‘Jane the Virgin’ Recap: To Meddle or Not to Meddle?

Jane The Virgin -- "Chapter Fifty-Two" --

Jane the Virgin has returned from its winter hiatus and Chapter Fifty-Two took a rather mellow approach to dealing with the plots left unsettled in December. This week’s main theme was relationships, namely: how do you tell someone you love that you hate their significant other? Due to unforeseen circumstances I flew solo for this week’s Jane Chat but that just gives us more time to unpack that age old question: to meddle or not to meddle?

Jane’s main issue involved her mother, Xiomara, dating her married ex Bruce. (Gina Rodriguez’s facial contortions when she walks in on Xo and Bruce kissing were hysterical.) Jane’s antipathy towards Bruce isn’t just motivated by the fact that he’s married, but also by the fact that Xo ends up depressed every time they split up – which is one too many times. Any child of divorce – or who comes from a multi-parent household – knows the acute feelings of despair and helplessness that come from watching a parent make bad decisions in love. But since she’s an adult, Jane’s issues are a little different – and I can definitely relate. Where is the line between a child and the person their parent is dating? Jane may have been angry when she voiced her distaste for Bruce to his face, and she isn’t at all “objective,” but what she said was true. If anything, everyone’s cavalier attitude toward Bruce only made Jane’s anger more pronounced, when I’m not sure it should have been.

This episode unpacked the age old question: to meddle or not to meddle?

Abuela was more than willing to give Bruce the benefit of the doubt. Abuela! We’ve talked about Abuela’s hypocrisy before, but it felt completely out-of-character here. When asked why she was okay with Bruce, her response was “Well, he’s divorced now.” After our recent discussion about the show’s treatment of Catholicism, Abuela’s comments seem designed to cater to millennial Catholics, those who find the church trying its best to mitigate changing lifestyle choices while adhering to the tenets of the Bible. But is that okay in this case? Abuela has spent the whole show condemning her daughter for her sexual choices, and compelled her granddaughter to fear sex before marriage, yet is fine with a divorced boyfriend? I’m not saying her progressivism isn’t great to see, just odd that no one seems to make a big deal of her hypocrisy.

Jane grappled with her desire to make her opinion known, which was labeled as meddling. Now, there’s no denying Jane loves to stick her nose where it doesn’t belong, but was every instance in this episode meddling? Case in point, her continued desire to act like Nancy Drew regarding her cousin Catalina. Jane learned Cat was in a whirlwind marriage with a French guy who she was supposedly soon to be divorcing (marking about the 20th time Catalina’s lied since her arrival). Jane didn’t tell Rafael immediately – you know, to avoid meddling – only for him to later give her hard time for not saying anything. When she did tell him about Catalina’s continued half-truths, her cousin turned on her. As with Xo and Bruce, is there ever a way to please everyone? If you’re the outsider looking into a relationship, can you ever tell the truth and remain objective? Catalina and Bruce wound up sharing a lot of commonalities: both are/were married while seeing other people. Though Bruce tried his best to get on Jane’s level – and it was later proven that Xo’s hands weren’t entirely clean either – Catalina continues to play the role of schemer for reasons unknown.

If you’re the outsider looking into a relationship, can you ever tell the truth and remain objective?

Though Xo and Jane were at odds, Xo certainly proved the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree based on how she dealt with Rogelio and Darci Factor’s decision to go forward with a loveless pregnancy. (Shout-out to Justina Machado!) Compared to Bruce and Xo’s highly emotional relationship, Rogelio and Darci wished to remain practical. But unfortunately, Rogelio found himself falling for Darci. The passion of love has been at the center of this show, so it’s great seeing Darci as a very analytical, sexless contrarian. Xo’s dislike of Darci certainly involved a fair bit of jealousy, but also shatters the show’s structured considerations of love. We’ve seen religion come to the forefront by dictating that marriage comes before sex. What about having a baby without a relationship? Leave it to Alba, once again, to play progressive by saying “We’ve had babies come into this family in strange ways.” The Catholic Church isn’t big on methods like in-vitro to beget children, so is Xo falling back on religious doctrine? I’d say more jealousy. The show’s relationships are messy and don’t look to get cleaner anytime soon.