Aug 9, 2017

[TV] Jane the Virgin: Season 2 Review

How Tobie and I fell in love with Jane the Virgin is often a tad tricky to explain given our general dislike for CW shows. But there's something about this program that is just so right and all the pieces ended up falling into place nicely to create a singular television experience. And the fact that show continues to go strong is a testament to how good it is.

Initially it was positioned as a comedy with a clearly Latin flair, as it were. But now it's being addressed as what it is - a comedy that is also a telenovela. It's a telenovela in terms of structure but it's a self-aware one that embraces its tropes and plays with them in clever ways.

And it has a very talented cast that bring the characters  and their convoluted stories to life in a way that is both over the top and yet still grounded in reality. But most importantly, it's a lot of fun with some great jokes, some heartwarming romcom moments and a lot more good stuff.

Synopsis: Jane the Virgin is an American romantic comedy series created by Jennie Snyder Urman for The CW. The show has already received many awards nominations and has won a few of them.

Season 1 ended with quite the cliffhanger with the newborn Mateo being kidnapped with Sin Rostro involved somehow. Jane (Gina Rodriguez) is at a loss as to what to do and her telenovela star grandfather Rogelio (Jaime Camil) decides to tweet for help to see what his fans might do. But ultimately it's Michael (Brett Dier) who manages to make a deal to get Mateo back, but he may have compromised his own investigation into Sin Rostro.

But even with Mateo back, thing aren't quite settled as Jane still hasn't resolved the question of her love triangle with Michael and Rafael (Justin Baldoni). Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) is locked into a contract  to perform on a cruise ship with Rogelio. And Alba (Ivonne Coll) decides to finally deal with her questionable legal status in the country after a run-in with the police.

What I Liked: There's something that Tobie and I have come to refer to a the "Jane the Virgin school of writing" which resolves big plot points within 2-3 episodes. And so despite a huge cliffhanger about Mateo being kidnapped we start the new season with his return. A typical TV drama could milk that sort of a storyline for half a season at least. Here the writers are constantly clearing the slate in order to introduce additional plot points to start new interest and keep things going. It's all telenovela 101.

And Gina Rodriguez has really grown into her role as Jane, and that's a great thing. So much of the show is about her and her relationship with the women who have raised her - her mother Xo and her abuela Alba. The three women are amazing on their own but even greater together. Once you come to know these three characters, then the show really gets to reel you in.

What Could Have Been Better: At times the breakneck speed of plot points can be a bad thing as things that could be explored further often turn out to be quick plot points with an easier ending. The cycle of stories is a tough one and it you're not paying attention the show can swallow you whole.

Rafael more and is less of a love interest and more just a weird part of the show. The rise of Petra (Yael Groblas) and her storyline end up making her the more fascinating member of the fair as he doesn't have quite as much to contribute at times. Michael also had some less than ideal moments throw in by the writers keep the love triangle tension but the execution of this isn't all that great.

TL;DR: The second season of Jane the Virgin remains a strong one and the writers really feel more free to bounce around and explore new ideas and character back stories. It's a show that is a lot of fun and certainly has a lot of heart and I don''t regret getting into it. Thus the season gets a great 4 surprise character twists out of a possible 5.

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