Oh, a real flashback!
Chapter Twenty-Five of Jane’s ongoing saga opens not with Jane, but with Alba. We take a break from the love triangle, from the Marbella, from Mateo, and, instead, get to see young Alba writing down what she wants for Xiomara and what traditions she wants to start, what to keep from her life in Venezuela.
Little Xiomara hates it.
But then she reads exactly what Alba wrote, and it echoes to the future–to Jane planning Mateo’s church life with Xo and Alba: godparents, baptism, the whole shebang.
And we’re back to the love triangle; Jane wants Michael to be Mateo’s godfather. Rafael did, too, before Jane’s admission of love for them both (remind me why we can’t just have a happy threesome?).
Of course, he’s a little too preoccupied with Petra’s pregnancy to really talk it through again with Jane. Oops. Instead he hangs up, turns to Petra, and reveals that he’s been playing her the entire time, that he wants to be with Jane. Cue Petra’s shock; double oops.
Did I mention Xo and Rogelio are miraculously back from Cuba (?????)?
It’s only really used as a gag, but it delivers, from Rogelio forcing Xo and Alba to view a slideshow of their time in Cuba (I may or may not have done that as a kid to my own parents– I AM NOW ROGELIO) to Rogelio in full-on Cuban military gear eavesdropping on Jane’s parental-talk-time with Xo.
Rogelio gives advice. That’s what fathers do, right?
Only he gives some really bad advice to Michael: Jane loved his confidence and found it sexy, so obviously it’s the best idea to take every “wussy” thought and simply write it down rather than sharing his feelings with her.
Dangit, Rogelio. It makes Michael forget completely about apologizing to Jane for trying to manipulate her into being with him quicker, and instead we get a minor update on finding Sin Rostro. It’s good news, but better news? JANE GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL! IT’S TIME TO PARTY!!!!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand the party is cut short, because Jane gets to find out that not only was Rafael not listening to her during the godfather call, but Petra’s pregnant with Rafael’s sudden lucky second sperm sample. And they’re right outside the church before the baptism practice.
What the [CHURCH BELLS. CHURCH BELLS. CHURCH BELLS.]
No, that’s really what the show did.
And Jane can never look at a turkey baster the same way again.
But while she tries to figure out grad school—she needs a single summer school class before she can start—Rogelio has to work with his ex-wife and work on his baggage, and Luisa has to deal with being kidnapped by Sin Rostro’s henchman.
(Rogelio: “The audiences want to see me with someone younger! […] Emma Stone, I’ve heard she can play any race.” SHOTS. FIRED.)
Yeah, this episode bounces around a lot more than I feel previous ones did, and it makes me wonder if it’s a quirk of director Robert Luketic. He’s only directed one other episode of the series: Chapter Nineteen, the couples-therapy episode. I honestly can’t remember if that episode was as choppy as this, but given that it was also the Rafael-and-Jane-breakup-episode, it would have made sense for it. Not so much here.
Though Luisa begging her kidnappers for forgiveness through “I’ll have sex with your wife!” almost makes up for it.
Chapter Twenty-Five also brings up Jane’s reoccurring thoughts: how does she balance her life, her wants, and her needs with an unexpected baby? It’s not quite a teen-pregnancy narrative, given that Jane’s, well, a virgin… but it’s a question that the show’s raised before and continues to bring up because it’s so pertinent. How does one balance their desires with a family? How can someone like Jane, who was so driven and found a renewed sense of purpose in her writing, deal with the intensity of working and having a child and going through school, to say nothing of the more-ridiculous aspects of the show?
While Jane mulls on this, Rogelio and Xo go through his old storage locker filled with ex-wife Luciana’s things, and his diary. Not only does it further their relationship, but it also gives us a nice segue into Jane returning to the Marbella and seeing Michael with his Rogelio-given diary before she heads up to meet with Petra.
Carrying Mateo’s half-sibling.
You know how I mentioned a happy threesome earlier?
Petra suggests co-parenting. Between her, Rafael, and Jane. Who are not together anymore. Cue the awkward moment…
… and we’re back to Petra trying to win Rafael for herself once again.
Good news? We get an imagine-spot of the Villanueva-Solano family at Christmas. Complete with roasted turkey and turkey baster and I’m going to go throw up now.
Update on Sin Rostro: she may or may not have gone by the name Denise at one point in Switzerland, but the rest of her name is obscured by Pinot Noir. No, not the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt song. Although Michael’s a little stuck when it comes to Rose, he does get to find out that Petra’s pregnant, so now everyone’s in the loop.
But Jane the Virgin strips away the ridiculous situations once again to tackle what Jane needs to do: what’s right for her. She’s not horrible for wanting to go to school even though it means leaving Mateo early; she’s not horrible for wanting to temporarily give up on her passions and raise Mateo. And so she goes through with the baptism, hoping and praying for Mateo to someday love his children as much as she loves him, and the troubles of Petra, of Rogelio’s ex issues, of the love triangle, all fall away from the Villanueva women and bring it back to family and dreams.
And so Jane puts her trust in her family and decides to go to grad school. Mateo will be there, and even if Jane misses things in his life, it doesn’t diminish her love for him or judge the quality of her motherhood.
Xiomara will be there. Alba will be there.
Alba’s there now, even when Xiomara wants to bail on Rogelio the moment things get tough with his unresolved feelings for Luciana. Tough love runs in the Villanueva family when it needs to, and though Rogelio can be frustrating, he’s doing what he can. It’s something Jane learns, too, when she learns Michael’s been distant because he was relying on bad advice… and subsequently learns that Michael gifted her his diary to explain what has been running through his head.
What exactly was running through his head?
Jane. How well he can read her, and how he knows that the best thing for her to do with Petra and not-Mateo is to embrace it.
Jane sits Rafael down. She talks to him, plainly. She knows he’s a kindhearted man that would hate to have a son in the world he rarely sees. Jane knows that being involved in not just Mateo’s life but in the unborn child’s life is what Rafael needs, Petra’s antics and manipulation be damned. Jane does what is best for Rafael because she loves him, and that’s mirrored by Rogelio, who decides to refuse his ex-wife a role on his show despite a potential ratings boost, because it’s what is best for Xiomara.
Are you sensing a theme here? Because I sure am.
Chapter Twenty-Five breaks away from the narrative of choices to further the Sin Rostro plot—Michael needs to track down one “Heidi von Ocher”, and Luisa is the captive of one of Rose’s rivals instead of her ex-lover herself—but again the telenovela aspects take a backseat to Jane, getting final confirmation of being accepted into grad school. Rafael kisses her, Petra snaps a photo… and Rogelio gets blackmailed by his ex.
So maybe it’s a telenovela after all.
But what Jane excels in isn’t the telenovela tomfoolery. It’s not the physical comedy, and it’s not even the shenanigans the narrator pulls on-screen.
Jane excels in the small moments, the universal experiences. The trappings of telenovelas make for some hilarious television, but it’s the pathos that really makes the show worth watching. Chapter Twenty-Five may have been choppy, but in focusing on Jane’s balancing of motherhood with personhood, it made it worth the watch.