Well THAT was a leap to a whole new world. Let's talk about it!
THIS WEEK'S MVP(arent)
Honestly Petra is QUEEN and deserves every award we could throw at her. But tumblr didn't see fit to make Queen Mom Petra gifs, so instead let's make heart eyes at the runners-up over on Team Matelio:
And for all of you NewMatelio skeptics: just LOOK at that sleep acting. That's a kiddo who knows EXACTLY WHAT SLEEP LOOKS LIKE and knows how cute he is doing it and so does it at the drop of a pin.
BEST TELENOVELA TWIST
Kids digging up Scott's dessicated corpse from the Marbella beach, doy. Boy, BYE.
BEST PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Well, we got a great full-screen hood shot of Jane's Chevy in the first act, but then Petra's visit to the "adult" hotel next door got a Planned Parenthood hashtag emblazoned on it, so a-duh, Planned Parenthood.
PREVIOUSLY ON JANE THE VIRGIN
Jane got her dream job as the assistant to a wunderkind publisher, and then, suddenly, Michael died. Rafael decided to go to jail for nine months for having covered up his (not) dad's crimes. Petra started pulling herself out of PTSD to be a good mom—her first move, kicking a blackmailing Scott+Anezka to the curb (…somehow). Xo and Bruce got serious; Ro and Darci got serious. Jane collapsed in despair.
Our flashback this week was, weirdly, to Alba gently forcing Jane to let some light into her world two weeks after Michael's death in last week's episode. This time-twistiness was possible because, in show time, we are now three years in the future.
(Sidenote: I am still v sad about Michael, but the fact that the American experiment still seems to be going strong enough that Florida can support a SECOND happiest place on Earth, i.e., the new Marbella, is very promising. Jane! Tell us who the President is!)
So Alba is lending her support to Jane not only as her abuela, but as a woman who experienced young widowhood and being a single mother, herself. Her advice to Jane? She *will* be happy again, even if it is in different ways. Why? Because she has to. She has Mateo, and Michael wouldn't want her to just give up.
The New MARRRRRR-bella
So what was Petra up to all that time that Raf was in prison clearing his moral slate?
Redesigning Miami's #1 murder hotel to become Miami's #1 family fun destination! Checks out. As does the fact that Petra is hate-sexing their Flordia-bro-chic, child-hating neighbor, Chuck, who has declared war on the Marbella's beachside kid zone, which he (and the city planner) have determined stretches five feet onto Chuck's adult-only hotel property.
On the one hand, I love having such a petty fulcrum for drama in the new timeline. On the other…how would five feet either direction change the reasonability of putting the kid zone directly next to an adult-only beach? I mean, I am neither a parent nor a pediatrician, but I am fairly certain that kids can see greater than five feet into the distance.
OH WELL. What really matters here is that there's a new villain in Petra's personal life, and he thus far has no connections to Magda, so, I'm cool. Plus, he backs down to support Petra's dream later in the episode when she thinks she's found a smoking gun in the blueprints having been secretly altered (from 3 ft to 8 ft for the kid zone; for real, SO PETTY), even though he really was innocent. Who doesn't relish a good douchebro makeover? Plus, how long have we been watching a show set in Florida without the opportunity to refer to anyone's actions using the infamously ominous honorific "Florida Man…"? Too long, is how long.
Happily, the new Marbella isn't so keen on shedding its old murdery skin: by the end of the hour, the hotel's first official kid guests have dug up the skeletal remains of Scott "Man Code" Vests, whom Petra claims to not have seen in three years…
Oh right! Remember that wedding Jane was telling Mateo they needed to not be late to at the end of last week's ep? It's Rogelio's! And it is totally fake! Three years in the future, it turns out that some alchemy of the reality television workload and…feelings? made Rogelio change his mind about being ready for a baby, which made Darci resent him, and now they hate each other even though they are pretend marrying each other for TV.
Everyone in Ro's family is ready for it to be over, but ratings are great, and Darci promises him that one more year will tee him up for The Passions of Steve, that American Santos remake passion project he had been shopping to The CW last fall/three years ago, so Rogelio is in a bind. Xo had been made the villain by the producers and stopped talking to him after that ruined her life, but Jane and Alba refuse to let that feud continue. They make Ro and Xo talk it out, and even though Rogelio decides not to take the deal, Xo talks him into it, for his career. Happily ever after!
…Okay, I am loathe to ever criticize this glorious show, but this makes no sense: the central drama between Rogelio and Xo for basically the whole back half of the second season was that he deeply, deeply, deeply wanted a baby of his own, which is why they stayed broken up, even though they loved each other. It's not that I can't buy that Rogelio would have eventually changed his mind, but I do resent that journey being retconned entirely just to get us to Bridezilla Darci. That was a major emotional arc for Rogelio, and he deserved to see it all the way through, no cheat codes to skip to the end.
This and the complete misuse of Luisa (who has had the exact same storyline and motivations in a neverending loop for years now, and never gets to stick around for anything better) are my only pet peeves. Otherwise, this show is golden.
True Love and Best Friendship
Finally, Jane. In the new timeline, her biggest anxiety is Mateo's bad behavior, which has so staunchly refused to improve that his preschool teacher is recommending she and Raf hire a class aide to shadow Mateo and help him figure things out. Jane is worried that she let herself be too sad too often in the last three years, and wasn't there for Mateo enough, but literally everyone in her life tells her how wrong that is—even Petra, whose own children are models of perfect behavior and who has historically not been Jane's biggest fan. But the best thing about this new future is that Jane and Petra have found a balance in their relationship, thanks mainly to a standing weekly family brunch that they started right after Michael died and Raf went to prison, to mutually support one another under the guise of giving the kids sibling time. Yep! Brunch solves everything.
The second best thing about this future is that Jane and Raf are co-parenting on the same page—Jane has her insane systems, but includes Raf and his own plans as part of those systems—and are best friends, besides. This seems evident throughout the episode, but really hits home when Jane is backstage at her manuscript reading (her dragonlady boss accepted her Michael manuscript as a "Miami's Best Under 30" entry!) and finds herself too overcome with emotion to go onstage. She texts Raf to have him tell everyone she had to go home, but then he is there in front of her refusing to let her give up.
The tough love approach was exactly what she needed, and afterwards they have a lovely heart-to-heart in the empty auditorium about how totally OK it is for Jane to still cry whenever she listens to the last voicemail Michael left her. "You're kinda my best friend," she tells him when she's done venting. "I know," he says. It is very good.
All the same, Raf is no Michael, and Jane still needs a Michael in her life. Thankfully, her very active imagination stayed intact even after the shock of his death, so despite Michael's physical absence, she still sees him giving her advice and encouragement in even the smallest moments.
And now for a moment of self-indulgent confession: it took me extra time to be able to sit down to this episode recap this week, because I had to bring my cat into the vet to say goodbye on Monday afternoon. It wasn't anything like losing a husband, but it was simultaneously not fiction. Watching Jane heal from her loss (but not forget) was both really helpful, and really hard, especially when she finally got to the end of her long week and pulled out her phone before going to sleep to listen once more to Michael's final voicemail—which is exactly what I've been doing with a snap of my cat's ungodly loud purring every night this week.
Stories are important not just because they give us escape, or give us a way into worlds and experiences we might never have otherwise, but because they also give us a way through feelings and turmoil in our real lives. I know from past pet experience and my own strong imagination that I will survive losing my wonderful cat, and that someday I'll probably have another one I love just as much (even though, like Jane, I've never been a cat person before). But I also know that having Jane work through Michael's death, this week of all weeks, and get through to an optimistic future with a billion new problems an joys—it was immensely helpful.
Anyway, I hope you are all doing okay in your lives this week. Give all your own wonderful pets big smooches from me.
Jane finds herself smack in the middle of Miami's Devil Wears Prada!
Jane the Virgin 3x12: Chapter Fifty-Six -->