The wildest thing keeps happening this year on television. Characters I wish were queer keep… being queer. Relationships I thought were wild fantasies I would only see play out in fan fiction just started… happening. To name a few, Sara and Ava on Legends of Tomorrow, Cheryl and Toni on Riverdale, and now, Petra and Jane on Jane the Virgin. As fellow TV writer Kayla said, maybe it’s time for The CW to change their slogan to “dare to be bi.”
Ever since the first time Rosario Dawson’s Jane Ramos walked into Petra Solano’s office, sparks have been flying between them. This week, Petra does the very relatable thing where she low-key panics every time J.R. is touching her, which is, in my opinion, a lot.
But Petra is having a hard time figuring out if she can trust J.R., because frankly Petra has not had the best luck in putting her faith in people, and J.R. has already admitted to originally being kind of out to get her, because blackmail. Before I tell you what happens next, I feel compelled to tell you that one of my all-time favorite tropes is when people who have feelings for each other have to pretend to be a couple for a sting/undercover/to not be seen/etc. And so, you guessed it, the first time J.R. kisses Petra, it’s to distract the car J.R. said she saw watching them. At first Petra doesn’t know and thinks her wildest fantasies are coming true.
But then J.R. clues her in — during NECK KISSES which seems a little more than necessary for a distraction but it’s fine.
The two decide they’re going to tell the mystery blackmailer J.R. had to seduce Petra to try to keep her from getting too suspicious and I dunno I think the blackmailer ships it.
Later, Petra very subtly (read: not at all; Petra has nary a subtle bone in her body) tries to invite J.R. to spend the night. J.R. says that as much as she could tell Petra was into that kiss, she’s not interested in being a straight woman’s experiment. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt here, and am going to assume she only said this to try to get Petra to assure her she isn’t straight. But I will say, at that moment, the ghost writer typed “clitourist” which is officially my new favorite word.
Petra then asks the very valid question — Who says she’s is straight? Because she’s Petra, she doesn’t just say, “I know I haven’t been with a woman yet but I do have real feelings for you/this isn’t an experiment for me,” which I think J.R. would have responded well to. No, instead she’s like, “I am obviously an expert at sleeping with women like I am an expert at all things” and goes in for the kiss her own self.
Petra had been waffling on what to do with her feelings for a little while (even lying about being twitterpated when Jane Villanueva caught her giggling at her phone when she got a text from J.R.) but as soon as the conversation was out there, she did what Petra does best and went for what she wanted head on. The next morning, Petra tries very hard to look casual as she confesses that she hadn’t actually been with a woman before J.R.
But the thing is, J.R. knew that. Of course she did. Because though she might be alone in having this skill, J.R. can see through Petra’s bullshit. (With the possible exception of the other Jane.) But obviously J.R. likes Petra enough to a) not call her out on the spot b) not hold it against her for lying about it. She knew the lie meant Petra was serious about being into her, and so she went with it. Petra is called on her second lie, though, when J.R. says she has to go and Petra pretends like she does too, right as a breakfast-for-two shows up from room service. J.R. gives Petra a look that could mean, “You really have to stop lying to me if you want this to go anywhere,” and that is all she wrote.
Even though there’s still the chance that J.R. is evil, because there’s the chance literally everyone on this show is evil except maybe Jane Villanueva, I still love her and am excited to see where this goes next.
And even though I witnessed it with my own eyes and recapped it for you, I kind of can’t believe it’s happening. From the beginning, Petra has always looked at everyone like she wanted to devour them, the line between seduction and destruction being very thin. The writers heard what the audience wanted — Petra and Jane to get together — and this is their way of giving it to us. In the front half of the season, they showed us why it couldn’t have been Jane Villanueva: she isn’t queer. Maybe she’ll realize otherwise later in life, but she did a lot of internal reflection when Adam came out to her as bi, and where she is right now in her story is pretty straight. Even Gina Rodriguez, who loves playing queer so much she basically cast herself as Rosa Diaz’s girlfriend on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, has said as much.
Petra on the other hand — why not? Petra has been growing and changing as a character since day one. We’ve seen her grow a little softer around the edges, become a little more self-aware. She’s slowly been learning to open herself up to people, and letting herself admit she’s capable of caring about others, even if sometimes she still has a hard time showing it. Plus, it makes sense that Petra would be attracted to J.R. — she’s smart, strong, and she doesn’t react to Petra the way other people do. Petra has gotten so good at pushing people’s buttons and/or pushing them away. Riling them up or playing them like a fiddle. But J.R. isn’t falling for any of that. She’s calm when Petra’s not, she sees through the boss bitch act. So when J.R. reached out to touch Petra — literally and figuratively — for the first time in a long time, Petra didn’t pull away.
On most other shows, upon hearing the audience reading Petra as queer, specifically reading chemistry between her and Jane, they would have cut back on the screen time they had together, stopped letting them share a frame. Or they would have given them both male love interests and stop developing their characters outside those relationships. Or have them both say the word “friend” so much the word almost becomes meaningless. Or said, “We already have Luisa, Rose and Krishna as queer women on this show; sure Rose is on the lam and Luisa is MIA and Krishna only has a few minutes of screentime per episode but ISN’T THREE ENOUGH?” Or they would have purposefully and strategically played up the chemistry without any payoff, baiting and baiting until we couldn’t take it anymore. We know. We’ve seen these things happen endlessly, relentlessly over the years.
Instead, Jane the Virgin saw the audience reading Petra as queer and gave her a female love interest. Simple as that.