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Jane the Virgin - Chapter Seventy-Seven & Chapter Seventy-Eight - Review

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My apologies for falling a bit behind on Jane the Virgin. This is in no way a reflection on the current very powerful storyline that this show is bravely tackling. “Chapter Seventy-Seven” was written by the team of Deirdre Shaw and Chantelle M Wells and was directed by Gina Lamar. “Chapter Seventy-Eight” was written by the team of Valentina Garza and Michah Schraft and was directed by none other than Rafael – Justin Baldoni. “Chapter Seventy-Seven” sees the family waiting for Xo’s (Andrea Navedo) diagnosis and “Chapter Seventy-Eight” sees the family struggling to deal with it. The show is doing an exceptional job in weaving in such a difficult topic. It’s not shying away from the reality of the situation.

“Chapter Seventy-Seven” begins with a re-cap to the many times Jane (Gina Rodriguez) had been to the hospital – and always with Xo at her side. Now it was Jane’s turn to be there for her mother. With 3 to 5 days to wait for the biopsy on the lump in Xo’s breast, Jane is determined to be there for her. But Xo is having none of it. She bravely tells the others to carry on with their lives. She tells them that they are not going to worry until there is something to worry about. Alba (Ivonne Coll) steps in to distract Xo with a broken dishwasher.

Jane begins her writers’ group but she’s distracted by not worrying. The group encourages Jane to go back to her story – but from a different perspective. Lisa (Leigh Bush) assigns the group to write about something from a side character’s perspective. And then, of course, the episode runs with it – in several ways. In fact, the story of Xo’s breast cancer is told from the perspective of all the side characters to that story, who include Jane… In the end, Jane’s writer’s block is solved. She’s going to write about her mother.

Petra (Yael Grobglas) is still obsessed with JR (Rosario Dawson) and drops the twins off at Jane’s while she goes to meet her. Mateo (Elias Janssen) is losing a tooth – which Xo gets out for him by having him bite an apple! The twins, however, burst his bubble about the tooth fairy by telling him that she doesn’t exist. Jane tries to weave a magical story about the tooth fairy who’s been alive since the beginning of time, and the twins bring everyone back to reality by stating that everyone dies. And of course, that makes everyone thing about Xo.

Once again, it’s Xo who steps into the mother role for everyone. She tells Mateo about the time she saw the tooth fairy when she was 6. She describes the tooth fairy as floating through her widow with a green dress, long silver hair, and pointy ears. She was surrounded by sparkles. As she talks, Rogelio slips out of the room and Jane follows him.

I have to give a shout out here to Jaime Camil (Rogelio), who is simply brilliant in these two episodes. We are so used to seeing big, comedic performances from him, but when asked to deliver a restrained and dramatic performance, he nails it. He has a much wider gap to bridge than most of the other characters. Jane finds Rogelio on the verge of tears in her room. He confides in her how scared he is. Jane tells him that she’s scared too. She tells him to use his acting skills to convince Xo that he’s not worried or scared. She tells him to focus on something else – like getting River (Brooke Shields) to do the show. Rogelio promises that he will try.

Petra arrives at JR’s office expecting – hoping for – a hook up, only to find JR there with her mother Aida (Gloria Laino), who’s remembered what the guy who left the note looked like. More secondary – or possibly thirdary – characters playing a part! However, she’s actually described Prince Harry! Aida is humming a song that Petra recognizes but can’t place at first. JR tells Petra that they aren’t in an epic romance – the other night was just a one time thing.

Petra tells Jane that she practices radical honesty with the twins and she was the one to tell them the tooth fairy wasn’t real. But she made them promise not to tell the other kids at school. She promises to fix it when Jane tells her that they told Mateo. Jane remembers all the other times that Petra said she would fix things and tries using Petra as her side character.

When Jane drops by Rafael’s she finds him going through all the material from Luisa’s (Yara Martinez) storage locker. He’s found her deposition from when she impregnated Jane. The narrator (Anthony Mendez) points out that this is our origin story – from the point of view of a side character!

Rogelio seems to be having a productive meeting with River. Rogelio grits his teeth and agrees to her criticisms. To be honest, many of River’s suggestions are really good! She tells Rogelio her agents want the project to work, and when Rogelio produces Bananas Foster for dessert – her favorite! – it seems like the deal is sealed… until Rogelio burns off her iconic eyebrows! FYI – Brooke Shields with no eyebrows looks hilarious!

Luisa tells her story, and it’s hilarious when Jane appears as a side character! We also get some nice cameos from Bridget Regan (Rose) and Alano Miller (Aaron Zazo). Rodriguez is great as Jane gains new insight into Luisa’s point of view.

Petra’s first attempt at fixing the tooth fairy debacle goes horribly awry when the twins then suggest that Santa Claus isn’t real! Jane’s reaction is extreme and Petra is taken aback. She also questions how she’s affected the twins’ childhood.

Petra goes to Alba to check on Jane. She thinks she knows why Jane is so upset, and Alba’s reaction that everyone is upset surprises her. Luckily, Alba quickly realizes that they aren’t talking about the same thing. Alba wants to protect Xo’s privacy, but Petra insists because they are family, and she does tell Petra what they are all worried about.

In reading Luisa’s deposition, Jane reads about how Luisa found Xo so fierce. Luisa also talks about following in her own mother’s footsteps. Jane calls Rafael and tells him that she thinks that Luisa is literally following in her mother’s footsteps and gives him a lead on where to find her.

Rogelio meets with River again, and she’s remarkably blasé about her eyebrows! I loved Rogelio saying eyebrows have no function as he wiggles his own expressively! As it turns out, her eyebrows are insured for 6 figures – she made money! When the paparazzi show up, Rogelio rolls with it – but River has ulterior motives. She’s using him as a “stalking horse.” She’s really in town to audition for another show. It’s Xo who gives Rogelio the pep talk not to give up on his dream. Naturally, in the middle of this conversation, Xo gets the call from the doctor and lies that the tumor was benign.

We get a nice flashback to Xo telling Jane (Julianna Gamiz) the same story about the tooth fairy. Mateo insists that he’s going to stay up all night to see her.

Xo calls Alba because her toolkit is at Alba’s and her doorknob is loose and she doesn’t feel safe. Alba completely understands. Xo doesn’t feel safe – but it’s not the doorknob, sometimes, no matter how old, you just need your mom.

Jane hears a noise and runs into Mateo’s room to find someone hovering over his bed – she tackles them, only to find Petra all dressed up as the tooth fairy! Mateo sees the magic, and Jane is thrilled – until Petra gives him $20 for the tooth!

Out on the bench, Jane thanks Petra who tells her that Alba told her Xo’s story about the tooth fairy – and about Xo. She tells her to hang in there – she remembers the waiting for Rafael’s diagnosis and how hard that was. Petra is now sorry she’s ruined her kids’ childhood magic, but she didn’t have that kind of childhood. Jane reminds her about the song Petra played as a child on the streets – and that reminds Petra about where she’d heard Aida’s song. She calls JR to tell her that the blackmailer is Melosh.

Rafael finds Luisa. She’s happy and sober. He tells her that he didn’t know Carl was real. She is sure that he’s there for the money. Rafael tells her that he’s trying to track down his birth parents, and she tells him that she destroyed the records – but Rose knows. She begs Rafael not to tell Rose where she is. She also tells Rafael that she’s given away all the money. She feels free, but Rafael is clearly not happy. Rafael goes to Rose, who won’t tell him anything unless he tells her where Rose is. He refuses.

JR comes to Petra to tell her that Melosh can’t be the blackmailer. It suddenly occurs to Petra who does know all her secrets…. It’s KRISHNA (Shelly Bhalla)!!! And then we get a run through of all the times that Petra has been horrible to her – and there are a lot of them. Petra commands Krishna to go in her office and wait for her. JR and Petra both recorded her confession. Krishna jumps to the balcony below and escapes – but leaves a thoughtful note for Petra about her dry cleaning and to change all her passwords! Petra follows JR when she leaves – she doesn’t want to lose her!

Rogelio meets again with River. She’s been offered a side character in the other project. Rogelio compares Brenda with the strong women in his own life. The narrator spoils us with the upcoming feud between the two – we know it’s inevitable right? She asks for one big change but she’s onboard.

The episode ends with Xo telling the family that she lied so as not to throw Rogelio off before his big meeting. The episode ends with the family joining hands and praying.

“Chapter Seventy-Eight” finds Xo understandably overwhelmed and shell-shocked. The opening memory is of her childhood when Alba’s vivapouri – Vick’s Vaporub – who doesn’t recognize that jar with or without the label?!?! – could fix anything. Things are a lot more complicated now.

Jane and Rogelio are by Xo’s side as Dr Ducard (Mandy June Turpin) rattles through horrifying details. Jane takes the lead – and has clearly been doing her research. Back in the car, Rogelio doesn’t take a call from his agent, and Xo insists that life must go on. I really liked how Baldoni used reflections and mirrors in this episode. We see Jane in this scene just behind Xo. It’s a reminder that their relationship is changing.

Rafael goes to see Petra to tell her about Xo and to ask for a few days off for Jane. He finds her talking to herself in the mirror – and it’s a nice way of underscoring that Rafael isn’t really seeing what’s going on, but a reflection of what he thinks is going on. He overhears Petra practicing to tell “Jane” that she likes her more than she should and then mentions not wanting to tell her because of her mom… So many parallels! It’s hilarious when Petra comes out and Rafael reminds her that he and Jane are in a relationship – and then tells her that Jane need her space right now – in other words – hands off!

Rogelio comes to Jane before their family dinner and asks her not to bombard Xo with facts at dinner. He asks her to give Xo some time. But Jane is concerned – the one thing that Xo doesn’t have is time. They both agree that the best course of action is the double mastectomy. And of course that would be their choice as the best option to ensure Xo not only lives but stays healthy.

Naturally, their attempts to have a normal dinner are thwarted by the dinner itself – who thought chicken BREASTS were a good idea? Xo finally takes control and says let’s just talk about it. She knows Jane has a binder of information. Xo admits that she doesn’t know what to do and asks the others what they think. Jane and Rogelio tell her double mastectomy, but Alba worries about how difficult the surgery and recovery will be. And she would know given her previous job. But Alba doesn’t want it to come back either. Xo gives in to the others and tells them she will schedule the surgery.

We get another dose of reality from Dr Park (Feodor Chin) – the surgeon. He goes over the process, the pain to expect, and the likely loss of sensation. Xo is clearly overwhelmed again, so Rogelio suggests a spa day. Xo eagerly agrees, but she wants Jane to come with her and asks Rogelio to go to the medical supply store with Alba.

Jane has to break the news to Mateo that Xo has cancer. He’s very frightened and asks to pray. I loved this storyline. The Villanuevas clearly find comfort in prayer, but Rafael doesn’t believe in religion. However, he does respect Jane’s choice and when Mateo asks him to pray with him, he does. Rafael knows that praying gives them strength in hard times. I loved Jane finding Rafael praying with Mateo later in the episode.

When Petra brings some soup over for Jane, Rafael hilariously misinterprets the comfort Petra is offering. Rafael pulls Jane aside and tells her his suspicions as Petra fails at flirty-texting with JR. Jane just takes the bull by the horns and asks Petra point blank if she has feelings for her. Jane finds Petra’s “EW!” a little harsh – but Rafael is relieved. Jane and Rafael definitely want way more details about JR though!

Petra comes to Rafael for advice about JR. She tells him that she actually makes her nervous! Rafael advises her not to get into emotions via text. He tells her to ask JR over and woo her! Which turns out to be exactly the wrong thing to do.

While Rogelio and Alba are shopping for supplies, he takes the opportunity to check on her. Alba really doesn’t have anyone else to lean on. He asks her if she’s talked to anyone, and she answers, God. Rogelio suggests a therapist, but she’s having none of it. When Rogelio goes off to take a call from his agent, Alba takes her anger for Rogelio out on the sales clerk (Brian Maillard).

Rogelio has Alba for lunch and invites his “friend” Marisol too – naturally she’s a therapist who tries to ambush Alba. This simply makes Alba even angrier with Rogelio, but she does finally open up and tell him why. He bails on everything, and she doesn’t want him to bail on Xo. Alba wants Rogelio to put Xo first. However, what Alba doesn’t realize is that Rogelio has put Xo first and has even pushed his telenovela to concentrate on her.

When River sends a care basket for Xo, Alba learns the truth. It’s hilarious when the narrator points out that River isn’t the only one to have received an unfair brow beating! Rogelio tells Alba that he’s happy to be her punching bag if that’s what she needs. He proves that not only is he not bailing, he’s there for all of them.

At the spa day, Xo is surrounded by boobs. As Satchet (Courtney Henggeler) tells them to get in touch with their bodies during their mud bath, Xo does just that. The mud baths were hilarious – and this show does such an amazing job balancing the humor with the real drama.

Xo tells Jane she just wants a lumpectomy. She likes her body and she likes showing it off. She points out that she and Jane have different relationships with their bodies. Xo doesn’t want elective surgery for Jane’s peace of mind! Xo ends up comforting Jane.

Rafael reminds Jane that he’s had cancer. Again, another echo. He tells Jane that it’s not Jane’s job to see her point of view. It’s Jane’s job to see Xo’s. It’s insight that Jane needs.

Rafael also takes a moment with Xo. He’s really the only one who can truly understand what she’s going through. He tells her that he’s sorry and knows it isn’t easy. Rafael tells her that it didn’t feel real at first – we’ve seen Xo have this reaction – Navedo is really delivering tremendous performances in this storyline. Rafael tells her that everyone will have an opinion, but she should clear out the noise and just decide what she really wants to do.

As Jane begins writing about her confident and sexy mother, we get a really nice montage of Xo.

Xo finally goes to talk to Rogelio. He’s really the only one that she wants to talk to about it. She tells him that things are different now. Most of her life she’s been a single mom and relied on her body. It was how she defined herself, so it feels like she’s giving herself up. But she’s realized that none of what defined her before, defines her now. She’s his wife. She still doesn’t want the double mastectomy, however. Rogelio reassures her that sexiness is a state of mind, and he is completely there for her to discuss all the options.

Jane apologizes for pushing Xo too hard. Xo points out that the two of them have functioned as a unit for so long that it’s understandable. But Xo also pulls away as she tells Jane that some things need to be just between her and her husband.

Xo has decided on a single mastectomy and is going to have a Bon Boobage party to say goodbye! I loved Rogelio’s nicknames for both her breasts!

Petra tries to woo JR, but she’s not impressed by the lavish lunch and flowers and tells Petra she’s not interested. Petra can’t let it go when JR leaves, saying she has a date. She follows her – and naturally the woman she’s meeting looks a little like Petra. Petra panics when JR sees her and backs into another car. JR confronts her and asks if she’s stalking her! Petra gets flustered and leaves.

Petra thinks that’s it and is lying in bed in yoga pants, eating pickles when there’s a knock at the door. It’s JR. She tells her that backing into the car was romantic. She also tells her that vulnerable Petra is way more attractive than Ice Queen Petra. The two share a passionate kiss… and…

The final scene sees Alba and Xo on the swing. Xo tells Alba that she scared about the surgery scheduled for the next day. Alba tells her that she’s scared too, but she’s there for Xo – sometimes, you just need your mom. Jane joins them and there’s a great shot of the three generations, comforting each other.

The final, final scene has the narrator telling us ominously that you can’t stop evil from coming as we see anonymous feet heading… somewhere….

These were two powerful episodes. As always, the writers hit exactly the right tone where they needed too. While there was a little bit of magic realism with the tooth fairy, the more serious episode has none. Again, real kudos for Navedo and Camil in these two episodes. What did you think of the episodes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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