“Five more minutes of pain for a lifetime of happiness. So start pushing before I yank that kid out myself” – Alba and Xiomara Villanueva
The first season of Jane the Virgin has been near-perfect, and this season finale has been the perfect ending to a fantastic season of television. My parents sat down and watched the second half with me, and afterwards my mum went up to my sister, who is staying for the night and has never seen the show to tell her that, SPOILER ALERT, this is your last warning: “Jane had the baby but it’s been abducted”. I guess the other major plot spoiler is that Jane’s baby is a boy. The Villanueva women normally have girls, but nothing about Jane’s pregnancy has been normal. All we need to know is that Mateo Gloriano Rogelio Solano Villanueva is healthy, perfect, and in the hands of Sin Rostro. But we’ll get to that later, because there was so much that this episode of television did right, and most of it had nothing to do with international crime syndicates.
I’m going to start with the love triangle because I am ridiculously invested in it. As Magda told Petra, Michael and Jane are having a baby together. Whether or not anything romantic happens between the two of them in the future, they’re bonded for life. This week Rafael told Jane that he lied about not loving her and that he wanted them to be a family again. One of the things I love about Jane the Virgin is the female perspective, for lack of a better word. In a more traditional romance, the heroine would take back the attractive guy and pretend that nothing never happened. This isn’t that show, which is why it’s so great. As Jane points out to Rafael, he broke her heart, just told her that he lied about not loving her and now wants everything to go back to the way they were. Rafael is selfish, which is the main reason their relationship didn’t work when they were together. It wasn’t just that he kept disappointing Jane with his preoccupation with the hotel, he was putting his needs before hers. I can’t remember the last time that he asked Jane what she wanted. Way back in “Chapter Two”, Jane gave Michael a beautiful speech about how this unwanted pregnancy was something that was happening to her, not him, and how she was the one who got to be selfish. I don’t doubt that Rafael loves Jane, but he’s so focused on what he wants as a child of privilege that he never stopped to think that Jane might want something different.
One of the many factors that led to Jane and Michael’s breakup was the fact that he was also acting pretty selfishly (he lied about not knowing about Petra’s affair because he didn’t want to end up raising another man’s child), as well as Jane falling in love with Rafael, and with good reason. Her boyfriend was acting like a jealous douchebag, and here was this guy who just wanted to make sure that she was okay. Michael’s had a lot more time to consider just how he’s messed up, and he knows where everything is. When our Latin Lover Narrator said that, it wasn’t just that Michael knew where everything in the kitchen was. He suggested that go to graduate school for writing, if it’s really what she wants to do. He encourages her to email the Dean of Admissions back even though her application was two days late, because Jane Villanueva isn’t the sort of girl who gives up. After he had the fight with Rafael at the hospital, he asks what Jane wants and gives her the most adorable mixtape for when she goes into labour. I’m so on Team Michael right now, and my favourite part of any of his scenes with Jane is when he says he doesn’t want to be the safe and familiar second choice to Rafael’s fantasy. If that’s all he is to her, he’s out. It’s great in the way Jane’s speech to Rafael was great. If you really want to be with someone, you have to choose them. You can’t pretend like you never broke up, because you did, and it’s unfair to make someone your fallback, like you didn’t get into your preferred university. Magda’s right that Jane and Rafael are bonded forever, but Michael tells her to focus on the most important man in her life – Mateo. Also, as Oliver Sava pointed out, if Michael saves Mateo from Sin Rostro, that’ll get rid of the “safe and familiar” brand he has going on (although I would have thought that getting a commendation for uncovering Sin Rostro’s network and the whole detective job would eliminate that brand anyway. But I’m biased).
Whatever’s going on in that love triangle, nothing made me tear up as much as Xiomara repeating her mother’s words to her as Jane gave birth. This show is about family, and the Villanueva family are the real love story. Seeing Jane hold hands with Xiomara, who was holding onto Alba with her other hand was the moment of the show. Jane and Rafael are bonded for life by having a child, and the best example we have of that bond is the Villanueva women. Even though Jane the Virgin is a television show and I knew everything would be okay, I was really worried that Xiomara and Rogelio wouldn’t make it back in time for Mateo’s birth. This is a show about family, and even though Rogelio wasn’t in the room while Jane gave birth (thank goodness), he’s a part of that family even if Xiomara sometimes forgets it. Rogelio’s making up for 24 years of lost time with his daughter, and I would also be offended if Xiomara thought I was more worried about Jesus Christ Superstar than my pregnant daughter. Rogelio’s place in the family has been cemented, as Mateo’s third name is Rogelio (We’ll see how nicknames go. Perhaps Matelio?). Rogelio and Xiomara also got married in Vegas, but a marriage certificate doesn’t make you family, it’s just a piece of paper. When Jane was on the bus, she saw Rogelio speaking to her from the Passions of Santos ad, in a nice callback to the pilot. Jane calls him dad, and that’s more proof of family than a drunken Las Vegas wedding attended by #Rogelifans and celebrated by a Cher impersonator.
There were many great moments in this finale, but I think my favourite was Jane being in labour on the bus. Jane is a girl who catches the bus, which is a form of transport frequented by poorer people in the United States. I remember when I was in New England in December 2013, and remarking that the population there was so white. A friend of my sister, who is from Australia and studying at MIT said that the population is more diverse if you catch a bus. Also when I was in San Francisco the bus was cheaper than the BART, which was ridiculously expensive. All cities should just integrate their public transport so that there’s a flat fare, regardless of the mode you use. Transferable tickets with set validation periods are great. Anyway, back to Jane the Virgin. This show has rightfully attracted praise on the diversity of the cast, and the scene on the bus was no different. A black woman was sitting with Jane as she was having contractions and talking to Xiomara on the phone. All of the passengers made the driver drive to the hospital when they found out Jane was in labour, and they said goodbye and wished her luck as she left. The other passengers wanted to know if she was okay, and when someone asked if anyone was a doctor, someone else replied that he was a vet – he may not know about human birth, but he was doing his best to be helpful.
Now it’s time to move to the more telenovela elements of the show. Rafael, the scoundrel, is playing on Petra’s feelings for him (thanks for pointing that out Jane) in order to induce her to sell him her shares of the hotel. Not bloody likely, now that she knows what he was up to. The character writing is so good on this show; Petra has done some awful things, but the writing and Yael Groblas bring a humanity to the character that can’t help but make me feel for her in that moment. Miami Dade Hospital, which is where Luisa worked and Rafael’s sperm sample was held, kept calling for Rafael and it turns out that his sample was split into two vials. This is something that I’ve been wondering about for most of the season, because surely if you knew that the only way you were going to have children was to reserve a sperm sample, you’d make sure that there was more than one, just in case the insemination didn’t work the first time. Now that Petra knows what Rafael’s been up to, she has the sperm sample, and she’s definitely not selling her shares in the hotel. Petra is definitely the character (other than Mateo) who I’m most interested in following next season.
Now for Sin Rostro! Nadine came back to Jane the Virgin this week, and just let her into Michael’s house, trying to bargain information on Sin Rostro’s plastic surgeon for her freedom. Unfortunately for Nadine, the plastic surgeon is dead, so it doesn’t look like she’s going to have an immunity deal. When Michael went to pick Jane’s parents up from the airport, it looked like he’d made a mistake leaving the keys to the handcuffs within Nadine’s reach, but he’d already put together a plan with his colleagues to put a tracker in her phone and allow her to escape. (#TeamMichael). Of course Sin Rostro is acutely aware of what’s happening with the baby, so she has one of the nurses (was she already working at St. Luke’s and Sin Rostro found her the way she found Nadine or was she literally a plant?) abduct Mateo right out of the hospital under the guise of taking him for a hearing test. At first I felt that this storyline was a bit too much, but this show exists in a heightened universe, and also the plot moves so fast that Mateo will be back by the season premiere. If he’s not back by the end of the second episode, I will be surprised. But for now, I’m just going to enjoy how much I enjoyed this season of television, and I’m so excited for season two.
- Among this week’s hashtags #JanesHavingABaby, #ForRealThisTime, and the aforementioned #Rogelifans
- In a callback to the weird photoshopping job Rogelio did, pasting a photo of Jane’s face onto a photo of himself holding a baby, Xiomara photoshops Rogelio into a photo of the day Jane was born. In a perfect touch by the art department on this show, Rogelio was in the costume for his Vegas show.
- I would like Rogelio’s alarm song to be my ringtone please.
- Jane’s intelligence is further demonstrated by her decision to have an epidural. It turns out that the reason Xiomara is an only child is because Alba did not have an epidural when she gave birth. This is a legitimate reason to only have one child.
- For a moment, I thought that the reason Miami Dade Hospital was calling Rafael/Petra was because the sperm sample that Jane was inseminated with wasn’t actually Rafael’s. I’m glad that’s not the case, because that would be a bit too much even from this show.
- There were two great moments in the love triangle storyline tonight. The first of these is after Jane’s false labour, when she sees Michael and Rafael fighting. She tells them she’s going to call Alba to come and pick her up, because she doesn’t want to be with either of them at that moment. I love that Jane puts her foot down and doesn’t want to deal with this bullshit. The other is when Rafael swallows his pride and calls Michael to get Jane’s parents from the airport. Speaking of which…
- “Okay, change of plan: Jane’s in labour, so I’m going to pick up her parents from the airport”
- Programming note: there will be a review of the Mad Men series finale going up soon, I just wanted to have a bit more time to sit with it before I write anything. My preview: I liked it.