Okay on the one hand OMGGGGGGG right, obviously. But also, like Jane the Virgin would leave us for a summer-long break any way BUT twisting this dramatically in the mild Miami breezes. Every other show (save, perhaps, PLL) wishes—WISHES—they were this good.
I know you all want to talk about what happened, so I will make this final recap of Part I shortish. On to the awards!
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
On the one hand, this is Jane’s story and Jane’s baby and Jane’s victory, so it would be easy to hand her the award and call it a day. But really, while the show is called Jane the Virgin, the whole point is finding strength in family, and the real victory shot was not Jane, alone, holding her baby, but Jane and Raf and Alba and Xiomara and Rogelio all gathered together, there for each other and baby Mateo Gloríano Rogelio Solano Villanueva in spite of business deals and Vegas shows and career breaks and anything else that quite legitimately could have been a reason for an absence.
Not every family needs to make these decisions to be healthy and supportive, but the Villanuevas do. And by prioritizing the obsessions of their old lives second to Jane and the baby, Rafael and Rogelio have officially proven themselves worthy of a place in that family tree.
A warm honorable mention goes to Michael, who behaved in the same way as Raf and Ro but with less a reward to look forward to at the end. He even did the two other men one better, by not abandoning his professional obligations to race to Jane’s aid, but instead working the whole thing out so that his absence from the Sin Rostro investigation actually helped the Sin Rostro investigation. Which brings us to the…
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Okay I know that the last few minutes of the episode handed us some giros gigantescas and YES they were super great, but honestly the one twist that completely blindsided me was that Nadine’s escape was actually part of Michael’s plan all along. Way to let your perceived weaknesses work as strengths,
Worst Detective Cordero!
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
PUBLIC TRANSIT. So many moments in the finale were either clever nods or solid, bookending parallels to moments in the premiere, but Jane’s eventful trip on the Miami Link was the best. It had everything—the kindness of strangers; the Santos hallucination helping her not to panic with his directions to inhala, exhala, inhala, exhala; Xiomara haranguing figures of authority to help Jane get where she needs to go.
It was also the perfect reminder that, while Jane has gone through a million changes in (her) last nine months—many of which centered around penthouses, movie stars, and generally living the life of Miami royalty—she is still the same practical, public transit-taking girl she was before her world got turned upside down.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Nope. If you are reading this recap without having watched the whole season, TURN AWAY NOW. Go watch the last twenty-one chapters. A billion things happen, and there is a very friend Voice of God narrator there to guide you the whole way.
In the meantime, here are the results of last week’s finale twist prognostication poll, which are mostly interesting in that not ONE of them was close to the mark (I’m really mad about neither the Justin Suarez or Pregnant Andie theories coming true):
- Rose and Juicy Jordan are one and the same. 17.54% (10 votes)
- Raf’s cancer is back. 17.54% (10 votes)
- Sourpuss detective partner Nadine is Sin Rostro’s newest right hand man, and Michael’s to blame. 14.04% (8 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)
- Jane’s fabulous cousin Justin Suarez comes visiting from New York, scouting Petra for the new face of Mode magazine. 12.28% (7 votes)
- Jane’s having twins! 8.77% (5 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)
- Sourpuss detective partner Nadine is Sin Rostro’s newest victim, and Michael’s to blame. 5.26% (3 votes)
- Emilio Solano is alive and working against Sin Rostro. 3.51% (2 votes)
Weirdly the only one that is maybe a bit close to true is the first Nadine prediction, just replace “Michael’s fault” with “Michael’s new investigation plan.” I should have added “pigs flying” tbh.
Okay, are you caught up? Good. Let’s get to to the finale.
In the long white space preceding the flashback, VoG lays out the rules of Villanueva babies for us as we hear Xiomara’s delivery room grunts and cries: Villanueva babies come hard, fast, and girl. Then the white screen dissolves and we arrive 24 years back in time right as Xiomara has hit a wall. She’s too tired to push anymore, she cries to Alba, who is there gripping her hand.
“Five more minutes of pain,” Alba tells her gently, “for a lifetime of happiness.” Then when that triggers a grateful smile but proves to be only half the motivation Xiomara needs, she adds: “now push, or I’ll pull the baby out myself!” And Xo PUSHES. And all our lives get better as Jane Gloríana Villanueva enters the world.
Practical Baby Jokes
Flash forward to the present, where Jane, still several weeks from her due date, is trying to convince her mom that there is absolutely no reason she should cancel her Vegas show with Rogelio just to be in Miami in CASE Jane goes into labor early. She’s got Alba and Rafael available at the drop of a hat, and besides—Xo and Ro are only barely on the way to being friends again. They need this Vegas show to go over without a hi—
“AH!” Jane cries out, clutching her stomach. “AHHHHHHHH!” she cries louder, doubling over as Xo starts freaking out about contractions. “AHHHHHHHHhahahahahahahahahahahaha.” Jane you malevolent prankster! Not even a false alarm; Xo was just too easy a mark to not cash in on the opportunity.
And so Xo and Ro stick to their Vegas plans, with the condition that Jane call them home if she dilates even a half a centimeter more. Okay? Okay. FAMILY HUG TIME.
Love and War
You may have batted an eyelid at the casual mention of Raf and his availability to Jane just a moment ago. Xiomara certainly did, when Jane recounted the events of their most recent ultrasound, where they were casually bantering and laughing just like old (“old”) times. “We had a moment,” Jane admits to Xo, unsure what to make of it. “We had a moment!” Raf exclaims to Luisa on the other side of town, equally unsure. “What do you think that means?” Xo asks Jane. “YOU NEED TO TELL HER THAT YOU LOVE HER,” Luisa repeats to Raf. Jane isn’t sure. She has convinced herself that him being “honest” with her about his feelings when he was was really for the best, and has told him so, repeatedly; Raf isn’t sure that being honest now is fair to her. Besides, their bubble of happy normalcy was popped when Petra’s hilariously unsmiling photo appeared on Raf’s phone as she called right when he was trying to take an ultrasound selfie.
“It was the worst possible timing,” Raf sighs to Luisa. “It was the best possible timing,” Jane declares to Xiomara. Xiomara understands precisely what Jane means; Luisa has been MIA enough this season that Raf worries she won’t. Luisa starts ticking off the awful things Petra’s done that she does know about, but Raf interrupts her because none of that matters—now that he missed that meeting in Spain and had his father’s Marcay group sold out from under him, he has enough money to buy Petra out of her share in the Marbella. So, problem solved!
“Uh, sure,” Luisa nods, “if she’d even be willing to sell. Girl is still supes in love with you, bro.” Oh—Raf knows. And the ex-playboy in him has that allllll taken care of.
While Raf goes off to his seduction/meeting with Petra re: gutting Rose’s pet project recovery suites (“We should get dinner,” he declares, after pretending to get so distracted by her legs he can’t hear what she is saying about the hotel. “How about the romantic place we had our first date?” And she swoons), Michael shows up to Jane’s bearing her favorite burger and fries, since he knows that even though she canceled on their dinner bc grad school letter writing, she still needs to eat.
After proving to Jane and VoG and everyone watching that he knows Jane’s tastes and house layout better than anyone not currently living there, he doubles down by proving that he still knows every inch of Jane’s character, too. To wit: she is NOT the kind of girl to take a grad school rejection for being two days past the application deadline lying down. She is, in fact, the kind of girl to write a six-page essay explaining why she should have gotten an A on a four-page essay she got a B on. So what’s with her giving up hope?
He reads her new letter, and after suggesting that she perhaps not end EVERY sentence with an exclamation mark, declares that any school who says no to her now would be an idi—
“AH!” Jane cries out, clutching her stomach. “AHHHHHHHHHH”
If you’re thinking that there is no way Jane is committed enough a trickster to be pulling the same joke twice in one day, you’re right: these contractions are real. Or at least, they feel real. And they are way less than the 4 minutes apart that her OB said was the threshold for hospital admittance. And so Michael rushes her off to the hospital…where she and Raf learn: false alarm. They were Braxton-Hicks contractions. Totally normal, nothing to worry about, but also nothing to indicate labor is imminent enough for her to stay in hospital. At least now they’ve had a dress rehearsal, and know that Rafael can get to the hospital in <10 minutes. High five!
While Jane wraps up with the doctor and gets dressed, Rafael finds Michael in the lobby to let him know what is up/send him packing. “I’m here now; I can take Jane home,” Raf explains. “I drove her; I can take her home,” Michael counters. “SAY WHAT YOU MEAN, COWARD,” Raf counters. “I’M NO COWARD; I WANT JANE BACK,” Michael counter-counters.
They are about to come to literal blows over this season-long feud when Jane finds them. “Are you SERIOUS?” she demands. “HERE??” And then, queen of queens, she send them both packing. Alba is five minutes away with the car; she can pick Jane up.
At least they know they are dumb, as each expresses when they show up at her front door independently of one another later to apologize. Thankfully (for this fan), Rafael is first. And double thankfully, he is finally able to spit out the words he’s been bottling up since Luisa returned: he made a mistake, and of course he loves Jane. Her first reaction is shock; her second is pained fury. He hurt her so badly when he lied to her, and now she needs time to figure out what his confession might mean. Long story short: Go home, Rafael.
The next morning, after Jane reassures her mom on the phone that everything was a false alarm and she and Rogelio should get back to dress rehearsal, Michael shows up bearing his own apology, as well as a hilarious playlist he made for Jane for when the baby really comes (it starts with “Push It” and ends with “Everybody Hurts”). He also seems to give her the entire phone that the playlist is on, rather than, like, AirDropping it or whatever the kids do these days, and it seems like that gift is even more valuable? But whatever. It’s small potatoes next to Michael’s confession of smouldering love, and the hope that what he feels is mutual. To Jane’s credit, she is honest with him that the feelings are mutual, but is also honest about her confusion over them. Because she was hurt and Michael is safe. Interestingly, this is clearly a thought that Michael hadn’t even considered, and he is very clear about the fact that if he is just the safe guy over Raf’s dream guy, he isn’t interested. And Jane’s answering silence is all he needs to send himself away.
Interlude: Days of Our Lives
All baby drama is put temporarily on hold as our players spend the day going about their regular business:
Michael returns home to find his fugitive ex-partner/Sin Rostro operative Nadine waiting inside, desperate to make a deal to keep her family safe. He leaves her handcuffed in his house while he and a whole team of cops descend on the warehouse Nadine claims Rose’s MIA plastic surgeon was hiding out. They find the good doctor…dead. So while Nadine’s info was good, it doesn’t get them any closer to finding Sin Rostro, which means the info wasn’t good enough.
Petra goes to visit her mother in prison to keep her updated on her progress on the win-Rafael-back front. Magda is a real gem, pulling no punches either about how the thing that smells is her, or how Petra’s hopes are built on a false premise—once the baby is born, Rafael will have a whole world that doesn’t include her. So enjoy that nice dinner and those lingering leg gazes while you can, Petra.
Scott continues to field calls from the customer service department at Miami Dade Memorial Hospital, as Rafael continues to be too busy with the hotel/Petra/Jane to field them himself. His cancer is NOT back, as he reassured Petra/us, but it seems unlikely that they would make someone spend that much time calling him just to get a survey filled out.
Alba continues her physical therapy/senior dating sessions, although we, alas, do not get to follow her there.
Xiomara and Rogelio continue their dress rehearsals, which are going really well; Rogelio is CERTAIN to get that Jesus part at this rate!
Jane heads to a meeting with the chair of the local MFA program whose deadline she missed to argue her case. She is compelling, of course, because she is Jane, but her big evidence that there is room for her because this year they only admitted like six students, whereas in years before they admitted 7 or 8 or 9 (the numbers don’t really matter) is flimsy. Graduate programs don’t have set enrollment! There are are many factors taken into consideration, and just because fewer students were admitted this year than in previous doesn’t necessarily (or at all) mean that there is space left. ALSO how in the world does she know how many were admitted, if the admission deadline was two days ago? Decisions take weeks, if not months! Or is she talking about the current class, and implying that because the current class is smaller than normal, it wouldn’t hurt for the program to add one MORE than normal for next year? ALSO grad program deadlines in the US are like, in January at the LATEST. ALSO—
“GRAH!” Jane mutters through clenched teeth as she puts her legs up and sips water and tries to convince herself that what she is feeling here, in the middle of her grad program extenuating circumstance speech, are not real contractions. “GRAHHHHHHHHHHH!”
They are, though, and the rattled MFA chair hastily agrees to look at her application again as he sends her out the door to seek a doctor of something other than philosophy.
THE BABY IS COMING
The contractions when she leaves the college are still 8 minutes apart, so Jane gets on the bus home, rather than to the hospital. The baby IS coming, though, so after calling Rafael, she calls Xo to let her know. The break between contractions decreases quickly, however, and soon Jane is well under the 5 minute mark. The bus, though, is stuck in gridlock traffic. Jane is panicking. Xo is panicking. Rogelio-as-Santos is breaking the fourth wall of his Santos returns poster to remind her to breathe. Rogelio himself is none the wiser, because it doesn’t occur to Xo even once to let him know what is up. And Gabrielle, the nicest stranger Miami may ever have seen (sorry Miami—that’s mean; I don’t know you! You’re probably mostly all nice!) is talking Jane through everything and taking over her phone and handing Xo to the bus driver, who action hero drives the bus to the hospital as soon as Xo lays out for him how likely it is Jane will give birth on his bus if he doesn’t get her to a delivery room in less than an hour. Gabrielle, Hometown Hero, gives up the rest of whatever else she had planned that night and walks Jane in. Hooray, Gabrielle!
Soon Rafael and Alba are both there, and after the nurse gives Jane her glorious epidural and confirms that Jane is stalled at 4 minute-apart contractions and 6 cm dilation, Jane and Raf send Alba home to get some sleep. It won’t do any of them any good for Alba to be tired after the baby arrives. And so Alba does, and Jane and Raf are left alone. Awkwardly. Because Raf, of course, wants to get some closure on his confession from earlier, which Jane is still too mad to discuss. Baby stuff only, she declares. Like, for example, names. Which they still haven’t finalized.
Two hours of discussion later, they have: Nina. “Nina Villanueva,” Jane sighs contentedly. “That has a nice ring.” “…oh,” Raf says, shocked silent. Apparently one of the many things they never discussed about their joint parenting future was the last name situation. Neither likes the hyphenation route, and both want the surname proper, rather than the middle name position.
“Well, I’ll compromise,” Raf says like the businessman he is. “I’ll take the mutually acknowledged inferior middle name position, if you give me 50% less anger.” Jane claims to agree to those terms, but you can hear the anger simmering. Justin Baldoni does a stellar job balancing humor and gravity in Rafael’s tone as Raf presses the issue, both ribbing Jane for her lingering anger and also reminding her that he will be giving up his only chance to pass down the Solano name to a biological child.
This gets Jane’s attention, both because it is serious, and because it is a reminder of the world that pushed him into such a dark place and made them both so unhappy in the first place. Which opens the door for Rafael to tell her the other piece of news he hasn’t had a chance to yet: the Marcay group was sold, because he didn’t go to the meeting, because he couldn’t bear the thought of even MAYBE being gone when Jane went into labor. And when his heart made that decision, he realized that the shock of his dad’s death and left him idolizing the man too much—he wasn’t a good father, and Raf’s wasn’t a good childhood. And so the business will always come second to Jane and the baby. Always.
…what happens in Vegas
It takes a long time, but Xo eventually manages to book a ticket back to Miami…the next morning. There is nothing else available tonight. Luckily, Jane doesn’t seem to be following Villanueva family tradition in terms of quick deliveries, so hopefully the late flight won’t matter. It will, unfortunately, mean that she has to drop out of the performance. “But it should be fine,” she tries reassuring Rogelio when she breaks the news. “I mean, it shouldn’t affect the performance THAT much…”
He storms off. But not for the reasons Xo thinks! There are hundreds of Jesuses (ha), but only one Jane. He missed her birth—did Xiomara really think he would be okay missing the birth of his grandchild, too? And the fact that she didn’t even think that she didn’t hurts even more.
In a demonstration of why Xo and Ro must have been so well matched as teenage divas, Xo reacts to Rogelio’s justifiable ire by going off and photoshopping him into Jane’s past. “It’s the best I could do in an hour in the business center,” she says, handing him a picture of Santos at Xo’s delivery room bedside when she finds him at the bar. And because they are family now, he forgives her and they move forward, ready to get to bed early to catch their even earlier flights the next morning (he booked his own ticket—premium first class, ofc).
Only, right as they are leaving they are accosted by a gaggle of Rogelio’s Venezuelan fans (shout out to the source material), who convince the pair to have just oooooone drink with them.
Twist! Wait—no. Not a twist. They don’t oversleep their flights after all. (The twist, of course, is that they got drunk married by a chapel Cher, which shhhhh they won’t find out about until later.) They just have to hustle to the airport hungover, and then hustle to Jane’s bedside with the help of Michael (who left Nadine handcuffed to his filing cabinet with the keys easily within reach like an idiot, except not, because that was always the plan) and a police escort. And they arrive just in time!
When the time finally comes, Alba and Raf are doing their best to keep Jane going, but it is just too hard and it’s been too long and she is too tired and her mom isn’t there. But then Xo comes rushing in, taking her place at Jane’s shoulder and repeating to her the same words her own mother used 24 years ago: five minutes of pain for a lifetime of happiness. Oh, and if Jane doesn’t push? Xo will yank that baby out herself!
This gets a laugh from Jane, and a final push, and boom! Jane and Rafael are officially the proud parents of a baby…BOY.
After a relatively short discussion, considering, the two come up with a new name: Mateo Gloriano Rogelio Solano Villanueva.
All three Villanueva women were obviously shocked at the appearance of a baby boy (“…but…we don’t know ANYTHING about boys!” Xo exclaims, to which Raf tear-joy-fully replies that he does, and is there to give them all the pointers), but it really is the best possible outcome for show, beyond just the level of telenovela twists. The three Villanueva women are a strong family unit, and incredible representations of complex, independent, single mothers. But just because they are strong and can stand together without any man, they have had—and appreciated!—strong, kind men in their lives, and Jane’s son offers the perfect opportunity to honor those men with his (long) name. Mateo, we learn as Alba starts crying silently, was Jane’s grandfather’s name. Rogelio, along with the Solano that would have also been in Nina’s name, honors the family name that Jane didn’t get to inherit/Rogelio didn’t get to pass down. And Gloriano, the masculinized version of all three Villanueva women’s middle name, ties all three branches of the family—strong mothers AND fathers—together.
BRB I have to go borrow some tissues from Alba now.
While the rest of the family goes to give Jane a chance to rest, Michael drops in to check on her and the baby, and to let her know that what they talked about earlier? She doesn’t need to think about it right now. She just needs to worry about herself and her son and everything else, it will come in time. And as the VoG narrator drives home: this is exactly the right thing for Michael to have said, and once he leaves, we can see her heart glowing under her hospital gown.
No time to linger on that, though, as the new nurse on duty comes in to retrieve Mateo for a hearing test that slipped through the cracks earlier. “Just a high pitched sound!” she reassures Jane, gently picking Mateo up from Jane’s arms. “Nothing to worry about at all.”
And then she walks Mateo into the hall, snips his baby bracelet from his ankle, and brings him right out the front doors, where she delivers him to Sin Rostro’s waiting arms. And right before the TO BE CONTINUED pops up, Rose and Mateo are zipping off down Miami’s freeways in a dark limo.
DUN DUN DUNNNNNN
Part II! New faces! Old faces! MORE DRAMAAAAAA. I can’t wait. See you in the fall! Or really, see you down in the comments below…
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.