Welcome back, friends! It has been SO LONG, and I don’t want to waste time jib-jabbing up here when there is so much to recap, but I DO want to gloat about a CERTAIN final scene revelation that some of us called ages ago.
POLL: Who killed Roman Zazo?
- Who says he’s dead? (Roman is ALIVE.) 30.43% (21 votes)
- Magda. 23.19% (16 votes)
- Lachlan. 13.04% (9 votes)
- Aaron Zazo. 10.14% (7 votes)
- Michael’s brother. 7.25% (5 votes)
- Petra. 7.25% (5 votes)
- No one. He fell. 5.8% (4 votes)
- Lena. 0% (0 votes)
POLL: What is Aaron Zazo’s story?
- He is really Roman, who pushed AARON off the balcony to fake his own death. 70.77% (46 votes)
- He is Rose’s No. 2. 16.92% (11 votes)
- He is Rose’s rival. 9.23% (6 votes)
- I don’t know, but I think it’s something we can’t can’t anticipate yet. 1.54% (1 vote)
- 1 and 2. 1.54% (1 vote)
On to the awards:
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
All three Villanueva women, figuring out when (and when not) to mother in their own unique way—and how not to take it personally when their children (real or imaginary) need to strike out on their own.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Not Rafael turning into a mean drunk who’s more into work than family (literally THE DRIVING FORCE in his life, according to a season of evidence, the words of his ex-wife, and the entire emotional climax of Chapter Sixteen), that’s for sure!
Sorry, was that a chip on my shoulder? Weird. Anyway, best twist is definitely: Aaron IS Roman. Definitely.
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Well it WOULD have been Target, because Jane doing her baby shopping there tracks with everything we have learned about her and her baby list all season, but then they had to go and put that really awkward lingering closeup of her Target-red phone displaying her Target baby registry on the Target mobile app. Target! Your own stores are already walking billboards of themselves! WE GOT THE ADVERTISEMENT just from the very realistic background bullseyes. You didn’t need to be gauche about it.
So yeah, no award for Target. Instead, let’s valorize propmakers, whose tireless, amazing background labor was called out by Rogelio when Michael returned his misplaced Intergalactic Detective badge to him.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Jane turned up pregnant, then fell in love with the father, Rafael, and so broke it off with her detective fiancé, Michael (well that, among other very valid reasons). Rafael and Petra are co-managers of the Marbella, now that Solano, Sr. is dead and Lachlan has been buried under paperwork. Xiomara and Rogelio are in bed and in love and have moved in to a giant new house together, which has thrust a wall between Xiomara and Abuela, who disapproves and thinks they are moving too fast. Rogelio and Michael are new best friends. Jane’s new writing buddy Andie is secretly Michael’s ex, and has “accidentally” run into him lately. Abusive douche Roman Zazo was murdered by ice, and now his peaceful Jainite brother Aaron is in Miami, possibly making trouble.
Kids, it turns out, start their lives as babies. (Crazy! I know!) And moms start their mom-hoods as new moms who are certain they know everything and nothing about how to keep their baby safe and alive. And moms who are drama queens (and extra insecure due to their age) like Xiomara start their mom-hoods with even more certainty than that. And so this week’s flashback revolves not around Jane, but around Xiomara and Alba, whose current inability to see eye to eye is definitely not unprecedented. “I’m your mother!” Alba snaps at Baby!Xo, after the fifth time of her ignoring Alba’s advice to quiet Jane’s crying. “Well that doesn’t matter anymore!” Baby!Xo shouts back.
Oh, when these women FIGHT.
Target on Jane’s Back
Flashforward to the present, where Lena has joined Jane at Target on her latest baby gear expedition. Raf calls form work to check in on how the registry list check-off is going—he is incredibly sorry he can’t be there, but with the Spring Break party looming, and the Marbella still in so much debt…—and Jane is quick to reassure him. Then she is quick to hang up, because Lena has found and donned a big white bra with holes over the nipples. “What do you think it’s for??” she asks, legit baffled.
“It’s for lactation,” a nosy crunchy mom with her baby slung to her chest offers from the next aisle over. “Sorry to eavesdrop.” No you’re not, you nosey nosey-kins. Jane is anxious enough about everything baby these days, though, that she ignores the woman’s glaring overstepping of boundaries and even goes so far as to welcome any and all suggestions this, the mother who clearly has it TOGETHER, might have to offer. Like, wearing her baby (“like an accessory…?” – Lena, my new patronus), and nursing exclusively, and hiring a doula.
“And have you started going to lactation classes yet?” Nosey Nosey-kins asks, judgily side-eyeing Jane when she shakes her head No. “Well you had better start like YESTERDAY. Here’s the best one in Miami.”
Unsurprisingly, that class? Super intense in the “we are this close to being anti-vaxxer” kind of way. “Do NOT let that doctor SNATCH your baby away from you before you have a chance to nurse!!!!!” the instructor commands, as Jane fails repeatedly to achieve the precise angle needed to both nurse comfortingly and not suffocate baby’s tiny air passage. Women have only been nursing for like, two years, remember: the skills are not yet encoded into our DNA.
“Seriously, Jane,” Xo says from her spot at Jane’s side (Raf still being busy with work). “Do NOT freak out about this. You will be fine.”
At which point Jane asks the instructor for the number of the best last-minute doula she can think of, then goes straight how to fall down the internet research/mommy blog black hole.
“You’re a TERRIBLE mom,” the adorable imaginary future daughter of Jane screeches when Jane finally looks up from her screen, riddled with anxiety. “Your stress hormones gave me an anxiety disorder! I hate you!”
Nice hallucination, girl. Real great.
Hashtag Casa XoRo
Xiomara is having her own personal crisis, too, as it turns out. CrisES, really. For one, she and Alba are still not speaking. For two, despite the fact that #CasaXoRo is incredible and living with Rogelio is a dream (as their awkward, minute-long smooch in front of Michael confirmed), the two have not technically exchanged “I love you”s. Thanks, Jane, for pointing that out. When has asking ANYONE who said “I love you” first EVER led to a positive response? There is no winning answer in that scenario: if the ILUs are in play, then dwelling on who said it first and who responded can only lead to unhappiness. And if the ILUs AREN’T in play? Even MORE unhappiness! So, again: thanks, Jane.
At first, Xiomara decides that feminism dictates she should feel no compunction saying it first. It’s true! So she should say it! But then, after some reflection, she determines that no, she was the one who said they should move in together, so now it is Rogelio’s turn to be the next “first.”
Now that she has the ILU bug in her ear, though, Xiomara has zero patience for the exchange to happen organically, in it’s own time. And so she sets Rogelio up that night, as they are preparing for the Marbella’s Spring Break party, by bringing out a totally random old picture frame with LOVE etched along the bottom edge. “Great! We can put a picture of my mother in there,” Rogelio says, oblivious to the twinned looks of disappointment and disgust on Xo’s face as she mutters, “Another one??” And because that wasn’t the answer she wanted, Xo starts a game, asking Rogelio to list all the other things he loves. “Hot chocolate. Tiny marshmallows in hot chocolate. My fans—human and machine…” Really, Xo, what OTHER response did you expect? But it is clear she did expect another response, and when she doesn’t get it, she blows up in Ro’s face, listing all the things about their new living situation that she does NOT love. There are several, but chief among them is the sheer volume of Madre Rogelio photos adorning every wall of the house. Xo does not have a great history with Ro’s mom, it turns out.
After this mix-up about ILUs is resolved—thanks to some solid “detective” work from Rogelio’s new BFF Michael at the Marbella party later, which Xo ditches—Rogelio responds to Xiomara’s “I love you” with “And I am getting there with you.” Not great, Ro. He recognizes how upset Xo is (rare), then admits that saying Love is a big deal for him, and is something he has only ever done with three women in his life: his two ex-wives (TWO! we get a possible second ex-wife meeting in the future! TAMMY TWO! TAMMY TWO! TAMMY TWO!) and his mother. Who, if he is being honest, is the real roadblock to him saying those words to Xo. He can’t take that step until Xo and his mother have mended all their fences. Which is why he has invited his mother to visit them the following week!
YAYYYYYY (said sarcastically by Xo, but oh so genuinely by me).
Committed to his thing of only half-satisfying Villanueva women this week, Rogelio spends the portion of the episode he is not with Xiomara hanging out with his new BFF, Mike.
“Who??” everyone in the world (and Xo) asks. “Michael! Cordero! He just gets me.”
Like, Michael gets how SPACEY (get it? GET IT??) Rogelio is, leaving props from his new telenovela, Pasión Intergalactica, lying around any old where. And he gets how tickled Rogelio would be to be given a Jr. Detective certificate for that ridealong during Calle Ocho when he swings by #CasaXoRo to drop the lost Intergalactic Detective badge off. Mike’s even willing to get mani-pedis with Ro! Is that not true brove?
“Well,” Jane insists, “it makes me and Rafael uncomfortable, and it gives Michael false hope.” Michael needs to be moving on!
“Rafael is uncomfortable?” Michael repeats later, during the man-pedi Rogelio is trying to use as an opportunity to get Michael to move on by inviting him to the Marbella party to pick up Spring Break revelers.
“No, I mean you need to hashtag move on,” Rogelio says, not catching the gross gleam in Michael’s eye at the sound of Raf’s discomfort. “Yes, I am hashtag Team Michael, but more importantly, I am hashtag Team Jane.” But it’s too late—Michael is IN for the Marbella party. Where Rafael is, as predicted, super upset to see Michael.
(Which—I mean, I get it? Rubbing his relationship with Rogelio in Raf’s face? Gross. But also, was it invitation only? That seems like a poor money-making model. But also, isn’t Michael still investigating two murders and Rose’s criminal dealings at the hotel, so is by now a permanent fixture in the lobby? I don’t know. As I’ll detail in a moment, Raf’s behavior this week was super weird.)
After Michael uses a flashback to his and Jane’s first surprise exchange of ILUs to solve Rogelio’s Xo mystery and Rogelio deems him a “true friend,” Michael takes the opportunity to come completely clean about his lingering feelings for Jane, and asks Rogelio if he really, truly thinks Jane and Raf are forever. Rogelio isn’t sure, but is both a good enough father to Jane—and a good enough friend to Michael—to tell him exactly what he needs to hear: Yes. Yes he does think so. And Michael, for real, needs to hashtag move on.
Good job, Ro.
Andie and Jane’s Big Night In
Speaking of moving on, Michael’s other ex totally isn’t. Andie! Remember her? Sweet girl who joined Jane’s new romance writers’ group the exact same day Jane did? Who just happened to run into Michael at Calle Ocho when they both ended up at the churro booth? Yes, that one. So she is still around, and still palling it up with Jane, who is trying to convince her to share at their next meeting. Andie can’t, though, because she promised her sister she’d baby-babysit and so won’t have time to write anything new.
“I’ll do it!” mom-anxiety Jane all but explodes. She needs the practice, she explains—Xo’s advice is so outdated, and Rafael has been too busy with work to even read her emails about doulas, leaving her to feel more alone in this than ever—and what better opportunity? Also: the baby’s name, Luna, is on Jane’s short list. Fate!
And so Andie comes by Jane’s place later that night, while Abuela is out, baby and laptop in tow. And for the first few hours all is peaceful, Luna sleeping on the couch next to Jane while Andie tap-tap-taps away in the dining room. Only, turns out she wasn’t being productive. Turns out she got totally distracted (gee, don’t know what that is like) and was instead internet-stalking her ex, who, Jane knows, Andie hasn’t been able to stop thinking about since Calle Ocho. “Text him!” Jane suggests, not seeing what harm could come of it. “Ahhhhh you’re the better writer,” Andie says. “You help me figure out what to say.” And so, just to amp up future awkwardness, Jane does.
(Spoiler: the text hits Michael’s phone just after Rogelio tells him again to #moveon, when Michael is feeling particularly open to that kind of overture. And when he calls Andie back, we learn that while Jane doesn’t know she’s Michael’s ex, Andie knows Jane is! And while this played as a shock, it really shouldn’t be: she was internet stalking him. He was publicly with Jane for two years. She would obviously know.)
And then Luna starts crying, because she has a wet diaper. And Andie forgot to bring diapers, so leaves Luna with jane while she runs out to buy some. And it is as Jane is on the floor with Luna, trying desperately to calm her crying while also figuring out how to properly swaddle her, that Xiomara comes in to pick up one more thing she forgot (as she has been doing all episode in an effort to avoid Alba, with whom she is sill on bad terms).
“YOU NEED TO PICK HER UP!!!” Xo shouts. “I NEED TO SWADDLE HER, MOM!!!” Jane shouts back. “I’M JUST TRYING TO HELP!!!” Xo explains. “YOU’RE DOING THE OPPOSITE OF HELPING!!!” Jane shrieks back. And then Luna stops crying, and Xo sneers that Miss Perfect figured it all out on her own before storming out and slamming the door behind her—kicking off another bout of crying from Luna.
Jane eventually gets the hang of it, however, and rocks 130+ riveting rounds of peekaboo. Raf calls to check in on her, but between her forced baby talk and the pounding music at the party, they can’t really understand each other, so agree to finally catch up after their respective events are finished. Alba arrives just as she hangs up, and within a moment notices something missing in the house and comments on how Xo must have swung by again.
She is expecting another “come on, make up already” speech from Jane, like she has been getting all episode, but no—Jane and Xo had that little fight, so Jane really isn’t in the forgiving mood. But when Jane explains to Alba what the fight was about, Alba flashes back to that same memory from the start of the episode, when she had to come to terms with the fact that Xiomara had to mother baby Jane her own way, and Alba needed to step back. “It is hard to know when to stop being a parent,” she explains to Jane, feelingly, on Xo’s side for the first time in ages.
Marbella Beach Partyyyyyyyy
Speaking of being on someone’s side, Raf is on the Marbella’s. This isn’t new, but his fervor and shutting-out of everything NOT Marbella-related is. Yes, when he was being aloof with Jane last episode his excuse was work, but ultimately, it was smoke and mirrors for distance he was keeping because of his failed proposal. And, ultimately, he and Jane forged and even stronger bond over his personal revelation that his whole life has been about finding family (prompting him to try to lock Jane down so she wouldn’t leave) and her firm reminder that she is in it for the long haul and they can take things slow. And now, suddenly, he is overwhelmed with work and the feeling that Jane is judging him for it.
But let’s back up—the reason Raf is overwhelmed is that Spring Break in Miami is, like, a THING, and so the Marbella obviously needs to build on their success from the Bisbal concert at Calle Ocho and host an epic Spring Break party. Only, the permits they applied for with the city got lost, and the city refused to add extra work to their plates and let Raf submit new paperwork. And so Raf and Petra are stuck with two awful options: cancel the party, and lose all the deposits that have already put them in the red, or move forward as planned, and risk getting caught and fined (or worse).
Raf, despite having been the levelheaded businessman who stopped Petra before she lost the Marbella all the money by firing Lachlan a few weeks ago, declares that they should risk all and move forward. And Petra, despite obvious reservations, agrees.
Unsurprisingly, they get caught. Unsurprisingly, it is due to uncharacteristically shoddy thoroughness on Rafael’s part, not insisting and double insisting that the bar staff be extra cautious about fake IDs on this of all nights. And so some cops find a bunch of drunk teens on the Marbella beach, and when they come inside to talk to Raf and Petra about it—and if they have all the proper permits in place—Raf breaks out of Bizarro Raf mode long enough to remember that he has zero ability to lie, and so tells the cops the truth: no. The permit applications were lost.
The party is shut down, and the liquor license suspended. And Raf returns to his penthouse, drunk and angry, and drunkly and angrily takes it out on Jane, whose only questions are “what happened?” and “how did that happen?” “Don’t JUDGE me!” he shouts. “I have work. I have to WORK. I can’t always be around!!”
Correctly, she leaves. Correctly, he sobers up and texts a few hours later that he wants to talk. Correctly, she makes him wait until after her shift the next day. Correctly, he apologizes.
But Jane? She isn’t angry. She’s scared. Scared that she will be in the pregnancy and child-rearing alone, that Raf will be too caught up in his job to help out. And while that is a valid concern, theoretically, for Raf’s job/personality/history as we know it, this one week of overwhelming busy-ness and short tempered-ness is a blip. This is not a behavioral pattern that has been established, or a concern that has been earned. It only feels like it might be because of the long hiatus since last we saw our heroes. But this is not where we left them. And Raf’s suggestion that they hire a nanny? Not at ALL in line with his well-established passion for having a family to be a part of. (I’m not saying a nanny is a bad idea, or out of the realm of believability for them and their situation, just that the lead-up to—and his casual suggesting OF—is totally out of character.)
And so Jane returns home, shaken by her conversation with Raf and the realization that, just maybe, love isn’t enough to get them through parenthood. And at home, she finds Alba and Xiomara making up on the porch, both realizing that the choices a kid makes are not always a reflection on the parent, and that sometimes letting go can be the thing to help you hold on tight.
“What if I hate it?” Jane asks, sitting down between them. “Being a mom?” Luna was fine, but one night was more than enough for Jane to deal with before wanting to crawl up the walls. And she isn’t convinced that her feelings will change just because the baby will be hers. And what if Raf can’t or won’t pitch in???
Well, no worries, Jane: the Villanueva women are really in it forever. And with that final group hug, Jane’s imaginary future daughter appears one last time with a thumbs up, and a drawing of the FOUR Villanueva women holding hands.
Roman is Dead, Long Live Roman
Petra has not spent this episode just cleaning up Raf’s messes. She has also been cleaning up Roman’s. I.E, flirting with his pacifist twin brother, Aaron, who is still hanging around the hotel, for whatever reason. She has even done some research into Jainism, and particularly wants to know if Aaron is a STRICT practitioner (as Voice of God Narrator elucidates: she wants to know if Aaron is abstinent). Answer? No he is NOT. And if he were, he wouldn’t still be at the Marbella. Oh la la, Petra!
Only, Aaron has noticed that Petra still looks a bit too longingly at Raf from across the room, and suspects she still has feelings for him. And after the cops break up the party, Petra gets “drunk” and comes to Aaron’s room to tell him that he was right, she is, and her emotions clouded her better business judgment when he wanted to go on with the illegal party. And then her “drunk” brain tells her to kiss Aaron anyway. Only the kiss seems to do little more than remind her that Aaron is not who she really wants, and so she breaks away and leaves. And the next morning, invites him to her own office for her own apology, asking him if they can still be friends, then hugging him when he says yes.
And then she immediately storms (stealthily, I presume) to Raf’s office, where she reveals the truth her weird flirting behavior had actually been in service to prove: AARON IS ROMAN.
Dun dun DUNNNNNNNNNN.
Most of us called that. But now that we know Roman is alive…what is his endgame?
Madre Rogelio is in town! And she HATES Xo.
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.