Jane the Virgin Season 3, Episode 5
Posted by Kim
First of all, I apologize for skipping the recap for “Chapter Forty-Eight” which was an episode I ADORED (Rogelio and Luisa was EVERYTHING you guys). What can I say? I got hit with the election sads and then we had Long Island Who and then all of a sudden it was Monday again and I hadn’t even found the will to rewatch the episode to take notes. I promise I’ll go back and recap it when the show goes on winter break.
ANYWAY. A lot of good stuff happened in this episode. PETRA (the real Petra) IS BACK, Xiomara made an important career choice, Michael and Rafael bonded, and Jane found herself at odds with her grandmother for the first time in her life. Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Jane the Dramatic
At the end of “Chapter Forty-Eight,” much to the delight of Jetra shippers everywhere, Jane was FINALLY the one who question whether Petra was really Petra. Rafael and Jane go back and forth about the idea of twin-swapping because it IS outrageous. However, Jane and Rafael don’t know that they are living in a telenovela, where twin-swapping stories are the normal, not the exception.
Thanks to a NannyCam from Michael, Rafael observes Petrezka, looking for clues that she is not who she says she is. He overhears a phone call between Petrezka and her mother where Petrezka says “Okay, I’ll kill her then,” which spurs him into action. Rafael storms in right as Anezka is about to adminster Petra’s paralytic dosage and demands to know what’s going on. He calls her Anezka and MUCH to Anezka’s credit, she manages to only SLIGHTLY flinch before going off on a tirade. The damage is done though…Petrezka and Rafael argue long enough for the paralytic to wear off and for Petra to start moving.
What happened next was completely unexpected, for me at least. Once her breathing tube is removed, rather than declaring to the world that her identity had been stolen, Petra actually COVERS for her sister, saying that she is indeed Anezka. All the kudos to Yael Groblas for the way she schooled Anezka’s features into a “Yooooooooooo….really?” expression that spoke for ALL the viewers. Rafael slinks away with his tail between his legs, while Anezka squeals with gratitude, saying that she only did it because their mother told her to. “Do you have ANY idea what you put me through,” Petra snarls, grabbing Anezka by the neck. THERE’S THE PETRA I KNOW AND LOVE. It turns out that even after being Petrafied for three months (IMMA MISS THOSE PUNS), nothing can affect Petra’s shrewd business skills. She didn’t turn Anezka in for one reason and one reason only: it would nullify Rafael’s sell of his shares in the Marbella if it came out he sold them under false pretenses. Then Petra tells Anezka that she has to do everything she says, unless she wants to wind up in jail. First on the list? Breaking up with Scott.
Of course, Anezka balks at the request and asks her sister for time to pull away from Scott first, rather than dump him cold turkey. Naturally, this backfires as Scott, anticipating a break-up, proposes to Petrezka instead. Scott may be a diabolical son of a bitch, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for him in the end. I feel like his affection for “Petra” was genuine. It’s not HIS fault that he was being deceived. Scott goes to his new fiancée, saying he found a buyer for the hotel. Always keen to play the game, the real Petra put off dumping him until after she’s met the buyer. (Her FACE when he kissed her though. Amazing.) Petra and Scott meet with the buyer, who is totally on board, and then Scott suggests that it’s time for them to start looking for a house for themselves. It’s here where Petra proves that she’s not a complete monster, even after everything that has happened. She breaks up with Scott, but she does it gently and with kindness. “I’ve been married twice…and seeing this ring on my finger, it…made me realize I need to be on my own for a while.” PETRA CHOOSING PETRA. I live. She assures Scott that he’s been nothing but a true surprise in her life. Surprisingly, Scott takes it well, as if he’s been waiting for this to happen the whole time. He keeps it classy too. “You came from nowhere, and you’ve made yourself into this…total badass. Anyway, I…I won’t argue. I mean, if you’re willing to walk away from this hotel, which is all your blood, sweat and tears, well, then you can walk away from anything. Even me.” Okaaaaaaaay so now I am kind of rooting for the real Petra to fall in love with Scott? He sees her for who she truly is and he LOVES her for it. *Wipes a tear away*
Was tattooing “NOT PETRA” across Anezka’s forehead a little extreme? Of course. (OH MY GOD CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW MUCH THAT HURT? I almost passed out getting a tattoo on my foot, I can’t imagine my forehead.) But then again, Anezka tried to steal her life, so maybe it’s not. I’m very curious to see how Anezka is used from here on out. Petra makes it clear that the only reason she’s allowing her sister to stick around is because Elsa and Anna have bonded to her. Will she just be floating around in the background or will she have an ongoing story. I can’t imagine their mother taking all of this lightly. Bitch wants out of prison BAD, y’all.
With Scott’s words about walking away from the Marbella ringing in her ears, Petra confronts Rafael. She’s not going to be the one walking away from the hotel. He is. The power struggle for the Marbella is a bit of a retread, story wise (HOW MANY TIMES HAVE THEY FOUGHT OVER IT?) but what I appreciate here is Petra standing up for what she feels like she deserves. I’ve always felt like Petra has felt more accomplished regarding her work with the hotel than Rafael does, and honestly, I would love to see a story for Rafael exploring what he loves outside of his pressure to carry on his family legacy. But for the moment, Rafael is refusing to just walk away. “I’m only going to say this once, and if you repeat it, I’ll deny it,” Petra sneers. “You were right. It wasn’t me. And I heard everything.” Listen, I knew that people carrying on as if “Anezka” wasn’t conscious would bite SOMEONE in the ass. One moment in particular sticks out in Petra’s mind and it’s a damning one. Rafael observed Petrezka playing with the twins and commented that he was so glad she wasn’t missing the “mom gene” after all. YIKES. It’s a pretty insensitive comment ANYWAY, considering Petra struggled with postpartum depression. I can’t IMAGINE what kind of pain and insecurities it brought up in Petra KNOWING that Rafael thought that about her AND that it wasn’t HER he was complimenting. Listen, men of the world, the “mom gene” is not a thing. Being a good mother is not genetic and it doesn’t come easily (or at all) for some women and it shouldn’t have ANY bearing on a woman’s worth as a person. Got it?
I completely and totally empathize with Petra’s “I’m going to destroy you” attitude here because that’s what (in her eyes) she’s been reduced to. Petra’s character arc has been so interesting over the past two seasons as she has tried to open up and become vulnerable. She’s been clumsy about it at times but I genuinely believe that her motives in trying to “be a better person” have been pure. And she’s been burned by it, so she’s reverting to what feels safe to her. Her bitchiness is her security blanket. Petra hurts others before they can hurt her. “I tried nice. And I was freaking paralyzed, and nobody even noticed. So I am done with nice.” This apparent character regression pains me, but also I get it. PLUS, like any good soap opera, Jane the Virgin needs a scheming villain. The bitch is back indeed.
Jane the Heartfelt
Family is complicated as hell, y’all. Familial wounds are the hardest to heal and the pain often runs very, very deep. I love how season three has been slowly exploring Alma’s family dynamic, with Jane trying to gently push for more information while still respecting her grandmother’s wishes. While Xiomara and Alma’s often tempestuous relationship has been a cornerstone, we’ve rarely seen Alma butt heads with Jane. I think it’s a part of how a relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter is different from the mother/daughter dynamic; Alma tends to give Jane a lot more leeway than she gives her own daughter, as we see in the Disney World flashback. So I loved that Jane
explored a massive conflict between Alma and her granddaughter this week. Both women have right stances in the conflict. Jane has a right to know her extended family and Alma has the right to say that Jane has no idea the pain that she is dredging up. I loved seeing how they handled it.
It turns out that while Alma has cut herself off completely from her family, her sister Cecilia has never stopped reaching out to her. Alma has an entire box full of letters, dating back over 40 years and she entrusts them to Jane, who is desperate to learn more about her family. Alma still doesn’t want to talk about what happened with her sister (“It’s all stories about people you don’t know.”) and Jane is emphatic that she doesn’t HAVE to. Just giving her the letters is enough and she tells her grandmother that she can trust her with them.
Jane stays up all night with the letters and she learns that her family is so much bigger than she ever knew. I think it’s SUCH a big deal that Cecilia has continued to write her sister all this time and I ALSO think it’s a big deal that Alma has kept the letters, even if she’s never read them. I think there is a big part of her that wants to forgive her sister, but she just doesn’t know how after all this time. Cecilia’s letters are conversational, telling stories of marriages, births, and deaths. It’s a virtual treasure trove to Jane, who stays up all night devouring them. The next day, Alma gets a phone call and she nearly drops the phone because it’s her sister. It turns out Jane donated to one of her cousin’s GoFundMe campaigns and Cecilia viewed it as Alma opening the door. Naturally, Alma is furious (“You didn’t THINK.”) and for the first time in her life, Jane is on the receiving end of her grandmother’s wrath. The scene where Alma closes the gift shop right in Jane’s face broke my heart.
It’s so hard because I see both sides of the story. Family is one of the things Jane holds most dear in her life, if not THE most important thing. There’s this great big family that she had no knowledge of. When her cousin Catalina reaches out to her via messenger and then via Skype, Jane LIGHTS UP. I imagine that she’s desperate for her SON to know his family. She wants him surrounded by oodles of cousins that will dote over him and she wants him to be surrounded by family members close to his age. She wants for him what she didn’t have. It’s important to her. At the same time, Jane doesn’t know the pain that Alma’s falling out with her family caused. Jane asks her grandmother if it isn’t time to let the past go and for her to find forgiveness. Alma tearfully tells Jane that the rift her sister caused ruined her relationship with her entire family. Alma’s mother DIED not speaking to her…and that’s something that she can never get back or change. That’s a hurt that is not easily healed. It is a rift that is, perhaps, not able to be fixed. And no amount of pressure from Jane is going to make Alma change her mind. Everyone processes pain differently and they do it in the way that allows them to get through their day. Alma is asking for Jane to respect that, even if she doesn’t understand it.
Ultimately, Jane tells her grandmother that she wants to be in touch with her relatives. She tells Alma that she’s going to build a relationship with them, even if she doesn’t have her blessing. Alma’s respect and trust is important to her, but so is this. “I’m not always going to agree with you. I can’t always agree with you.” I think Jane handles the situation with as much grace as she possibly can, And ultimately, so does Alma. She may not be willing to bridge the gap with her sister, but she ultimately isn’t going to try to stop Jane from reaching out. I love where this is going and I truly hope we get an Alma and Cecilia reunion before season’s end. (WHO WILL PLAY HER?) Jane and Michael come home to find Catalina on their doorstep. Naturally, my first inclination is to not trust her. WE SHALL SEE.