Ahhhh I didn’t realize how long and dull my summer was (jkjkjkjk) until the clock struck 9 last night and my favorite Latin Lover VoG welcomed me back to Jane Gloríana Villanueva’s world. Miami, I’ve missed you!
THIS WEEK’S MVP(ARENT)
I’m going to crib (lol) from myself from the season finale recap and hand this award out to the whole Villanueva(/Solano/De La Vega) clan, with another warm honorable mention to Michael. It’s the premiere, people! Time to come together and love everyone, no need to play favorites.
Who am I kidding? Jane and Xo are my favorites:
LVP to Rose, of course, for threatening her stepson’s only child (among a thousand other things).
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Okay honestly I didn’t feel like any of the capital-T Twists were unexpected (well, except for Nadine being the one handling the baby-brooch exchange, but I think that one is more on my terrible memory than on legit shock value). However, I *was* surprised by Jane’s solution to the religious zealots camping out on her front lawn: calling the nuns’ bluffs on their willingness to take that one sleazy step too far by making Jane’s virginity a matter of public debate. “That would be a bit archaic, don’t you think?” BOOM. Nicely done, Jane!
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Obviously, obviously, adult diapers.
Jane the Virgin, telling it like it is since 2014.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Jane, a virgin, was artificially inseminated WITH rich bro hotelier Rafael’s last sperm sample, BY his hot mess OBGYN sister, Luisa, who was secretly dating her own stepmother, Rose, who in turn was secretly the notorious and deadly crimelord, Sin Rostro. Once Jane and Raf realized they were (possibly) in love, Jane broke off her engagement with goofball police detective, Michael, and Raf ended his (already toxic) marriage with machinating fake-identitied Petra. Once the world discovered Rose’s identity (after Rose offed Luisa’s dad/her husband), Rose went into hiding, Luisa went on an ashram bender, and Raf went off the “my dad’s legacy tho” deep end and broke up with Jane. Jane dove deep into the necessity of being a strong single mother, leaning on her own single mom, Xo, and abuela, Alba, for support. Only, Xiomara’s not so single! Turns out she got drunk-married to Jane’s telenovela star dad, Rogelio, by a Cher impersonator in Vegas the night before Jane went into labor! Whoops!
Anyway, now Jane’s had her baby, Mateo—the first boy to buck the long tradition of Villanueva girl babies—and everyone can finally take a breath. No chance of any shenanigans happening now, right? Like, zero chance that Rose would stick her haute couture heels into Jane’s business and like, kidnap her baby or anything, right???
(Obviously that is exactly what happened.)(On to the show!)
Yes—Rose kidnapped Mateo! Or at least, a fake nurse acting on Rose’s behalf did. Right out of the hospital! It was super horrifying and awful. But, as Baby!Jane had the promise of her telenovela heroine’s eventual happiness laid out for her in that telenovela’s theme song, so too have we had the promise of Jane’s eventual happiness laid out for us in this season’s promotional materials:
And so Mateo is gone, but not for long. Because Rose’s endgame isn’t gaining control of the Marbella (as 33% of you guessed in our last poll of Season 1), nor is it vengeance (as 25% guessed): it is the immediate return of the diamond dragonfly brooch that Luisa took the last time she saw (“saw”) Rose. Because of course it is! Telenovela villain logic. We’d want nothing less. And so even as Jane and Raf are catatonic as the hospital staff goes into overdrive tracing the fake nurse’s last moves, Rose herself is calling (Worst?) Detective Michael Cordero and offering him a deal.
“Do the police even MAKE deals with kidnappers???” Raf and all of us want to know. Nope! But (Worst) Detective Michael Cordero was not called in his capacity as police, but rather in his capacity as (Best) friend of Villanueva clan…who also just happens to have access to the Miami PD’s evidence locker. Is he going to make the secret deal? He’s going to make the secret deal! Too bad you cut your old dirty cop partner loose, Cordero—would be nice to have someone else to do your dirty cop work, eh?
Thankfully for Michael’s ethics, someone else stole the dragonfly brooch before he even got there. Who, you ask?
Luisa, of course, to add to her shoebox collection of Rose memories (fuzzy handcuffs and powdered mini donuts included). And of course her current girlfriend, Juicy Jones of the spectacle boxing fame, latches onto the part where Luisa’s been keeping a mementos box of her psychopath ex (“um, SOCIOPATH,” Luisa unwisely interjects) and NOT onto the part where the police need the one piece of evidence back for their very important investigation, and tosses the whole business out the window and into the Marbella pool.
Which is right where Jane, toddling along after Michael and Rafael like the BAMF baby-rescuing new mom on a nursing schedule that she is, finds it. And so, dumb diamond dragonfly doodad finally in hand, our three intrepid heroes make it to the abandoned church rendezvous Michael set up to retrieve Mateo from Rose’s metaphorical/Nadine’s literal clutches.
“Do you SEE?” Nadine demands, hanging on to Mateo until she sees the goods in Michael’s hands. “This is what she does! This is why I did what I did! She makes it so that you can’t say no!” And now here’s Michael, holding in his hand the microchip containing all the information about every criminal whose face Rose secretly, surgically changed, unable to say No. He hands it over. Nadine hands over Mateo. Michael leaves the church a hero. Nadine leaves the church a fugitive. Raf and Jane, they run.
Rounding the Premiere Bases
The rest of the drama this chapter was of the mild, groundwork-laying variety (my overexcitable heart is grateful), so I am going to dispense with my traditional narrative format and just hit summaries for each remaining plot point:
Following Mateo’s traumatic first day in the world, Jane finds herself struggling to produce enough milk/Mateo struggling to stay awake any time he starts feeding. She worries that one or both of these things is due to the trauma, and that her stressing about the trauma is exacerbating the issue. The pediatrician’s only advice is to wake him with a wet cloth to the face and feet whenever he gets food sleepy (I will slap any of you who do that to me, food sleepy is the best kind of sleepy), and the Milky Moms nursing circle offers Jane nothing but “stuff your boob like a hamburger into his mouth” from the leader, and a covert amateur paparazzi snap from one of the other moms.
Xo suggests that Jane try a bottle just ONCE so she can get some sleep, but Jane is adamant that, if she couldn’t even keep her son safe on his first day in the world in a hospital with real security, she has to at least be able to do this ONE THING that female mammals have been doing for their young since mammary glands became a Whole Thing, so, thanks but no thanks, stuff my boob down Mateo’s throat, plz. Xo complies, but it doesn’t actually solve the issue. Thankfully, Raf—and a baby book, what???—are on the case! Jane’s problem? Not a problem at all! Just “cluster feeding,” a totally normal and healthy thing when a mom’s milk is just coming in. Thanks, new dad! Thanks for nothing, wet cloth doc.
Following everything—not just the kidnapping, but the last trimester of the pregnancy when he let himself drift from his fatherhood responsibilities—Rafael is struggling to find his place as Mateo’s dad/insert himself into the Villanueva family dynamic. And so, naturally (not), he asks Michael for advice. Michael has a brief internal struggle, narrated sympathetically and emphatically by the VoG, but ultimately takes the mensch route of giving Raf sound advice that will improve his relationship with Jane. The advice? Read a book, you dummy! And then wait for the rarest of moments when neither Jane NOR Xo NOR Alba have an answer to a question, and jump in. Thus, cluster feeding! With bonus thank yous to Michael (showing humility and his own mensch-hood) and coming clean to Jane about his fatherhood insecurities (reminding her and us of his best quality: honesty). Raf’s reward? An invitation to play dad at the Villanuevas’ overnight for a few weeks. OUR reward? Raf’s skin-to-skin bonding with the baby:
Also struggling with how he fits into the new family dynamic is Rogelio, whose longtime go-to for making other people happy—using his fame and celebrity connections on social media—has, rather than helped Jane in this time of intense emotion, actually harmed her. How? His RT of Mateo’s Amber Alert went viral, and reignited the holy Jane the Virgin fire that Jane’s twin not-stepsisters started and the opportunistic nuns at Jane’s old school fanned into fanaticism. And now all those Holy Jane rollers are camped out on the Villanuevas’ front lawn, talking halos and miracles and, in the case of several couples who took the nuns up on their Holy Jane offer, immaculate hug-ception. And Rogelio? He’s at a loss for how to fix it. Instead of feeling #blessed, he’s #cursed. How can he show his affection, if he can’t hashtag it publicly? HOW, Michael, HOW???
So Michael, stuck in his own worst Inception as resident expert Villanueva-adjacent male, recycles the advice he gave Rafael: find a moment to step in, privately, as part of the family, and do something to help Jane with the baby, no matter how small. And when Mateo next needs his diaper changed, Rogelio does just that. I have never been more tickled to imagine a poopy diaper in all my life, tbh.
So how does Jane get rid of those Holy Rollers, if Ro’s fame can’t help? She gets a flash of genius/reflection off her promiscuous neighbor’s compact, and realizes that if she publicly declares that she is not, as it turns out, a virgin after all, the nuns won’t be able to argue back and make her virginity a public issue up for debate—it would be archaic, for one, and the WORST optics, for another. And Jane is right! The Mother Superior, even knowing the Jane is lying, CAN’T argue! And if that victory weren’t enough, Jane’s milk chooses that moment to come on strong, leaking right through her shirt for all the world to see. Everything’s coming up Jane!
Detective Worst, Love Best?
Michael has more of a mixed bag. Despite everything coming up FOR Michael to step in and solve, he does not walk out of Jane’s house with an invitation for anything. That doesn’t stop him from sticking around as extra security to make sure the last of the religious fanatics/Sin Rostro minions stay gone, a fact for which Jane is more than grateful. How much more than? She reiterates that Raf is staying over ONLY as Mateo’s father, which is a fact that should be irrelevant. But she said it! So maybe it…isn’t? Which I guess is good for Michael, whatever, I hate love triangles. But considering that Michael’s professional life is poised to take a dive, seeing as how he not only made a deal with a crimelord using stolen police evidence, but also told Rose about the bug he put in Nadine’s phone and had her have Nadine trash it, thus letting Nadine go…well, I guess he deserves *something* to look forward to. I guess.
Going to (Get Annulled from) the Chapel
Once all the baby drama is over—and with it now setting a very high bar for what kind of drama deserves attention—Xo finally comes clean to Jane and Alba about her drunken Vegas wedding. Their response? Belly laughs. No eye rolling! No recrimination! And probably no annulment, whatever Xo promises, because this show is this show, but for now, we’ve got our favorite tri-generational squad laughing and loving, so hoorah!
Cloistered at the Marbella away from the Villanueva clan, Petra manages to have some baby dramz all her own. Because Petra? She’s still got that surprise second half of Raf’s last ever sperm sample (redundancy is good!) that the fertility clinic finally got around to passing along or whatever. Is she going to use it? Is she not? Magda’s still in jail (for the next 9 months, not foreshadowing at all), so there is nothing but the Marbella’s whole bar and a long con/short pro list between Petra and a decision. Well, that is until Luisa’s breakdown after her fight with Juicy completely ruins a meeting she and Petra had with some bankers, so Luisa decides to lean into Petra’s growing obsession with winning Raf back to keep Petra on her side.
So now there’s no one between Petra and a decision, decision is made, baby-making’s a go! And now it’s just a room service order for a turkey baster between Petra and her SECRET. Well, that is until Raf’s overeager, be-vested assistant, Scott, snoops around and calls her out on them. So now Petra is (probably) knocked up and (definitely) blackmailed. Productive work day, Pet!
Sound of Music
Meanwhile, a mysterious new woman in the Swiss Alps is handed the front page story of Mateo’s return to his miracle virgin mother. “We go after her now,” Swiss Miss says in heavily accented English. And I guess this is a Big Twist, but there is just too little information for me to care. I’ll save my caring for later, when there’s more than some mountains to loom on screen.
And that is it for the premiere! Since I went pretty quickly through things up here, meet me in the comments below to DISCUSS.
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.