Title: To Binge or Not To Binge: Episode 17: “Jane the Virgin”

Title: To Binge or Not To Binge: Episode 17: “Jane the Virgin”

By Palak Jayswal, Arts Editor

Warning: This article contains spoilers.

If you haven’t heard of the American telenovela “Jane the Virgin” then you’ve been living under a rock the past four years. Infused with the core themes of a traditional telenovela, this show has something for all viewers. Ultimately it is a romance, but there is much more to it than that. There’s drama, scandal, family problems, comedy and a colorful cast — like Gina Rodriguez (Jane), Justin Baldoni (Rafael) and Brett Dier (Michael Cordero Jr.).

The story of Jane was based off a Venezuelan telenovela entitled “Juana la Virgen.” Jane Villanueva, a devout religious virgin becomes pregnant after being artificially inseminated with Rafael Solano’s sperm. From here on out, the journeys of Jane, Rafael and all of their family and friends become intertwined.

The show has been nominated for a Golden Globe, received the Peabody Award and was also named Program of the Year by the American Film Institute. Acolades aside, there is something at the core of this series that not only makes it bingeable, but makes viewers feel like they too are a part of the Villanueva/Solano/Cordero clan. Although the series plays off and parodies traditional tropes of a telenovela, it works. It’s funny, heartfelt and honest, and that’s exactly why you should watch it.

Previous Seasons Recap

In season 1 of the show, the premises are set. We meet Jane and her family, consisting of her mother Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) and her abuela (Ivonne Coll) who is the root of Jane’s religious devotion. We learn they live a very basic lifestyle, but nonetheless they are happy. Jane’s abuela has always been strict on Jane and her virtue, using her mother as an example since she got pregnant with Jane at an early age. A simple visit to the gynecologist becomes more when Jane is accidentally artificially inseminated. We also meet the man whose sperm she is inseminated with, Rafael Solano. His lifestyle is the complete opposite of Jane’s, being the son of a rich hotel owner in Miami. He’s also married, and his wife Petra (Yael Grobglas) was supposed to be inseminated. Jane decides to keep the baby and the two parents work out an arrangement as her pregnancy continues, but her police officer boyfriend, Michael, isn’t so happy about how close they are getting. As Jane’s father reappears in her life and Rafael’s has his own family drama, the series starts to unwind. In the finale, Jane has the baby (a boy), but a cliffhanger leaves the audience wanting more.

In season 2, the plot grows deeper as Jane balances becoming an author and falling for Rafael and Michael all while being a new mother.

In season 3, more drama unfolds and there is an overwhelming sense of growing up from all members of the cast. Jane finally gets married. The finale of the season will leave the audience heartbroken.

In season 4, which was just added to Netflix a few weeks ago, we see a bit of time jump from the season finale and things, for lack of better phrasing, blow up. Jane learns to navigate once again through her crazy life and the audience does so as well. The ending of the season is the most shocking of all, and it will have you on your toes for the next season (which also happens to be the final season).

After seeing all these characters go through so much, most importantly Jane, all we can do is hope for a sweet ending once and for all, but as the witty narrator reminds us so often, this is a telenovela after all.

To Binge or Not to Binge?

As I mentioned earlier, what makes this show so bingable is the themes it runs on. Even more so, each and every member of this cast, whether they are show veterans or guests, have stories that are so kooky and addicting, you’ll become invested in each one of them. You’ll hate them, you’ll love them, you’ll want to throw them off a cliff at times, but you’re rooting for them. It may be Jane’s story, but everyone around her is just as vital. Often the narrator of the show opens the episode by saying something along the lines of “Hello friends, here’s what happened last week,” and that noun is so important. Viewers don’t feel like viewers when they’re watching this show, they feel like they are life-long friends of these characters. They’ve been there through deaths, weddings, drama and love — and that is a delicate thing to craft. Often shows like this make you feel like they are trying too hard to connect with the audience, but in this case, it’s just right.

Jane herself is a storyteller, and the narrator of the show is set to be revealed in the last two episodes of the series. The quality of this show that makes it binge-worthy is that it feels like coming home in a sense. It’s not afraid to show the not so pretty, annoying, out of this world things that happen in life sometimes. It does so in an honest and humorous way the viewers can immediately connect to. So, yes, this show is binge-worthy. Even if the immediate description sounds too dramatic for your tastes, I recommend you give this show a chance. Who knows, maybe you’ll be arguing with your friends over #TeamMichael vs #TeamRafael before you know it.

Keep your eyes out for Season 5, the final season, which will premiere sometime in 2019.

Best Episode: Chapter Eighty-One (Or Episode 17 of Season 4): “Jane the Surprise”

Similar Shows: “Younger,” “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” or “Young and Hungry”

Trigger Warnings: Character Death, Heartbreak

Rating: 5 stars

“Jane the Virgin”

Available to stream on Netflix

81 episodes, approximately 3 days and 9 hours

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