O, ye angsty relationship twists of Spring Sweeps! I knew you were coming, but I still hate it. That said, I will give the production team credit: I finally buy—AND APPRECIATE—the sudden, violent wrench in Rafael’s character. Ah, what wonders a good therapy session can provoke.
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
Jane and Raf paid a lot of lip service to doing their best for their baby, but their focus was mostly on themselves and their relationship, so they are both out. Alba didn’t have much to do actively this week, so she’s out, too. Magda might want some love for being so willing to return to the Marbella and be Petra’s emotional rock, but she was on screen too briefly for us to get a good read on what her motives really are. So—that leaves Xiomara and Rogelio. Xo really WAS Jane’s emotional rock, never once saying I told you so as Jane went through hell with Rafael over exactly the issue that Xo predicted…but she also self-sabotaged her relationship with Jane’s long-estranged (or, long-a-stranger) father, which is…not great.
Long story short: Rogelio—and his frankly award-worthy Bebé de mi bebé crooning—win the week.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Sourpuss Partner Nadine was on Sin Rostro’s payroll! She really WAS trying to be as useless as a detective as possible this whole time.
What’s your excuse, Michael? (JK mostly…you’ve done some solid detective work lately, friend. Good job.)
Runner-up: Alba’s accident-specific amnesia is breaking down.
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Target returns to its best stealth self this week (reusable canvas bags carrying half the baby shower supplies), and Jane’s gifted orange Mini Cooper continues its endearingly low-profile campaign for most covetable form of transportation, but I want to give a shoutout to the Everglades, for reminding us that the Villanueva/de La Vega/Solano clans live lives of air-conditioned luxury and that Miami/Florida itself is hot and humid as balls and who in their right mind would ever want to live there????
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Normally I just recite the events of the season thus far in more or less the same order that VoG so entertainingly does, but this week I can’t match the show’s double-edged script-to-screen genius, as every single plot point was accompanied by a clip that changed the flavor of what was being enumerated. Just—just watch it again, and savor the editing genius.
Flashback: Livin’ on a Prayer
This week’s flashback not only brings Alba’s White Flower of Virginity out in an amazing callback, but also introduces us to Baby!Lina—which, if you know me (and my writing BFF Catie) at all, you know I am so here for. More strong female friendships! More strong female friendships EVERYWHERE! Basically: more Lina&Jane 5ever, please.
But right, the flashback: Jane’s 5th grade Catholic school sex talk, which was, in its entirety: DON’T DO IT. And considering that that answered precisely zero of the girls’ collective hormonal/mechanical questions, there opened up a glorious opportunity for Jane to repeat Alba’s flower lesson in all its mangled botanical glory. Or for Lina to repeat her four older sisters’ personal lessons, in all THEIR “what/where/for how long” glory. And even though Jane kept her faith in, well, faith (and Catholic purity), a lifelong friendship was born.
Present Day: The Stages of Grief
As we all know from Raf’s calling timeout on America’s favorite new romance at the end of the Chapter Eighteen, Jane’s faith is today suffering its hardest test yet. But she has faith that love is a real kind of magic, and that she and Raf can make it, and so in true Jane™ fashion, she has cycled through the stages of grief as efficiently as humanly possible and come out ready to fight. Well…she has decided she has cycled through all the stages of grief, but considering that she has landed firmly on NON-acceptance, I think it is safe to say she is still stuck in shock. And so, not twelve hours after she collapsed in the hall outside Rafael’s penthouse, she is back at his door.
First things first: what happened last night? Because such an about-face in his view of their future had to come from somewhere. But Rafael is keeping mum about his miserable mum, and instead repeats his new (and Xo’s old) party line: he and Jane are just too different to work, and they need to focus on becoming good parents independently. But Jane is not about to let him decide that them separating without making any effort will ultimately be what is best for their child. “I love you,” she insists, “don’t you love me?” It takes a painfully long pause to get Raf’s assent, but once she does, she knows she has her foot far enough in the door of hope to move forward. And what’s forward?
Couples therapy. The more initials after the doc’s name, the better. And Jane will even throw around the Solano name to get an appointment ASAP, so you KNOW she is serious. Okay okay okay—Raf is in.
Xiomara, meanwhile, is stuck firmly in the denial stage. She knows how deeply she screwed up, kissing Marco, but because the kiss was pure self-sabotage and meant, in emotional terms, absolutely nothing, she has convinced herself that not telling the hyper-dramatic Rogelio what happened is the best course of action. Subconsciously she knows she is wrong, and thus she seeks advice from Jane, thinking she knows exactly how Miss Perfect Jane will respond. And that response, well, that will kick her butt into gear!
Alas, much like Xo’s personal entanglements gave her some perspective when Jane’s doubts about Raf cropped up, so too have Jane’s given her perspective about Rogelio, so rather than the ringing I told you so Xo needs to dig herself out before her hole gets too deep, Jane gives her a firm I super don’t know. Rogelio is immensely proud, and there’s no telling how he might blow things out of proportion in his own unconscious form of self-sabotage.
Things are not helped by the fact that Rogelio has been tapped by some Vegas casino to do a one-night residency (so…a gig), and that he made Xiomara being his opening act a prerequisite to his contract. Super diva Rogelio de la Vega VOLUNTEERING to share the spotlight with someone else?? That is true love. And besides—if Xo told him now, how would his performance be effected? Negatively, is how. And so Xo gives her denial another day’s pass.
Driving more than one person straight into the anger stage is Jane’s #SWFWB/Michael’s no-longer ex, Andie. We didn’t get to see any confrontation between Jane and Andie after Jane’s discovery of the fact that Andie knew who she was long before they ever officially met, but we can presume Jane said something, given the icy look she shoots Andie’s way when Andie has the lady balls to show up to Jane’s baby shower (and also the hugely guilty look with which Andie responds).
In Andie’s defense, she’s not a crazy Facebook creeper. She’s just your garden variety Facebook creeper (i.e., all of us), but one who is evidently terrible at judging limits. A mutual friend put out feelers; Andie got curious; things got out of hand. “So…I know I am terrible,” she concludes to Jane at the baby shower she is crashing, “but could you…maybe…NOT?…tell Michael?”
Yeah, Andie…maybe you should go.
To her credit, she not only goes, but goes straight to Michael’s office to come clean. His first reaction is shock—nothing in his two years of being a professional detective of a major metropolis prepared him to anticipate such stealthy deceit as THIS. His second reaction is, of course, anger. “Lightly stalking” was adorable when he was the sole target. But Jane? His Real True Love? Hell NOPE. A stalk too far, Andie. A stalk too far.
His anger is directed solely at Andie, though. Jane connected the mystery’s dots before he did, but didn’t let him in on the secret. And why is that, hm???
Well, for your garden variety Facebook creeper/human, the reason would be: to keep him from getting hurt. But one of Jane’s (and Rafael’s) strongest and best qualities is an inability to be dishonest, so that shouldn’t have been Jane’s reason. Alas, if Jane and Raf have compromised on anything during their mutual hunt to make their futures work during this time of trial, it is on this shared quality. And so, Jane lied to Michael.
That whole making compromises idea? Came from couples therapy, which session with PHD MFCC Nia Vardalos Jane, using a combination of her professional level of organization/tenacity and probably also the Solano name, snagged for them that very afternoon. They of course have to start their session by giving PHD MFCC Nia Vardalos a quick recap of their history with each other—ya know, in a nutshell (literal LOL)—and if you have ever watched the first thirty seconds of this show you know how THAT story unravels. Amazingly, though, the two are there not because of the telenovela melodrama in their lives (mostly), but regular starcrossed lovers stuff. As in, Jane’s only big issue growing up was wishing she had a dad who was present and, preferably, with her mother. Whereas Rafael’s mother abandoned him when he was 4 for a $10 million payout and his dad never believed in him and then was drowned in concrete by his conniving lesbian drug lord stepmother.
Okay, so. SOME of the telenovela melodrama is at fault. But while the melodrama is real…melo?…the fallout wrt Rafael’s emotional health is real-er. He is in a dark place, and just because he loves Jane, doesn’t mean he either thinks that is enough, or has the emotional strength to fight the fight that needs fought.
Jane is too dazzled by the promise of bargaining’s success promised by the hallucinations of their past selves—Five-years-ago Jane&Douchebag Raf; Pool-Soaked Jane&Baywatch Raf; Petal-Showered Jane&Lovesick Raf—that she is having trouble seeing the real clouds shadowing real Raf’s face. They run through their hour without any concrete decisions being made, but PHD MFCC Nia Vardalos does send them home with a list of intimacy exercises (no, not those kind of exercise, Baywatch Raf!) they can try, and promises to make a follow-up appointment.
Emotionally drained, Jane heads not home, where she deserves to go hole up and watch a soothing Girl Meets World marathon while eating however much ice cream she damn well wants, but rather to Raf’s penthouse, where Lina and Luca have a gigantic baby shower blowout waiting for her. Her mom’s there, her grandmother’s there, her friends are there, her…romance writers group is there too for some reason? HOORAY. Jane puts on her best smile, and after kicking Andie out she does manage to absorb enough of the love surrounding her to feel some degree of real happiness that the party isn’t a total wash. And Lina—who we discover became BFFs with Jane after hijacking that infamous playground purity talk back in the 5th grade—even goes mushy enough to tell that baby that dammit if she isn’t so lucky to get to have Jane as a mom. LINA. <3<3<3
That isn’t the best part, though, oh no. No, the best part is when Rogelio strides through the door and graces the entire room with the Best Song Ever (move over, One Direction):
Interrupted, of course, by a sexy Woman of a Certain Age (Jane’s writing mentor, Amanda) slapping him right across the face. For what? For a doomed affair years ago when she was trying to adapt one of her novels to a telenovela and was courting Rogelio to play the lead. He didn’t get the role; she didn’t get the second date in Tampa. Rogelio tries to insist that the standard parting gift basket—with TWO smoked meat varieties!!—was sufficient an apology, but Xo is firm in insisting that it was not. And so Rogelio and Amanda take a private moment to clear the air (and for Rogelio to drop the wisdom on us all that using “youthful” as a qualifier for an indiscretion puts doubts into the listener’s mind as to your current youthfulness, and thus is best avoided). And then Amanda kisses him. And Rogelio says NO THANK YOU I AM TAKEN.
And thus ends the Rogelio Dramatic Interlude. The party, too, Jane tries to convince Lina, but no, she wants to wait for Rafael to arrive with The Flowers (is this…a thing? that I don’t know about? fathers bring baby shower flowers?). Jane doesn’t think he is going to show, but despite Jane’s refusal to acknowledge the accuracy of the fact when Lina announced it earlier, Lina is a bit psychic, and that very moment, Rafael arrives with The Flowers. And between the cloud of pure love floating through his baby showered penthouse and the really loving answers they wrote on their quizzes about each other weeks ago (NICE CALLBACK, SHOW TEAM), Jane’s bargaining phase has finally paid off: he will do the exercises with her.
Only…not so much. They are both WILLING, it turns out, but also both think that the exercises are weird. Like, staring into each other’s eyes silently for four minutes, which sounds nuts but I read an essay about just a couple weeks ago and sounded intense. They can’t take it seriously, though, and give up after twenty seconds. On the one hand, I can see how them succeeding could have made for boring television. OTOH, the episode of The Colbert Report when he re-enacted IN ITS ENTIRETY The Bachelor‘s billion-second pause in the final rose ceremony was some of the most riveting and dramatic moments of television I have seen in the past five years. Jane is all about pushing the creative envelope. They absolutely could have pulled off the awkward push through the real four minutes of staring silence and made us ALL feel something.
Then again, that 3.5 minutes is precious real estate. Real estate better used, I guess, in making Jane up the bargaining ante by daring Rafael into a skinny-dipping escapade that nearly results in them finally having sex (prompted, in part, by Lina making Jane think about how a natural birth will basically mean she is giving up her V-card to the baby instead of Rafael, which is so creepy and also doesn’t seem erotically sound, even if someone could make arguments for the biological truth of the matter [Catie/other medical types: weigh in!]).
Alas, a security guard actually doing his job for once in this murder-stricken waste of a designer hotel catches them just before the moment reaches fruition, and, embarrassed, Jane dresses and goes home, where she has a really great talk with Xiomara that shows both Xo’s eternal support and understanding of her daughter, and also sees Jane reminding everyone that her virginity is not who she IS. A girl’s sexuality, as one of JtV‘s primary giffers pointed out on tumblr last night, is not her whole personality. And thus JtV continues to be the stereotype-busting gift that keeps on busting.
Unfortunately, by this point in the hour more than one character has reached the stage of guilt. Not only has Xo still not come clean to Rogelio about the kiss with Marco, but Rogelio has not yet come clean with Xo about his kiss with Amanda. Rafael is wracked with guilt over the fact that he nearly dragged Jane down into his current emotional darkness when they were skinny dipping. And oh, yeah—ROMAN ZAZO KILLED HIS BROTHER AND KIDNAPPED PETRA.
Let’s start with that one, as we have left Petra alone in that crazy man’s clutches for far too long.
So, Petra figured out who Aaron really was, and was kidnapped for her trouble. Kidnapped not for a ransom, it seems, but rather as a…trophy? A potential partner? Let me repeat that this man lured his peacenik brother to Miami to push him off a balcony to his gruesome, icy death and then absconded to Mexico to be fake kidnapped by a drug cartel only to be ransomed out by his unsuspecting former BFF only to…save all the Marbella’s spiders and make Petra feel guilty for eating root vegetables/slowly seduce her. Logic isn’t necessarily what we should be expecting.
So Roman drives Petra all the way out to some safehouse in the Everglades, where he reveals the real thumb drive that he had hidden in that necklace Petra had been holding, whose decoy had thus far been leading the police/Michael on a wild goose chase. On the thumb drive? Sin Rostro’s entire network, stretching back even to her pre-surgery suite drug ring days. Unsure what the plan is but certain she won’t like it, Petra connives a way to hide Roman’s phone before seducing him into bed/a humidity induced coma. She manages to escape just long enough to call 911 and alert Michael that she’s been taken to somewhere off mile marker 42 before Roman finds her and smashes the phone to the ground.
Petra runs, and Roman chases and calls out mockingly, and dammit if I didn’t believe with all my heart that one of those trees Petra rounded would reveal an aseasonal (and ageographical) ski lift to nowhere. Alas, all we get is Petra accidentally impaling Roman (again!) with a fishing tool (pike?) she scrambles to defend herself with.
And just as he falls backwards into the glade, Michael and the cavalry arrive, lights flashing.
And now to our favorite dramatic duo, #XoRo.
The day after the baby shower is the De La Vegas (would watch) photo shoot. Rogelio loves Xiomara’s enormous hair, but isn’t ready for his closeup as, he explains, when his emotions are clogged, his pores are clogged. And clogging his emotions is the fact that Amanda kissed him, and even though she was the kisser and it meant absolutely less than nothing, he still can’t give good photo face when feeling such guilt.
“Oh, well, I mean, that’s fine,” Xo says. “Like, I mean, like, if the shoe was on the other foot, say, like, if it were me apologizing for—” but she is interrupted before she can say anything by a production assistant calling them over to start posing, and despite the fact that Rogelio assures her that he isn’t a monster and would be just as forgiving as she was, when she finally does let slip the truth (as they are posing back to back, purple sequins and white silk billowing in the fake breeze), he can’t keep his promise. She kissed Marco. And she waited too long to tell him about it. And that is just a breach of trust that Rogelio can’t get past.
Think that’s a downer? Just wait. Rafael was so torn up by the fact that he nearly let his own selfish desires let Jane go through with something he was sure she’d regret later on (um, maybe trust her own mind a bit more, Raf! but also, you’re great for being so thoughtful. Man being a human being is hard), returned to PHD MFCC Nia Vardalos alone the next morning to talk. And what he talked about was his fear of dragging Jane down with him, and how her tenacious grasp of the near-magical power of love was going to prevent him from making the break he is certain they need (“for her own good,” the idea that has destroyed cultures).
And so, even though he loves her more than anything, as he tells PHD MFCC Nia Vardalos, he has to convince her he doesn’t. And he goes home and does exactly that. “I just don’t love you the way you love me,” he says, telling one of the first real lies we have seen Trying To Be A Good Man Raf tell this season. And in that moment, Jane really does go supernaturally quickly through all the stages of grief, landing on numb acceptance as she leaves his penthouse for (relationship) good.
Jane and Raf and Xo and Ro aren’t the only ones getting their hearts broken, alas. Michael, already heartsore over the conundrum that is Andie, is about to join their ranks—and not over who you’d expect.
See, having saved Petra and captured Roman’s belongings (if not Roman himself; see poll below), Michael now has his hands on the real flash drive. And after a day of decryption by an obviously overworked and underappreciated techie, he also has his hands on Sin Rostro’s real list of associates. And on that list?
Detective Nadine “Sin Rostro’s Underground/Let’s Not Call For Backup Until We Know What’s There/I Have Been Obstructing You This Whole Time” Hansan.
She didn’t know Sin Rostro was Rose, but did know she was working out of the Marbella. Apparently Nadine’s family’s lives were on the line. True or not, Michael is going to have to report it to their captain. He does, at least, give Nadine an hour’s head start to figure out what to do next.
Speaking of next—what IS up with Roman? Petra, we know, made it “home” “safe” to the Marbella, but called her mom when Raf wouldn’t make time for her call upon her return. So she may not be safe, but she is at least alive. But what about Roman?
POLL: Is Roman REALLY dead this time?
- NO; that would be a GD WASTE OF A GOOD STORY ARC. 23.26% (10 votes)
- Yep; he’s gator bait. 48.84% (21 votes)
- That was actually Aaron and Roman’s secret triplet Nero that Petra stabbed, so…not yet! 13.95% (6 votes)
- Yes, because the the first Roman was actually Aaron and Roman’s secret triplet Nero, who has now orchestrated two of his brothers’ deaths in order to cover for his own criminal activities. 13.95% (6 votes)
I, for one, am damn well hoping that isn’t the last we see of the dude. It really would be a waste for him to have been revealed and then taken away from us again so quickly, with nothing more to show for it.
And so we end with every last character in a rotten place. EVEN ALBA, who, despite having the prospect of a date with a lovely man (Catholic priest or not) on the horizon, was struck at the very last moment by the sight of an ambulatory Magda, and the return of the memory of the monster pushing Alba down the stairs to her near-doom.
Moral of the story, I think: never move to Miami.
And to make up for last week’s late recap and broken poll software, here is a SECOND poll, based on the promise made to TV Line by showrunner Jennie Urman that Jane will be with someone in the finale, but that it won’t be someone we’d expect. So, who’s the surprise lover?
POLL: Who’s the “surprise” paramour promised to be with Jane in the finale?
- Nicholas, Rogelio’s former assistant and backstabber 2.94% (3 votes)
- Lachlan, who has never shared a scene with Jane that I can recall 3.92% (4 votes)
- The mysterious VoG narrator—we’ve been promised he is real AND surprising! 23.53% (24 votes)
- Jane’s bartender work pal Luca (the surprise is he’s into ladies, too) 2.94% (3 votes)
- Scott the perennial Solano assistant (and terrible purveyor of “guy code”) 0.98% (1 votes)
- Nick the security guard—he’s basically gotten as far with Jane as Raf has, after all 0.98% (1 votes)
- Michael, I guess? He’s the obvious not-Raf choice, but is he so obvious that he’s actually NOT obvious?? 20.59% (21 votes)
- Rafael. He really IS so obvious that he’s the not obvious choice. 27.45% (28 votes)
- MICHAEL’S BROTHER!? 4.9% (5 votes)
- Petra, declaring to help Jane raise Rafael’s child. 8.82% (9 votes)
- Andie. 1.96% (2 votes)
- The lawyer. 0.98% (1 votes)
Jane and Petra go toe-to-toe in all their costume’d Wrestlemania glory. And LUISA IS BACK.
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.