Jane the Virgin
All right, all right, let’s just get this out of the way: Chuck did not see Catalina lurking around the beach the night of Vests’s murder. It was, of course, Eileen, a.k.a. Rose, a.k.a. Sin Rostro, a.k.a. ADA Serena Southerlyn. Last week, I guessed it would be Catalina because I still feel that whole plot was a bit underbaked, and I’d really like to see her return as a Hitchcockian cat burglar or something. But yes, of course. It was Sin Rostro.
This is the main thrust of the telenovela drama in “Chapter Sixty-Three.” We find out that Sin Rostro was probably involved in Scott’s death (not exactly surprising information), and we watch Rafael try to lure Luisa and “Eileen” back to Miami so the police can finally corner Rose. None of it is particularly unusual or twisty for Jane the Virgin, but it’s rooted in some important and useful emotional beats. One of those is the growing tension between Luisa and Rose, and Luisa’s frustration that Rose doesn’t want her to have a relationship with her family. It’s been making me wonder if the final nail on Rose’s coffin will be Luisa turning on her at last. It would make a nice moment of redemption, I guess?
The other important emotional angle is Petra’s reunion with Rafael. After Rafael’s announcement at the end of “Chapter Sixty-Two” that he has feelings for Petra, she spends the episode debating how to answer him. She’s reluctant to try a romantic relationship with him again. As Petra explains to Jane, she’s worried they could destroy the functional, balanced, relatively stable family structure they’ve managed to eke out of their family’s highly improbable origin story. Jane concurs, even though Raf had asked her to plead his case. (Rafael’s apology for putting Jane in the middle, by the way, is evidence of how effective the show has been at humanizing him over the past season.)
So Petra turns Raf down, only to then overhear him telling someone on the phone that his cancer is back. He’s actually lying to Luisa, trying to convince her to come back to Miami. But Petra’s rattled, and angrily confronts him with that information, asking why he’s keeping it from her. Her relief that he’s actually fine helps spur their eventual reconciliation.
But the main engine for their very cute, very happy reunion is Jane. A very drunk Jane. “Chapter Sixty-Three” uses “fairy tales” for its theme, and the most explicit tie-in is Rogelio and Xiomara’s wedding. Fittingly for someone like Rogelio, it’s going to be fairy-tale-themed, complete with poofy dress, fireworks, Prince Charming, and ideally, white horses. The more thoughtful and surprising application of those tropes, though, is in Jane’s very mixed response to the idea of fairy tales altogether, and in her admirably self-aware consideration of her own experience versus what her family may want. When she glimpses Petra and Rafael standing together after the preschool play, Jane is reflective enough to realize that while she may fear that their family arrangement could be damaged, she’s mostly worried about being left out of their nuclear family structure. As Xo points out, Jane is used to being in the center of things. So when she comes to grips with what Rafael and Petra both actually want, and how good they could be together, Jane pulls off a little three-way-call love match.
She does this in spite of what certainly looks like Jane the Virgin rekindling Jane’s romantic feelings for Rafael. For just a split second, her heart glows again. Their potential endgame for the series is something I’ve wondered about since the first episodes after Michael’s death. After all, Jane the Virgin was designed around Jane and Rafael as an unlikely but destined pair from the very beginning — and from a distant, abstract perspective, everything that’s happened over the show’s first three seasons has been various versions of throwing obstacles in their path. Particularly for a show as invested in romantic telenovela tropes and symmetry and signs as Jane is, it would not be surprising for Jane and Rafael to end up together at the very end.
That’s not what’s happening here, of course. In “Chapter Sixty-Three,” Jane is consciously stepping aside to let Petra and Rafael give it a go. But it’s inevitable that all this talk of fairy-tale endings would make us wonder whether Jane will get another chance, and who that ending might be with.
The fairy-tale theme is also a nice trick for Jane the Virgin. It’s remarkably good at balancing its many minor characters and allowing them to feel fully developed, but even for a show that does it as effortlessly as Jane, it can be hard to give all those smaller roles room to breathe. The fairy-tale thing here is a smart way to put some attention on other couples — Xo and Ro, Rafael and Petra — and to cast them as protagonists in their own dramas. It’s still a trick, rather than a real shift. Jane is still our main character, and no matter how much she steps aside to let everyone else have a turn, she’s still there planning Xo and Ro’s wedding and telling Rafael to get off his butt and go over to Petra’s room. She isn’t going anywhere. But in the absence of a big romantic gesture for Jane that could possibly match Mateo’s birth (from season one) or her wedding (from season two), it’s fun to see the series pivot toward other characters.
It’s also a lovely way for Jane the Virgin to acknowledge that not all stories that involve sex have to be romantic fairy tales. See: Fabian. Ooh, Fabian. You could’ve been such a hero, buddy. You could’ve been a friendly, cheerful, dim-bulb fling who gave Jane exactly what she needed and respected that she was clear in her relationship goals. But no, you had to go throw a fit about horsies. To be fair, Jane certainly should not have used you in order to make wedding planning easier, and you weren’t wrong to be pretty peeved about that. But if you’d just accepted how things stood from the beginning, none of this would’ve needed to happen. And Jane would not have needed to (accidentally) punch you. (Hehe, nice one, Jane.)
Unflattering ending aside, I’ve very much enjoyed how unexpected and thorough Fabian’s little arc has become. He’s gone from pure lust object to potential friend, back to pure lust object, and then finally to resentful, mean spurned lover in one tightly plotted little story. It’s been delightful and surprising in turn, and it’s hard to turn down any plot that concludes with someone like Fabian sending a text that reads: “Screw you! You used me for my horsies and you will pay!”
Finally, I’d like to just note that the drunk failed bachelorette party with Jane and Xo is just absolutely beautiful. It’s easy to get pulled away from the core Villanueva relationships, but a scene like this one instantly reminds us what drives this show. It’s Jane, her mother, and her grandmother. Also, shots. But mostly, it’s the Villanueva women.
So Luisa and “Eileen” come back to Miami, only to have Eileen’s mask be ripped off in a very dramatic and somewhat unnerving skin-peel situation. Rose is captured! To be continued!
From Our Narrator, With Love
• Fabian’s horse meltdown is one for the ages. “I tried to use Fabian for his horses and now he’s taking it out on Dad!” Jane cries. “A tale as old as time,” our Narrator notes.
• “Did he just call her a slut?” Fabian, if you thought you had any chance of coming out of this well, please note you can never get things back once the Narrator turns on you.
• “I just feel so lucky I gave birth to my best friend,” Xo tells Jane. “Oh, wow,” our Narrator says. “They’re really wasted.”
• This wedding has to happen in two weeks. “It has to,” Rogelio tells us. “We are all slaves to the television schedule!” Oh, Jane the Virgin, you crack me up.
• Alba asks Ro what role God will play in his wedding extravaganza. “Well, he created me, so … a VERY big role.” Hopefully Alba will be happier with Jane as an officiant than she was with the idea of Ricky Martin.
• Rogelio and Fabian’s fight is something else, huh? “When I punch you in the ass, I hope your butt implants explode!”