Oh baby, baby! It’s totally appropriate that Britney Spears was a guest star this episode because “Chapter 27” could be neatly summed up by a few of her hit tunes (like “Crazy” and “Criminal”). With a Britney-Jane dance off, a tumultuous confrontation between Rafael and Michael, and a touching story line featuring Alba’s experience with the citizenship-application process, the episode, like the best of Ms. Spears’ songs, was completely satisfying and totally crave-worthy.
But first things first: Petra agreed to marry Milos early in the episode, under the understanding that it’s strictly for tax purposes (i.e. no nookie). Soon enough, Petra’s groom-to-be is planning an extravagant wedding at the Marbella, with megawatt guest performance by none other than Ms. Spears.
As dear Brit-Brit marches about with a totally ridiculous army of fembots in tow (a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the trappings of stardom, perhaps?), Alba starts taking steps to pursue citizenship. Dressed in patriotic red and blue, she heads to the immigration attorney’s office, where the attorney informs her that there may be a hiccup with her application. The reason? Xo — her sponsor — has a felony conviction. But it’s not what it seems (really!). It turns out that back in the day, Xo took the fall for an ex-boyfriend who had shoplifted a pricey ring. In the words of my own abuela, “Eso no se hace.” (Translation, “That’s a no-no.”) Xo’s teenage escapades aside, there’s a more serious point to be made here: Immigration laws are constantly changing, and in the process, they can seem unreasonable. With a quick PSA in the form of on-screen graphics urging viewers to “VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!” Jane’s message is clear: if you don’t like the laws, it’s within your power to help change them.
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Jane definitely has the subject of change on her mind. She’s tired of the emotional limbo — Michael or Rafael? Rafael or Michael? — and after that amazing kiss with Michael, she’s prepared to make the decision to be with Michael forever. There’s just the small matter of telling Rafael. (Gulp.) Though she doesn’t know it, Rafael already knows what she’s decided — remember he overheard the news last week — but at Luisa’s urging, tries to make it impossible for Jane explain her feelings. Poor guy: A stable family is just within his grasp, and the possibility of it being taken away from him is something he’s just not willing to face. Who can blame him?
NEXT PAGE: In the words of Britney, “Gimme More”[pagebreak]
That being the case, Rafael asks for Jane’s help (anything to keep her distracted!) in looking into Petra’s big proposal. “It’s a play. She and I are in negotiations for child support, and she knows I don’t want our kid around Milos, so she’s using him as a bargaining chip,” he tells Jane. So Jane — dear, empathetic Jane — agrees to visit Magda in prison to learn of Milos’ motive for marriage.
Enter an Oliver Twist-colored flashback to nine years ago, when Petra was just a poor violinist in the Czech Republic. Milos was flashy with his cash and swept her off her feet. Although Magda soon found out that Milos was running a number of internet scams, Petra didn’t care — though years later, it’s just the sort of thing she can use as blackmail.
Back at the hotel, Jane gathers the courage to tell Rafael about Michael, but he doesn’t give her a chance. “He’s shady, and he has it out for me — you know he does… You’re throwing away our family.” Real tears, people.
As it turns out, Petra’s plans of blackmailing Milos is dashed when she finds out he’s bugged her, but not all is lost: Jane’s involvement in the plan helps these two baby mommas bond in a way they’ve never been able to before. Although they might never be BFFs, their children are bound by blood, and they have an obligation to try to work it out for their sake.
Speaking of working it out, Britney’s story line this episode was surprisingly fresh and funny and focuses on a rivalry between her and Rogelio. The two had once been close, back in the days when Rogelio was a “C+ list star,” but their relationship crumbled during a teleprompter mishap at the 2009 Latin Pop Awards. Did Britney sabotage him? Or is Rogelio just being overly dramatic? Britney knows all about friendships gone south (remember her former BFFS Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton?), and to see her playing up an aspect of her past with just the right amount of genuine energy was a huge treat. And then, just when you thought that these two would never swap concealer tips again, there was a magical moment of apology.
“From the bottom of my broken heart, I’m sorry. And I hope our friendship could be as strong as it once was,” Rogelio tells Britney. “You know I think it’ll be even stronger,” she replies. “Stronger than yesterday.”
NEXT PAGE: “You Drive Me Crazy”[pagebreak]
But “Chapter 27” isn’t all about happy endings for everyone, as Jane soon finds out. Michael — who’s been literally skipping with joy after kissing Jane — is unexpectedly reassigned to desk duty after an anonymous informant told the chief about Michael letting Nadine escape. He immediately suspects Rafael of sabotage and runs off to the Marbella to confront him. Blow for blow, the two exchange punches right in front of baby Mateo, who ends up being badly scratched by some broken glass. Jane is in disbelief and completely disappointed. How could the man she loves lose his temper like that — and hurt her baby in the process? Even so, she’s still firmly Team Michael, though Rafael insists that he wasn’t the informant.
That’s the clever thing about Jane’s rewrite of the traditional love triangle. Who’s the good guy in this scenario? Which counts more, good actions or good motives? And what should be the consequences — or punishment — if someone does something shady with the intention of doing good?
Jane’s confused about the whole thing but has a moment of clarity after Michael reveals that Rafael wasn’t the informant. (A nugget of information he discovered while snooping on his supervisor’s computer.) “That man that clouds your judgment, that’s Mateo’s father…which is why we won’t work.” Mateo comes first — and realizing that is one of the many lessons Jane will learn as a mother.
For Michael, the truth stings, but it doesn’t hurt as much as the next blow that he’s going to receive: He’s being fired for breaking into the chief’s office. Dejected, Michael heads to the parking lot. So, what lies ahead for the former detective? Nadine pointing a gun at Michael in his car, apparently. In the words of our favorite narrator, “This is way too stressful.”
Burning questions, stray observations, and memorable one-liners:
- Petra’s super-huge Czech wedding dress would be perfect for hiding her baby bump…if she had one. I’m so ready to see her maternity style!
- A clean-cut Jane trying to get on Zedd’s — a.k.a. “Jon Snow” — good side by accepting that marijuana-laced candy bar? Absolutely hilarious. And those scenes showcasing Alba and Xo’s giggles after gobbling said bar were adorable. Actually, any scenes where Alba, Xo, and Jane are together are adorable, period.
- Way to flip the narrative: When Magda speaks to Jane in jail, Jane has a hard time understanding her English. Ironic right? The white woman — not the Latina — is the one with the thick accent!
- Who can resist an invitation get down with Ms. Britney Spears? “I can tell you have rhythm. Would you like to dance?”
- Oh, and her routine to “Toxic” with Jane was simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. And speaking of dancing, can we see more of Michael’s sweet break-dancing skills?
- Since its debut, Jane the Virgin has featured several musicians, including Paulina Rubio, Juanes, Kesha, and now Britney Spears. Which pop star has your vote to make their Jane debut?
- Rogelio has an enviable Rolodex. “I mention people like Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Fernández, and Oprah Winfrey because they happen to be dear friends of mine.” And this line about his former relationship with Britney was everything: “We swapped concealer tips, career advice. When she kissed Madonna at the MTV Video Music Awards, that was my idea. I’d pitched it to Enrique Iglesias, but he wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to get me sick.”
- If Michael is out of the picture, does that mean there’s a chance Jane will find her happily-ever-after with Rafael? Thoughts?