Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “Chapter Fifty”
Last night’s episode of Jane the Virgin “Chapter Fifty” was an evening devoted to hearing characters express thoughts they’ve long since kept to themselves, revealing the lies we tell ourselves. The arrival of Jane’s British-accented cousin Catalina (Sofia Pernas) gave Jane a shot at having the sister she’d always dreamed of, as well as unearthing a slew of secrets long since buried.
As someone with a small family like the Villanuevas, jealousy can definitely arise looking at others with an abundance of relatives. My best friend comes from a Latino family with a wealth of cousins, aunts, obscure family friends who have become family, etc. Without those ties it’s easy to feel you’re missing out on something. Jane illustrated her yearning for an extended family she’s never truly asked for, gushing over and making concessions for Catalina.
This week’s chat guest was filmmaker Terence Johnson who perfectly summed up the episode when he proclaimed: “This family has so many secrets!”
Kristen: I completely get Jane’s excitement for extended family. So often we see Latino families as huge and interconnected. It’s great that Jane has extended family, but the Villanuevas are so isolated. Popular culture’s perpetuation of the loud, yet close-knit Latino family unit’s really being cross-examined.
Terence: I like that aspect. Most of my family lives on the East coast, so it’s definitely something fun when you get in the same space.
Kristen: My family hates each other so everyone’s sparse and uninterested in reconnecting. It makes me feel like the loneliest Lopez out there!
Terence: We’ve seen the Villanueva women so stuck on their island [that] it’s weird to imagine there’s a whole clan of them who believe Alba’s a skank who stole her sister’s dude.
Kristen: Almost gives some weight to her slut-shaming of Xiomara. Not enough to forgive, but it’s explainable.
Did Alba really steal her husband Mateo from her own sister? The show’s telenovela roots indicate yes, and Alba’s not exactly the most trustworthy person in the house. Some of her secrets are definitely warranted. The fear and uncertainty of Alba’s undocumented status was a secret she felt compelled to keep, and was fortunately able to overcome. Some of her secrets though are a taste questionable. Her slut-shaming of Xiomara came about after it was already revealed Alba had premarital sex. She’s also had lustful thoughts for unattainable men in older episodes, like Cheech Marin’s priest, Edward.
But not every character is attempting to save face. Rogelio and Xiomara went back to 1990 (via flashback) to show off their high school dance skills, and for Rogelio to confess he joined the high school dance troupe to meet her. These two have never been good with timing, but Rogelio was prepared to pour his heart out to the woman he’s always loved…only to find her kissing a former married lover. The secrets here are two-fold. Rogelio’s always been a character without guile, who wears his heart on his sleeve. For him to acknowledge his need for children stems from not raising Jane, and that he’s willing to strike out as a father on his own, is a big step. After all, Rogelio’s not the most responsible guy.
The fear and uncertainty of Alba’s undocumented status was a secret she felt compelled to keep. Some of her secrets though are a taste questionable.
Kristen: “I love the cereal. But I need eggs!” Line of the year.
For Xiomara to lie about kissing Bruce was the biggest issue for me. As someone who’s dealt with a parent secretly seeing a person who’s no good for them, this one hit home. Is there anything Xiomara can say to make the kiss okay? Considering she told Bruce he was a “douche bag,” what could he have done to get her to go back?
Kristen: She can’t have been seduced by whatever half-assed story Bruce came up with after her calling him a douche. Xo is this close to getting me to dislike her. Lying about seeing a guy who was terrible to you?
Terence: It’s in these moments that the show really digs into the telenovela roots.
And it’s not just the Villanueva women who have secrets in their family. What about Petra? Petra’s story really conforms to the American dream. After a life of poverty as a street performer in the Czech Republic, Petra cast off her past as Natalia to become a strong-willed co-owner of the Marbella. But that’s not to say she hasn’t hid a few things: her mother murdering a man for starters. Petra comes from a house filled with more mysteries than Jane, with a secret twin sister she didn’t know until last season. Maybe that explains Petra’s less than trustworthy demeanor?
Terence: Rafael better get this mess in writing cause Petra is not to be trusted.
Kristen: Are you calling Petra two-faced with questionable, constantly switching motivations? (Yes, that’s also a dig at the writing of her character.)
Terence: Yes, it’s almost as if Petra has an evil twin….