline for the re-write – no extension!

Jane finally finds the context for her own story when the Salsa dancer asks Jane what the Salsa dancer’s mother was like. Flash to a wonderful Salsa between Rodriguez and Dancing with the Stars own Derek Hough! Jane finishes the story and submits it on time! It’s enough to keep her in the program. When she sits down with Michael afterwards, he too wants to talk about family and context. He wants to know where he does fit in Mateo’s life. He’s a little hurt that Jane never just asks him to watch Mateo, it’s always babysitting. Jane agrees and tells Michael he’s getting his own color in the calendar!

       Rogelio has a visit from the Network executives (Cate Cohen and Julianna Barnigher). They tell him that he can’t use the crew for personal reasons – like building a set! He swears that the set is for a new plot for the show – and then his writers can’t come up with anything

Rogelio turns to Dina (Judy Reyes). She is appalled that he wants her to build a story around a set – that’s not how the writing process works! Dina is the one to finally give him insight into what is really going on between Xo and Jane. I adore the way this show can surprise us with even more meta storytelling!

Rogelio invites everyone to set to see Tiago’s latest adventure. It’s clearly about Jane, Xo, and Alba. Juanita (Zailee Madrigal) complains that Xaviera (Kikey Castillo) is too immature while Xaviera complains that Juanita is too judgmental. I loved that Alma (Dyana Ortelli) was running around in short shorts and Xaviera’s dress was covered in musical notes! Naturally, Rogelio (Tiago) shows up as the mailman to declare that he knows why they’re fighting – it’s to make their impending separation less painful! “You’re scared to leave each other – maybe if you fight, it will feel less painful.” Xo and Jane are both crying – Rodriguez and Navedo are just SO good! And the two make up.

Dina saves the day for Rogelio by telling the network executives that this is only part of the story, which so far they think is boring. In reality, she tells them, the characters are clones and Tiago is saving the world. Rogelio goes to thank Dina and suddenly notices that she’s very attractive. Dina finds Rogelio’s concern over his family very attractive and the two end up kissing! Can this last? Is this the end of Ro and Xo?!

Meanwhile, Rafael is trying to buy the Fairwick from Barbara Fairwick (Judy Kain) with Petra’s help. Their first meeting with her goes very well and it looks like they will be buying the hotel.

Petra is surprised by Anezka’s appearance on her doorstep and takes her in. I’m really looking forward to what Grobglas will do with this new character! So far, I’m loving it. Petra takes Anezka to Magda (Priscilla Barnes) for an explanation. She says that she couldn’t raise two children, so she kept the pretty one – of twins! Hilarious! Petra vows to keep Anezka with her and take care of her.

Unfortunately, Anezka is very high maintenance! She steals wallets at the Mirabella – she’s had to steal to live. And when Barbara shows up and hugs Anezeka who she thinks is Petra, Anezeka squeaks and scratches – as she’s already informed us she does when surprised and touched! Barbara doesn’t care about the explanation and raises the price.

Another theme that ran through this episode very adeptly was that of family and parenting. Michael wanting to know his place, Jane/Xo/Alba, Petra/Anezeka/Magda, the clone family, and Rafael and Petra both worried that they aren’t good providers. Rafael’s insecurity leads him to use the tainted money from the previous episode – and the narrator warns us that he will come to regret this decision!

The episode ends with a real twist as we see someone taking pictures of Michael! What could this mean? What are your theories? Let me know your thoughts on the episodes in the comments 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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