Let’s be honest, Jane the Virgin does not get its fair dues. This year, it has been relegated to Friday nights, paired with another show with a slightly off-putting title (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Admittedly, I was hesitant to watch either show because of their titles, but I’m glad I did. Both have consistently gone past their undermining titles to give us something truly beautiful and Jane‘s fall finale delivered on the foundation that makes this show so wonderful: mother-daughter relationships.
We were blessed this episode with a Jane-Xo-Alba road trip for Jane’s (two stop) book tour. It’s always wonderful to see stories with women supporting women and especially healthy mother-daughter relationships, but this one was even different from previous episodes. All of the Villanueva women are facing difficult situations: Jane is getting over Adam, Xo is annoyed with Rogelio and the baby, and Alba (as we discover) is running from Jorge’s proposal. They find strength in each other and their ability to confront the men in their lives which all culminates to a raucous night dancing in (and on!) the bar. It’s particularly heartwarming to see Jane support Alba, as her abuela is usually the one doing the supporting. The Villanueva women are the bedrock of Jane the Virgin. All the other aspects of the show would not be nearly as strong or likable if it wasn’t coming from this fountain of mother-daughter love and respect.
One mother-daughter relationship I was not expecting was the one between Jane and her late husband’s mother, Patricia. Patricia was not initially supportive of Jane’s book because she still blamed Jane for Michael’s death and as we’ve been with Jane throughout this whole story, we know how much she already blamed herself and the toll his death had taken on her. It’s a type of mother-daughter relationship that is too often demonized or made toxic in media so I was so grateful to see Patricia at Jane’s second book tour stop. It was clear that in the years after Michael’s death that they had both done a lot of healing on their own and were ready for forgiveness. Their tearful conversation packed the most emotional punch in the whole episode as they had a very real and honest talk on how Michael’s death affected them. They are two women who are linked by their love and grief of one man, a connection Jane can’t share with either Xo or Alba, and for them to come together after all these years was beautiful.
Back at the Marbella, we had a different set of mother-daughter relationships that are… less than healthy. Petra and Anezka have a strained relationship with each other and Magda and that was no more apparent than in this episode. After her “death”, Anezka watches her own funeral to see others mourning for her. Petra points out that their own mother has barely shed a tear for her dead daughter. Anezka goes undercover to talk to Magda to discover for herself what Petra warned her about. However, Petra wasn’t prepared for her own daughters to give away her thoughts regarding Anezka. It’s certainly painful to see Anezka try to defend herself to Petra’s 4 yr old daughters. At the same time, we rarely ever see Petra’s daughters so to hear that she confides in them regarding her relationships is kind of nice, even if it comes at the expense of Anezka.
Having the two sets of mothers and daughters shows a great parallel of how mother-daughter relationships can be. They can be toxic. They can be supportive. Ultimately, they are wildly complicated and challenging. We’ve been so blessed to have a show with women supporting women from the very beginning and Chapter Seventy-One reminded us what the series is all about.