What a penultimate episode! After years — it’s been years — Sin Rostro is dead. Michael came back and gave Jane (and Jane viewers) some closure. Jane got a monster of a book deal, assuring that she not only has a career in writing, but that she and Rafael can probably have a financially secure future. And Rogelio and Xiomara are moving to New York! Everything is ending and I’m honestly just barely holding it together over here.
Before we get into the dramatic mechanics of Sin Rostro’s ignominious end, let’s talk about Michael, because for me, it was one of the most important scenes in the episode. Jane’s book deal is put on hold when potential publishers realize that Michael hasn’t yet signed away his life rights, and Michael flies back to Miami to talk with Jane about why he hasn’t signed. He’s not alone, either. Charlie, the furious cowgirl who nearly shot Michael for killing one of her prized chickens in the season’s Montana episode, is with him. She’s pregnant, and they’re getting married.
The impact of that scene is, if anything, a touch overboard. It’s not just that Michael’s in love with Charlie; they’re getting married! It’s not just that they’re getting married, it’s that she’s really pregnant! There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind, most especially the viewers: The train has left the station. Michael has absolutely, fully moved on. And just in case anyone was still feeling lingering concern, Charlie hammers it home when she arranges the meeting so she can overhear Jane and Michael speaking in private. There are no romantic feelings left, and once Charlie realizes that, she’s fine with Michael signing the papers. It! Is! Over!
That overdetermined sense of ending is what dominates the whole episode. “Chapter Ninety-Eight” is not just about wrapping up loose ends, but about doing it in such a huge, unmistakable, incontrovertible way that no one can miss the signs. The episode wraps a giant bow around the whole series, and then hangs a sign on the ribbon that says “THE END IS HERE!” and then puts a giant “SERIOUSLY, WE ARE ENDING” stamp on it. Did you get the memo? The show is ending!
The Michael scene is a good illustration of that, but it gets even more obvious with the Sin Rostro plot and Jane’s book deal. After escaping from prison, Rose of course comes back. She catches Jane at home, holding her hostage until Jane can call Luisa (who’s been hiding out in Belize hoping to bait Rose into following her). Rose is trying to rendezvous with Luisa at the This Is Mars kickoff party, and she forces Jane to come with her, hiding in alien costumes as they make their way through the event.
Is it bad that Rose takes Jane hostage, threatens her life, and endangers everyone she loves while sneaking through a big industry party so she can reunite with her lover and then escape forever? Sure. Is it hilarious and fantastic that Rose’s plan requires that she and Jane dress up as aliens at a party for This Is Mars, and spend the whole tense scene surrounded by Rogelio at his most pompous, River basking in the glow of her success, Esteban mugging for the camera, and absurd Martian sets and costumes? It totally is.
Then, in one of the episode’s many gestures of overwhelming conclusive energy, Sin Rostro meets her end. Rafael realizes it’s Jane in the alien suit (thanks to her distinctive anti-anxiety meridian tapping pattern), and he, Jane, Rose, and Luisa all end up on the rooftop together in a final exciting confrontation. Rose begs Luisa to leave with her, and Luisa gets to put her foot down once and for all: She does not love Rose, she has no interest in ever being with her again, and she wants Rose to leave them all alone forever. Luisa threatens to take a cyanide pill, which is a fake-out (it’s a Tic Tac!), but Rose is so upset that she rushes to Luisa’s side, and that’s what does Rose in. Luisa pushes her down an open stairwell, and Rose is impaled.
What is she impaled on? A golden statue of Rogelio in This Is Mars. What part of the statue is she impaled on, exactly? HIS TAIL. SIN ROSTRO IS IMPALED ON A GOLDEN STATUE OF ROGELIO’S ANIMATRONIC MARTIAN TAIL. AND THEN SET ON FIRE, JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE. If Michael’s return is the emotional version of a hugely overdetermined ending, Sin Rostro’s impaling on a golden effigy of Rogelio’s Martian tail is the wildly bonkers telenovela version. I will love it forever.
The episode’s final major move toward a hugely decisive ending is Jane’s book deal. She gets word that an offer has been made to buy her book for $25,000, but the call comes in while she’s being held hostage by Rose, and Rose turns it down without a thought. (One nice thing to end her life before she was impaled on a giant tail.) Jane’s book ends up going to auction, and just in case there was any concern about whether she could make her writing career work, it is thoroughly put to rest. Her book sells for half a million dollars. It’s over. She made it.
A brief programming note: “Chapter Ninety-Nine” will be a retrospective episode, so the next recap will also be the last, for the series finale “Chapter One-Hundred.” Which means this is the very last time I will write this to end a Jane recap: To be continued!
From Our Narrator, With Love
• I believe in “Chapter Ninety-Eight” Our Beloved Narrator confirms that he’s into men! When Rogelio gives Darci a long list of reasons why she should move to New York, he mentions that it has a huge number of single people (which would be a boon for her matchmaking business). “Ooh I should move there!” Our Narrator exclaims. Then Rogelio continues, “Single women outnumber single men two-to-one!” “NEVER MIND!” Our Narrator says, slyly.
• We’ve begun to get hints in the past several episodes that the book Jane is writing feels distinctly like … Jane the Virgin. It’s the story of Michael, and of Alba! The snippets of text are things like “just like a telenovela!” And when Charlie requests that Jane leave one specific part of her book out, Jane happily agrees. “And friends, she did,” Our Narrator says. “So I will, too.” Hmmmmmmmm.
• Esteban pulls off a great con! Rogelio refuses to move to New York unless he can convince Darci and Esteban to move there as well; he missed Jane’s childhood and he doesn’t want to be far from Baby while she grows up. So he convinces Darci to move, and offers Esteban a part on This Is Mars as an extra inducement. But he runs into a roadblock with Esteban, who claims to have quit acting. Rogelio spends the whole episode trying to convince Esteban to go back to acting, all without realizing that Esteban’s just holding out until he can get a better role on the show. What a great, dastardly final move for Esteban!
• At the end, Xo really summarizes the mood of the episode. She realizes that everything’s in place. She got into a nursing school in New York. Esteban and Darci are ready to go. She and Rogelio will be leaving. “How do we say good-bye?” she asks. I DON’T KNOW!