At the very beginning of Jane the Virgin‘s season finale, the narrator, upon recapping all that has come before remarks, “Straight out of a Telenovela, right?”
Something that, by the end of the episode, is so unbearably true.
But before all of the dramatics thrown in to set up for season two, there’s a baby to be born. After her first set of contractions turn out to be Braxton Hicks (the kind of medical condition that was just made for television), Jane is less inclined to believe that the next ones she feels are the real ones.
As she and her family tell Rafael, Villanueva babies come late, fast, and as girls.
Except for this time.
Jane ends up going into labour when she’s at a meeting to try and sort out her grad school application (and admissions really couldn’t doubt her dedication after that), and on the way home, when her contractions quickly speed up, her fellow bus passengers (and Xiomara, on the phone from Vegas) demand that the driver divert from his route and take Jane to hospital. It’s one of those moments that, when I write it down, seems ridiculous. But on this show- this heart-warming comedy made from the most ridiculous of premises — Jane nearly giving birth on a bus seems just right. She’s three weeks from her due date, has a millionaire as the father of her baby and a telenovela star father, and yet, Jane still takes the bus.
So many things change, but some things — like who Jane is — don’t. Jane has such a strong sense of self- closely related to her religion and the relationship she has with her family — and nobody; not Rafael, not Michael, and not even this new little baby, can break that down.
Jane knows who she is, and that’s an enviable trait to have. It’s certainly something that Rafael doesn’t have, but that Michael does. Which is why he and Rafael act so differently towards Jane this episode. Rafael says that he’ll fight for her — after screwing up so badly — while Michael tells her not to worry about any of that, and to focus on her newborn son. You could argue that Rafael has just had his own realization of self and what he really wants, but I, just like Jane, feel it’s badly timed, and that the reason isn’t good enough to excuse his actions — actions which Jane herself calls ‘heartbreaking’.
But Rafael isn’t the only one figuring things out in “Chapter Twenty-Two.” While he hones in on what he wants — Jane and their family — Petra sees how her relationship with Rafael really is: unwanted. She overhears him telling his assistant how badly he wants Petra out of his life, and just like that, the flip is switched.
Petra doesn’t want Rafael anymore: she wants revenge. So, she doesn’t tell him what the hospital had been calling about all this time. No, the cancer isn’t back, but something with just as much potential for trauma and pain is. Rafael’s got another sperm sample, and now Petra has it.
We’ve just gotten one Solano baby out of a medical malpractice case, and now, here’s the threat of number two. It’s the ultimate fuck-you to Rafael, the kind of permanent act that he’d never be able to remove from his life. He wants so badly to be a good father, but this — if Petra goes through with it, and doesn’t just use it as blackmail –would create a very different kind of family for him to try and manage.
Is Petra really that spiteful? Would she really create this hypothetical child, knowing full well the kind of despised and uncomfortable situation that she’d bring the child up into? I think, after losing her mother, her husband and everything that she loved, that she just might.
But, I guess we’ll see, just as we’ll see what happens with Jane and Rafael’s baby and Sin Rostro.
Speaking of their baby — an adorable little boy named Mateo Gloriana Rogelio Solano Villanueva (whew) — he waits until the very right moment to be born, holding out until Xiomara makes her early morning flight back from Vegas, hungover but ready to be the strength in Jane’s life that Alba was for her. (And speaking of that hangover, it’s no surprise that her and Rogelio’s night in Vegas turned out to be exactly what you think it was: a drunken, Cher-officiated wedding. There were a lot of twists in this season finale, but that one, by far, was the greatest.)
Rafael’s there, at Jane’s side during the labor, but boys mean nothing in this show compared to the bond that the three Villanueva women have. It’s no surprise that Jane’s last name comes after Rafael’s when naming their son: she might not have a legacy to hand down to him, but her family can offer him so much more — the kind of stuff like love, loyalty and strength, that really matters.
And oh, how I wish that Rogelio and Xiomara’s drunken wedding was where things ended. But it didn’t, with a nurse taking away baby Mateo to ‘check his hearing’. Just like the narrator said, everything so far has been ‘straight out of a telenovela’. So, of course, she takes the baby, cutting off his name tags, and hands him over to Sin Rostro.
You got me, Jane the Virgin. I didn’t like it, and I would have given this episode a 10 if you hadn’t had done it, but I have to admit, I’ll be waiting like crazy until season two returns. Your plan worked.
- Michael makes Jane a baby playlist! With all the greats: Push It, Born This Way, and Everybody Hurts. He also makes a really nice speech about not wanting to be Jane’s ‘safe’ choice, a role that, I’m sure, some viewers have pegged him as. He wants Jane, sure, but only if she really wants him back. More than a half-assed relationship, Michael really just wants to be Jane’s friend. He truly wants the best for her, and is the kind of nice guy that really is a nice guy.
- “Talk about a pregnant pause!” Come back to me soon, narrator.
- Rogelio on missing his show & his chance to be in Jesus Christ Superstar: “There are many Jesus Christs. There is only one Jane.” Preach.
- ROGELIO’S PHONE ALARM, OH MY GOD: “It’s another beautiful day to be Rogelio, wake up Rogelio, wake up Rogelio!”
- Rafael has more sperm. Sperm that Petra has a hold of: “Oh brother. Or sister.“
- And most importantly, how did Jane find calm when going through her contractions on the bus? Why through a talking poster of Rogelio, of course, in a nice throwback to those first episodes of the show where she had no idea that he, her telenovela hero, was her father.
- What a remarkable first season, Jane the Virgin. I’ll be back later this year, for sure.