Okay, before we get the ball rolling, I’m just going to say what everybody is thinking: a Jane the Virgin version of Street Fighter could be one of the most amazing things to be bestowed upon humanity. And if watching Petra “Cold Warrior” Solano face off against Jane “The Pregnant Punisher” Villanueva wasn’t enough to stoke your interest, consider these possible contenders: “Sin City Rose” Solano, Luisa “Eat Pray Lunge” Alver, Alba “Iron Fist” Villanueva. What I’m saying is, this game writes itself. JTV, it may be time to spin off into old school platform gaming.
Jane is firing on all sixes in “Chapter Twenty,” determined not to let heartbreak interfere with her life. Luckily (or maybe not-so-luckily, if you happen to be Alba, or Petra, or Magda, or Jane or… well, anybody), she has a healthy dose of crime to keep her distracted, as Alba remembers exactly who pushed her down the stairs in the mid-season finale (hint: it was Petra’s mother, Madga),
The tension between Petra and Jane has been destined to come to a head since Day 1, but I was surprised that this storyline played out almost exclusively through the two. Maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part, but I really wanted to see Abuela get up in somebody’s face. Iron Fist Villanueva vs. Great Mother Magda? Now there is a match I would have liked to see!
Of course, Alba had other things on her mind. Romantic things! Romancing priests sorts of things! What are the rules on dating a man of the cloth, anyway? I should really look into that before I let this ship sail out any further into the seas of my heart.
Also, facing her problems when she has Petra to throw into the ring has never been Magda’s style. After all, this is the same mother who pretended to be in a wheelchair for three years to make her daughter feel bad. Magda makes Nancy Botwin look like a thoughtful and attentive mother. She makes Betty Draper look warm and nurturing. She’s put Petra through some serious crap, and we haven’t even seen the stunts she must have pulled in the old country. (Note to JTV writers: If you’re stuck mining for material in Season 5, consider dragging up Madga’s unexpected past in the KGB. You’re all welcome.)
So it came down to Jane and Petra. Remember earlier in the season, when it almost seemed like these two were going to become friends and my heart grew three sizes? The apples of my eye, together at last? Yeah, that’s all gone out the window. (Or should I say down the stairs?) I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen Jane scream as aggressively at any character as she did Petra.
Jane has always been an emotional character, but she’s reached new heights lately. It’s been nice to see Gina Rodriguez stretching out her Golden Globe anointed acting chops as drama mounts towards the finale. Gina has a gift for attaching sympathetic vulnerability to outlandish situations. She can be breaking down because the father of the baby she was accidentally inseminated with dumped her and turned to his ex-wife, whose criminal activities nearly got her grandmother killed, and somehow it still feels relatable.
Hopefully this warmth will help ease the audience into Jane’s decisions in the coming weeks. Quitting the Marbella won’t be a popular choice, and seeking sole custody even less so, but as long as Jane stays true to herself, I don’t think she’ll have trouble finding people to root for her.
“Chapter Twenty One” of Jane the Virgin airs Monday, May 4 at 9 p.m on the CW. (Canadians can catch new episodes on Shomi!)