With a title advertising the main character’s virginity, Jane The Virgin was always going to be engaging with sexual themes, and “Chapter Sixty-Nine” is the nicest place to put a wide-ranging discussion of sex and sexuality. The big news of this episode is that Adam is bisexual, a revelation that takes Jane completely by surprise and sends her into a panic as she struggles to wrap her head around the information. Why didn’t he tell her earlier? Is he actually gay? She’s afraid to ask him these questions, but she also can’t hide her discomfort, creating some serious tension as both lovers begin to question each other.

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Bisexuality is gradually becoming socially accepted as a legitimate sexual orientation, but many people still view it as a step to homosexuality. Particularly for men, who are generally given less freedom to sexually experiment with other men. Jane mentions the double standard for bisexual men and women when she talks to Xo about the subject, but even though she wants to be open-minded, she’s still tethered to more conservative ideals. We can’t forget the influence Jane’s Catholic upbringing has on her worldview as an adult, and the church tends to reinforce gender roles and encourage heteronormative behavior. Jane has been totally accepting of gay people in her life, and while she believes that people of the same sex can be together, she still has difficulty looking at sexuality as a spectrum that isn’t strictly straight or gay.

Jane hasn’t been forced to confront that bias until now, and she’s quick to blame her reaction on Adam keeping this information secret. Knowing Jane and their already rocky history, Adam probably figured that he would tell Jane about his bisexuality when it came up naturally in their relationship, and if it doesn’t come up for a while, he doesn’t have to mention it. If finally comes up when Lina’s fiance, Danny, pulls up his Facebook mutuals with Adam, revealing that they met when Adam was dating Danny’s friend. Jane assumes they’re referring to the woman in the picture, but Adam clarifies that they’re talking about the man, casually mentioning it because he doesn’t view his bisexuality as a big deal. But Jane does think it’s a big deal. A bathroom chat with Lina opens Jane’s eyes to her own bias, and forces her to take responsibility rather than using Adam’s hesitation to tell her as an excuse for her feelings. Jane is nervous and doesn’t know how this changes her relationship with Adam, but she just needs to be honest with him and have a conversation that will put her mind at ease.

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Jane The Virgin is a series that embraces the conventions of romance stories in both telenovelas and American television, but it also takes a progressive look at the genre by exploring the real challenges couples face over time and how they challenge the expectations created by fiction. The traditional male romantic lead isn’t bisexual, but traditions won’t change unless creators make an effort to change them. With Adam, the Jane The Virgin writers have the opportunity to break from the heteronormativity of the romance genre, and spotlight the benefits of pursuing different relationship romantic dynamics. Adam has felt a lot like a substitute Michael, but his bisexuality sets him apart from Jane’s late husband. It reinforces Adam’s free spirit, and strengthens his bond with Jane. He could be with a man or a woman, but he chooses Jane, who gives him what no one else can.

Lina is the perfect person for Jane to talk to about her dilemma because Adam is the exact kind of person Lina wants. Exciting, spontaneous, and very much unlike her current fiance. This show is able to do a lot more with Lina now that she’s not a recurring character, and the physical distance between Jane and Lina means that there’s a lot more to address when they reunite. Lina’s last visit to Miami was an emotional chapter that saw her and Jane rebuilding bridges that had crumbled after Michael’s death, and Jane’s dedication to Lina’s bachelorette party is informed by the fact that Lina expects Jane to be an active presence in her life. Jane’s friendships suffered while she was grieving, but now that she’s in a more happy and stable place, she wants to prove that she can be there when her friends needs her.

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Unfortunately, Lina is asking a lot of Jane in this episode. She wants Jane to spend time with Danny and tell her if she should marry him, which Xo wisely points out is a Catch-22. There’s no way for this to work out well for Jane, but the resolution of this storyline ends up tying into Jane’s situation with Adam very smoothly. Sitting on the bathroom floor (like they always do), Lina realizes that Danny is basically the male version of Jane, and while they might seem like opposites on paper, those contrasts in personality are what make them such a good pair. Jane sees this as an opening to test her own boundaries and give Lina a kiss, and while it’s awkward, it tells Lina that her friend is freaking out and needs some guidance with her own relationship.

Xo and Rogelio sex-centric plotline explores birth control options for men and women, and the emotional baggage that can be associated with them. Xo shouldn’t be on birth control pills given the potential side effects that increase with a woman’s age, and she doesn’t want to have the birth control responsibility on her shoulders when its much easier for Rogelio to have a vasectomy. It’s reversible, it’s not an invasive surgery, and it forces a man to carry some of the weight that generally falls on a woman.

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Rogelio refuses because he’s insecure about getting older, and he thinks a vasectomy puts him firmly in Old Man territory. Rogelio’s in denial about his aging even though he can see the obvious signs, and he views a vasectomy as a blow to his virility. Rogelio confesses these worries to Xo, and once he says them out loud, he’s able to let them go. Like Guillermo does to Stoney, the kidney stone that has been his steadfast companion through the Lady Scientist’s urinary tract. Rogelio’s penis is the inspiration for his big goodbye speech in Los Viajes De Guillermo, and somber strings play in the background as Jaime Camil performs the monologue with utter seriousness. Rogelio ends up getting the vasectomy, and this episode does incredible work interpreting this storyline in a ridiculous telenovela context. I mean, Rogelio delivers a heartfelt ode to his penis as he says goodbye to a kidney stone stand-in for Wilson from Cast Away. That’s an extremely imaginative approach to a vasectomy plot, and it totally works.

My feelings toward the Marbella storyline were very tepid at the start of the season, but the writers have successfully renewed my interest with some excellent twists over the last three episodes. First came the reveal that Luisa was going to burn down The Marbella. Then we learn her accomplice is actually a hallucination! OR IS HE?! After spending the episode highlighting Luisa’s vulnerability through her fear of another nervous breakdown, writer Paul Sciarrotta throws a huge curveball when Anezka and Magda have a toast with their henchman, Anton, who has been posing as Carl as part of a plot to gain all the shares of The Marbella.

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It’s a development that is all the more diabolical thanks to Yara Martinez’s pained performance, fully realizing Luisa’s panic when she learns that she might be overcome by her mental illness. She recognizes that her health is the most important thing, and she gives up the hotel so she can check herself into a psychiatric hospital. Rafael is in a very dark place in this episode, but helping his sister is his way of breaking free from his overwhelming regrets about recent decisions. He’s afraid of becoming like his father, but he can ensure that doesn’t happen by being a supportive, caring person and showing up for his family with his heart instead of his wallet. This season has been spotlighting the bad side of Rafael, and those earlier chapters gives him something to work against as he tries to rehabilitate his relationships in the future.

Luisa thinks she’s passing the shares over to Rafael when she leaves for her “wellness center,” but she’s not allowed to make changes to the contract because of her mental state. The contract reverts to the one she signed 6 weeks ago, leaving all control of The Marbella in the hands of Anezka and Magda. It’s easy to underestimate Anezka because she’s so mousy and goofy, but she’s willing to do some truly awful things, especially under the influence of her mother. She just played a game of brutal psychological warfare, and she has a giddy smile on her face as she downs a shot to celebrate her successful deception.

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Stray observations

  • Adam being bisexual is interesting given that Tyler Posey came under fire last year for saying he was gay in a Snapchat video, which was intended to be a proclamation of support for the gay community rather than a coming out announcement. As the lead character on the intensely homoerotic Teen Wolf, Posey is a sex symbol within the gay community, and it’s easy to connect that to the reveal that Adam is bisexual.
  • There’s very nice editing during the sequence that cuts between Luisa doubting her supposed hallucination and Lina doubting her future marriage. Those breaks increase the tension and reinforce the chaotic thought processes of both characters.

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  • Jane looks adorable as a schoolmarm and Lina is a fiery femme fatale, but Xo has the best look of the murder mystery. The fur-lined cape! The diamond-shaped boob window! She’s pure fabulousness.
  • Danny and the other strippers at the bachelor/bachelorette are appropriately awkward.
  • This week’s hashtags: #Albafael #Rafalba #EasyBreezyRogelio #Danbushed
  • “My sister tried to drown me at sea. I have a high bar.”
  • Adam: “I just didn’t really feel that relevant.” Narrator: “I mean, more relevant than who would win in an epic battle between Batman and Wolverine.”

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  • Lina: “I don’t wanna have to learn a bunch of new words for my bachelorette party. What the hell is a dowager?!” Jane: “A widow who got her title from her late husband.”
  • Xo: “Stop being such a baby.” Rogelio: “Well baby is the greatest name in the world so I will take that as a compliment, no matter how it was intended.”
  • “And speaking of penis panic…”
  • Alba: “He is very macho…” Xo: “He owns more makeup than I do! He’s campaigning to be the next Cover Girl.”

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  • “I should be with someone sexy, and edgy, and bisexual like Adam!”
  • “Our waitress this morning had really bad highlights, and she didn’t say anything. And you know how sensitive Lina is to bad highlights.”
  • “Seems like you were thinking about making out with your best friend.”
  • Rogelio: “HOW DARE YOU?! I WAS IN THE MOMENT!!!” Director: “I know. And it was fantastic. It’s just that your eyeline was off. It kind of looked like you were talking to your penis.”

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  • “I’ve never done it in a bathroom before...at The Marbella...at my own bachelorette party.”