Oh, Black Friday, when the discounts are steep and tensions run high. That was the setting for “Chapter 29,” where Jane experienced the ups and downs of friendship in a way that totally took her by surprise. Before jumping in, it’s worth noting that while this episode packed with multiple sub-plots, the pacing of the hour seemed pretty slow compared to earlier episodes in the season. More sustainable, yes, and juicier, too, since we got to relish a bit more in the ironies, inside jokes, and unpredictable drama that unfolded during the hour.
The night kicked off with an adorable flashback to teenage Jane’s first babysitting job, taking care of a spoiled brat in the perfect suburban home of her dreams. Back to the present, Jane and Rafael are having a heart-to-heart over Thanksgiving leftovers about finding a babysitter for Mateo, mostly so they can go on their date. Jane’s reluctant to relinquish control (hey, I’m not judging!) while Rafael is the more open-minded of the pair, talking about extensive interviews, background searches, and nanny cams. Homeboy’s gotta get his somehow, and if a babysitter can help him out…
These two are way deep into their convo (and in the mashed potatoes) when abuelita bursts in with her tennis shoes and tracksuit on. Time to hit Target! Turns out that the Villanueva women take Black Friday shopping very, very seriously and have a set of rules that Rafael has to observe if he’s going to join the fun: No chit-chat, no digging in the bins, and a solemn promise never look in another family member’s cart. With “clear eyes, full carts,” each of them sets off to shop. Jane’s happily scouring aisles, until she spots Michael. It’s totes awkward, and Michael doesn’t help the situation when he says he’s not interested in catching up. (Literally. That’s what he says.) How can he be so cold???
Speaking of cold, Petra is spending her Black Friday by dumping buckets of ice in the bathtub to keep Ivan’s dead body chill. I’d say it’s not your usual mother-daughter bonding activity, but as you know by now, Petra and Magda aren’t your usual mother-daughter duo. That being said, Petra loves having Jane as a friend — you get the sense that it’s the one bit of normalcy she’s had in the whole series to date. Sure, they’ve only been friends for a day, but Petra’s glowing in a way that we’ve never seen from her before, even after post-coital bliss. Ladies, never let anyone tell you different: Girlfriends are good for the soul. She later calls up Jane for a lunch date, and a surprised Jane says yes. Could these two become BFFs? Given that the whole series kicked off with the premise of a crazy artificial insemination, anything is possible.
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Meanwhile, Rogelio’s decided to take a quick trip to meet with some Mad Men execs in order to sell them on his idea of a Spanish-language reboot. “I’m taking a quick trip to Los Angeles,” he tells Xo, who’s smarting over the fact he hasn’t yet given a song she pitched the network a listen. “Be sure me to follow me on Periscope, Twitter, and Instagram. Or TMZ, I’m sure they’ll be all over me at LAX.” Unfortunately for Rogelio, his pitch about Don Juan Draper selling coke — as in cocaine — didn’t go over well, and he’s out of a job and all of the savings that he blew on his pilot. Looks like Rogelio is going to have to live on a budget (no Hermès scarves, trainers, or smile maintenance) or go work on another telenovela.
NEXT: Drunk Jane = Clumsy Jane
While Rogelio is busy dealing with his crushed dreams, Jane is trying to make her aspirations come true by cozying up to Dr. Lorraine Bolton — whom she wants as an advisor — at her grad school department Christmas party. Problem is, she’s had a few drinks too many with her new friend Wesley, and when she finally gets a second with her, flips over a plate of deviled eggs right onto Dr. Bolton’s designer dress. Oops. Things look like they’re going from bad to worse when she goes to Dr. Bolton’s office the next day to drop off a note and is found rifling around in her desk. Luckily for Jane, she manages to bond with Dr. Bolton about breastfeeding, and she agrees to read Jane’s stuff. Now, your usual primetime drama would end on that note, but Jane the Virgin pushes the narrative a little further. It’s not enough for Jane to be a bright student and to achieve her goals; instead, Jane turns in a draft and gets some feedback that’s less than helpful. They’re going to make Jane work for those As! Make it “sparkly,” advises Dr. Bolton. To me, the term “sparkly” applies to diamond rings, tiaras, or unicorns — I literally have no idea what it means when it comes to writing. As it turns out, neither does Jane, as she finds out when sweating over multiple drafts later at home.
Of course, grad school isn’t the only thing Jane has going on. She’s a mom and a single woman, as well, which is exactly why she needs a babysitter. Back at the Marbella, she, Rafael, and Xo interview prospective caregivers. There’s the strict British one, the free spirit, and the sexy manny, and then, finally, Chepa, the experienced, patient, bilingual babysitter. Yay! Maybe she and Rafael can finally have that date.
Next, we check in on Wesley, who’s managed to track down Luisa at an AA meeting. He’s wearing beads from her favorite ashram, a move meant to get her attention. Before we know it, these two are gabbing like old grade school friends, and Luisa’s revealing all the juicy details about Sin Rostro, a.k.a. Rose. Seems like Wesley has all the fodder he needs for that tell-all article, making him the ultimate fair-weather friend.
Jane is definitely not faring too well in the friends department because Petra calls to cancel lunch. Evidently, Petra has more important things to do, like making sure the hotel cleaning crew doesn’t catch wind of the dead body in her room, and later burying said body with her mom in some deserted part of Miami. Personally, I’d rather have lunch, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, you know?
Back to Rogelio: He’s donned a cowboy hat and a crisp white shirt in a role on a Western-themed telenovela. He’s not happy about the part — it’s too similar to a role he’s played before — but he just can’t face living on a budget. He’s rehearsing his Spanish-language lines with Jane in the kitchen when Xo runs in with some good news: The network wants to buy her song. This would normally be great news for everyone, but Rogelio’s not too happy about the fact that the song’s been purchased for his archrival’s show. Clearly, it’s up to him to face Esteban about using Xo to get him, so Rogelio shows up to the Fernando y Isabella set huffing and puffing about revenge and enemies and stuff. Here’s the thing, though: Esteban had no idea that the network purchased the song for him, so to convince him to go through with it, Rogelio plays the part of a court jester on his show. That’s even worse than playing a cowboy, don’t you agree? Seems like love will make a person do crazy things.
NEXT: Rogelio’s major realization
Meanwhile, Jane has discovered the only thing worse than getting bad notes (the sort she got from grumpy Professor Chavez) is getting notes that make no sense (Dr. Bolton). This realization helps her sift through Chavez’s feedback with greater clarity than she’s ever had, and aids her writing in the process. He may be the “Emperor of Smug Condescension,” but the guy knows his stuff. But just as Jane’s had an epiphany, it’s time to shift gears again to her familial obligations, and she shows up to support Rogelio on the first day of filming. With everyone gathered on the El Rancho de Mi Corazon set, Rogelio realizes he’ll never really be poor again because he’s rich in the way that really counts. Aw! He’s feeling so good that he rides into the sunset, which gives Jane the gumption she needs to re-register for Chavez’s class.
“I will take your class for no credit because you’re going to make me a better writer, and that’s why I’m here…so I’ll see you in January.” Or not, since Chavez says he’d rather see her once a week as her advisor than three times a week in class.
It’s worth noting that at this point, it’s been revealed that Michael wasn’t really fired from the force. Seriously: He’s now undercover, though sadly without Nadine, who took a gunshot for him in Mexico. (RIP, girly.) With Susanna’s help, he’s made the connection between a Miami-area bar and the Maracay Group, the business consortium owned by Rafael’s father, Emilio. When Wesley’s tell-all article goes live on OceanDrive.com, the plot thickens even further. Luisa’s mother committed suicide 1983, the same year that Emilio bought the bar. She had a closed-casket funeral, so the question just has to be asked: Is Luisa’s mother alive? And does she have a part to play in the whole Sin Rostro vs. Muter shakedown???
…It definitely appears that way when Luisa asks to have the casket opened. The body is definitely missing, which means that Muter = Luisa’s mom. As a reminder, Rafael and Luisa have different mothers, but Wesley’s article definitely has a huge impact on Rafael, who finds out about the viral takedown during his date with Jane. Poor guy can’t catch a break: One minute he’s looking at dream homes with the girl of his dreams, and the next he’s talking to his lawyer about slamming Wesley with a multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuit. And it gets even worse: Near the close of the episode, when Jane checks out the nanny cam — for the record, she just wanted to see Mateo’s first hand wave — she finds footage from an incriminating meeting between Rafael and Eric, discussing how Rafael paid him off to rat him to the cops. Jane’s totally mad, and I get it. Really, Rafael???
Burning questions, stray observations and memorable one-liners:
- Have we seen the last of Wesley? Will he — and his piece — have a bigger part to play this season?
- I’m dying to know what you think about the big reveal regarding Luisa’s mom. Does it work, or is too weird?
- Did anyone else notice that nothing — not even pregnancy — can stand in the way of Petra’s undying love for short-shorts. Get it, girl!
- Rogelio talks in the first-person like no one else can. “He goes big, or he goes home. To his mansion on the beach.” And what about this bankruptcy-related line? “I live paycheck to paycheck. Granted, $50,000 paycheck to $50,000 paycheck…”
- Turns out Rogelio has something in common with Kylie Jenner’s boyfriend: His cars. “They’re all leased. Like Tyga.”
- Ahem! If Professor Chavez is officially on board as Jane’s advisor, does that mean guest star Adam Rodriguez will return as a regular in the second half of the season? If so, I guess this is our holiday gift from showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman…for which I am truly grateful.
As usual, share your conspiracy theories with me on Twitter or in the comments. The plot thickens!