Those two weeks were so long! At least we got a Gina Rodriguez web series in the meantime (lady friendship!). Which, if you have not watched, go go go!
Also, I will be attending the JtV panel at Paley Fest this coming Sunday afternoon, and will be live-blogging it at poptics.tumblr.com (on twitter @popticstv). And if any of you will be AT the JtV panel (or Teen Wolf‘s tomorrow evening, or Arrow/Flash on Saturday afternoon), let me know! It would be fun to see you there.
Now to the BEST SHOW IN THE WORLD.
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
Another reverse-parenting week, I think? I’m a little irritated with Jane for being so inconsistent human, and her blowing up at her mom was uncomfortable, but her blowing up at her mom was also the wake-up that Xiomara needed to take a step back and look at her life decisions. So, Jane. I guess.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
I mean, I guess the “big” twist is that Aaron isn’t who he says he is, but A) no duh, and B) we don’t know much more than that yet. So instead I am handing the award to Petra releasing her own sex tape, and Rafael teaming up with her to bring Lachlan down. The devil you know, right?
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Going. To. The. Gym.
I mean, it is nice to see some acknowledgment within a show’s universe that a body like that doesn’t just HAPPEN. And Raf is nothing if not good at due diligence—in his job, in his relationships, and, apparently, in keeping it TIGHT.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Jane was artificially impregnated with Rafael’s “sample,” which was weird at first but now they are in love (and waiting for the results of an amnio procedure checking in on their baby’s health). This made Jane’s ex, Michael, sad. Petra, Rafael’s ex, is less sad because she now owns controlling shares in his hotel and can dress fierce and boss everyone around. Everyone like Lachlan, Rafael’s nemesis and now also her nemesis, who she screwed over years ago when she cut off their engagement in favor of Raf, and who screwed HER over weeks ago when he made it seem like he was sweeping her away, only to actually sweep her out of the hotel and onto the street. Also, Jane’s mother, Xiomara, fell back in love with Jane’s father, Rogelio, who is a telenovela star without a telenovela to star in, and so has recently taken the job as second fiddle on his ARCH nemesis’ show Pasión Intergalatica just to stay in Miami with Xo.
Also there was this whole thing with a drug kingpin named Sin Rostro who turned out to be Raf’s stepmom, Rose, who also had some hand in murdering Raf’s best friend (and ultra douchebag), Roman Zazo, who has a twin peacenik brother named Aaron whom Rafael recently rescued from a hostage situation with a Mexican cartel. But only the second half of that major plot matters this week.
Like our present day heroine, Baby!Jane has SO MANY QUESTIONS. Questions are her favorite thing. There are the classics, like, “why is the sky blue?” and “what is Jesus’ last name?” There are the JANE classics, like, “what is the electoral college?” (Hint: she actually knew all along, and was just asking to prompt her voting-age mother to research it and get wise.) And then there are the telenovela classics, like, “what does it feel like to be in love?”
Now, this is something Xo KNOWS. Finally! “It’s like your heart is glowing,” she says. “I have literally no idea what you mean by that,” Baby!Jane replies. And, evidently, continues to believe EVEN NOW, even when we (and the VoG narrator who makes funny things happen on our screen, and this talented tumblr gif-er) know better.
Jane’s blindness to her own situation will have to be put on hold, however, as she and Rafael wait for the answer to a different and much more serious question: is our baby healthy?
Mirroring the anxiety Jane and Raf feel as they wait for the doctor’s office to call with the results, this question appears on the screen and stays, for like two whole real minutes, the word “baby” starting to pulse in red heartbeats as the seconds tick by, only disappearing once the doctor gets on the line to let them know that yes, the amnio results came back clean—their baby IS healthy. Parenting scare #1 overcome!
…and just time for a return to our regularly scheduled romantic drama, as Raf takes the opportunity of their shared relief to suggest “unpinning” the discussion w/r/t them moving in together that Jane put a pin in two weeks ago. Raf is so hopeful, but it is clear from the look on her face that Jane is still not ready to give him the yes he so wants. “I just have always had an order I wanted to do things,” she says apologetically. “Date, engaged, move in, married, kids. And just because the last thing is happening first doesn’t mean I want to throw the whole thing out.” And Raf is so understanding. SO understanding! Maybe…too understanding. Maybe hearing something different from what Jane is saying, is what I’m saying. Because we all suck at communicating.
Prairie Home Pasión
Jane’s “plan” versus her and Rafael’s relationship reality isn’t the only romantic drama in Miami’s finest murder hotel. There is so much more! As in, romance books. As in, Jane’s favorite romance books, and favorite romance author, who, as Michael tells her when they pass each other in the hotel’s entrance, is staying at the Marbella. “DO NOT FREAK OUT,” he tells her, watching as her skin nearly vibrates off her bones from her level of freaking out and flashing back to eighteen months ago when he made fun of her for reading an Angelique Harper book and Jane turned it into a lesson in not judging great storytelling by its cover (AMEN). “Also, stalking is a felony in Florida.” “I AM NOT FREAKING OUT,” she promises, also flashing back to that memory. “OR STALKING HER.”
“I AM TOTALLY FREAKING OUT!” she shouts at Rafael, moments later. Her sugar-high excitement is charming. Raf is charmed. We are charmed. “Do you maybe want to go to her reading and/or meet her?” he asks. “DO I WANT TO MEET HER,” Jane shouts back. “DO I. I DON’T KNOW. WHAT DOES THIS DANCE I AM DOING SAY IS THE ANSWER?”
It is the best thing to happen on my screen in two weeks. And it lasts SO LONG. I am in love. Raf is in love. Jane is in love. With him, but also with the idea of meeting her romance-writing idol, and even more with the idea of using that meeting to her own advantage by slipping a chapter or two into her idol’s hands.
She is so excited about this last prospect, in fact, that she returns home to get back to work on her own manuscript, which gets so hot and heavy that she slips into her romance alter ego, Juana, and the VoG gets too embarrassed to let us in on what she is writing (suffice it to say, she is very talented).
Manuscript in hand, Jane throws on her very floweriest pink dress and rolls up to Angelique Harper’s reading. She is so high on her own excitement that when Angelique begins reading an excerpt from her new, still-unreleased book, Jane fantasizes that it is about her, in this very moment, waiting for her life to change. Only, twist! It isn’t a fantasy! It is the most romantic set-up for a surprise proposal from Raf possible!
“Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm,” her long silent pause says. “Can we talk in private?” her hushed anxious words say. OOMPH.
So they talk in private, under an array of hung tea lights in a shot that parallels the petal-swirling tree shot of their first (heart-aglow) kiss, and Jane explains that he took her completely by surprise. “Even after all that hinting??” he asks, thinking back to how he heard her “everything has an order” speech from earlier that afternoon.
Oh, Raf. Oh, Jane. Communication. We humans need to always try to do better with it.
Speaking of adults in love who are bad at communicating, Xiomara and Rogelio are back to the hot and heavy relationship they had before her whole misplaced vow of chastity. They are very good at what they do together, though of course Rogelio takes all the credit. Xo clearly wants to talk him about something, but Ro’s new studio calls to schedule a fitting for his Pasión Intergalactica costume.
And the thing Xo wanted to talk to him about? The fact that she is late, like late late, and might be pregnant. Which when she does finally bring it up (they promised to be honest with each other about how they are feeling), he is so obviously faking his “what a blessing” enthusiasm that she bursts out in really convincing fake laughter to convince him she was joking. And then when he finally believes her and breathes a billion sighs of relief, she turns the tables again, revealing that the “it’s a joke!” moment was a test (oh, you Villanueva women…sigh), and he failed, and she really MIGHT be pregnant! And they fight. It’s rough.
Also rough is Xo’s conversation with Jane, which turns into another argument. “I maybe forgot some pills?” she tells Jane, hoping for compassion, “YOU ARE NOT SIXTEEN, AND AFTER ME SHOULD BE MAKING WAY MORE THOUGHTFUL CHOICES” Jane exclaims before storming off.
Xo is not even a bit up in arms about this. She knows Jane is right, and knows that she might have been careless intentionally. She has been defined as Jane’s mom for so long, and now that’s almost over, and she doesn’t know what she’s going to do next.
“That is NOT almost over; that will NEVER be over,” Jane says forcefully, before acknowledging that yes, of course things will change, but that will all be for the good. It’s not like Xo wants to live in Alba’s house the rest of her life, is it? “You are so smart. Like, TOO smart, you know?” Xo says. And Jane does know. And WE know. Too smart for her own good.
So Xo goes to the Pasión Intergalactica set to talk to Rogelio—both to let him off the hook for a new baby (she’s not pregnant, it turns out), and to talk about honesty and next steps—and sees the secret HE has been keeping. Being Esteban’s punching bag suuuuuuuuuucks.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Xo asks, after Esteban lets Rogelio spacewalk his way off the upturned milk cartons set up in front of the space screen. Well, he knew she’d feel guilty. And she DOES feel guilty! But it is worth it, to be with her, he says. “We aren’t ready for a baby,” Xo responds, “but maybe moving in together is the best next step.” It is hard to read Rogelio’s true feelings about this, but he does agree.
Jane may have solved her mother’s problems of human inconstancy, but she still has her own to deal with. After telling Rafael she still needed time to consider his proposal (which he wasn’t backing down on, even after her shocked reaction), she goes to her mom and abuela for advice. Which is obviously a bad move, as Xiomara IS CERTAIN that marrying Raf after such a short time is a bad decision, and Alba IS CERTAIN—given her engagement to her own soulmate after a 47-day courtship—is the exact right decision. Alba tries to prove her opinion correct by digging out the old magazine quiz she took when trying to decide how to answer her own proposal, sure that it will prove to Jane what she should do.
After letting her girls get their chuckles, Alba offers to translate: “Is he generous?” is what the first questions is really asking. “Is he kind?” is the second. Yes, and yes are the answers to those. The third question needs no translation: “Does he know you down to your core?” (and this is where the camera cuts perfectly to Rafael’s <–core as he does arms and chest in the gym at the Marbella).
The answer to this question is also obviously yes, but Jane, as much as we love her, is human and can’t always read her own mind. For some reason, then, she is not convinced. And after an awkward run-in with Michael at their favorite food truck, where the owners think the baby is Michael’s, and Jane recalls another moment of their shared history when she found a list of Michael’s paychecks adding up to an engagement ring in his own copy of an Angelique Harper book (snore), Jane calls Raf to talk on the beach—not about the proposal, she says, but about things she has been thinking about in general. Like, what her life will look like after the baby. Like, “I think I should take a couple of years off to be a good mom, then come back to writing after, if I think I am ready.”
It is, obviously, a test. Because we humans are dumb, and Jane is a girl who likes empiricism and provable solutions. “If that’s what you want,” Rafael says initially, which is wrong. But he only says it because he is distracted by his anxiety over her lack of proposal response, and doesn’t want to make waves. But he knows her too well not to make waves by saying his mind. “No,” he amends, “that is dumb. That isn’t you. Writing is your dream.” Which is correct! Ding ding ding!
And then Jane, THE DUMMY, tells him as much. And he RIGHTFULLY is super hurt that she would test him at all. He wants to marry her. And after he stalks off and she finds him again in the penthouse, she comes clean with what she has been feeling all along, irrational as it may seem to this recapper: life is long, no matter how short he may see it (harsh, girl), and she just cannot let herself rush things.
So, I guess she has worked really hard to convince herself that she isn’t in FINAL love with Rafael, because she can’t deal with the cognitive dissonance of knowing that yeah, she wants to move in with him and marry him, and do it all right now, but also that she still wants to live her independent life on the long haul schedule she originally laid out. Dude, I GET that. I make dumb decisions about how to live my life that contradict what I want out of life ALL THE TIME.
I just hate seeing them play out with Jane and Rafael.
Rafael, to his credit, promises Jane that he will be okay, and that they will be okay, and doesn’t take back his love or say all or nothing or do anything soapy at all. He even supports her badly timed alarm to go find the high-strung romance author after her massage to try to hand off her manuscript. “I need to lick my wounds,” he says, “but we will be okay. Go, talk to your idol.”
What a good dude.
That idol, it turns out, had to push her massage back an hour, so mistakes Jane for her masseuse. She does NOT mistake the sheaf of papers in Jane’s hands, though. “God, even my masseuse has a manuscript for me,” she moans. And rightfully! Authors have no pull in random strangers’ manuscripts getting in front of agents, and no TIME to entertain the writing of fans when they have their own work to do. Just like with the amnio procedure that so enraged many of you commenters weeks ago, this enrages me. JANE SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Take your dream seriously, girl. Write a solid query and research some stellar agents.
Anyway, Angelique Harris implies that she will take Jane’s MS to maybe read…after the 90 minute massage. “And really work my glutes,” she adds, before Jane has even had the guts to put hands to skin.
Later, when Jane is taking a break in the sunshine, she runs into Michael. And because they share a history, both as best friends and with Angelique Harper knowledge, she bursts with the story of the crazy encounter she just had. Seeing them laugh together like friends is so great!
Less great for Rafael, though, who sees them laughing before he has finished licking his wounds. I don’t really think this will kindle into real jealousy or trouble (the writers have been so good about keeping Rafael’s personality consistent, and that just wouldn’t be true to his character), but it does make me sad.
Marbella Business as Usual
Rafael is at least having some success on the business front, as he manages to use Petra’s attempt to wield her newfound power as a way to remind her what business savvy she lacks (it would have cost the hotel $1mil if she had gone through with it), and to use Lachlan’s attempt to outmaneuver Petra back (with the sex tape) as a way to maneuver himself back into a non-silent partner role by turning to Petra with Lachlan’s plan. It was admirable how straightforward you were with Raf about planning to screw Petra either way, Lachlan, but that doesn’t mean you get an out for being a DICK. Raf is right to prefer working with Petra over you.
Petra, too, seems to keep winning in her new role as controlling shareholder of the hotel. She chairs board meetings, has outgrown men blackmailing her, and looks fierce in her new business chic wardrobe (the formal shorts were great and all, but I’m glad to see them gone). She even has a new friend in Aaron Zazo!
Even if he is that special diet asshole who judges you for eating root vegetables (“the whole tuber dies, along with millions of microorganisms, when a root vegetable is picked”) while saying he is TOTALLY not judging you. He also saves a spider from being stepped on. He is somehow almost worse than Roman, and Roman strangled Petra as a warning not to cross him once, so that is saying something.
After seducing Petra into thinking that he just wants to gather as many memories of his poor deceased brother as possible, Aaron asks after a family heirloom—a necklace of their mother’s. “I have that!” Petra exclaims, so happy to finally be able to contribute something that isn’t nearly squashing spiders or contributing to tuber genocide. “It holds such precious memories,” Aaron intones, zenlike, when she hands it to him later that afternoon.
And then, after she leaves, he SMASHES IT ON THE TABLE. And inside?
Baby flash drive!
Okay, poll time. Last episode, a write-in answer for “Roman’s not really dead” swept the votes. And now we know “Aaron” definitely does have some kind of agenda. So. What is it?
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.