This was a quiet week in Jane’s world, which I wasn’t fully expecting. So many shows really ramp up the action in the penultimate episode, resolving many season-long conflicts so that some bigger bad can be set up in the finale to whet our appetites for the next season. But Jane has proven itself smarter than the average show week after week this first season, and by now we should know well enough to trust that they don’t need much more than a minute and single, smart twist of the plot to both give us closure for season one, and make us anxious for season two’s autumn return. And considering how much drama the Villanuevas and Solanos have gone through the last handful of weeks, they deserved this respite.
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
Okay, yes, Jane and Raf both showed themselves to be more than competent nesters—her with the baby registry hoard at Alba’s house, him with offering to get a new apartment far away from the hotel, both with tricking Petra into diming out her mom and thus making the Marbella that tiny percentage safer an environment for baby—but Alba was on rapid-joke FIRE this week, perfecting my favorite form of showing support: through light mockery.
Dating a priest is sure agreeing with her!
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
You might THINK I’m going to say the reveal that Jane and Raf worked together to get Petra to force Magda to confess, but when the camera cut away from Jane in the doctor’s office before she told Raf her new custody decision (almost immediately after she learned a life lesson in dealing with mean girls courtesy Stephanie KovakoBitch) it was clear some scheme was afoot. So no, welcome as that reveal was, I’m not awarding it. Instead I am awarding the return of Jane’s sudden and unwanted heartglow—only this time directed at Michael, not Raf.
You happy, Team Michael? YOU HAPPY?
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
At this point I am in a love-hate relationship with the smooth interjection of Target runs and Tarjay fashion finds into the JtV dialogue. I GET IT YOU ARE THE MAIN SPONSOR. But also, it’s exactly how I talk about Target with MY bffs? So this award goes not to Target, but to Best Friendships (and the Tarjay lip gloss runs they may or may not do for us on a regular basis).
My decision was only SLIGHTLY influenced by how strongly Jane+Lena’s victorious Queen BFF high school entrance mirrored Hanna+Mona’s victorious Queen BFF high school entrance on PLL. What a pop culture friendship to mirror. And OMG can you even imagine how much better this already near-perfect show would be if Lena “Most Likely to Become a Reality Star” turned out to have even a fraction of Mona’s secret mad genius???
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Jane was in love with Michael and Rafael was married to Petra. Then Petra schemed a scheme too far and Raf’s OBGYN sister ZOMG accidentally inseminated Jane instead of Petra, which set off a whole season’s worth of misadventures, the most significant upshots of which were that Jane and Michael broke up, Raf and Petra divorced, and Jane and Raf fell in love. But the Raf went a bit nuts from the cyclone of telenovela melodrama the descended upon him and his hotel in the form of secret crime lords and murdered fathers and crazy scheming ex-wives (his MIA mother included), and broke Jane’s heart in order to keep her safe. Jane’s mom also has a broken heart, though hers is of her own design, as she self-sabotaged her relationship with Jane’s telenovela star father, Rogelio, by coming clean to him about a kiss with another man. But now everyone just EVERYONE is trying to be friends. Well, except for Jane and Raf, as Jane has decided that the Marbella in general—and Petra and her grandmother-shoving conniving mother, Magda—is a toxic environment for her future child, and so has decided to seek sole custody. Only, she hasn’t told Raf yet…
Jane the Planner, Part No. High School
Have you guys figured out yet that Jane is SUPER into organization? No? Really???? Because she is. Always has been. Even (maybe even especially) in high school. You know what’s a BAD plan in high school? Letting others know your weaknesses. Because, as Mean Girls so eloquently proved, high school is just one good glamour away from being the Serengeti, and if you show your soft weak throat at the wrong time, the mean girls WILL rip it right out*. Like Stephanie Kovakovitch did to Jane their senior year, when she secretly changed the time of the Career Fair in Jane’s planner so Jane would miss the whole thing.
Anyway, according to the “living well is the best revenge” maxim, the Jane of a year ago—happily almost-engaged to an apparently well-respected Miami detective and well on her way to her teaching degree—was so eager to rub her success in Stephanie “Disappeared from Social Media” Kovakovitch’s face that she spearheaded the Class of 2010’s Five Year Reunion, adding it both to her own post-it desktop calendar and Michael’s brand-new-never-been-tested day planner.
Jane the Planner, Part No. Baby Prep
Flash forward to the present, where Jane is single, unemployed, and working under a nutso ten-page-per-day self-imposed writing regimen, as the baby is due in FOUR WHOLE WEEKS. Feeling gut-punched by her inability to walk the walk of “living well is the best revenge,” she pulls the orange reunion post-it from her calendar. Lena, who we see for the first of what I hope is ALL THE TIME just casually hanging out and being Jane’s friend (never enough friendship stories anywhere, as far as I’m concerned), immediately demands she put it back. JANE was the one who so assiduously pursued this silly five-year reunion thing (seriously—that is too short for either anyone to have any significant life change to share OR for people to get over their petty high school jealousies), and JANE is supposed to give a speech, and no way is LENA going to go on her own just because Jane’s drowning in self-pity and insane imaginary deadlines.
“I am not exactly living my best life,” Jane counters, after Xo comes in and basically shrugs at Lena’s appeal for support. But Lena will not be swayed, and Xo is wise enough to remind Jane that not only will she have the best story of anyone at a piddly five-year reunion, but she also has a teaching degree, a telenovela script, and a ballsy personal decision to pursue her dream of writing to show off. And if that’s not living well, then, screw ’em.
Okay, Xo. I totally agree with you about what Jane has to be proud of. Totally. But also, Jane? I have a pro-tip for you: it isn’t living well that is the best revenge, but forgetting. The sweetest revenge I ever tasted was when I received a rambling Facebook message from someone who really had hurt me in high school, apologizing for a dozen things of which I had ZERO RECOLLECTION. Don’t give Stephanie that power! Although yes, to be fair, you have a lot more going on in your life than I did at that point in mine. You do you.
Anyway, Jane agrees to go. And Lena zooms off on her daily Target run to find the perfect “accidentally sexy bohemian” look (as well as some lip gloss for Jane).
Viva de Las Vegas (Rehearsals)
Several weeks have passed in show time, during which both of our main couples have been observing radio silence. For Xiomara and Rogelio this silence was aided by the fact that The Passions of Santos took a multi-week tropical trip abroad to film a storyline in which Santos had to battle FOUR SHARKS (they were animatronic, but it was still very brave!). But now he is back and ready to start Project Just Friends with Xiomara. Their first challenge? Rehearsals for their Las Vegas show, for which the stakes are even higher now that Rogelio has heard that the producer of a revival of Jesus Christ Superstar will be in town watching.
“I thought you hated the theater?” Xiomara asks, confused. She’s right. I can’t see Rogelio being willing to invest that much time into something that won’t be aired on a million television screens. But apparently things have changed.
For another, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Should a single person in the world be surprised that Rogelio has always dreamed of playing Jesus? No. No, we should not. ALSO, if he gets that coveted Jesus role, he will be one step closer to the ultimate performer dream: an EGOT. Because after he gets the Tony (which he doesn’t even pretend to think might not be a possibility), all he’ll have left is the EGO.
“I think you’ve got that covered just fine,” Alba quips, launching her campaign for most hilarious parent. But Xo is ready to do anything she can to help Rogelio be happy. And if impressing the Broadway producer is it, that’s what she will do.
Rehearsals go exactly like you’d expect. They sing a Spanish-language cover of “Suspicious Minds” (because of course), strut around in cream and violet silk, and join each other on a hydraulic platform for the grand finale. Only “STOP STOP STOP!” Rogelio shouts. Because Xo is hugging him too close, and he needs her to cool her jets. “I could feel you wanting me out there! You need to get yourself together!” he tells her.
Xo is baffled. She wasn’t doing any such thing, and goes home to tell Alba just that. Luckily, Alba knows what’s up. Turns out something weird happened at Jane’s baby shower when Alba was on the balcony and invited Rogelio to join her. He refused, cocooning himself in the safety of Rafael’s billowing drapes and insisting that he hated beautiful vistas of infinite blue sky and ocean. “He’s afraid of heights, but his ego [EGO] is too big to admit it,” Alba concludes. “Just like Aunt Inez.” Well how did Inez get over it? Xo wants to know. “She didn’t! She died terrified, and her sister buried her at the top of a cliff as punishment for cheating with her husband,” she says gleefully. “It’s a very sad story.” Sure it is, Alba. Sure it is.
So Xo confronts Rogelio about Alba’s theory. Eventually she gets him to admit that yes, he is, and he has tried everything to overcome it. But he can’t risk asking for a change in the choreography and earning a second reputation as difficult to work with, so he is just going to have to suck it up. And because Xo is a great person and friend, she not only doesn’t push him to do something he doesn’t want, but exclaims at the next rehearsal that SHE is the one afraid of heights. It earns her a black mark with the Broadway producer, but who cares, when it also earned her a gold star from Ro?
Boy Oh Boy, Trouble
Since quitting two (show) weeks ago, Jane has managed to avoid the Marbella completely. At some point she is going to have to talk with Raf about her custody decision, though, and since that’s a fairly delicate conversation that is going to start AND end in a lot of pain on his part, she at least meets him halfway…by meeting him all the way. At his hotel. Where, of course, she is greeted by the sight of Petra and Magda strolling free and happy, laden down with boutique shopping bags. Jane has precisely zero chill upon seeing Magda. “YOU SHOULD BE IN JAIL YOU TRIED TO KILL MY GRANDMOTHER WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE” she shouts into their smug faces. “Maybe it is your illegal grandmother who should be in jail,” Magda eggs her on. “As in, the jail of another country. Where she should be deported. Because she is illegal.”
Oh, Jane. If only you had taught Raf the lesson you learned about leaving your agenda book out where any meddlesome eyes might snoop and find fodder with which to scheme. Oh, Petra. If only you had learned your lesson about the ills of scheming from literally ANY OF THE AWFUL THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO YOU in the last nine months.
Anyway, Jane makes it up to Raf’s office in one un-clawed piece, where she at least as the decency to be abashed at the news she is delivering. She insists that it isn’t HIM she wants to keep the baby away from, just all the drama at the Marbella. And just getting Magda out of the picture isn’t a solution, because it isn’t like Petra or Luisa will be going anywhere, or like Sin Rostro’s master plan has been completely and thoroughly put to an end, or like Raf is going to be living anywhere but the Marbella where all that crazy is constantly going down.
Wait! Not so fast, Jane. Raf is TOTALLY willing to get a new apartment, far removed the Marbella. Anything he can do, he will. Just don’t take his chance to be a real father—or your real forever love—away. Okay, he only says the first one aloud, even though he sister and her main squeeze Juicy Jordan have been hounding him to declare the latter, too.
So Jane has a lot to think about as regards her future with Raf. Also sniffing around her future? Worst Detective Michael, of course. Only, NOT Worst Detective, evidently, as he is getting a commendation for his diligence and success with the Sin Rostro investigation. A commendation for which there is a ceremony, for which he has a plus one he’d like Jane to use. You know, since she’s been with him since the beginning of his detective career. As friends! he exclaims to her and she in turn exclaims to Xo and Alba. TOTALLY just as friends! Friends who can’t help but fall into their old friendly conversational patterns, and who are mistaken for a couple by the ceremony photographer, and who would totally be going to get dinner together if Jane didn’t have that STUPID reunion to go to.
Not that the missed dinner matters, as Jane follows her grim reunion (see below) outing by spending all night gchatting, texting, and talking on the phone with Michael, just like old times. It helps that, unlike with everyone at the reunion (see below), Jane’s pregnancy isn’t all he can see. It doesn’t matter to Jane that this is absolutely a function of time and not of character—Jane’s pregnancy being all Michael could see was basically the linchpin to their original breakup—that pregnancy blindness and unconditional support is exactly what a nesting, Raf-less Jane needs right now. Because Michael knows Jane like Raf knows Jane, and even though Michael thinks Jane’s writing dream only began six months ago (whereas Raf knows better), he does know her well enough to know that her self-imposed page regimen is nuts, and that she needs to set a new, PRACTICAL goal for herself to keep her grounded and sane.
And as he offers up that golden nugget of wisdom? Jane’s traitorous heart starts its old inopportune glowing pattern. Only this time, that unbidden glow is alllll for Michael.
Oh, and how she applies his wise advice? She’s applying to a writing grad program! And Xo and Alba are both super on board. Me, too. But mostly because I really identify with Jane’s conclusion that the thing she is best at in life is school, and also I support Xo’s analysis that Jane being in a grad program will give her own personal life a sense of direction separate from that of her baby. As for the utility of MFAs in general…well, I’m a little less convinced of that. But it’s Jane the Virgin—something will almost certainly crop up in season 2 to make whatever program Jane chooses go totally off the rails.
Highway to High School Hell (with balloons)
So, that reunion. Starts out bad, shifts to awkward and bad, and ends bad. BadLY, high school overachiever Jane would be anxious to correct.
Starts out bad(ly): Jane has to pick up Lena at the Marbella, making that two visits in quick succession. And Petra, having cozied up to Raf enough to know that the clearest path to his good graces is making nice with Jane, is there waiting for her. “I know we’ve had our problems,” she starts in a tone like a hostage negotiator trying to keep a bank full of innocents from being slaughtered, “but you must know I have no intention to be a danger to that child.” What’s more, she doesn’t want Jane to take her simmering dislike of Petra and project it onto Raf. “He doesn’t deserve that.” Also some real talk: Petra and Raf were in love once, Jane should recall, and they were trying to have a baby. And then all of a sudden she was on the sidelines and Raf had all of that with Jane.
People, Petra is just the very best at intertwining truth and scheming and pathos and antipathos into one compelling monologue and dammit if she didn’t kill it again here. Because, Jane is totally right to point out that Petra started to get better to be around, but then just reverted to being her old bitch self. BUT Petra is ALSO right that the position she found herself in after Raf and Jane got together was a total bummer! And that’s not taking into consideration the fact that she only weeks ago killed a guy, which literally not one person in her life except manipulative Magda has had the decency to sympathize with her over not only the horror of the aftermath of that, but the terror she went through leading up to it. She’s like Emily Fields, except a bitch.
Anyway, Lena shows up just then, brand new turquoise costume necklace from Tarjay in hand to thrust around Jane’s neck. At least it’s better than that metallic Mayan deity neckplate Rogelio brought back for Jane from his Santos trip. Slightly.
And then it’s reunion time!
The high point is the Queen BFF’s entrance, tbh. Because after they arrive (gloriously), Lena leaves Jane to do small talk on her own. Real talk: her small talk is bad. She has no ability to spin her situation as the ballsy, telenovela-worthy reality that it is. Does she lead with how she’s single? How she’s single and pregnant? How she gave up an amazing teaching opportunity? How she’s living at home with trying to write a novel? Her official nametag with “Most Likely to Succeed” emblazoned under her over-achiever senior year grin is no help. Neither, of course, is her gigantic, pregnant stomach, which is all that anyone can see. And Stephanie Kovakovitch? Whose disappearance from social media promised some major personal failing that would serve to buoy Jane’s spirits? Still beautiful. Still a mean girl. Although, at least she is a self-aware mean girl, cornering Jane in the hall after a speech that didn’t go nearly as bad as Jane’s overactive imagination thought it might to apologize for being such a bitch back in high school. She also lets Jane in on a mean girl secret: using a person’s vulnerabilities to take them down, even if it requires a complicated scheme, is the oldest trick in the book.
Justice for Alba
Reminder: Jane REALLY likes to learn new things. And so that mean girl secret Stephanie let her in on? She totally uses it to take Magda down once and for all. And she does it, promisingly, with Rafael’s help, which she conscripts after letting him in on the big secret that Petra’s weakness? Is her still being in love with him. Raf, of course, is still so blinded by his love for Jane and the all-consuming regret over the colossal mistake he made—and also every insanely insane thing Petra did to him both before and after their divorce—that this really is news. But he uses it to its best advantage and schemes his way past Petra’s schemes and, hopefully, into Jane’s heart.
Too bad it’s already glowing for Michael. And too bad that Xo, who never fully left Team Michael, is the one around to see he is calling when Luisa and Juicy urge him to. Too bad indeed that his confession—because no one can be expected to wait forever, and things can change in the blink of an eye!—is sent, via Xo’s meddling finger, straight to voicemail.
Thank goodness he at least canceled his trip to Mexico to talk with investors into the Solano company in order to be around JUST IN CASE Jane goes into labor early (Chekhov’s labor?). I mean, it would have been nice for him to figure out where to draw the line between his father’s/his own legacy and his future personal happiness a month or so ago, but. Man. The dude was going through a lot. There’s only so much we can ask from a single human soul, no matter how heavenly the attached jawline.
For those wondering, the two-week extended poll asking you to predict who Jane’s secret finale paramour will be came down to three very close contenders: in first place, Rafael, with 28% of the votes; in second place, VoG, with 24% of the votes; in third place, Michael, with 21% of the votes. You all had some creative write-ins, too, including PETRA, who actually came in at a distant fourth place with ~9% of the total votes. Also, one of the commenters put forth the idea that maybe VoG is really Jane’s future baby, narrating the crazy circumstances of his birth from a respectable distance in the future. I really love this idea, although it does make all the sexy stuff he’s narrated that much more uncomfortable…
It’s the finale! The baby is coming! More importantly, a huge TWIST is coming! You’re betting people—what to do you think it will be?
POLL: Prognosticator of prognosticators! What’ll be the big season 1 twist?
- Emilio Solano is alive and working against Sin Rostro. 3.51% (2 votes)
- Rose and Juicy Jordan are one in the same. 17.54% (10 votes)
- Roman Zazo seriously isn’t dead, that was such a waste of a character resurrection, make him be an evil genius who has now faked his death twice. 7.02% (4 votes)
- Lena and Mona Vanderwaal are one in the same. 0% (0 votes)
- Jane’s having twins! 8.77% (5 votes)
- Sourpuss detective partner Nadine is Sin Rostro’s newest victim, and Michael’s to blame. 5.26% (3 votes)
- Sourpuss detective partner Nadine is Sin Rostro’s newest right hand man, and Michael’s to blame. 14.04% (8 votes)
- Jane’s fabulous cousin Justin Suarez comes visiting from New York, scouting Petra for the new face of Mode magazine. 12.28% (7 votes)
- Raf’s cancer is back. 17.54% (10 votes)
- ANDIE is pregnant! “One of these people will change Jane’s life completely…” the VoG DID say, and her light stalking and failed second romance with Michael hardly seems like a thing that changed JANE’S life dramatically. But, a baby??? 14.04% (8 votes)
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.