Jane the Virgin
Remember how last week the whole recap was about how what I really wanted between Jane and Rafael was for them to sit down and have a long conversation with each other about their past? How important I felt like it was for them to acknowledge how rocky things have been, and how difficult it would be to feel like this time is really real? Well, guess what!
“Chapter Ninety-Four” hits a lot of buttons that I’ve been waiting for this season to get to, and I am just thrilled to pieces about it. First is the Jane and Rafael stuff. It feels like they finally talked things out in a way that made sense, incorporated everything that’s been happening between them all season, didn’t force Rafael to have a meltdown, and acknowledged Jane’s feelings. Jane is able to acknowledge all of Raf’s hurt feelings, and he can say honestly to her that it’s going to take a long time for him to feel like he trusts this. At the same time, Jane can say that it’s not fair for Raf to have expected her to do anything other than what she did — her husband came back from the dead! Insisting that Jane should’ve had no feelings for him at all is an unreasonable and unattainable standard.
Raf’s hurt feelings always made sense, but Jane finally tells him that she can’t be made to feel guilty for her actions, either. Cheating on your living spouse with a normal, has-always-been-alive third party is just never going to be the same as exploring a relationship with your used-to-be-dead husband. I’ll tell you what, the emotional logic of telenovelas is some advanced math.
It takes Jane a while to get to the point where she can make that statement, though. First comes Rafael’s proposal, which for me packed a much stronger emotional wallop than the big musical moment in the previous episode. The sweet smallness of his proposal during the family Lotería, the fact that he had to arrange it so everyone in the family would be there, the sense that the proposal was organized but not over-the-top … it was just perfect. Then, another crucial piece of this relationship for me: Mateo’s low-key response, which Jane and Raf initially worry is due to his new ADHD meds, and which they then discover is because Mateo is simply terrified. Like the rest of us, Mateo feels he has no reason to trust that this time they’ll actually get married. How can he feel safe that no one will come back from the dead, that no one will grow emotionally distant, or that no one will suddenly get in a huge argument and leave? His questions are more than justified.
The only way Raf and Jane can think to answer Mateo is to promise that they’ll get married immediately, something Raf is thrilled about and something Jane is obviously just doing her best to pretend she likes. One thing “Chapter Ninety-Four” does really nicely is make clear how much of Jane’s obviously masked reluctance is about trying to reassure Mateo, and how much of it is really about her ongoing guilt. She’s guilty that she couldn’t force herself to not be curious about Michael after he returned, but she’s just as guilty at the idea that she and Raf are not already married — not already in the process of building their new life together — because of her. She feels she has set them back, so of course she also feels like she has to yank them back onto the correct track, in spite of how rushed and half-baked it seems.
Rafael is not bothered at all by the slapdash idea of a courthouse wedding. Like Mateo, he is desperate for reassurance that this time it’s real, that this time they’ll make it work. His need for affirmation forces Jane to sacrifice her own feelings, and Jane’s misinterpretation of Petra’s plea to be a bridesmaid somehow gets Jane caught in a sewing machine, surrounded by mint-green tulle and repeatedly slamming her face against the machine’s case. Even this doesn’t make her insist that the wedding shouldn’t happen right now; she charges ahead, using cover-up to mask her bruises and wearing a neck brace, but trying to make the best of things.
At last, Jane and Raf have the conversation they most needed to have. Jane accepts it’ll take some time before Rafael trusts her again. Rafael listens while she points out that Michael’s return from death was not her fault, and she could only have done things the way she did. She promises now to keep choosing Rafael, and although they do not get married in this episode, it’s an exchange that is nearly as good as vows. (In order to help Mateo feel more secure, they also let him marry the two of them now. It’s sweet, but I am pretty sure that kid is not ordained, and I just don’t want him to walk around thinking he has that power now! Could be really awkward at school!)
Let’s see, what else, what else … oh right, Krishna and Petra were in cahoots this whole time! I am so thrilled for them! They pretended to have Krishna betray Petra so that Milos would give her the hotel shares, and then he did, and now Krishna’s going to transfer them back to Petra and get a huge payday!
Maybe even better, Jane and Petra have a beautiful moment when Jane tells Petra how frustrating it was to feel manipulated into making her the maid of honor, especially once Petra evinces zero appreciation for the work Jane put into Petra’s silly symbolic mint-green dress. Slowly, Petra has shifted into my very favorite character on this show. She tells Jane that she’s going to try to be less selfish, but then mutters, “But hey, it is who I am. So don’t expect, like, a huge change.” I love her so much.
And also, Xiomara has decided to go to nursing school! There’s something nice and plausible about Xo spending so much of her life running from what she sees as Alba’s fate, only to realize that the thing she wants is to become a nurse like Alba was. There’s something even nicer about it happening (in part) through a game of Lotería. We learn that the game played a role in Xo’s not becoming a performer at a young age — they played for her future, and her father cheated in order to try and protect her. This time it’s Alba who cheats, for the same reason. Ultimately, none of it matters, because it’s Xo who has to make the choice to go.
Jane and Rafael are getting married! Maybe Petra finally foiled Milos! To be continued!
From Our Narrator, With Love
• I truly loved the Lotería theme, including Our Narrator’s use of the stylized cards to represent various characters on the show. Especially the one for Petra, she who is “always wearing fancy shorts.”
• It’s also nice when Our Narrator reinforces an idea that Jane and Rafael haven’t quite seen the truth of yet, as when Mateo explains that he has no reason to believe she and Raf will actually get married. “Can’t blame that on ADHD medication,” Our Narrator interjects, when Mateo explains his reasoning. “You’re not wrong!”
• I need to apologize. I spent this whole recap talking about things like Raf and Jane’s relationship, and how important and helpful their conversations were, and I devoted no space to what is actually the most significant plot development of this episode: Rogelio has to spend the entire episode wearing his tail from This Is Mars. It curls over his shoulder when he stands in the Villanuevas’ small kitchen. It wraps around his waist when he and Xo are in their living room, discussing her future. Finally, he masters its animatronics well enough that Rogelio can do some reshoots on the Mars pilot, including a scene where the tail shoots a gun and then reholsters it!