“They say with children, the days feel like years and the years…well, they feel like days.”
Time jumping is obviously not a new trick to force narrative along, but the writers of “Chapter Twenty-Eight,” Corinne Brinklehoff and Micah Schraft, take the story forward by almost half-a-year to cement deeper relationships, by incorporating ‘milestones’—for both Mateo and Jane. Each commercial break means the timeline scrolls monthly as Jane learns to adapt to motherhood, graduate school and letting go of her love for Michael. If you’re a fan of Aziz Ansari’s “Mornings” episode from Master of None and its time jumps and editing, than you’ll appreciate this episode; the fast pace keeps the story feeling fresh and removes any lackluster plot that might have dampened the episode.
First things first—let’s rejoice in our freedom from the chains of the Michael, Jane and Rafael love triangle. Let us also reminiscence about the presence of Brett Dier, since he was only given two quick scenes, and forced out of Jane’s life due to his actions last week. While I admit to being saddened, ending the love triangle was the right move. Jane needs time to negotiate her way through motherhood, especially when breastfeeding takes a huge bite out of her schedule. It also gives Jane time to grow alongside her son, and there are specific milestones in her life that coincide with Mateo’s, such as their first time being away from each other for more than a night. Or, the time when Mateo needs to wear a helmet due to his plagiocephaly (when a baby’s head is too flat), while she tries to maneuver between being both a good writer, great mom and student. Focusing on these trials and tribulations directs a spotlight to how tough parenting can be in a way that most other television series don’t usually showcase.
In a sly move, the writers of the show pay Rogelio a particular compliment by way of his network television executives, who call him a younger Desi Arnaz. Rogelio has to Google the Cuban entertainer to find out who he is, but the reference brings light to another fact: Jane the Virgin’s focus on motherhood breaks the usual television scope in similar way to I Love Lucy. While Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz had to fight to even bring up Lucy’s pregnancy with their son on television, Jane modernizes this accomplishment by mouthing off about a ‘clogged duct’ due to mastitis. The discussion continues when she tells Rogelio that breastfeeding feels like ‘glass shards are shooting out when I pump.’ Before this scene, we watch as Mateo vomits all over Jane before her graduate school’s orientation, and we also witness her moment of panic when she leaves the plug of her breastfeeding pump behind. The writers are really hitting it out of the ball park with these parenting truths.
The physical comedy that Gina Rodriguez employs throughout the episode is also reminiscent of I Love Lucy . In one scene with her professor, Jonathan Chavez (played by guest star Adam Rodriguez), they exchange humorous glances that speak volumes when Jane’s phone rings the first day of class, and he locks her out. Another scene shows Rafael in mommy classes with Mateo while Jane is running late, and she watches as the mommies and Rafael perform for their babies. Not one to be left out, she quickly joins in without knowing the song, but Jane’s facial expressions and flailing arm moves are highly entertaining. It’s pure gold.
Speaking of Rafael, this fast-moving narrative gives us the kinder spirit of the character that we once knew from the Season One, and, as a result, we’re ready to forgive him with wide open arms. Rafael does his best to push Jane less for a relationship and to cultivate her ambitions and plans for her future and Mateo’s. The moment Michael is gone to chase Sin Rostro with Nadine, Rafael finds the confidence to fill in his daddy role—despite Petra’s ultrasound appointment, which surprised the ex-couple with twins. Rafael went from 0 to 3 kids, real quick. Still, his letting go of Jane proved fruitful; after five months have passed, Jane realized that her feelings for Michael are no longer an issue, and after dealing with an angry Jane, he breaks up with another mommy from their class to ask Jane on a date, after Thanksgiving dinner.
Because we were given five months of Rafael and Jane plodding along and working together for Mateo’s best interest, the romance in the show finally felt more natural between the two. Plus, Rafael managed to work his way into the family bond of the Villanueva women and Rogelio, something that needed the time and effort he put in throughout this episode.
Thankfully, Petra’s rivalry between Jane seems to have abated during this time, as she’s tried to focus on her pregnancy and her hyperemesis gravidarum, constant nausea and vomiting during her first trimester. Jane is sweet and two have some great moments—including Petra getting the invite to Thanksgiving dinner.
Magda’s time in jail involves a red-haired woman who tries to poison her from the kitchen. Shout out to Orange is the New Black!
Rogelio had taken the five months to grow, too. After his final performance of The Passions of Santos, his crew is stolen by his archenemy and ex-wife. However, he takes the time to cultivate a new show—Hombres Locos a telenovela take on Mad Men. #MyLastDayAsSantos #TheWorldWeeps
I almost hoped that Jane found romance with Adam Rodriguez’s character. Okay, yes, I freaking hoped.
The show teamed up with the White House’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative which focuses on young girls, worldwide, getting the education they deserve. While there was a PSA, it also helped that there was sequence of a six-year-old Mateo giving a speech about being mentored by Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie, and how they taught him about the #62MillionGirls who are deprived, worldwide. The scene was completely adorable and informative, without throwing the whole episode off. BLESS!
“Health and hair. Always, health and hair.” (Rogelio, regarding what he’s thankful for.)
“Then they said I was like a young…oh! Desi Arnaz. Remind me to Google that guy!” (Rogelio)
Iris A. Barreto is a writer for Fangirlish, freelance writer for Paste and social media intern for Pink is the New Blog. Heavily caffeinated. Forever lost in Westchester, NY & NYC; all GPS apps hate her. You can follow on Twitter.