Before this brief Holiday hiatus, Jane the Virgin left us with quite a few cliffhangers: Jorge proposed to Alba and she rejected him, Ro reluctantly agreed to go to therapy with Xo, Anezka (who had faked her death) confronted Petra and was thrown off a balcony, and Jane and Rafael kissed! Now, after Jane’s (two-stop) book tour and a month-long wait, we are finally back.
As usual, we start off with a flashback to young Jane who after watching a passionate telenovela kiss, asks her mom and grandma about kissing, and they give some conflicting explanations. When it’s Xo’s turn to give her version, she makes a point of saying that Jane might kiss “him or her”, which is a nice detail. And now, for real, we are back, and thrown directly into the action as Jane and Rafael break the kiss.
Whether you like Jane and Rafael together or not, (personally, I’ll always be waiting for Adam to make a miraculous comeback) there’s no doubt that Rodriguez and Baldoni have great on-screen chemistry. But chemistry isn’t everything, and their relationship has already failed quite a few times despite it. Like in this case, they are interrupted by Mateo because he can’t sleep. As you might remember, he’s starting at a new school this year, and he’s anxious about being the new kid and not being able to make friends.
When Jane takes Mateo to bed, Rafael hangs back with a goofy, winning smile; but Jane doesn’t seem quite so happy. They don’t get to talk out their mismatched feelings though, because a call from Petra once again interrupts them. As you might guess, the call is about Anezka’s death, which Petra claims to have been an accident because she was defending herself from a physical attack.
Petra seems sure that her self-defense argument will hold up, but Rafael insists she should get a lawyer. She tasks Krishna with it, but not before telling her secretary to get a PI to find Luisa. Luisa, who has checked herself out of the wellness center she was in and is convinced (because of Anezka) that Petra and Rafael were the ones who gaslit and manipulated her.
Telenovela plot twists aside, the biggest drama of the episode is still Jane and Rafael’s kiss — and its fallout. Jane the Virgin shines with its montages and clever editing, and the scene where Jane and Rafael finally get to discuss their feelings (with Xo and Alba, respectively) is no exception. While a bright-eyed Rafael tells Alba about how magical their kiss was, Jane tells Xo that she felt the magic was gone and couldn’t believe that Rafael would think kissing her after she just got dumped was a good idea. Determined not to let the situation escalate, Jane promises to “nip it in the bud”. But that might prove to not be as easy as she hoped for because, after all, she’s gotten used to being affectionate and friendly with Rafael. A friendly hug after she’s been stressing over Mateo’s kindergarten might feel like something more, and Rafael confidently suggests they could kiss a little when they get home.
Also overly confident? The lawyer that Krishna got Petra, a beautiful hotshot called Jane Ramos (Rosario Dawson). Petra doesn’t like her attitude — or rather, doesn’t like when she’s not the most imposing person in the room — and accuses Ramos of trying to scam her out of her money. Ramos leaves with a warning that the case won’t be as easy as Petra expects it to be, and a promise to never work for her. It’s no small feat to leave Petra speechless, but Ramos manages it without breaking a sweat.
Meanwhile, Ro and Xo have started couples therapy and, despite Rogelio’s initial reticence, he’s gotten in touch with his feelings and is ranting about his troubled relationship with his momager (mom/manager), to Xo’s dismay. But when she begs Rogelio to stop talking about his mommy issues for a second, Ro suggests that she should share about her own childhood, which leads to Xo having a breakthrough of her own; she realizes that her dad worked so much that she missed him even when he was still alive. Ro and Xo grow even closer to each other in talking about their issues but when Xiomara brings up this realization to Alba, Alba takes it as an insult to the memory of her late husband and storms off in a rage.
Rafael, on the other hand, storms into Petra’s office in a rage. He’d recently decided that he would move back into the Marbella, now that they’re in good terms again, but a letter from Luisa has rendered him furious. When he confronts her, Petra is forced to admit that she knew that Luisa wasn’t actually hallucinating and yet still let Luisa and Rafael believe that she was having a psychotic episode for a full week. It’s hard not to understand Rafael’s anger seeing as he’d just started fixing his relationship with Luisa who now thinks he purposefully gaslit her to steal her inheritance. Though, one would think that, after so many fights, Rafael would have finally come to understand how Petra’s survival instinct works, as his behavior is so often similar to hers. Instead of letting Petra, Luisa and Rafael bond over their shared traumas as abuse survivors, the show continues to build walls between them.
Still, Rafael wants to move out of the Villanueva’s and, frankly, thank God! Jane told him she doesn’t want to rekindle their relationship, even though he had a twenty-pages long presentation on all the pros and cons of getting back together, and Rafael has decided that he can’t get over her if they still live together. It’s a very mature decision on both their parts, and hopefully it’ll allow us to have more more Alba/Xo/Jane time without Rafael. It’s not that we don’t like him, (I really like the dude, even when he’s being a dick) but like we’ve said before, the relationship between the Villanueva women is what really makes the show. On top of his romantic feelings for Jane, there’s another reason why Raf wants to leave the house: Mateo is anxious and scared about having to lie about his address to attend his kindergarten, and Rafael doesn’t want his son to have to lie every day as his new normal. With all this in mind, he sells his car and uses the money to rent a tiny studio in the same area as Mateo’s school. That, right there, is called growth.
You know what’s also growth? Learning how to apologize, and there’s quite a bit of that in this episode. First, Alba apologizes to Xiomara, recognizing that her idealized version of her husband might not adhere to Xiomara’s experience, and that children need to have present parents. This leads Rogelio to realize that his daughter needs him to be much more present than he might be able to be as the star of a telenovela and, in an act of unprecedented personal growth, he decides to pass up the chance to star in the sequel to his telenovela, passing on the mantle to his arch nemesis, Esteban.
Then when the police come knocking at her door, Petra is also forced to apologize to Jane Ramos. Now that she’s being officially investigated for her sister’s death, Petra begs Ramos to take her case. After some reluctance, Ramos does, and let me tell you, the chemistry when they shake hands is electrifying. But no, it doesn’t seem that the writers are setting up Ramos to be Petra’s lesbian awakening. Instead, a mysterious phone call suggests that she might actually be a spy, maybe put in place by Luisa or by Magda. Damn, poor Petra can’t catch a single break!
And finally, after a very entertaining and fast-paced come back from hiatus, we get to the end of the episode. A lot of things happened in the past forty minutes, and the Jane and Rafael conflict seemed to be solved by the mid-episode mark, but that’s never how things go in this show. If a storyline seems to be resolved early in the chapter, that means that there’s surely a twist waiting for us at the end, and this one is no exception.
Indeed, after putting Mateo to bed, Jane and Rafael find themselves talking about Rafael’s impending move to his new apartment, and the kiss is brought up again. Rafael is still hung up on Jane thinking that they no longer have chemistry, and so she dares him to kiss her again, to prove that they really don’t. And, yes, you guessed it! She is proved wrong.
They kiss, and it’s a hell of a kiss, but their romantic scene is cut short when Mateo, who is not asleep yet, barges into the living room and asks, excitedly, if their kiss means that they’re getting married. Well, that’s how romance works in telenovelas, right? And that’s how it seems to work for Jane and Rafael too, always stumbling upon one obstacle or another just as they seem ready to get together again. We can expect that their romantic entanglements will take up the better of the next couple episodes, which must be an exciting prospect for the shippers, though those not in #TeamJafael are surely dreading it.
Editor: Trianna Nguyen
Keshav Kant, aka Mx. KantEven, is a med student tuned Executive Director of Off Colour!
You’ve probably seen her on Twitter and TikTok, both @MxKantEven, or caught her work on Off Colour's many channels.
From consulting on films & shows, manuscript review, conducting interviews, or hosting podcasts & panels, if there is some way to bring sensitivity and authenticity to diversity, inclusion and equity conversations, Keshav will be there.