Apologies for the super tardy recap, Janesters! I was too enervated from crying along with Jane after [spoiler] to write a damn word. Okay, actually it was taxes making me cry. But Jane’s [spoiler] certainly didn’t make things any better. HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE.
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
Elena di Nola! JKJKJKJKJKJKJK she’s the WORST. Sorry, Raf. You deserve better than you’ve ever been given.
The real MVP(arents) this week, I think, are both of Jane’s abuelas—Alba for providing the wisdom and support that Jane and Xo respectively needed (while also joining modernity and asking a man out herself!), and Liliana for supporting her son the best way she could, even if that originally manifested as horrific disdain for Xo, and then culminated in her trying to support them BOTH by telling them to end their impetuous affair before it gets too old (like Xo’s womb) (burn). I mean, I wouldn’t want Liliana to be within a hundred-foot pole’s reach of my personal life, but she was being as supportive a parent as she could be with the information and experience (and glama-drama) she had.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Petra’s been kidnapped!
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Facebook for being so ubiquitous it can be used in any conversation and NOT sound like product placement (in fact, using anything that’s not Facebook would call even more attention to itself.) All hail the social overlords.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Jane was accidentally artificially inseminated with boss Rafael’s sperm, BY boss Rafael’s sister. They fell in love; she broke up with her cop fiancé, Michael, and started a whirlwind romance with Rafael. Rafael was so stoked on finally having a good family of his own that he jumped the gun and proposed too early. Jane said “not yet” but also “I’m not going anywhere” and they forged ahead with a new intimacy based on small moments, like her standing at his side as he started a search for the mother that walked out on them when he was a kid. Then there was a hiatus and a screw in Raf’s personality turned loose and he became obsessed with work in a myopic way that had not ever thus far been his approach to work, which made him overstep on the business front, losing the hotel’s liquor license in the process, and made him overdrink on the personal front, which made him lose his temper over Jane’s concern at his new ambivalence towards the baby. Speaking of ambivalence, there is a lot also between Xiomara and Rogelio’s mother, which is purportedly what is keeping Rogelio from telling Xo he loves her, even though they moved in together. So he invited Mama to come visit! Also, Petra has uncovered the biggest telenovela twist yet—the impaled-by-ice-Roman is ALIVE and is AARON. Dun dun dunnnnnnn.
It should surprise precisely no one that Easter is the favorite holiday of the Villanueva collective: candy, new clothes, and church. And not just any church—the churchiest church. The nailed-on-the-cross, buried-in-a-tomb, boulder-rolled-away, died-for-YOUR-sins apotheosis of the Catholic guilt faith with which Alba (and a lovely white flower) frightened Baby!Jane into chastity way back in Chapter 1. Also, bright pastel colors. ¡Viva la lavanda!
It should also surprise precisely no one that Jane—who has taken THREE majorly painful falls down internet black holes already this season—was an overthinker even at the tender age of ten, and that that tendency to overthink, combined with her fertile imagination, invoked a shoulder-squatting Doubting Jane hallucination which talked over every critical point made in the Easter sermon and prompted Baby!Jane to ask Alba after church if it were possible that Jesus hadn’t really died after all, and if it were some oblivious disciples at fault instead.
“You can poke holes in anything,” Alba says wisely, foreshadowing not just Jane’s but also Rafael’s upcoming story arc, “but faith erases all doubt. Don’t let your head get in the way of your heart.”
Breathe, Baby, Breathe
Well, Jane may always try to lead with her heart, but she is who she is. And when Rafael has to leave her alone in the middle of their partner birthing class to take a work call, that Doubting Jane is right back on her shoulder, whispering bitter uncertainties into her ear about the prospect of her future with a man so tied to his phone.
I mean—I am with Jane in being more than bummed over Rafael’s whole current deal. It SUCKS. It would suck a whole lot more, though, if this really was Rafael’s norm. Or maybe it would suck less, because Jane wouldn’t have been able to get so caught up in a whirlwind romance with a guy so regularly unavailable. I don’t know. Jane doesn’t know. Rafael definitely doesn’t know. No one knows. All we all know is: the new normal sucks. For everyone.
Jane tries to convince a pre-emptively defensive Rafael that she isn’t angry he had to take that call—it was from a family friend whose wife is the City Commissioner, who could get the Marbella’s liquor license hearing bumped up, and Jane understands how important that is—but that Doubting Jane on her shoulder is quick to point out that it will always be something important, so her breeziness doesn’t come off as well as she might have hoped. Doesn’t really matter: these two kids are stuck in a grim loop of disappointment-apology-blame-brush off, Doubting Jane or no. Something’s gotta change.
Casa XoRo Welcomes Mama De La Vega
Speaking of things that need changing, Jane leaves Rafael to go help Xiomara check all the crazy of Rogelio’s “prep the house for mom” list. One: diffuse lavender throughout the entire house (lavender—it’s not just for wearing!). Two: remove all red items of kitchen (naturally?). Three: lovingly display pictures of mother throughout the house.
Despite finishing the entire list, Xiomara is still nervous. And after we get deeper insight into the specific (and horrific) history between Xiomara and Rogelio’s mother, it is easy to see why—not only did Ro’s mom walk in on those two teen love birds in flagrante, but the physical shock was so great that a lamp was knocked off a table and a beloved family cat was electrocuted. Kitty!!! Oh man, Xo. You’re never digging yourself out of this one. At least she has Jane the (fairweather) optimist on her side. Win her back, Xo!
And so the two head down to the courtyard to meet Jane’s other grandma. Or rather Jane’s other glam-ma:
“May I present…my GLORIOUS mother!” Rogelio exclaims with a flamenco stamp and flourish. We already saw her in the trailer from last week, but the reveal doesn’t lose any of its punch for familiarity. Rita Moreno as Liliana IS glorious. That is, a glorious bitch. “Thank GOD you have so much de la Vega in your face!” she exclaims to Jane, wielding honey like poison as she stares daggers at Xo. “And Xo, you must love living in Rogelio’s ENORMOUS home that is SUCH an upgrade from what you’re used to.”
Well, Xo thought she could handle it, but after a thousand more comments like those, culminating in Liliana whisking Rogelio off to a dinner reservation for just the two of them (I dunno, that seems fair?) and calling Xo’s singing “a hobby” (but that blow is LOW), she’s ready to throw in the towel. They are just never going to like each other, and that is FINE she declares to Jane and Alba over Easter prep later that night.
NOPE, no no. Jane puts a stop to Xo’s unraveling right there. “This is what you always do!” she explains. “You get insulted, then you self sabotage.” “Yes,” agrees Alba. “Be more like Jesus.” Well, as Xo is quick to point out, JESUS never met Liliana de la Vega. Jane still isn’t letting her off the hook: if Liliana gets on her nerves again, Jane cautions, just breathe deep and get through it. Like she learned in childbirth class.
“Oh, RIGHT,” Xo says, distracted at last from the toxic barbs of Liliana de la Vega. And how was that experience that you and Rafael shared, Jane? Go ahead: tell your historically Rafael-ambivalent mom everything. “It was so much funnnnnnnn” Jane says, before filling her mouth full of a thousand tiny chocolate eggs.
Single White Female Problems
“It wasn’t fun at all!” Jane explodes at Andie the next morning over coffee, as she seeks out the one person in her life that isn’t actually connected to anyone else in her life and so therefore is totally safe to talk to about nascent doubts that may or may not yet be Actual Things.
Only, whoops. That’s not Andie at all. Because Andie is secretly Michael’s pre-Jane ex, who has been not-so-secretly internet stalking and now going on multiple dates with him (date three at fancy new beach restaurant Tresoro is that very night, btws!). Only, she has been verrrrrry careful to only ever call him “The Ex” in front of Jane, who has, in point of fact, helped Andie compose half her flirty messages.
“What kind of doubts?” Andie asks, all nerves at even the slightest intimation of the slightest possibility of the slightest pebble on Jane’s road to a life Away From Michael. “High level ones!” Jane exclaims. Like, that she and Rafael are such different people, and they want such different things, and that with Michael—who this is NOT about, Jane insists, even without seeing the spit-take Andie has with her tea—she at least knew that they did want the same things.
First off, Jane: wrong. This is such a human thing to do, to see the past through rosy lenses; to override what went wrong at the end of something with memories of what was right beforehand. Jane and Michael DID want most of the same things for most of their relationship, true. But when the baby blip came on their relationship radar, the two proved to each other that they were very different people who wanted very different things out of their future. And Michael, importantly, was unwilling to allow for Jane’s differing plans.
“Well it’s probably hormones,” Andie says, which manages to be both helpful and wildly condescending at the same time. “Just don’t do anything rash.” Which, same. And which ultimately doesn’t help settle Jane’s doubts enough to let her concentrate at work, where the inevitable texts from Rafael canceling their dinner plans that night distract her from catering to every bitchy whim of a very rude patron.
“Pregnant and apparently unmarried is NOT an excuse for poor service,” the worst woman in the world tells Jane after calling her out for being busy on her phone on her shift. “Now get me a butter knife with no water spots.”
GAH CUSTOMER SERVICE JOBS. People are monsters. This woman is a monster. And Jane, maybe really due to the hormones this time, isn’t about to stand for it. “Maybe you could be less rude and remember that I am a person,” she tells the monster. “I could have you fired,” the monster fires back. “Oh I’d like to see you try,” Jane scoffs, wielding her personal connection to her boss for the first time guilt-free.
Anyway, turns out that monster? The City Commissioner Raf had to cancel with Jane to have dinner with that night.
“Turns out I can’t make dinner after all,” Commissioner Alexis sneers. “JANE knows why.”
Villanueva-de la Vega Easter
Xo’s original plan to successfully make it through Easter Dinner with Liliana is to feed her so much she goes into a food coma. “Or a real one! Even better!” Xo cackles as the Villanuevas do their second day of prep on Saturday night. “We gotta tag team,” Jane says to Alba, as she uses her belly to buff a serving dish, “make sure she stays calm tomorrow!”
That’s going to be a challenge as, Jane gets a call from Raf just then asking her an enormous favor: skipping Villanueva-de la Vega family Easter in order to join Rafael and the Falcos at Rich People church and Rich People Easter brunch (at the Golden Harbor Yacht Club! Where Raf and Jane first met! is Raf’s effort to make the ask more appealing, not taking into consideration the secondary memory of his subsequent douchebag ignoring of her that immediately followed that meeting) in order to make up for her huge misstep with Alexis.
“What a shame,” Liliana says the next morning when she and Rogelio arrive before church. “But as I always say, a good woman always puts a good man first. Unlike SOME women in this room who aren’t getting SOME men in this room a glass of room temperature water with two lemons!!” “I am a bit parched,” Rogelio agrees, earning exactly zero brownie points with anyone except Liliana.
Left to tag team on her own, Alba makes a rash deal that will come back in mysteriously miraculous ways later in order to convince Xo to apologize to Liliana for what happened years ago (RIP Gordito) and start with a clean slate. Stuck, Xo marches over to Liliana and, finally, apologizes for the cat.
“That is fine,” Liliana says, after Rogelio exclaims over how forgiveness if one of his mother’s greatest qualities. “But I CANNOT forgive you never telling Rogelio you were pregnant, and depriving him of the chance to raise his daughter and me of the chance to know my granddaughter!”
Oh. No. He. Didn’t.
It is not until they reach church that Xo is finally able to pull Rogelio aside and confront him about this flagrant lie that he is sabotaging their relationship with. “Were you ever going to tell her?” Xo demands. “…on her deathbed,” Rogelio tries joking (not joking). He knows he made a mistake, but can’t talk about abortion in CHURCH.
Thankfully, he does finally break under his mother’s constant harping of Xo’s personal failings, standing up for her as Easter Dinner is coming to a close and admitting that he did know about the pregnancy and that he was the one who suggested she get an abortion. His and Liliana’s not knowing Jane as she grew up is on him, not on Xo, and Liliana needs to lay off.
This warms Liliana to Xo slightly, but alas, she still has decided that the two should break it off. They are impetuous, she says, and haven’t made any allowances for the future. Rogelio is going to want kids of his own! she declares, ignoring Rogelio’s less than tepid agreement with that statement, and Xo’s womb? Pretty darn dusty. So really, they should stop while they are ahead. And while Ro managed to stand up for Xo once, he doesn’t have the constitution to do it a second time, so Xo is left thinking he agrees with Liliana. And while Xo managed to avoid self-sabotaging with Liliana the entire weekend, she doesn’t have the constitution to do it with a second person, and so when her ex the hot soccer start finds her drinking alone at her new neighborhood bar that night, she lets him and his fancy “I’d never let anyone treat the woman I love that way” talk kiss her.
She does, at least, have the presence of mind to be immediately horrified, and she races home to tell Rogelio what happened and actually have the discussion about the future Liliana suggested. Only, when she gets there, she finds that Rogelio has driven Liliana to the airport early. “I won’t have anyone treating the woman I love that way,” he says. And oh, how can Xo possibly tell him about that one tiny mistake that meant absolutely nothing now???
Happy Rich People Easter
So, after reminding Xo one last time to behave herself with Liliana (“I won’t be here…but I’ll know”), Jane heads to the Marbella to meet up with Raf. In the lobby, she runs into Michael in his date sweater. “This old thing?” he giggles. Well, turns out that he’s had a great time reconnecting with his old flame Andrea—”or, Andie, I guess she likes to go by now?”—who’s been “lightly stalking” him on facebook. GULP. Jane can’t imagine that it is the SAME Andrea SHE knows who’s been reconnecting with HER ex, but then Michael drops the bomb that it is Tresoro he’s taking her to that night, and kaboom! Jane’s mind/doubts/sense of reality is blown.
Michael isn’t there to meet up with Andie anyway, but with Petra, and so he sticks around after Raf finally comes downstairs and escorts Jane off to church. “I hope you aren’t upset about Michael being at the hotel,” Jane starts when they park. She is ready to explain, again, how she can’t help where Michael goes, but no, it isn’t that that’s got Rafael so quiet: his private investigator (the one who so successfully “found” “Aaron” perchance??) tracked down an email address for his mother, and the knowledge has thrown him for a loop. Which, in a cool visual move, is reflected by the off-kilter angle of the shot as Rafael tells Jane the story.
“Well I know it would be awful if she didn’t respond,” Jane says, clasping his hand, “but having grown up without my dad, always wondering, I know I’d want to know.” And it was exactly Jane’s voice he heard in his head when deciding what to do. And so he sent the email. And with that respite of normal intimacy concluded, the two walk together into the breach (AKA, Rich People Church).
Really, it is brunch that is the hotter crucible. Commissioner Alexis sees through Jane’s apology immediately, and while she technically invites her to join her terrible rich friends for lunch, it is clear that she is setting Jane the Pregnant, Unmarried Waitress up to fail.
But trick’s on you, Alexis! Jane is nothing if not a research fiend, and last night? She did her research. She can talk dressage and modern art showings and scandals in dog show judging All. Day. Long.
Also, she can talk real talk, which she does after accidentally overhearing an argument between Alexis and her husband about his constant trips away from home with his mistress, skipping his daughter’s birthday this time even, him flinging acid back in the form of a rhetorical question over Alexis’ desire for a divorce. “For what it’s worth,” Jane says, “I grew up without a dad, and remember my mom being there for me for everything. And that’s what your daughter will remember, too.” And with that, the Worst Person in the World proves herself to be nothing more than…a person. Capable of forgiveness, and of agreeing to move the Marbella’s liquor license hearing up after all.
Good job, Jane.
In the middle of sticking her pregnant, unwed foot in the middle of Raf’s Marbella mess and finding out her new writing buddy is single white femaling her, Jane also managed to play a wingman of sorts to her abuela, who has apparently been dropping whole brick houses of hints to that cutie Edward from physical therapy about her romantic interest.
Not that he has been dropping metric tons of hints of his own. “I got the surgery so I could keep taking long walks,” he explains to Alba as they leave the therapy building together. “What’s the point of living in Miami if you can’t take long walks?” Si, Edward! Si! Alba loves long walks, too! “Great,” he says, losing his nerve. “See you next Saturday!”
“Maybe he already has someone special in his life,” Alba says, trying to brush off Jane’s cutesy winking. “Move off it.” Move off it, her new mantra, repeated even in the face of Xiomara suggesting that Alba could end up starring in her OWN telenovela.
Move off it, Xo! Especially because, turns out Alba was right; Edward does have a special someone in his life: POT. No, wait. That was in another life. GOD. Yes, it’s God who is Edward’s special other someone, which Jane discovers when he turns out to be the priest at the Rich People Service she goes to with Rafael on her Easter Morning of Forgiveness seeking.
Too late for Alba, though, this news. Because that deal with Xo to get her to make amends with Liliana? It was in exchange for Alba asking Edward out. And she did. AND HE SAID YES.
God does work in mysterious ways.
Speaking of Doubt
Does that give away too many personal details? Oh well. Me and Jane, same boat. Too many doubts. Not about Jesus in, Jane’s case—she has long made her peace with the illogicality of the resurrection—no, in Jane’s case, it’s more doubts about Rafael, which increase after they return from Easter brunch and he pulls out his phone and turns it on. Which, after partner birthing class, he has expressly told her he couldn’t do.
“I just don’t want that future, where the husband is always tied to work and has no time for family,” Jane says, thinking of the argument she overheard between Alexis and her husband. “That won’t be us!” Rafael insists. “You know my thoughts on family!”
Alas, Jane isn’t convinced, and has to return home to Alba’s repeated advice that faith is the banishment of doubt, in more contexts than religion. Xo pops her head in then, a quick look at the face she loves between kissing Marco and going home to tell Rogelio about it, and this most recent moment of self-sabotage gives her the wisdom to tell Jane not “I told you so,” but rather, not to give up. Because if Xo self-sabotages by getting offended, Jane self-sabotages by overthinking. And with the IRL support of her two best women, Jane banishes that mini Doubting Jane from her shoulder once and for all.
Alas, while Jane was overcoming her doubts, Rafael was accosted by a surprise visit from his MIA mother in the Marbella bar…and her explanation for abandoning Rafael and Luisa is shitty. Basically, she married too young; she and Emilio had nothing in common; she wasn’t truly in love; she cheated; he offered her millions of dollars to walk away and never contact them; she did. And the cherry on this sundae of awfulness? She lives on a island like, less than a day’s drive away. All her claims that she always wondered how Rafael was doing, always wanted the best for him, are ultimately empty, and compounded by a letter Emilio wrote to her when Raf was eighteen, totally stepping out of character for a hot second to list for his estranged and presumably despised ex-wife all his hopes and dreams for Rafael’s future. And since Elena is a monster, she doesn’t see how bad it makes her look that she is totally willing to part with this single physical connection she had to Raf’s younger self, and she hands the letter over. And that move, on top of everything she has revealed to Raf about his personal history, leads Raf right into the wilderness of doubt that Jane only just escaped. And once there?
Well, I can’t recap this cleverly: he breaks things off with Jane. They are too different, he says when Jane comes by later, and he wants success too much, and maybe just each of them focusing independently on how to be good parents is enough for right now, without adding a romantic relationship to the mix.
And as Jane weeps, so do we all.
What a terrible thing, the new normal.
Time for the poll! Only, polldaddy isn’t working, so if you still want to participate, answer in the comments:
Poll: So How Dead IS Jane and Rafael’s Relationship?
- As dead as Aaron Zazo
- I WILL NEVER GIVE UP HOPE
- Everything in life is work; they just gotta keep at it
Petra Knows What Petra Means
Oh right: Petra. So, remember how Michael was at the Marbella to meet up with Petra? And remember how he is, technically, a professional detective? Well, after Rafael refused to take Petra’s suspicions about Aaron seriously—he had a drink with Aaron like she asked, and he is NOT the dude Rafael shared a room with in college, Rafael the Infallible insists—she took matters into her own hands. “Aaron” was making plans to “return” to India in three days, so she had to race to sneak into his room when he was out and steal a water glass to give Michael to have tested for Roman’s DNA.
Only, twist: Aaron came back to the room after he told Petra he was leaving, forcing her to hide in the closet with her breath held until he left again. “He missed her by a hair!” VoG narrator exclaims with relief as Aaron comes and goes without incident, leaving Petra safe to deliver the glass to Michael and his date sweater. Only, second twist: a chunk of her blonde hair was actually sticking out from the slats in the closet door, so Aaron DIDN’T really miss her. And just as the results of the DNA test come back positive for ROMAN IS ALIVE BITCHES, PETRA KNOWS WHAT PETRA MEANS…Aaron/Roman kidnaps her.
“C’mon, baby,” he says, peeling out of the phone-reception-free parking structure in full Roman-douche mode, “I know you know who I am.”
Gee, Petra. Sure would be nice if you had a semi-psycho ex who’s obsessed with your happiness and safety to stop something like this. I guess. Better still: let Milos get you out of this mess, then GET RID OF ALL MEN. Your life when any of them are around just sucks.
How do you unbreak a break-up? Skinny dipping, obvi. Oh la la!
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.