We’re seven chapters in, Janesters! Let me pull a Michael and tell you how you feel:
- 34% of you think Solano, Sr. is Sin Rostro; 27% think it’s Magda. 12% and 10% respectively are rooting for Lochlin and Rose, both of whom started out as joke possibilities but since posting have become much more realistic.
- 61% of you think that Jane is far better off without Miami’s Worst Detective; 35% of your are conflicted/confused. And—though it boggles the mind that this percentage is more than incidental—5 whole percent of you want to hug Michael and make him hot cocoa. But make sure you do it silently, or else he’ll yell at you to SHUT YOUR MOUTH FOR FIVE SECONDS. (Here: have a Michael+Jane kissing photoset to soothe that sick burn.)
Anyway, to this week’s awards!
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Yep, I am keeping this category. What can I say? These Jane writers know how to sell crap. And the crap they sold best this week? Protestantism.
Sure, seeing Jane and Raf flirt it up in my favorite Target snack aisle was basically the best thing ever (Target Love is True Love), but watching the opportunistic principal nun of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic High School plunge her corner of Miami back into the days of simony…well. It made me want to run to the nearest Lutheran church basement to comfort myself with coffee and a copy of the catechisms.
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
Um, obviously Xo’s new admirer. Obviously.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Petra’s fumbling incompetence with her blackmailer-hostage turning out to be part of a Grand Plan…and then said Grand Plan getting twisted back on her by Lochlin in the final stretch. I don’t know if Lochlin will end up being a worthy villain or not, but the look on Petra’s face when she realized he’d (justifiably) played her play…perfection.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Everyone’s lives got super complicated, all at approximately the same time: Jane got accidentally pregnant with boss/former crush Raf’s baby, and fiancé/Miami’s Worst Detective Michael made a bunch of super terrible decisions to avoid having to raise said baby—including lying to Jane about Raf’s impending divorce from Man Eater (and Master Liar) Petra. Jane discovered Michael’s lies and kicked him to the curb. Raf discovered the extent of Petra’s lies and kicked her to the curb. Petra was discovered by the Czech mafia heavy who’s been blackmailing her and hit him over the head with Zaz’s urn of ashes—all while Raf and Jane were finally smooching each other’s faces off after Xo’s big concert debut, after which she broke off her nascent romantic adventure with Rogelio de la Vega, Jane’s until-recently-secret telenovela star father. Also, Jane’s new Catholic school student teaching gig might turn her into an unwilling saint, all to boost church attendance.
Yep, that’s our show alright.
We flash to the aftermath of Jane and Rafael’s first kiss five years ago, back when Raf was still a player and Michael was just a recovering juvenile delinquent spark in Jane’s distant future. Jane correctly interpreted her and Raf’s connection as Ultra Meaningful…but Xo also correctly interpreted Raf’s skills as those of an Ultra Playboy. The result? Raf never called Jane back, and Xo got a Solano, Jr.-shaped chip on her shoulder.
Jane+Raf, Kissing in a Tree (for real tho)
Flash forward to THE KISS under the petal-snowing tree outside the Marbella, which is cut off only when Xo, in full spangle costume and Mom-face, clears her throat to pointedly tell Jane that abuela is waiting for them in the car. The look Jane and Raf share as they say goodbye reaffirms Jane’s interpretation of their Ultra Meaningful connection; the look Xo gives them before she turns reaffirms the fixity of that Raf-shaped chip on her shoulder.
Jane, conditioned as she is to see any deviation from levelheaded and practical as life-ending, starts hallucinating warnings against a continued dalliance with Raf—on stop signs, exit signs, bus marquees, everywhere. It doesn’t help that Xo is so firmly against Jane starting anything at all with Raf, both because of her own recent distancing from Rogelio for reasons of practicality, as well as because of Jane’s still-bleeding separation from her partner of two years.
Also the baby, + Raf’s playboy status, + them being from different worlds, + Raf still being married, + crazy Petra. Man do I LOVE emoji narratives.
Jane doesn’t know anything about Xo’s first reason, but she is definitely on the same page regarding the second (and third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh). Which is why, when Raf surprises Jane by showing up at her door just because he wanted to see her, Jane’s initial butterfly-giddy reaction (highlighted by the VoG’s pitch-perfect teen girl exclamation when Raf calls) turns into her mirroring Xo’s move with Rogelio by putting a finger on Raf’s kissable lips. It’s too much, too fast, too soon—regardless of what she feels.
VoG is perfect.
Raf, caught in a haze of Jane-love and conditioned to always end up with what he wants, registers only the implications of the phrase what she feels. Well, he also registers the fact that she does not want to be kissed again right now, and respects it. And asks that Jane tell him both when he can kiss her again, and when he can take her out on a real date. And he leaves with the goofy grin of newly minted love plastered on his perfect face—a grin that he physically can’t remove the entire episode, especially when fate conspires to throw the two of them together at the same fancy nightclub that very night, her for her friend’s birthday, him as an investor.
The coloring in this set is weird, but the smile is ON. POINT.
Rafael: “I know. It’s not a date.”
Jane: “No! You are smiling when you say that.”
Rafael: “No, I’m not.”
The coloring in this set is weird, but the smile is ON. POINT.
Jane’s friends, who put her up to asking Raf to get them on the club’s list in the first place, absolutely love their big night out. Jane, as the sober pregnant girl in the loud nightclub, does not (I feel ya, girl, and I’m not even pregnant). Also, despite the fact that she was adamant about their coincidental attendance not being a date, she is more affected than she wants to be by the sight of Raf surrounded by other women. For his part, Raf is as affected by the sight of Jane alone as he anticipated, and after he knocks down one by one the emoji obstacles Xo put up between them, he convinces Jane to follow him out of the noise to finally, privately, get to know each other.
She does, and the do—starting with kissing in the Target snack aisle, ending with talking under the stars on his balcony through the wee hours of the morning. We learn a lot about these two as the decide to give themselves—and their baby—a shot. The best being, Rafael is afraid of ducks, and Jane has a skill for rapping. Also that Jane’s family only has girls, so it isn’t even worth it for them to think of a name for a baby boy (like that will stick). Then they fall asleep together and their emoji story comes to the correct conclusion.
Having weighed the risks and rewards of this adventure thoroughly, Jane returns home the next day to stand up to Xo: Raf is a good guy, and the two of them could genuinely be good together, and Jane is tired of not taking leaps of faith just to stay safe. She appreciates that Xo loves her so deeply and seems to truly be trying to look out for her, but Jane has made up her mind, and asks Xo to just trust her.
I so want Jane to be right.
Our Lady of Catholic Scheming (or, 95 Theses and Not Blackmailing Jane Ain’t One)
Jane’s day job is offering just as much drama as every other aspect of her life, in that the nun in charge of her student teaching placement has discovered that the joke “Jane the Pregnant Virgin” site Jane’s evil twin (ex)stepsisters built last week has garnered unprecedented interest in their parish. Despite the wise counsel of her timid sidekick, Principal Nun takes advantage of this turn of events by MINTING COINS WITH JANE’S PICTURE on them to hand out to infertile couples as possible fertility blessings.
Also being handed out to these couples? Brief conversations—and unsolicited hugs—with an unwitting Jane, who initially thinks it must have something to do with being Rogelio’s daughter, but ultimately realizes it has to do with her pregnant virginhood. She confronts Principal Nun about the sheer grossness of the scheme and wrings an appropriately guilty response from her…but when Jane rolls up to school the next day in Raf’s cherry red convertible, late and still in her short-short clubbing dress, Principal Nun gets even skeezier and turns the tables back on Jane, basically blackmailing her into selling her body (for fertility hugs) in order to keep her student teaching job.
So, if anyone is interested in hearing more about this newfangled Protestantism thing, I’ve got some reading material for you.
Xiomara Villanueva, Dancing Queen/Rogelio de la Vega, Drama Queen
In a very welcome turn of events, Xiomara is finally given something to do that isn’t fret over Jane, Rogelio, or Jane+Rogelio. Namely, she is given a day job as a children’s dance instructor, and it is as adorable and perfectly suited to Xo as it sounds.
Also adorable and perfectly suited to Xo? The single, smokin’ dad of Xo’s favorite student (shhh don’t tell! she’s not supposed to play favorites) who has been dragged along to ask Xiomara on a date. Xo is super flattered, but graciously declines, as she’s “not looking to date right now.” She changes her tune the next day, however, after Jane’s reports to both her parents that each thinks the other is too dramatic…
…results in Xo and Rogelio trying to one-up each other in laid-backness, which in turn results in them forcing each other into the world’s most awkward double date that very night—Xo bringing along Dance Dad, Rogelio bringing some Presidente groupie.
Xo, because she may be dramatic but is not a cartoon, makes the best of the evening and is totally charmed by her Dance Dad date, who turns out to be a relatively famous soccer player who retired to stay home with his daughter (swoon). Rogelio IS a cartoon character, though, and so spends the entire evening diving deeper and deeper into slapstick jealousy. In fact, he drinks himself silly (on “normal people wine”) just so that Xo will have to drive him home, thus cutting off her almost-kiss with Dance Dad.
Them being in the same place the next morning ends up working out, as Xo becomes frantic when she wakes and sees that Jane never came home, and never texted to say where she was—two behaviors totally unlike her. She calls everyone she can think of who might know where Jane is, and while all of Jane’s friends were physically with her and should have had like an inkling where Jane might be, they prove so useless that Xo is stuck calling Michael, who reads a thousand things into the private note he shouldn’t have read and declares that Jane and Rafael had plans, so Xo should check with him.
Rogelio, in the meantime, has done his part by tweeting #PleaseFindJane to his 6.3 million followers. Every parent has their strength.
While Xo is preparing the lecture for when her adult daughter returns home, Dance Dad swings by with his daughter’s fee. Which, considering it isn’t due yet for several weeks, proves to be nothing more than a smoke screen for him to get to see Xo again. He is momentarily surprised to see Rogelio there—Rogelio milking every second—but then Xo shoos Ro out the door and invites Dance Dad in. GET IT, XO.
My favorite cartoon. That FACE.
Michael Cordero, Still Ruining Things
Look: I understand that Michael is reeling from everything that has happened between him an Jane in the past 48 show hours. It sucks for him, I get it—especially because he is so self-focused (and hopeful, I will give him that) that he literally can’t wrap his mind around the concept that some mistakes are Forever Mistakes, and that participants in voluntary relationships owe each other nothing in terms of a future when such mistakes are made—in fact, only owe each other the unjudged option of leaving. I also get that learning that Jane almost immediately ran off to melt Raf’s face with kisses makes this break suck that much harder.
However, a quick catalogue of Michael’s actions after Jane hands him back the ring does nothing but reinforce my growing aversion to him as a person.
- He tries, yet again, to tell Jane what she should be feeling, then tries to guilt her into talking to him by claiming that people don’t just go from engaged to completely broken up (a thing that is just untrue. Engagements break all the time! What does he think happens to the couples when that happens?)
- He OPENS AND READS A PRIVATE CARD ADDRESSED TO JANE. It may not be official US Mail, but it was equally none of his business, and was not sitting in a space that belonged to him in any way. Regardless of the wisdom or appropriateness of Raf sending such an ostentatious bouquet to Jane at work (completely lacking, and completely not, in that order), Michael had neither the right to read the private note attached, nor the right to guilt Jane about its contents after he did so.
- He treats his partner (who is making an admittedly awful plan w/r/t staking out Sin Rostro’s alleged shipping scheme…srsly, she has easily put herself in the running for Michael’s Worst Detective laurel) like absolute shit, actually shouting at her to shut her mouth for five seconds…and then proceeds to anger-hook up with her when she responds snarkily that yeah, he’d like that, huh? God those two deserve each other.
So yeah, that was Michael, post-breakup. As per usual, let’s try to figure out How We Feel About Michael This Week:
- He has such POTENTIAL, if only Jane would forgive him. 6.52% (6 votes)
- That he can only realize his potential if Jane sacrifices her own happiness (and suffers his continued chauvinism) to help him do so makes him SUPER UNWORTHY. 38.04% (35 votes)
- Relationships are all about give and take, so I’m still feeling pretty conflicted. 8.7% (8 votes)
- Just why? I don’t even care any more. 45.65% (42 votes)
- Other: 1.09% (1 votes)
(Not-at-all-surprising-spoiler: I think he’s an entitled ass with incredibly difficult to overlook destructive, chauvinistic tendencies. Still, I will be happy to hear any arguments in his favor in the comments!)
Petra Solano, Man-Eaten
Petra is SO INTERESTING. The majority of the episode I found myself thinking that of course she couldn’t have murdered Zaz, seeing as how freaked out and incompetent she is with her hostaged blackmailer. I also felt a little sorry for her, given that Mystery Milos is so bad that she is willing to admit utter desperation—and her bald need for cash—to Lochlin of all people.
But then! Her incompetence is proved a farce to get the blackmailer to trust her, and her first interaction with Lochlin is proved an initial step in a complex plan to seduce him into helping her by beating Raf (“I know just how to take him down,” she purrs, naked, as Lochlin calculates odds in his head). Lochlin promises her the money she needs in exchange for taking down Rafael…but waits until after they seal the deal (cough, so to speak) to break it to Petra that he won’t actually HAVE the money for her until after Rafael is gone and Lochlin has taken control of the hotel.
Thus, Petra is forced to put her Raf-takedown into motion immediately, bringing whatever smoking gun she has to Solano, Sr., who in turn fires Raf. Not only does he fire Raf, but whatever smoke was in Petra’s gun has forced Raf to change his date-night plans with Jane…because he has to go to Mexico City.
Which, while a fun cliffhanger to end on, is vague enough not to count as a telenovela twist—especially in light of the promo for…
NEXT-NEXT WEEK (December 8)
When our favorite reformed playboy is thrown for a lusty loop AS Jane comes out to him…as a virgin (because I guess dude was too busy driving his SUPER COOL CAR to notice the Biblical flood of Jane the Virgin coins spilling out of the gates of Our Lady of Sorrows High this week). Hotel troubles, schmotel troubles, right?
(Also, if, like me, you were coveting just about every outfit on the show this week, look here.)
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.