Jane the Virgin
With recapper Kathryn VanArendonk on maternity leave, Angelica Jade Bastién takes over to recap this finale.
It would be easy for Jane the Virgin to portray love as either a glorious mess to wring for melodrama, or a beautiful fairy tale full of passion yet low on complication. But showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman and the cast are too astute at charting emotional landscapes to go for something so simplistic. One of the most intelligent things about this series is how it plays with the ideas of destiny and choice to inform its romantic entanglements. Life isn’t a fairy tale. There are no evil witches whose defeat would pave the way toward happily ever after. There are no talking mice to impart wholesome advice. There are no blinged-out horse-drawn carriages. This is Jane the Virgin — did you expect this wedding would go off flawlessly?
Xo and Ro’s grand fairy-tale wedding is obliterated by a series of traumatic incidents that would lead anyone to think that perhaps fate is keeping them apart. Let’s see, where shall we start? There’s a hurricane getting progressively worse, Xo’s wedding dress is ruined in the mud (thanks, Rafael!), and a stressed-out Jane is overwhelmed with all the planning. Then there’s, of course, the reveal that the real Eileen killed Scott in order to protect Rose’s scheme when he recognized her on the beach. This leads Luisa to get out of jail with a plea deal and a major grudge in tow. Oh, and did I mention Darci is pregnant with Rogelio’s baby? As if Jane wasn’t stressed enough, she’s now saddled with revealing this to Rogelio. When Rogelio finally tells Xo the truth, her response is understandable but heartbreaking: “I want to marry you but not like this.” The season finale is thankfully not defined by heartbreak, but perseverance and hope. After all, if anyone deserves a happy ending (or beginning since marriage is really just the start of a new chapter), it’s Xo and Rogelio. So of course they get married, just not in the way they expected.
Faced with planning a fairy-tale wedding and whether “meant to be” is a possibility when it comes to romance, Jane finds herself thinking a lot about Michael. Father Gustavo mentions a letter Michael wrote on the eve of their wedding, and Jane grows desperate to find it. Could this letter spark her belief in romantic destiny again and aid her in writing the ceremony? Sure, if she could find it. She comes up empty. This is the perfect framing for Brett Dier’s return as Michael — he appears in several flashbacks threaded through the finale. His presence guides Jane’s actions, acting as both a salve and a wounding reminder of the love she doesn’t have in her life. But she has a wedding to worry about, so she can’t entirely focus on this.
Sure, the power may be out, Xo’s dress is ruined, there are no back-up dancers, Marc Anthony wasn’t turned away at the door, and all their plans come crashing down. But in a way, Xo and Rogelio have something more beautiful than a fairy tale. Lit by the warm glow of candles surrounded by those they love, Xo and Rogelio have what I consider a perfect wedding. They have something more complex and meaningful than a fairy tale: true commitment. As Jane says during the wedding (while wearing a rather ridiculous lavender dress), “My parents are here today not because they’re meant to be but because they chose each other.” I will admit I teared up. Jane the Virgin really knows how to pull on my heartstrings. I only felt more overcome with emotion as Jane danced with Rafael. Petra’s intuition continues to be on point — she’s noticed Jane has feelings for Rafael. But does he? Petra worries she’ll always remain second to Jane and even finds herself kissing Chuck in a moment of weakness. That Rafael doesn’t seem to choose her the way he has Jane in the past is more evidence that these two may be drawn to each other, but they probably shouldn’t be together. Although you’d think they had enough reasons to not be together. They’re a mess. A fun mess, but still a mess. But they have bigger problems to worry about.
Anezka and Luisa simply sharing a cab together creates utter havoc that caps off the finale. Luisa now has control over the family fortune and Marbella after getting the lost part of the will Petra thought she destroyed. Rafael is right to call Luisa delusional. But he also missed a few other traits, like dangerous. The havoc Luisa has caused since the very beginning of Jane the Virgin often feels like a byproduct of her own blind spots and naïveté. (Did she really think Rose wanted to be a better person?) But now she has a target for her ire: Rafael and all those he holds dear. Meanwhile, Petra is in her own situation: She finds herself on the wrong end of a gun when Anezka learns of her efforts to ruin her marriage with Scott.
How will Rafael survive without the cushion of privilege? How will Petra convince her unhinged sister not to kill her? What will Xo and Rogelio’s marriage look like now that they are fully committed to one another? How will Rogelio be a part of his daughter’s life when Darci refuses to adhere to their previous agreement? These are all questions that will allow Jane the Virgin to tread new ground for its characters in the next season. But it’s how the finale hints at new romance for Jane that I was most moved by.
To say Jane Villanueva has been through a lot is an understatement. Throughout this season after Michael’s death, I hoped Jane would have a bit of levity in her life. Fabian wasn’t exactly the fling she wanted. Perhaps this is why Michael’s letter cuts so deeply. It brings to the surface what Jane yearns for, yet remains out of reach. Michael’s letter finds its way to Jane thanks to a previous tenant of her former home who brings it to the hotel. It’s exactly as sweet, vulnerable, beautiful, and heartwarming as you’d expect as he recounts the detours that had to happen to lead him to Jane’s doorstep. “In a way our destiny was just a series of detours bringing us back to each other again and again,” Michael’s letter reads. But more important than his letter is the man who brought it to Jane: Adam (Tyler Posey), her first love we’ve heard so much about. He used to live in the house she and Michael did, and if that isn’t fate, I don’t know what is. The moment they lock eyes, Gina Rodriguez’s face goes soft. It’s as if you can see the spark of hope lighting within her. Rodriguez utterly nails the frustration, exhaustion, and romanticism that is threaded through Jane’s arc in the finale. I’m not someone moved by the idea of destiny when it comes to true love. But with this introduction of Adam, Jane the Virgin just may make a believer out of me.
From Our Narrator, With Love:
* The opening narration was a beautiful reminder that the bond the Villanueva women share is their most important anchor, through their lives and the series. “Of course they were together in this latest event of the circle of life.” Of course, Circle of Life just happens to be the church where Jane becomes officially ordained to officiate the wedding.
* “Of course this isn’t a fairy tale, it’s a telenovela.”
* “I do know this car ride will definitely mess things up” is a vast understatement considering the trouble Anezka and Luisa get into by the end of the episode.
* “Awww, another thing these two have in common … criminal sisters.” Not exactly a good reason why Rafael and Petra should be together.
* “Liar! The new opening is a samba!” Rogelio’s reaction to Jane obviously lying about watching the practice video he sent for the wedding is why he may be my favorite character on the show.
* “Well, god help that child,” Rogelio’s response to hearing that Darci is pregnant turns priceless when he realizes that child is actually his child.
* “I thought all her eggs were in the freezer.”
* “Now shimmy! Shimmy!” Rogelio is truly a gift to this world.
* Rogeliana may be the worst name I’ve ever heard for a child.