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Jane the Virgin - Chapter Fifty - Review

Jane the Virgin “Chapter Fifty” was written by the team of Valentina Garza and David S Rosenthal and was directed by the ever wonderful Melanie Mayron – who also appears as Professor Donaldson. Garza joins the team with a strong background in comedy having previously written for The Simpsons and George Lopez. She also contributed lyrics to several songs on the Simpsons! Jane’s (Gina Rodriguez) cousin Catalina (Sofia Pernas) causes her to be dissatisfied with her own life, it looks like Rogelio (Jaime Camil) and Xo (Andrea Navedo) are going to be star-crossed for at least a bit longer, and the double crosses are piling up at the Mirabella! But my favorite part of this episode is the way the writers actually criticize the product placement on the show – something that is so overt that I’ve commented on it before.

First off, I can’t believe that I didn’t comment on this in my last review – but our narrator’s (Anthony Mendez) wonderful re-cap reminded me – what about that wonderful dance sequence in the last episode?!?!? I loved that Alba (Ivonne Coll) got in on the action too! I’m really hoping we are going to see more from Coll this season. So far, she’s really getting to show us more – from her anger over her sister to her grief over the separation from her family so long ago to the regret for the wedge between her and Jane. And of course, Jane and Rogelio were also fantastic in this sequence.

In our episode flashback, we learn that while Jane (Lillianna Valenzuela) grew up loved but lonely at times and always wanted a sister. In the present, this leads her to welcome Catalina wholeheartedly into her life. And Jane immediately starts doubting herself – Jane’s a planner, but Catalina seems to be the exact opposite of Jane in almost every way! Michael (Brett Dier) says they are considering getting a cat, and Catalina immediately says what’s to consider? Want it? Get it? But of course, it’s not that simple. Given how much Catalina herself travels, how could she ever have a pet? Her cat would be as lonely as young Jane was!

Catalina tells Jane that her Abuela wants to try to patch the rift up between her and Alba. Jane’s not too sure about that, but the two stay up all night getting to know each other – even swapping clothes. Jane is enamored of how adventurous Catalina is. Michael thinks it’s weird that she’s just showed up, but Jane just poo-poos him – not everyone’s a planner like her! She invites her to stay with them, and Catalina accepts – and… this week’s title card gimmick – which runs throughout the episode is a bomb going off!

Jane tells Alba that Cat is there, which Alba is sad about but doesn’t make a fuss over. Jane also learns that she’s never getting her TA job back – thanks to last year’s male stripper visit. Donaldson has a lead with Silver Horizon Publishing’s Leslie Clark (Kelly Rutherford) who is looking for a new assistant and Donaldson recommended her. I loved Jane insisting on giving her a hug!

Petra (Yael Grobglas) is furious that Rafael (Justin Baldoni) could have worked alongside Anezka for months and slept with her and not realized it wasn’t her! She now demands that he vacate the penthouse! I have to say that I thought Rafael seemed awfully calm about the whole thing during the entire episode, and by the end, we see why…

Xo is trying to get a loan from the bank to start her dance studio. Rogelio wants to help, but she doesn’t want him butting in to try to run things and having a say. He tries to convince her that he’s an asset for promotion, AND he knows about dance. I loved how this opened up the back story on these two meeting in high school. Xo thought he joined the dance troupe to meet girls, but he really only wanted to meet one – her. I loved the parallel dance offs in the episode.

My favorite part of this episode, as I’ve said, is the treatment of product placement in the show. In order to get released for his nude scene, Rogelio made a blanket agreement – and what he agreed to was product placement. Or as the executive called it “product integration.” We also learn that the writers said no. The first thing Rogelio has to deal with is what has to be left out of the script to make room for the product scene. Then the venue has to change to Vernon J Herzing’s house because he is a lifelong employee of Post and the inventor of Honey Bunches of Oats – and we get a nice shot of the box! Rogelio says fine, he’ll eat the cereal during the Cuban Missile Crisis. JD (Jorge Diaz) points out that HBO (which Rogelio hilariously thinks refers to the network) wasn’t invented then. Rogelio insists nobody will notice! I thought it was just a nice way for the show to comment on all the Target placements they’ve been forced to work around – until the next commercial break when we see that the episode is being brought to us by… HONEY BUNCHES OF OATS! And I dissolved into laughter…

Scott (Wes Armstrong) tries one more time to try to get back together with Petra and she tells him it’s never going to happen. The second bomb of the episode is Scott serving Petra with a sexual harassment suit. Petra goes to Rafael to back her up with her legal team and offers to let him stay in the Penthouse in exchange. He tells her he’ll do it for his shares back. Petra tells him it’s cheaper to pay Scott off. But Scott doesn’t want money – he’s got the burn book and a lot of dirt on Petra.

Jane and Leslie get along like a house on fire – and I was thrilled to see Kelly Rutherford who I’ve loved since Gossip Girl. However, when Leslie asks if Jane knows Sparks Express, Jane takes Cat’s advice and lies that she knows it, resulting in Jane deleting an entire file – and utterly bombing the interview. Michael commiserates and tells Jane to go back to trusting her instincts. Cat insists that she “work the assistant,” Alice (Kara Wang). Jane takes Cat’s advice, and it seems to be working.

There’s a nice parallel scene with Michael and Jane on their new balcony and Xo and Alba on the “talking” swing at the house. Jane asks Michael if he’s ever thought about travelling, and he brings up the practical side of things. Jane is clearly wistful and pushing against her practical nature. Meanwhile, Alba considers meeting Cat because she hates the wedge between her and Jane.

Rogelio helps Xo get the dance studio of her dreams by agreeing to do a commercial for the strip mall owner. But it turns out there’s a big problem with the location. Xo’s ex-boyfriend Bruce (Ricardo Chavira) has his law office in the same mall! Jane tells Rogelio what bad news Bruce is – he was married and didn’t tell Xo and then didn’t get the divorce he’d promised – but he was someone Xo couldn’t seem to say goodbye to. Rogelio looks very worried…

Rogelio challenges Xo to the second dance off when he sees her distracted by Bruce. She confesses that seeing Bruce has thrown her off – not because she still has feeling for him but because he messed with her life for so long and she never got a change to tell him off. Rogelio tells her that she still can. But does she really want to?

Xo tells Bruce that he’s a duchebag – after he tells her he moved offices after his divorce. She calls Rogelio to tell him that she did it and feels great – and loves where they are with their friendship – and that’s clearly NOT how Rogelio feels.

Rogelio is dealing with a little bit of hangry as he is off carbs – and on celery – YUK! – to get his body ready for his big full frontal scene. He gets off the phone with Xo and explodes on set that he can’t play the scene as written because he can’t find the truth in it! Diego has been looking for Ava through time and space and when he finds her kissing another man, he just walks away without telling her how he feels! And of course, this is exactly how the episode ends for Xo and Rogelio…

But this also gives Rogelio a fix for his HBO problem. There has to be a reason for Diego not to speak up. Rogelio suggests it was not stopping the Hiroshima blast from happening – and this equates to Rogelio not being there to help raise Jane. Which reminds Rogelio that he wants more children and to stick to his original plan.

At the Mirabella, Cat wants to have a drink with Jane when Rafael shows up, and there are definitely sparks when they shake hands! (only on Jane!) Rafael decides to join them, and points out that Cat is totally third-wheeling by horning in on Jane and Michael’s first dinner at their new place – which she is. Jane is clearly not happy about Cat and Rafael making HER the third wheel. As someone recently made a third wheel, I can tell you this is crappy behavior!

Michael points out that Cat is clearly Rafael’s type – she’s hot! Like Jane! Good save dude! And then he turns it around and asks why she’s acting all jealous, which she denies. The next morning Jane denies that she thinks it was “dodgy” for Cat to be out with her baby-daddy. Bad denial Jane. But when Rafael asks if he can ask Cat out, she shuts him down. And the third bomb is when Rafael tells Michael that Jane asked him not to date Cat.

It looks like the dinner with Cat and Alba is going to be awful when she turns up with arepas – and Alba has already spent 4 hours making some! But it turns out the two get on famously – and we learn that Alba and her sister used to sneak out of the house to dance because their father didn’t approve of it. Alba won the dance contest and got disqualified because her skirt was 2 inches too short! Scandal! But that was the night that Alba met Mateo. Cat finishes the story by saying that her grandmother was devastated because she was in love with him first – and that’s the fourth bomb! An exploding arepas – after Alba tells Cat hers are dry!

When Alice calls to invite Jane out for Happy Hour, Michael insists that he’s not going to be the stick in the mud that costs her the opportunity – they’re going. Jane finally admits that she is jealous but of Cat. She makes Jane feel boring. Cat leads a glamorous life and isn’t afraid to break the rules. And this is what Michael was afraid of – that she’d make Jane hate her boring life. Michael proves he’s not boring by jumping up and taking the stage! Was that even a karaoke bar??!! Jane joins him for a fabulous rendition of “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, which you can watch here.

The two end the night on the same page – and stop and get a cat on the way home! And how ironic that there is also a Cat waiting for them on the couch! Jane tells Cat to go to Rafael, and off she goes…

Rafael agrees to back up Petra when she agrees to being equal partners again – but Rafael is in it with Scott – who did it for the favor… which is yet to be determined. And Rafael ends the episode in Cat’s arms…

We get two final scenes with the cereal. One in which we see it integrated into the telenovela, and then Rogelio asks the HBO rep (Maahra Hill) if she’d be interested in supplying eggs! YUK! And in the next, Rogelio is sharing breakfast with Xo and Jane. Xo denies having seen Bruce again.

Alba and Jane make up and both admit that they hate the distance between them. Alba does tell Jane that Cat reminds her of her sister and she thinks she can’t be trusted. Even Rafael recognizes that Cat is trouble!

This was a terrific episode, primarily because of the product placement lampooning. But I also loved all of the parallel plots and echoes. My one small quibble is that Xo and Rogelio’s relationship/status/non-relationship is starting to feel a bit repetitive – but that’s a telenovela for you, right? What did you think of the episode? Do you trust Cat? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!