The term “milkshake” takes on new meaning, Jane and her baby daddy grow close—and what about that cliffhanger?
The CW’s Jane The Virgin premiered to good ratings last week and judging by both my Twitter feed and last week’s recap comments, the novela adaptation definitely earned new fans across nearly every age group and ethnic group. (True story: I think my Anglo pals appreciated the tongue-in-cheek skewing of stereotypes just as much as I did.) So is Jane officially the new Ugly Betty? Ratings aside, I’d venture to say no—I mean, did you see what happened at the end of this week’s episode? Betty may have had to deal with braces, crazy hair, and a bad boss, but she never encountered a bloody body. That’s right: When we thought we’d seen every trope out of the telenovela playbook in last week’s episode (an accidental pregnancy, the appearance of a long-lost father, a marriage proposal, a musical number, and divorce drama), Jane found herself next to a dead body on ice (literally speaking). So who pushed Petra’s lover, Roman Zazo, over the edge? It’s plenty of fodder to jump right into, but let’s take a step back, shall we?
The episode kicked off with one of the most comedic scenes of the year. Thanks to a flashback (the likes of which are quickly becoming one of the best parts of the show), we see Jane enjoying her quinceañera—the Latin version of a coming-of-age party, held on a girl’s 15th birthday—when her mom Xiomara decides to provide the entertainment with a rendition of Kelis’ single “Milkshake.” Did anyone else simultaneously cringe and laugh out loud during that scene? (Or have childhood memories of their own mom singing that song? No? Just me? Okay then.) Her impromptu performance could have ruined the evening, but teenaged Jane decided to keep her cool.
That precious bit of comedy could feel extraneous, but it provides context for the theme of this episode, which is that Jane feels she can control her emotions and continue with her plans (college, her relationship with Michael) despite the disruption of a baby. At the open, Jane decides in no way will she allow herself to be attached to the baby growing within her. That’s her announcement during a family meeting—over grilled cheese, natch—and she’s sticking to it. After all, she has a history of calm under semi-traumatic circumstances. So here on out, Jane says, life will continue as planned and she will casually refer to the baby as “milkshake.” As in, “I can’t wait to give this milkshake to its rightful owners.”
Her decision is important because it implies choice: up to this point, Jane has been the recipient of both advice and opinion on what to do with her child. Though she’s now made her choice—she’ll carry the pregnancy and coolly give the baby to the biological father and his wife—the consequences of that decision aren’t clear-cut or final. It’s interesting territory for a comedic soap, as it consciously explores the narrative around a young Latina’s choice to pursue career and a personal life rather than so-called obligation to family and culture.
But can Jane really give her baby away? Emotions not withstanding, what if Petra—whom Jane hasn’t met yet—turns out to be Catalina Creel, as abuelita suggests? This reference is pure genius from Jane’s writers. After all, Catalina is a baddie of near mythic-proportions in telenovela history (Think of her as a particularly villainous combination of creepy Bond bad guy Ernst Blofeld, Dynasty’s Alexis Carrington, and Ugly Betty diva Wilhelmina Slater.) So Jane decides to meet Petra, which happens when everyone congregates for a sonogram that changes Jane’s mind as to how much she’s willing to connect with her child. Though did you really think that Jane would give up the baby without her emotions protesting? Again, this was a neat nod to the struggle between head and heart, culture vs. career.
NEXT PAGE: It’s sexy time.
Meanwhile, the other big plotline—whether Jane will sue Dr. Luisa for medical malpractice—bubbles to the surface. Dr. Luisa just received official notification that her license has been suspended (for her snafu with Jane, we assume) but she’s taking precautions and has called another ex-lover who happens to be an attorney (how many hot lesbian lawyers will be on this show anyway? It seems like Dr. L definitely has a type) to read through the fine print on her medical insurance coverage agreement. It turns out that Rafael put up his shares of the hotel as collateral so that Luisa would have coverage, being that with her previous alcohol addiction, she had been deemed uninsurable (I dare you to read that five times fast).
Stress heightens the hormones and Dr. Luisa and Rose engage in a hot-n-heavy makeout sesh, which reminds us of this show’s sexy edge. Yeow! The only thing that could make this more salacious is the possibility that Rose and Dr. L’s have some sort of impossibly complicated backstory. But Jane’s writers anticipated our deep-seated desire for convoluted drama and reveal what would be impossible in nearly any other show on television right now: Rose, it turns out, is married to Dr. Luisa’s much older father (sugar daddy!) and is her stepmom. ¡Qué horror!
But you know who’s not having sex? Petra and Roman. Well, they do, but just once before Petra calls it off. He’s a good lay and all, but 1) Michael has threatened to tell Raf about the affair unless she ends it and 2) It turns out that she sincerely wants to try to make her marriage with Raf work, and not just because she wants to milk him for all that he’s worth. And then, after she’s made her decision, Zazo dies. How convenient.
So, let’s theorize a bit here: Did Petra push Zazo off his hotel room balcony? Could Raf have done it? Though it does seem unlikely that anyone with those soft, plushy-looking lips could possibly have murderous thoughts. Is there any other suspect? As it turns out, there is. We find out that Michael was spying on, er, observing Zazo because he had some type of connection to one of Miami’s biggest drug cartel leaders, who’s currently under investigation by the local police. So did someone within the cartel do it?
Spying aside, Michael also emerged as a bit more of a substantial character this episode. Not only did he blackmail Petra, but he actually tried to demand that Jane quit her job at the hotel. Pshhh. It’s hard to sympathize with his reason: He found out that Jane and Raf had kissed five years ago, and he got all hot under the collar because of it. Insecurities, much? Though we have to give him some credit for his apology to Jane, which was suitably adorable (His iTunes playlist? Awww.)
And it wouldn’t be a true telenovela if there weren’t some progress with that whole who’s-yo-daddy story line. As Rogelio, Jaime Camil—the real-life star of numerous novelas including Mujer de madera and La fea mas Bella—has made it clear that he wants to be a part of Jane’s life. Now, this might be a happy scenario, but Jane is going through stuff—and it’s pretty much the worst timing ever to meet dear old dad. That’s Xiomara’s rationale, and no one can fault her for it. After making the decision to keep her pregnancy and become a mother, her entire identity has revolved around protecting Jane (cue the retelling of the “Milkshake” flashback). Making sure the time is right to introduce Jane to her dad seems appropriate. But by her account, Xo is a bit of a screw up, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she further complicates the decision by sleeping with Rogelio (though who could resist: He’s just so cute and after all, he is her favorite soap star and baby daddy to boot!).
NEXT PAGE: Nosh on this
I felt this week’s episode had all the promise of a super gooey, deliciously melty grilled cheese à la Jane, but what was served up instead was a sandwich made with the unwanted butt of the bread (I can’t be the only one that uses that term to refer to the first and last slice!) with cheese that’s stubbornly refused to melt. It just didn’t satisfy my craving.
Though the episode didn’t carry off the effortless comedy that the pilot did, the show did move forward at a digestible pace while maintaining both the sweet emotional nuances of the previous episode and nonchalant approach to multicultural diversity that made it so endearing. (And let’s be honest for a moment: the breakneck pace of the pilot might have been too hard to maintain over a standard season.) There was also some definitive progress with the central story lines—the appearance of Jane’s father, Raf and Petra’s marriage, the reason for Michael’s superspy gear—and plenty of new plot points as well. All that being said, there’s lots of food for thought, so grab your grilled cheese and let’s get to it:
–Petra and Raf’s relationship in the beginning of the episode was very different from the way it was when it ended. Raf was insistent on a divorce; Petra was against it, presumably because she needs/wants the money. At the end, Petra’s given up her lover and seems sincere in her desire to want to start over with Raf, who acknowledges they’ve both made mistakes. Will we hold him to what he said? “I don’t know if we’ll get past them, but let’s give it a try.”
–Jane decides to sue Dr. Alver. Will this complicate her blossoming relationship with Raf? He’s promised Jane it won’t, but remember, Jane does say she wouldn’t mind being rich one day. Is it all possible that our sweet virgin could succumb to the pressure of her hotel employee friends and rack up a lengthy list of demands and/or a monetary settlement?
–Speaking of Jane and Raf, they had their share of touching moments this week. They had a sweet exchange during the sonogram and again at the hotel party, where Jane told Raf he inspired her to chase her dream of becoming a romance novel writer. I have to ask: Is their connection evolving too predictably?
–Xo is an aspiring singer and whenever she breaks out into song—decked out in spandex, of course—it’s a bona fide moment. I cannot wait for the episode when she tries to pull out all the stops in an effort to impress Paulina Rubio’s producer (who will be played by guest star Juanes). And what did you think about this week’s deep dive into her emotional backstory? The heart-to-heart she and Jane have on the porch was so sweet and gave us added perspective about her journey toward becoming a caring mother, despite her guilt about continually being a “screw-up.”
–How amazing was lead Gina Rodriguez in this episode? She did it all: She made jokes, she cried, she got all emosh, and in the process, confirmed her status as this season’s breakout star. #fangirling
–We still don’t know the extent of Luisa’s medical history and her past mistakes. We know she used to be an alcoholic—it seems like addiction runs in the family, with tonight’s discover that pre-cancer Rafael was not only a playboy, but dabbled in lewd acts with arrests to boot—but what else? She’s one of the most complex characters on the show, and it should be interesting to see how her story arc develops. Plus, she gets a lot of action on the show and I’m not mad at that.
–Actor Jaime Camil is pretty fantastic—one can palatably feel the fun he’s having as he pokes fun at the genre that made him famous. And there’s a lot to love about his subtly narcissistic lines, which given the context, are wholly appropriate. Like this gem in reference to Jane: “I want my daughter to have the pleasure of knowing me. I want to be a part of her life.”
–I have to shout out abuelita, who definitely has some of the best one-liners in the show. And that melodramatic faint when she found Xo and Rogelio in bed together? So rewind-worthy. I also adored the classy peach pajamas that she wore in her final scene. That felt like pure genius by the wardrobe department, as that style is a staple in every Hispanic grandmother’s closet.
–Petra’s mom: the tarot cards, the facial disfiguration, the silk caftan, and that wheelchair. Make no mistake, as this character is channeling soap opera tropes in the kookiest, most delicious way possible. “I already read the cards. I already know this outcome.” Momma implied she made some kind of sacrifice for Petra—any guesses to what it might have been?
–Did anyone notice the use of tinkling music and drum beats throughout the episode in the tradition of Lifetime’s Devious Maids? Dislike. I think use of Latin music in the pilot added additional authenticity—steering well away from standard prime-time drama—and I hope it continues to be an important part of the show. We want Pitbull! On that note, let’s compile a fantasy playlist for Jane. I vote for some classic Ricky Martin’s (“La Bomba!”), some music from Shakira’s catalog back when she had black and/or curly hair and definitely, most definitely some Chayanne. And maybe some Selena, Romeo, Rubén Blades, and Juan Luis Guerra.
–What happened to Luisa’s wife? Will we ever see her in the flesh, or was she just a mechanism by which to unleash Luisa’s demons?
–I’m fascinated by the appearance of Raf and Luisa’s dad. He’s bald, he’s rich, he created monsters of children and he has a lesbian wife, who’s cheating on him. There’s plenty of fodder here for a terrific meltdown, and I think he’s just the man to do it. Or what if he meets Xio when she performs at the hotel—and they hook up? Can you imagine the drama?
Total sex scenes this episode: 5 (One lesbian make-out session, a sex scene between Petra and Zazo followed by a little S&M choking-foreplay between the two of them in another scene, a sweet necking session featuring our favorite virgin and to close, Xo and Rogelio in bed).
Tweet me @nina_terrero.