‘Jane the Virgin’ Review: #TeamJane

Season 2, Episode 1: “Chapter Twenty-Three”
Original Air Date: October 12th, 2015
Grade: A


Of all the shows returning for the fall season, I was most excited for Jane the Virgin. Why? Well, I could tell you why, or you could just get on your butt and head to Netflix to watch the first season, because it’s hard for me to believe that anyone can watch this show and not fall head over ass in love.

Jane the Virgin‘s writers must be Sith because they left viewers with the worst possible cliffhanger: Mateo kidnapped by Sin Rostro. Thankfully, the season premiere doesn’t pull a Flash and slowly drag out the events that transpired immediately after the cliffhanger. Within minutes, Jane realizes Mateo has been kidnapped and she, along with Rafael and Michael, set out to rescue him.

Sin Rostro isn’t interested in Mateo, but rather using him as a bargaining chip to retrieve a dragonfly brooch the police had collected into evidence. After tracking down Luisa (who somehow managed to steal the brooch from police custody) and going for a swim through Rose and Luisa’s belongings, the trio finds the brooch. Michael takes it inside the church where Nadine is holding Mateo and Nadine warns him that this is what Sin Rostro does, this is how she gets her claws into people, by threatening the ones they love. Nadine then informs Michael that on the chip in the brooch are the before and after faces of everyone in Sin Rostro’s employ. It’s a big piece of evidence for the police department and I can’t say that Michael’s boss will be too pleased to learn of its absence, but Michael trades the brooch for Mateo anyway, and there’s a beautiful family reunion.

Jane the Virgin

One of the things I love about this show is its pacing and the use of a narrator. 99% of the time, I’m vehemently against using a narrator in any kind of visual media because a good writer should be able to tell their story without that crutch. Claire’s narration in Outlander comes to mind as being a bit absurd and unnecessary. That being said, because of the show’s telenovela roots, the narrator is a character in his own right, adding a dash of warmth to a scene that would be far too dramatic on its own. Jane’s reunion with Mateo, holding him with Michael and Rafael at her side was one such example. We know that its only the first episode of the season and there is more danger in store for our characters, but in that moment, I chose to listen to the narrator and fall into the happiness these people must have felt in that moment.

I just want to say I am so, so grateful the writers didn’t drag out Mateo’s kidnapping an entire episode. It would have been easy, almost expected for them to do so and instead it was over in ten minutes. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t repercussions of the act throughout the episode, however. Jane, as any person would, feels guilty, like she should have had more motherly instincts when it came to protecting her child. She blames herself and thinks that the trauma is keeping her milk from coming, making her an even worse parent because not only can she not protect her child, but she can’t feed him either. For anyone who doesn’t know, mothers are absolutely FANTASTIC at heaping on self-guilt.

On top of these woes, Jane is back to being a famous virgin and Mateo has been labeled as the Second Coming. Paparazzi surrounds her house at all hours and poor Rogelio feels guilty for bringing all the attention to his daughter. Rogelio isn’t the smart tool in the shed but dammit if he isn’t the most sincere. He wears his emotions on his sleeve it seems like he wants nothing more than to have a family. I love Rogelio.

Jane the Virgin

Also interested in keeping his family is Rafael. After screwing up a lot last season, Rafael turns to Michael for advice on how to interact with the Villanueva women. It’s a scene that lets viewers play their favorite game, “What’s Michael Really Thinking?” Michael, being a good guy, gives Rafael sound advice by telling him to stop being such a damn pretty boy and go read a book. (But let’s not get crazy and stop taking off your shirt, Rafael. People all over the world need that view.)

Meanwhile, Petra is busy being Petra, toting Rafael’s sperm all over the Marbella Hotel. “Look, sweetie! That’s where your Daddy and I argued about the last time I tried to make you without his consent. Oh, and look, your grandpa is buried in that foundation over there! Hi, Grandpa!” HOW Rafael doesn’t notice the metal jar of sperm is beyond me (thankfully, Scott DOES notice), and Petra goes forward with her insanity.

jane the virgin petra

I have to say that one of the things the show does well is finding ways to show all the characters in likable situations. Petra, most of the time, is the WORST. She’s selfish, a liar, and generally not a nice person, but then we see flashbacks of her life with Rafael before things got bad and you know, I feel for her. Dammit.

By the end of the episode we learn that there isn’t actually anything wrong with Jane’s milk supply and Rafael was correct in his “cluster feeding” assessment. Mateo is doing well, gaining weight, and happy. Jane and Alba learn that Xo and Rogelio got married but their relationship seems to be going strong regardless.

Also still going strong is the ever-present love triangle between Jane, Rafael, and Michael. I waffle on this triangle more than I have any other relationship because one moment, I’m all-in on #TeamMichael and then two minutes later, Rafael shows up and does some adorable skin-to-skin time with Mateo and generally tries to be a good dad and dammit if I don’t want #TeamRafael to happen, too. Shit, love is hard. All I know is, I’m with Rogelio on this one: I will hands down, 100% always be #TeamJane.

The episode ends with an ominous scene of Sin Rostro telling a man to go after Jane. But she just got the baby back! No!

Jane the Virgin airs Mondays on The CW at 9PM EST. 

Jen Stayrook
Jen Stayrook
Don't let the fancy nerd duds deceive you; Jen’s never been described as “classy.” You can find her on Twitter where she stalks all of her favorite celebrities: @jenstayrook. Or you can find her on Steam or Xbox dying in every game she plays as "Rilna." Email: jen.stayrook@theworkprint.com

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