Jane the Virgin, “Chapter Nineteen”

One of the biggest compliments I can give Jane the Virgin is that I’m invested in the romantic storylines. It’s hard for me to admit that I’m a shipper, but I am. My problem isn’t usually in the existence of romantic storylines, but in the love triangles that are so manufactured that you can see the work has been put into them. Jennie Snyder Urman and her writers room have done such great work with the Jane/Rafael/Michael love triangle that not only have I gotten invested in it, but I’ve been on both Team Rafael and Team Michael. So often, particularly in young adult fiction, the author of a story (Twilight and The Hunger Games immediately come to mind) is so on the side of one team (Edward and Peeta), that you know who the female protagonist is going to end up with before you read the final book in the series. In the first half of the season, I was on Team Rafael, but uneasy with how quickly Rafael and Jane entered their relationship. By the time Rafael proposed to Jane, I changed my mind. For these sorts of stories to work, there has to be sufficient character development, and Jane the Virgin has put in the effort to make both Michael and Rafael potential matches for Jane.

Jane and Michael’s relationship was over the moment that Jane found out Rafael was the father of her baby, it just took a while to get there. Michael was understandably jealous of Jane and Rafael’s past encounters, and in “Chapter Four” we had that beautiful moment where he confessed to Jane that his worst fear wasn’t having to look after another man’s child, but losing her. After he took care of Alba’s immigration problem, he told Xiomara that he really believed he and Jane were meant to be together. Jane the Virgin‘s audience saw the end of their relationship, but when we saw them at their best, they made sense. Michael started reading some of Jane’s favourite romance novels, and she saw that he was a planner like her. He respected her choice to be a virgin, whereas Rafael downed some scotch at a restaurant.

Rafael and Jane have gotten to know each other well enough that Rafael now respects that decision as well, and their near-sex encounter in the pool is what led to the finality of their breakup. Over the past few weeks as I’ve become increasingly Team Michael, I’ve been quite hard on Rafael, but he’s been through a lot, what with his stepmother murdering his father and the discovery that her mother was willing to take $10 million even if it meant never having to see her children again. But Rafael is a good guy. He turns up to the baby shower for Jane, and when they read each other’s answers to the quiz Lina made, he realises just how much how much he loves her. It’s not too hard to make an effort, right? The truth of the matter is that Jane would have lost her virginity for the wrong reasons, to try and save her relationship with Rafael. It’s treating the symptoms and not the cause. If you have sex for the wrong reasons you end up regretting it, whether it’s the first time or not. Rafael was right to realise that Jane would have felt enormous regret, and that she’s just desperate to save their relationship. I liked that Rafael knew he was doing the right thing, but that didn’t make it easier to break up with Jane. I’ve been there, and it’s incredibly tough.

It’s also really telling that Rafael tells Jane that he got caught up in the idea of being a family, because family is at the heart of Jane the Virgin. None of the families depicted on this show are nuclear families. Jane grew up with her mother and grandmother; Petra and her mother were separated from her father by the Berlin Wall and fled to the States to escape her jealous ex; all we know about Michael is that his brother is kind of shady, and then there’s Rafael. His ex-wife was sleeping with his (now actually dead) best friend, his sister was sleeping with his stepmother, his stepmother was a drug kingpin who killed her father, and his father paid his mother $10 million to never see him again. Rafael never really got along with his father when he was alive, but now that Emilio is dead and he found out why Elena left, he realises that maybe being like his father isn’t so bad after all. In “Chapter One,” Jane wants to give the baby to Rafael and Petra because she wants it to have a mother and a father, and Rafael wants them to be together so badly because he grew up without a mother. Who cares whether or not a family is a nuclear family? The most important thing is that everyone loves each other, and we see that every week on the Villanueva porch.

Speaking of which, Xo might be moving back in with Jane and Alba now that she told Rogelio about the kiss and he reacted exactly as everyone, including Jane, predicted he would. The moment where Jane’s writing teacher goes up and slaps Rogelio across the face is the comedic highlight of the episode, because it is a surprise and not a surprise at the same time.

Meanwhile, Roman kidnapped Petra and whisked her off to the Everglades. It turned out that he switched the flash drives, and the one he has on him has all of Rose’s contacts. It turned out he did kill his twin brother to fake his own death, my plastic surgery theory was a bit farfetched. Petra manages to escape from Roman during the night in order to call the police, and when Roman catches her on the phone I was genuinely worried for her life. So was our Latin Lover Narrator, who said “Run, Petra! Run!” I love that he’s as invested in these characters as the audience. Anyway, Petra luckily escapes by impaling Roman (Again! says the onscreen text), and gives Michael the flash drive. Just when we thought that all the Sin Rostro stuff was over (are Rose and Luisa coming back next week?), Michael sees that his partner Nadine was one of Sin Rostro’s contacts. It turns out that Rose threatened her family in exchange for information on the investigation. Michael is nothing if not a gentleman, so he tells Nadine that he’ll have to tell their supervisor, but gives her a couple of hours head start.

I’m glad that Andie confessed to Michael that she was stalking Jane. Michael is slightly annoyed at Jane for not telling him what Andie was up to, but then he found out that she and Rafael broke up, and lets Andie down via text message as he watches Jane get into the car with her grandmother. And then Alba recognises that Petra’s mother (I don’t know her name) is the one who pushed her down the stairs! We’ve only got three episodes left, and I’m looking forward to all of them.

Other thoughts:

  • Jane goes through the seven stages of grief quickly. ‘Non-acceptance’ was my favourite part of that montage.
  • Baby shower!
  • Something we haven’t seen much of is Jane’s friendship with Lina, so it was good that there was a lot there this week. The flashback to Jane’s childhood showed Lina giving her classmates ‘the talk’; she picks up that Jane and Rafael are having problems, and then she gives that lovely speech at the baby shower. Does that actress still have a commitment to Orange Is the New Black? I’d love to see her on both shows.
  • The montage of Rafael and Jane telling their couples therapist about the history of their relationship has to be one of the best montages in the history of television. No question. Their relationship in a nutshell would be a good use of ‘It’s Complicated’ on Facebook.
  • Petra says this to Rafael in “Chapter Eight”, and it’s worth revisiting: “I always knew you were an entitled playboy with a tendency to self-sabotage. And Jane will find out soon enough.”
  • Lina: “You’re going to lose your virginity to your baby?”
  • Roman Zazo! Impaled! Again!
  • Petra really doesn’t have anyone to talk to, just Rafael and her mother. I liked the episode where she told Jane everything on the stairwell, I’d love it if those two characters had a friendship.
  • What I wrote when Michael texted Andie: Yes! Michael broke up with Andie!

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