Paleyfest tickets went on sale to the public today! Jane the Virgin‘s panel is Sunday afternoon (March 16). If you are in LA and have cash to burn, you should go. We can have a party!
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
This was a week for dads, as far as I’m concerned. Both Ro and Raf really shone in their paternal roles throughout the episode–Ro procuring the internship for Jane, listening to her valid concerns at his judgment errors, and giving his honest but supportive feedback on her scene; Raf doing his best both to smooth the waters with Xo and to convince Jane to stop spreading herself too thin, for hers and the peach’s sake.
Ultimately, though, almost all of Ro’s efforts to be a good parent stemmed from misguided meddling, whereas Raf’s came from his penthouse-view pureheartedness, so my award goes to Raf.
I will accept arguments for Ro in the comments, however.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
For the show within a show that we don’t even get to watch but still somehow know what tracks and what doesn’t: Santos the PRIEST making out with the NUN. For our real show, however: Nicolas’ betrayal for SURE. Dios mio!
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Every dress Jane wore from open to close.
The JtV costumers are, to use Jane’s terminology, crushing it with the subtle ways they are highlighting the progress of Jane’s pregnancy so well that the script never has to refer to her physical changes directly, while also keeping to Jane’s fancy-casual style. This is the synergy of television storytelling, friends. This is it.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
At the Voice of God’s request, we are ignoring the whole (boring) pregnant virgin thing, and instead focusing on the REAL stories: Xiomara took a vow of chastity despite her burgeoning rekindled relationship with Rogelio the telenovela star/Jane’s dad; Jane broke off her engagement and is taking a real shot at a life with HER baby’s dad, Rafael; Michael is investigating Rafael as Sin Rostro while Rafael, at Rose’s behest, is investigating his father Emilio as Sin Rostro; Petra is balancing at the edge of mania now that she and Raf are really divorced, her Natalia secret is out, Ivan the hostage has escaped, and Miloš is likely hot on her & Magda’s posh hotel trail.
Teen Jane flashback time! Not that it’s a surprise, but Jane has basically zero tolerance for confrontation of any sort. As such, she spent her youth falsifying letters of apology from Xiomara to Alba to slip under Alba’s door on the nights of their worst fights.
This is insidious, people. I mean, I know that the twist at the end of this episode is that Alba was the one most in the wrong for lying to Xiomara about precisely when she woke up from her stairfall coma, all to serve her own agenda to meddle in her daughter’s sex life and force her into a misguided vow of chastity (SPOILER), but Xiomara has spent the past twenty years actually never once having to apologize for anything, expecting Alba to do the under-rug-sweeping for her.
Talk about poor relationship conditioning.
And speaking of Xiomara’s poor handling of relationships…
Remember When Michael Said He Was Happy to Represent the Male Perspective at the Villanueva Family Meeting?
Well—Rafael’s first Villanueva family experience goes even worse, and this despite Jane making him flash cards and practice tests in preparation.
The cards are stacked against him from the start (despite the couple’s wise decision to color coordinate their outfits), what with Xo both still being on Team Michael and also thinking that Raf’s character is poor and unchangeable. At first Xo is pleasantly surprised to find Rafael supporting her in advising Jane to follow her dream of writing over the practicality of teaching the catholic high school, but then Raf takes his argument that one unthinking rich boy step further and declares that of course he will support the baby—and Jane—financially in any way they need, so money shouldn’t even figure into her decision making!
Ohhh, you were doing so well, Raf! …well, no. No you weren’t. Xo was going to write you out of Jane’s future either way (you’re not the father of her baby BY CHOICE! after all). But you didn’t have to hand her the pen with which to do so.
(Unsurprisingly, Xo’s later attempt to apologize and Raf’s attempt to win her approval for good does not go well, framed as it is by the multimillion dollar penthouse view he at least has the grace to be slightly chagrined over. KEEP TRYING, GUYS.)
Chastity Looks Good on Xo
Or at least that is what Alba and Rogelio both think—although for very different reasons.
Considering that God’s supernatural power, Alba’s judgment, and Rogelio in that shirt with that face are all bearing down on Xiomara this week, she should perhaps be forgiven for falling so far behind in her ability to support Jane and Raf as a legitimate, effort-making couple. And given everything we have learned about Xiomara as a person since the show started, the amount of energy she must be putting into putting Ro off would drain the brainpower of the world’s greatest thinkers. But her vow of chastity saved Alba! So put Ro off she must.
It takes her the entirety of the episode to come clean to Rogelio about why she is keeping her pelvis away from his pelvis (his words)—because, as she admits to Alba, she likes him too much and is afraid that losing access to her “charms” will scare him off—but when she does, he tells her what we all already know: he is in it for the long haul.
Of course, the comfort of this revelation is pretty cold when faced with the truth of Alba’s early consciousness, which Xo figures out after Alba accidentally quotes Xo’s vow to God word for word.
I guess the question now is, will Xo keep her vow? (I don’t think that is really a question.)
The Family Business(es)
Remember Rogelio’s twin teen stepdaughters? I barely did. I missed them! Jane, apparently, hasn’t, as she has had them in her student teaching gig all semester, which is now (in the logic of television time) just wrapping up. Jane is appropriately nerdy in her speech to them about how they should go forth and be good citizens of the world; the twins are appropriately eye-rolly and admiring as they hand her a gift from the whole class as a thank you for being their best teacher ever, while simultaneously disparaging her interest in “sensible shoes” (air quotes included) and admonishing her not to cry.
Okay yeah sure this is adorable and all but “sensible shoes”??? TIME OUT:
I posted this on tumblr way back after Chapter Eight, mostly to comment about HOW WEIRD (but great) this Catholic school is. Sensible shoes my pregnant virgin miracle coin.
Anyway, Jane and her sensible shoes are not only adored by snarky teens, but also by the faculty, who want to bring her on full time—complete with very cleverly planned out maternity leave plans. Shocking no one, Jane has received the highest student evaluations EVER (maybe not ever; I was too busy thinking about how great Jane was to pay attention to details like that).
This is not the only life-changing shock Jane gets that day! After school, Jane heads to the Passions of Santos set to hang out with Rogelio, who stops production of a very intriguing Priest Santos makeout scene to gather the entire cast and crew around him and Jane.
And this daughter? She’s joining the family business as the new writing intern on the show! HOORAAAAAAAAAAAY!
At first Jane is ambivalent about the offer, because she a) didn’t ask for it, b) has never thought about writing telenovelas, and c) was just offered a full-time teaching gig so really just won’t have the time. It doesn’t help that one of the nun actresses turns into an hallucination of the Mother Superior, who starts arguing with an hallucination of Santos from a poster behind Rogelio’s head about what plan Jane’s future will best be served by. And since Jane is terrible with confrontation, she declares she will just do it ALL.
As the VoG narrator—and Rafael, and Xiomara…repeatedly—tell us: this will not end well.
Spy vs Spy
Speaking of family businesses, while Jane is working her way through Rogelio’s (getting false positive feedback from the writers for her early Santos ideas at Rogelio’s behest, then getting cold hard truth feedback from Ro himself after she demands he not treat her with kid gloves), Rafael is fighting against the tide that is Rose’s suspicion that Emilio (Solano, Sr., who just took off to Croatia with tens of millions of dollars) might be Sin Rostro.
“I went over every inch of the hotel floorplans with my dad and the contractors!” Raf declares, trying to convince Rose that going to the police now, before they have any hard evidence, could ruin Emilio’s and the entire hotel chain’s reputation. “SO GET SOME,” Rose declares right back, threatening to call the cops if Raf doesn’t have something soon.
Time for a poll, I think. ROSE IS DEFINITELY SIN ROSTRO:
And so Raf turns detective, meeting first with the contractor, who has no idea what Raf is talking about, and recognizes the bathtub tunnel entrance work as not from his company, then with the subcontractor that some random grunt outside the real contractor’s office tells him about. Raf does this in complete stealth, refusing to tell the bear of a subcontractor his name, using what is probably untraceable cash as a(n ineffective) bribe…driving his completely recognizable bright red sports car.
All this, and Michael, who has been tailing Rafael despite direct orders from his superior not to, is still the Worst Detective. Mostly because he gets caught and beat down trying to get the last number called from the subcontractor’s phone (“it was the plastic surgery place!” he exclaims to Nadine, whose entire cache of lines this episode revolve around telling Michael what an idiot he is), but also because when he examines his interactions with Jane, who is still his emergency contact and thus comes to see him after she finds out they are both in the hospital at the same time, he still concludes hope.
As Nadine would say, Michael: you’re an idiot.
Last week 72% of you were convinced Michael will die by the end of the season, 18% that he wouldn’t (and 10% of you agreed with the write in that one can only hope). Well, his obstinacy put him in the hospital this week, Janesters, and it doesn’t seemed to have made him stop and think even a little. DARK SKIES. Especially considering Nadine dimes him and his secret Rafael obsession investigation out to their boss.
Petra: LEAVE MIAMI
Speaking of even more parallels and also DARK SKIES, you know Petra’s been broken by the events of the past weeks/her fear of Milos when the tulip story she lays at “we will never trust each other” Lachlan’s feet the moment he walks in the Marbella door turns out to be bog’s honest truth, and not a pre-divorce-Petra-style machination meant to trap Lachlan into revealing himself as friend or foe. Which is too bad, as Lachlan absolutely uses her showing of weakness as an opportunity to mess with her head, leaving a bouquet of yellow tulips next to her bath after making a show of being a White Knight by taking her and Magda in to his own penthouse suite.
I really can’t imagine to what end Lachlan is doing what he’s doing—maybe fear-conditioning her into thinking he is her best hope at a life of safety and comfort?—but the fact that this is the second time that Petra’s attempts at complete honesty have burned her bodes ill for her permanently reforming her ways.
(Sidenote: the source for those gifs is a VERY GOOD comparison of the character parallels between Michael and Petra this episode, and one of the two characters in general…so good that I am willing to link to them even though the tumblr handle is “viva-la-fitz” and you should all know by know the fiery extreme to which I hate Ezra Fitzgerald [or President Fitz, if Scandal is the less likely reference]. But you should ALSO all know by know how sincerely I love and obsess over the dozens of plot, dialogue, and cinematographic parallels that are woven into each JtV ep. So. Go look!)
Jane’s Choice…and Nicolas’ BETRAYAL
So, after spending all episode spreading herself thin in a desperate attempt to avoid making a difficult and life-course-altering decision, Jane’s exhaustion finally catches up with her, and she sleep drives her way into a minor fender bender on the way home from the Passions of Santos set. At the hospital, the new (and refreshingly behavior-appropriate, although that could just be a function of the more or less traditional family configuration surrounding Jane at the moment) doctor reassures Jane, Raf, and Xo that the baby is perfectly healthy, and that oh yeah, those butterflies Jane’s been feeling when writing Santos scenes all week? Kicking baby!
Considering that those telenovela-writing butterflies weren’t actually real, Jane makes the hard but good decision to take the Mother Superior’s teaching job offer. And then, after she goes to the Santos set to inform Rogelio of this decision and has a confidence-boosting run-in with the writing team, she changes her mind and decides that now is her last best chance to chase her lifelong writing dream. (Whether or not that is true is debatable; but it is the reasoning she gives.)
Hooray! Jane’s going meta!
Meanwhile, Rogelio’s super-loyal assistant Nicolas is across the lot, flinging open the door to the writers’ room to ask Dina if the plan worked and Jane is on board. Yes, Dina assures him, before making out with his face. She is…and Rogelio will never see their evil plan coming.
Jane kills Rogelio! For ART.
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.