Writer David S. Rosenthal might have sped up a little too quickly, with all the narratives and plots flying past your head, but I still find that this show’s strength lies in how it balances between screwball comedy and heart-wrenching drama. Sprinkle in a political plot from last season, and JtV will continue to be my favorite show.
In “Chapter Twenty-Four,” we find our favorite virgin mother to be in a gross state of affairs; Jane hasn’t taken a shower in seven whole days, hasn’t run a comb through her hair and Abuela’s prayers for her to get clean again haven’t worked. Frankly, I feel like this is a plight of motherhood that doesn’t get featured enough in television, but Mateo’s “village” of people have to rally around Jane to remind her that their bathroom works just fine. Speaking of the village, everyone involved in this show has work this season. The creators know they have a truly talented cast, and so they’ve given the main cast so many narratives to work with, in hopes (I suppose) that the audience will never have a dull moment.
That said, love triangles do not work for this particular audience member. The fight for one person is completely boring to me; placing a character on a plateau for the others to fight over is so unappealing and repetitive. However, I have to admit that the love triangle between Jane, Michael and Rafael works well. Jane isn’t treated like a trophy for the boys to reach for. Rafael wants his family to be together. Michael was with Jane first, and their flashbacks are completely adorable, I can’t remember why I disliked him so much last season. That speaks to the power of Brett Dier (Michael)—he has a way of pulling you in when you just want to choose one or the other. Jane’s honest moment, when she admits that she’s in love with both of them, tears at the guys for a minute, but they still put aside their residual feelings to make sure that she and Mateo are safe, especially with her jumpiness over Rose and this fear she’ll come back to kidnap Mateo. Mateo is the number one priority; there is no other guy who’ll distract Jane enough from him, but both men are so in love with Mateo already, they understand completely. It’s incredible.
The one thing I can say I was disappointed in was Kesha’s guest-star appearance. She plays a twenty-something-year-old who has a band and moved to the neighborhood after her father researched its lax noise ordinances. I had high hopes that Jane and the rock star wannabe would have an epic battle—or at least she would have been forced to babysit Mateo. One thing this story arc does do, is reintroduce Alba’s immigration status.
Each time Alba’s immigration storyline reappears, I am swiftly reminded of last year’s impeccable introduction by way of “medical repatriation,” the law that forces an immigrant to go back to their country to receive medical care. This educational storyline included a hashtag that crossed our screens, #ImmigrationReform, and invited audiences to research the very real law. It sparked a conversation then, and I’m hoping it will spark another now, since there are some politicians in America who continue to spew vitriol against immigrants.
Due to Jane’s silly decision to take her neighbor’s amp from their front porch, the police are called and Alba answers the door. While the police were sentimental towards Jane and Mateo, Alba sorrowfully breaks down due to the stress of being asked for her ID. Actress Ivonne Coll is an emotional juggernaut in a scene that absolutely wrecks you, but that’s the power of an abuela’s tears—that moment fortifies her spirit and she decides it’s time to get her green card. The following scene between grandmother, daughter and granddaughter is the reason you should watch this show; all three women (Xo through video chat) are brimming with tears as they watch Alba filled with strength, and Jane jokes “If I knew this was gonna happen, I would have stolen that amp years ago.”
Just in case you thought the show was getting too campy, the writers decided to introduce Bachelorette Jane, a figment of her imagination that tries to force her to choose between both men. She’s a heavy drinker and loves the dramatics, but it’s so cute to watch Gina play someone as intriguing.
Jane is already using Mateo to get herself out of sticky situations, like Michael and Rafael getting silly in a restaurant.
There is basically no such thing as too many storylines with this cast. They all deserve to shine.
While Rogelio and Xo decide to continue with their annulment, it’s actually a good idea that their relationship move forward as slowly as possible. Well, as slowly as these two can go.
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.