A few thoughts on Jane the Virgin season 2, including last night's finale, coming up just as soon as I lock you into the patriarchy…
Jane the Virgin has always been multiple shows deftly squeezed into one: a sweet romantic comedy, a parody of telenovela cliches, and a genuine telenovela. Sometimes, it toggles from one mode to the next as it hops from scene to scene, but at others – with enormous help from Anthony Mendez as the narrator to keep it all from feeling jarring – it's existing in multiple genres in the same moment. You can love one aspect of the show more than the others, but you have to accept that all are part of it, which means in the finale you may get to enjoy the sincerity of the Jane/Michael wedding – whether Michael doing his vows in Spanish or Jane and Rogelio's dance being even more elaborately choreographed than Jane and Michael's – but also have to deal with Michael being shot by Sin Rostro before he and Jane can consummate the marriage, and the ludicrousness of Rose having spent a year wearing a Mission: Impossible mask and voice changer everywhere she goes, and Petra inevitably coming out on the tragic end of an identical twin switcheroo.
The show needs to keep all these different ideas in harmony with one another, and occasionally the balance gets thrown off. Mateo's kidnapping at the end of season 1 wasn't the best idea, because there was simply no way for Jane the Virgin to function as it existed so long as Jane and Rafael's son was missing, and of course he was returned to them within the opening minutes of this season's premiere. These cliffhangers seem to give the show more flexibility. I don't actually expect Michael to be dead, for instance – even though much of this season had made him so perfect that it would be hard to generate any conflict in that relationship going forward – but there's a version of the show as we know it that could incorporate that and (maybe with the help of a time jump) not feel too tonally out of whack. Petra's current circumstances are horrible – especially coming only moments after she finally bonded with her daughter – but it's not something that anyone expects will last forever, and Petra has done enough despicable things in the past (even if the show has tried to make us ignore those things of late in order to make a Jane/Petra friendship seem plausible) that it doesn't feel unbearable in the way it would if it were somehow happening to Jane or Alba.
In some ways, it would probably be easier on both the audience and Jennie Urman if Jane wanted to settle on being only one thing, but the show works precisely because, like Jane herself, it's so many things at once. Rogelio, for instance, is one of the funniest characters on TV, but the show has given us just the right amount of him, rather than going the Fonzie/Urkel route and turning him into the main character because everyone loves Jaime Camil's performance so much. A straightforward soap opera version would have burned itself out by now – it's a miracle that even this hybrid one still has stories, even if the crime plot in particular has grown ever more convoluted and silly – a relentless parody would have started to feel awful thin, and Jane being torn between Michael and Rafael likely wouldn't be enough without the frequent melodramatic twists.
It's not perfect, but enough of the pieces continue to work together to make the whole show a delight, up through and including last night's finale. I'm glad it (and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) will be around a while longer.
What did everybody else think of the finale, and season 2 as a whole?