Friends, I totally intended to use that tagline joke as a placeholder until I found something better (mostly because I suspect it will be an appropriate tagline to most outings of this show) but…I’m too fond of it now. You’re welcome!
And now for some awards. I’m nixing “chapter subtitle” because it doesn’t really seem like an award, but look! TWO new categories to take its place!
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Jane snooping on Petra and Michael would totally have gotten this award, if not for Jane’s non-telenovela-heroine habit of telling the truth and not letting secrets snowball. So this first week, this award instead goes to Petra dropping the “Aaron” bomb on Raf there in the last minute. Lady, you are in trouble.
BEST USE OF VOICE OF GOD DEVICE
I am going with The Voice’s gleefully knowing tone when he interrupted Petra telling Raf she didn’t know Zaz had a brother (“she did“) OR even know Zaz that well at all (“she definitely did”). I love a snarky parenthetical aside.
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
The Villanueva ladies are too dysfunctional to win any crowns this week, and Michael only sees a potential kid as a secondary bulletproof vest, so I’m left choosing between pill-sleuthing Jane, who is not committing to naming herself a parent, and nursery-painting Petra, whose only commitment to parenthood is nominal.
YOU GUYS pick:
- Jane: 54.55% (12 votes)
- Petra: 40.91% (9 votes)
- Other: 4.54% (1 votes)
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Jane’s abuela proved how potent scare tactics are with impressionable children, and now Jane can’t see a white flower without her fallopian tubes tying themselves into prayer bead-counting knots. A very virgin Jane nonetheless became pregnant after a very distraught Dr. Luisa Alver accidentally mixed up her insemination and pap appointments. Jane decided to keep the baby to give to the cancer-sterile father, Raf, who is also her boss and her long-ago kiss and also the only person alive who knows about her secret dream to be a writer. She came to this decision believing that said boss/kiss/dream sharer is deeply in love with his wife, but alas, said wife was deeply in adultery with Raf’s best friend, Zaz…which Jane’s detective fiancé Michael knows, being the lead detective on a stakeout case focused on Zaz. Who was pushed to his pointy icy death at the tail end of the previous episode.
Also, Jane’s mystery father is the romantic lead of her favorite telenovela, and in his push to make Xiomara tell Jane about him, has instead re-seduced Xio and scandalized Alba in the process.
Much like how Pushing Daisies always opened with the narrator showing us a pertinent scene from the Piemaker’s or Chuck’s childhood, it looks like Jane’s narrator will be doing the same with hers. Chapters One and Two showed us her virginity talk (Alba’s influence) and quinceañara (Xio’s influence); Chapter Three gives us a glimpse of Jane influencing herself, wishing on caught fireflies.
As she will remind us later, Jane’s NEVER been afraid of the act of sex. Just afraid of the crushed flower results.
An offhand half-insult from Xio about the irony of Jane turning out to be an unwed pregnant woman just like Xio herself was makes Jane realize that, now that she IS pregnant, there is literally zero reason for her and Michael to wait to have sex. They’re engaged, after all. What difference does a few months make, if they’ll be spending the rest of their lives together, anyway?
Michael of course is one thousand precent into this new plan, and even offers the use of his backseat for a fifteen-minute quickie during his daily break. Jane rightly shuts that idea down, then, after giving her statement re: Zaz’s impalement to the other detective on the case (giving it to Michael would not be appropriate, of course), she heads off to her shift at the hotel, where her nosy work friends A) make the prediction that Michael will be “a crier,” and B) make the suggestion that she snag a key card to an 11th floor suite. The 11th floor being closed on police order due to grisly murder investigation. SUPER romantic.
Jane does grab an 11th floor key card, and heads up to check out the room. Before she even crosses the threshold, however, she spies Petra lurking around the crime scene down the hall, shaking and popping pills. Shaking and popping pills and meeting Michael for a secret elevator rendezvous.
Petra, that is a terrible lurking outfit.
Imagining the very worst, Jane races down eleven flights of stairs—pregnant, and in her cocktail dress and wedges, making me feel like just the laziest person around—to intercept the two in the lobby. It is momentarily awkward, before Petra gives a breezy explanation about wanting to talk with Michael about hotel security. Michael backs this explanation up, then dismisses Jane’s continued concerns about Petra’s obvious lurkerhood by declaring her—and this is just the WORST—hormonal.
Jane is no shit-taker, so she of course leaves Michael to stew in his own error of judgment. She seeks out a pregnancy-craving croqueta to eat along the waterfront on her break, where she runs into Raf. She explains her non-offering to share her croquetas with a very endearing story about how she is enjoying them so much that if she did share she would “end up resenting [Raf] in a very serious way,” then sits down to help him reword the hotel’s press release regarding Zaz’s death. After Raf again reminds her of his total support in her dream to be a writer (he in fact starts the conversation with, “YOU’RE a writer…you can help me!”), she ends up not so much helping him write the press release as she does unleashing her judginess about his evident unwillingness to do anything more than talk about doing things differently than his ice-hearted dad.
I like Judgy Jane. And so does Raf, who puts a grateful (if inappropriate) hand on her knee after she throws her judginess as him. And Jane, as her traitorous, glowing heartbeat informs her when she sees that hand on her knee, just might like Raf right back. Good thing she won’t be put in social a situation wherein she might have to be up close and personal with him anytime soo—
But before Jane twirls in Raf’s arms—and before she and Michael can put that 11th floor key card to good use—she has to investigate her unallayed concerns about Petra’s potential pill problem. Petra’s dry-cleaning in tow (her excuse, should she need one), Jane heads to Petra’s suite and starts digging through her jewelry boxes. On the one hand, that seems like the least likely place for a pill bottle that was, not hours previous, in Petra’s purse, to be hiding. On the other hand…that’s totally where the pill bottle is hiding. It’s also where Petra is hiding! Welp, good thing you had that excuse ready, Jane.
In a move after my own terrible-liar heart, however, Jane ends up unable to use her carefully-laid excuse, instead guilting herself into telling the truth (well, guilting herself and recalling Alba’s warnings about little lies snowballing). And because the truth always makes stories much more interesting, Jane’s confession that she was worried about the future safety of her baby, prompts Petra into not only forgiving Jane for the intrusion, but explaining the Xanax and bringing Jane to the nursery to show how much thought Petra has put into the baby’s health and happiness. Both women get a bit misty. It’s sweet.
It also prompts Jane to race to the police station to tell Michael that his horrible hormones comment was right (UGH), and that Petra is actually a lovely person who Jane will be able to trust with her unborn child COMPLETELY. And with Michael not correcting her on either count, he loses a billion decency points.
Jane still wants to go ahead with the de-flowering plans, oblivious to Michael’s unworthiness. Before they can do so, though, she has to go to church—Alba’s request. Jane, not knowing that Alba and Xio are in the middle of their own domestic argument completely unrelated to Jane’s getting-laid plans, is convinced that Alba somehow knows her sexy intentions and has brought her to the “God only gives us what He thinks we can handle” sermon to convince her, if not not to have sex, then at least not to tell lies. Jane’s guilt is so overwhelming, in fact, that she starts hallucinating the priest sermonizing directly at her, and the choir (and Alba…AND the wooden Virgin Mary statuette) bellowing at her about what an awful person she will be if she lies to Alba/lies WITH Michael.
I wish I had a gif of this scene. To quote Alba, it was transcendent. Alas, I will have to trust that you all remember it as vividly as Jane and I do. In any case, the sermon, and Alba’s undercurrent chatter about lies and purity, prompts Jane to spill the beans about her evening plans. Xio is predictably over the moon at the thought; Alba is, predictably, ready to layer on the guilt. She even goes so far as to say she FORBIDS it (Alba and Michael could fill a book with picture-perfect examples of what not to say to people you love…YOU DON’T OWN HER, people). Jane rolls her eyes at this and explains that she told the truth not to get an opinion, but because she felt wrong keeping it a secret. This above most things so far this show underscored for me my incredibly Lutheran upbringing: I can’t even imagine sharing such private details with my best friend, let alone my grandmother…let alone feeling any crippling guilt over it. Stoic privacy and shrugging acceptance, that’s my bag.
Anyway, Jane packs her bag and heads off to the hotel to meet Michael. She is stopped along the way by the raucous, joyful music coming from Zaz’s memorial dance party, where Raf thanks her again for her judgy interference that afternoon, then asks her to dance when her favorite song comes on. It is, as you can see above, TOO SWEET. As in, it makes Jane’s heart beat a glowing pink, totally muddling her thoughts w/r/t Michael and their plans.
When she does reach Michael, she tries valiantly to throw herself into the de-virginizing scheme. A billion uncomfortable signs assault her, however—Michael asking her to dance; the white flowers by the bed dropping their petals; RAF’S FACE COMING ON THE TV TO WISH THEM A FULFILLING “FIRST TIME”—and, at the very last, a fire alarm sounding, clearing the entire floor.
Once the two are clothed and outside, Michael gives Jane the opportunity to tell one more truth about what was making her so nervous. But Jane’s truth-telling faculties have been work to the quick after her confrontations with Alba and Petra, and she still can’t admit to herself what she might feel for Raf, so she blames her weird mood on Alba’s guilt mongering. Michael’s response to this? A very reasonable (if unhelpful to Jane’s current predicament) suggestion that they just get married next week. Because, as Jane said herself, what are they even waiting for?
When Jane trudges home that night, Alba greets her with a “You look different, my love,” which is ABSOLUTE BULL and one hundred percent projection because, as Jane informs both Alba and Xio, she and Michael didn’t have sex. Alba’s reaction to this is valedictory, when instead it should be quietly reflective of her own toxic biases. To be fair, Jane doesn’t give either of them too much time to react to that news, as she immediately follows it with the news of the new wedding date.
Alba AND Xio celebrate at this, neither looking closely at Jane’s drawn face. Jane, though, Jane sees a firefly, and when she catches it, she makes her wish: to stop feeling anything at all for Rafael Solano.
Michael’s intentions are in the right place, but for a detective, he sure is bad at making the right decisions to support said intentions.
Due to his big fear of the above math problem, Michael has entwined himself in Petra’s lies and manipulations, working to keep her affair with Zaz secret not only from Jane, but now also from his own partner and captain. He is so entrenched in her schemes that he finds himself obliged to have secret elevator conversations with her (see Jane’s section) and tamper with a crime scene by removing a necklace she lost in Zaz’s sofa during their last, violent encounter. He has just completed said felony when Raf shows up at the crime scene to try to get more information from the lead detective—Michael. And because Michael’s hand is full of Petra’s necklace, Michael ensures that the meeting starts off on the wrong foot by refusing to shake Raf’s proffered hand. Dick move, bro. And you set your own bar pretty high, what with that hormonal comment to Jane earlier.
Michael stands his “Petra is innocent” ground with his partner, using real evidence (a key card log) to prove Petra’s whereabouts at the time of the murder. Later, however, he finds stairwell activity on Petra’s mother’s key card—her wheelchair-bound mother, recall—and finds himself having to confront Petra about her lies, and the bind she’s put him in. He tries to threaten her with the prospect of jail, but she knows what’s up: he’s the one who tampered with a crime scene. He’s the one that will go to jail, should any of this mess come to light.
Having made a mess of his professional life, Michael could really use a win with Jane, so when their 11th floor suite plans fall through, he follows it up with the next best (to him) thing: setting the nearest date possible for the wedding. Good luck, guy.
Petra manages to make it through almost this entire episode without giving herself or her lies away: she covers for her shock at realizing her necklace was lost in Zaz’s couch by increased comforting of Raf; she covers for her meeting with Michael by invoking “hotel security”; she covers for her pill-popping by playing both the husband-cancer AND baby-planning cards. She turns Michael’s scare tactics right back around on him, and manages not to have to explain why she was using her mother’s key card in the stairwells the night before.
She is almost home free, in fact, when Raf comes to her in the alarm-evacuated crowd at the end of the night to complain about seeing his sister, explaining that it isn’t the insemination mistake that bothers him, but the lying about it. And, overcome with the need to distract him from the idea of lying liars who lie, of whom she is the Queen, she redirects the conversation to Zaz, asking if Raf has had any luck getting in touch with “Aaron” yet. You know…Aaron? Zaz’s brother? You were telling Petra about it just that morning, Raf! Don’t you remember?
And Raf does. He remembers telling Petra that he needed to contact Zaz’s brother, who he did not name because he didn’t know his name. He also recalls Michael’s detective partner telling him that the police were working a girlfriend angle. And did Petra even know Zaz was seeing someone?
Raf proves his superhuman mettle this episode by not only not shedding a single tear in the 24 hours immediately following his best friend’s death, but by also managing to plan and execute a rollicking and very well-attended memorial service for said friend. Best watch yourself, Raf—you’re encroaching on Mona Vanderwaal hyperreality time.
Raf’s arc takes place more between the lines this week than in weeks previous, which is both odd and oddly realistic for him being the character closest to the murdered Zaz. The grieving we do see him do is contextualized more by his position as hotelier than as friend, as he finds himself having to deal with a dick detective who won’t keep him apprised of the state of the crime scene and a dick dad who wants him to write off his long friendship with Zaz in order to save the hotel’s image. Petra seems like a truly supportive rock early in the day, but by the end she will give herself away to him as suspicious at the least, and a dangerous liar at the worst.
The only true support he ends up getting the day after his best friend dies is from Jane, who puts on her judgiest tone to remind him of his life’s goal to escape his father’s shadow/influence. The way Raf does this? Organizing a blowout of a memorial that Zaz would have a hundred percent approved of, and doing so by convincing his father that the press would be worse if it leaked that he was keeping his son from organizing a memorial for his best friend just to save the hotel’s image. ASTUTE MOVE, Rafael Solano. Astute move.
To celebrate this small victory (and Zaz’s life), Raf all but demands that Jane dance with him before she goes on to meet Michael. Raf still isn’t interacting with Jane with any seductive agenda to pull her away from Michael—he just likes her as a person. He should probably check his actions relative to that feeling, but still: no schemes here yet, just joyful dancing.
Okay, so in the premiere I was surprised by how deftly they handled putting Luisa in a state of mind that would not UNbelievably lead to an accidental insemination. Now though? Now I know enough about how crappy Luisa’s decision making skills are that the writers could have been HALF as deft and I would still believe Luisa would do something so unthinking.
All that to say: she agrees to breakfast with her dad and stepmom/lover and MAKES THE MOVE on said stepmom/lover WHILE HER DAD IS THERE. And then later that night, when she is almost caught by her dad in the hallway in which she is retrieving powdered donuts for a post-coital snack for her an Rose? Who gave this woman a license to practice medicine??
…turned on by the lavender military monstrosity?
After a completely idiotic (yet utterly true-to-character) suggestion by Rogelio at the start of the episode that Jane interrupting him and Xio getting it on would be the perfect moment for them to finally break the news to Jane of her parentage, Xiomara spends the rest of the episode vacillating between hope and despair of Rogelio being her chance at finally finding a fairy tale romance. Hope comes in the form of the delivery of a giant gift basket after he finally escapes the house without Jane noticing. Despair comes when Xio realizes that the basket, stuffed with signed Rogelio paraphernalia, is a pre-packaged affair, and that he is really just a cad who doesn’t yet deserve Jane’s awareness.
Despite Xio’s strict instructions to him not to contact Jane, Rogelio goes straight to the hotel that afternoon in the hopes of running into her. He does, and Jane is predictably starstruck at seeing him. He doesn’t say anything about their connection, but does quickly agree to take a selfie with her, which she promptly sends to Xio.
Pissed off at his brazenness, Alba storms off to confront him. His divine appearance at his trailer, however (see above) starstrikes her, too, and he “snows her” into switching sides and supporting him in his desire to meet Jane post haste. He even sends Alba home with an identical gift basket to sweeten the deal.
Xio is not impressed by any of this. She tells her mother that she thought she and Rogelio really had rekindled their connection, and admits to her disappointment in still having to chase her fairy tale ending. She is too down to even notice how cruddy Alba’s comfort is, chased as it is by the declaration that Xio won’t be happy “until she closes her legs.” Blech. But then Alba finds something glinting in Xio’s basket that wasn’t in her own: a metal bracelet engraved with the words “Always and Forever. XO.” As is, Xiomara, and definitely not as in XOXO Gossip Girl.
Hope, it is rekindled. And the narrator sounds as surprised as anyone over it.
Ugh, I was mad at Alba most of this episode. I know it is her character’s way, but everything she says to her daughter and granddaughter just drips with toxic chastisement for things that may not even yet have happened, or which are not helped by her underscoring their “evil.” Even her voicemail apology to Jane at the end is a textbook example of a non-apology: “If you do commit this mortal sin, I still love you.” DOUBLE UGH.
Still, I appreciated her advice to Jane about small lies turning into big lies…or, as she put it, BIG BALLS OF EVIL. It’s true, and a lesson that Michael is going to be learning the hard way soon enough.
Jane has sexy dreams…about RAFAEL.
About the Contributor:
Alexis Gunderson is a TV critic and audiobibliophile. A Wyoming expat, she now lives in Maryland, where she runs the DC chapter of the FYA Book Club. She can be found talking about Teen TV on Twitter, and her longform criticism can be found on Authory.