Hello, Janeites! Happy Apocalypse Month (GO VOTE)!
If you missed my recap of last week’s ep, it is here and very short—the perfect sexy foreplay to this week’s sexy *~*main event*~*.
THIS WEEK’S MVP(arent)
Who could think about parenting in a week like this one??? But if someone has to get the award (and apparently I say they do), then that someone should be Xo, for so quickly interpreting Jane’s #EsteBlowUp and giving Jane the nudge she needed to realize that having sex isn’t about losing anything, especially an identity; it’s about joy and sharing and celebration.
Thank you, Xo. More than Jane needed to hear that.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Easy money would be on Mutter being poisoned in solitary confinement (no way Derek is actually dead—no body, no crime), but the continuing slow reveal of Alba’s personal telenovela backstory is just TOO JUICY, so my vote is actualy for the reveal that Bitchy Cecelia was in love rico Mateo the whole time. Hey, CW—1970s Venezuela spin-off, please!
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
And we thought last week was meta?? Only CW’s critical crown jewel could pull off a self-reflexive product placement so expertly that it could dethrone Gloria Estefan’s children’s book side hustle as this FYA recapper’s award recipient.
(Although tbh, Tiago would be a much better fit for the real world’s CW slate than The Passions of Santos. Just my dos pesos.)
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Michael was shot by his partner Susanna, who was really Sin Rose-tro in non-surgical disguise! ON HIS AND JANE’S WEDDING NIGHT! He’s fine; so is Rose. Rose, however, is having all the sex with her epic (kidnapped) love, Luisa, while Michael and Jane are still #docblocked from finally getting it on as he recovers from invasive surgery. Outside of the bedroom, Rogelio made a plan to become Famous In America by bringing his Mexican telenovelas to Hollywood, Xo kept trying and not quite succeeding at making a legit career for herself out of singing, Alba had a surprisingly steamy youth in Venezuela that Jane decided to adapt for her MFA thesis, and Rafael occasionally realized he had a sister who he might miss if he ever remembered she had existed at all.
Who has time for a flashback? Michael’s doctor just informed Michael, Jane, and the millions of us watching at home that the newlyweds are cleared for The Sex two weeks earlier than previously thought—quick, kids! Cancel the movers and get yourselves to bed!
Alas, the universe makes one last play to prolong its two-year long cosmic joke, bringing Jane’s well-meaning family to descend on the Corderos’ new house with all manner of sex-stractions, not least of which is a GIGANTIC OIL PORTRAIT of Rogelio (Jane elects to send it back with the movers). By the time Ro, Xo, and Alba have gone, Michael has physical therapy and Jane has her video interview with Alba on top of afternoon class and dangit it all if the lovebirds don’t have to wait another many hours until their respective days are finally over.
At least Jane has some legit work to keep her busy while waiting for Michael to get home: Professor Donaldson, the women’s studies focused advisor who originally despised Jane on anti-romance feminist principle but grew to be her strongest (if begrudging) departmental defender, is anxious for Jane to get the first chapter of her revised thesis manuscript to her inbox, and all but demands that Jane finish it by that evening. Luckily, Jane’s video interview with Alba uncovered enough juicy details about Alba’s youth in “rich” Venezuela in the 1970s—including the fact that her sister Cecelia was both the person who told Mateo’s family about Alba’s lost virginity and an exact doppelganger of Jane—that Jane had plenty of fodder (and the ghost of Cecelia herself) to inspire her writing.
Jane finishes the chapter and attaches it to a reply to Donaldson’s latest email RIGHT as Michael gets home, so ready for The Sex he starts kissing her all up there at her desk, basically on top of her open laptop. If this weren’t a classed-up telenovela, one could be forgiven for thinking that finally—finally—everything was coming up roses for Jane.
Alas (again): Jane’s bum bumped a few key keys on her laptop, canceling her first email to Donaldson, then hitting Record on her still-active, bed-oriented webcam, recording over the whole interview she did with Alba. Which recording Jane then sent to her professor first thing the next morning. Which Donaldson opened and watched before Jane’s second email warning her to trash the attachment arrived.
Oh, and also Jane faked her orgasm to cover up her subpar first sexual experience.
On the thesis/sex tape front, Jane’s frantic “IT WAS MY FIRST TIME OKAY???” in response to Donaldson’s unceasing rant about the inexplicability/irresponsibility of Millennials’ obsession with filming every aspect of their lives might not have been the ideal disruptive declaration (the ideal being anything that would put Donaldson’s myopically unimaginative and unkind generation-shaming on blast), but it does succeed in stopping the rant. Furthermore, it unlocks for Donaldson the mystery of what has been missing from Jane’s romance writing: non-fantasy-based sex scenes. “Use it,” Donaldson advises. “Never leave a non-operational webcam uncovered with tape,” every viewer who has ever had Facebook target an ad to them based on some very specific thing they have said in another room from their computer with Facebook not even turned on advises. “Got it,” Jane says.
On the faked orgasm front…things aren’t so easy. Lina’s advice, naturally, is not to tell Michael the truth ever. Jane sees the wisdom in this, but thankfully has never developed any skill at all for long-term deception, and so comes clean almost immediately the very next night. It helps, tbh, that Michael’s first feint at foreplay is “I’ll do everything exactly how I did it last time, mm, baby.” Michael is hurt, initially, both at the fact that Jane didn’t feel she could be honest, and at the fact that he hadn’t been able to make her first time perfect. Jane is anxious, too, and for the next few nights the two end up so in their heads that nothing seems to work, making Jane even more worried that maybe she too strongly identifies as a virgin to ever be fully sexually compatible with anyone, let alone Michael, and they will just have to live with that.
Her anxiety, naturally, runs over into other parts of her life. Namely, her desperate attempt to keep Xo on track to making singing a career, which future is currently rocky as Xo didn’t make it past the first round of auditions for The Voice.
One of the questions the producers at the audition asked Xo was what her career would be if she wasn’t pursuing singing, and Xo realized that she really didn’t have any. That realization made her start examining her life in a new light, which in turn made her consider seriously for the first time ever that maybe singing wasn’t ever going to be her career, which in turn prompted her for the first time ever to start a list of other possible career paths she could pursue, to keep singing on the side. Already struggling with letting go of a decades-old identity, Jane revs into high gear and enlists Rogelio to help her get Xo back on track by calling in one of many celebrity favors, getting a Hollywood producer to swing by the Marbella to hear Xo perform.
The producer, unfortunately, backs out at the last minute, and Ro is forced to replace him with Gloria and Emilio Estefan, using his single 20-year favor with them on Xiomara rather than on his own American Fame experiment.
Xo, as it turns out, is more committed to the letting go of her singing career dreams than anyone realizes, and not even Gloria and Emilio Estefan are compelling enough to get her to change her mind. On the contrary, Gloria Estefan is so thoughtful and engaged that she responds to Xo’s suggestion that maybe singing here and there in clubs locally will be the peak of what she does in that field, supported by another kind of career gig, with positive feedback about all of the other projects she and and Emilio are involved with, and how all that matters is feeling fulfilled however you can.
Jane isn’t having any of it, and literally shuts Gloria Estefan up.
This complete breach of decorum is enough of a shock to both Jane and Xiomara that the two are able to go home and have a heart-to-heart about both of their situations. Xiomara quickly realizes that Jane’s blow up was less about Xo’s singing career and more about Jane’s own internal chaos, and once Jane explains what exactly she is struggling with, Xiomara sets her right: Alba’s flower experiment was always bad and toxic, and Jane needs to work to separate that virginity myth from her identity. THANK YOU, XO. WE ARE NOT FLOWERS WAITING TO BE RUINED.
Jane returns home to talk with Michael about this change of perspective, and finds him (she thinks) doing what Lena told her to do from the start: watching porn. Only, it isn’t porn—it’s their sex tape. And he is studying it like a game tape, trying to figure out what went right and what went wrong. Jane jumps in (he had her at “study”), and before long they are both turned on and studied up, and finally, finally, they make it work.
On the non-Jane front, we only got updates on two stories this week: Rogelio’s bid to become famous in America, and Luisa’s epic under
coverwater romance with noted murderer, Rose—Matelio’s milestones, Rafael’s personal growth, the Marbella’s economic viability, Petra’s paralysis, and Anezka’s identity theft scheme are all on hold until November.
The first American network to bite at Rogelio’s pitch to adapt Santos to American television is **ironic meta drumroll** THE CW!! “What’s that, some kind of streaming thing?” Jane asks. “It’s a huge network! Fabulous shows, amazing lineup!” Rogelio enthuses back. It takes some effort to convince Dina to join him at the meeting with the execs in Hollywood—apparently Ro broke up with her after he realized his feelings for Xo were still too strong to be fair to Dina (did we see this and I just forgot?? idk—but after reminding her that ego aside, the adaptation would be great for business, she is convinced, and off they go.
The meeting goes way better than expected. The two CW execs love the concept of Santos so much that they want to greenlight it ASAP. Not only that, they want to attach Rob Lowe as Santos. ROB LOWE!
“Rob Lowe??” Rogelio fumes, offended both at the “aging up” of Santos (lol) and at the implication that he himself isn’t famous enough to carry the show in the role he originated. He wants to walk, but Dina talks him down using the same logic he did to get her to the meeting in the first place: ego aside, the exec’s plan would be great for business.
Rogelio makes one last grab at getting himself in the role, planning to cash in on his 20-year favor with Gloria and Emilio Estefan to do the music for the CW adaptation (basic celebrity math to justify getting Rob Lowe out). Unfortunately, the producer dropping out at the last minute from going to see Xo perform trumps the CW, and Rogelio loses his shot at securing the Estefans for the adaptation.
Dina is livid at being dropped for Xiomara again, but Rogelio convinces her that the two of them are creative soulmates and can’t give up on the project just yet. That, and he agrees to a 51/49 split of ownership over Santos. And so Dina makes that compromise that if she gives him six months to get famous enough in America to convince the CW execs to keep him on as Santos and he fails, he will personally grovel to get Rob Lowe reattached.
Rose’s pitch to Luisa a month ago was that the two of them should make a life together. Her reasoning? Luisa is the only person Rose has ever felt a true connection with, and Luisa fell in love with her twice (once as Susanna). “But you killed my father,” Luisa counters. “And I feel SO BAD about it,” Rose apologizes.
Luisa has held out on giving Rose a firm answer this whole time, unwilling to stop sleeping with her, but equally unwilling to leave her only remaining family member back in Miami all alone in the world (god Raf’s life is sad). She convinces Rose to let them surface long enough for Luisa to check if Rafael emailed her for her birthday, and when she finds he hasn’t, she gives Rose a condition: she wants to see Rose’s list. “Of people I’ve slept with? It’s long,” Rose says. “No, of people you’ve killed,” Luisa corrects. That list, as the VoG narrator confirms for us, is even longer.
Still, Rose complies, and makes up a list for Luisa to read. As Luisa is reading, Rose appears like a wraith in the doorway, making Luisa jump in her skin. She was just bringing a printout of a birthday email it turned out Raf HAD sent, but Luisa’s scared reaction at her appearance confirmed Rose’s own worst fears.
Rose loves Luisa so much, however, that not even this is enough to dissuade her from dreaming the two can be together. “New offer,” she says, when Luisa tells her she can’t give Rafael up forever, “we go back to Miami, and you tell the cops everything that happened, how I kidnapped you, everything. You can go back to your old life, and when I am around your family, I’ll just wear a different face.” This is CRAZY and CREEPY, but Luisa knows what’s up: “the key there is my family,” she says in reply. She just can’t trust Rose around them. “You killed my father,” Luisa counters. “And I feel SO BAD about it,” Rose apologizes “We’re just going around in circles here!!!”
The next we see Luisa, she is alone, across from Rafael and Michael in Rafael’s suite at the Marbella, telling them everything. OR IS SHE???
New title sequences forever! Or at least, until the American Democratic experiment comes to an end. Guess we’ll know by the time the next recap goes up!
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.