Jane the Virgin has a lot going on in any given episode. So much that some things are bound to be lost in the shuffle. Even a whole season later, the show’s never been able to really dive into Jane’s friendships. We’ve seen her hang out with friends at the hotel and even sometimes outside of work, but it’s very limited in comparison to the development heaped on her familial and romantic bonds. We know Lina (Diane Guerrero) is Jane’s closest friend, but we know this more because the show has told us, not because we’ve seen it play out onscreen. Season one tried, but as it got into other plots, wasn’t able to make Lina and Jane anything more than especially close coworkers.
“Chapter Twenty-Six” tries to make good on Jane and Lina, as Lina’s twenty-fifth birthday arrives, and Jane scrambles to plan a party she totally forgot about in the hoopla of new motherhood. However realistic it is to see friction emerging when one friend has a new baby to raise and the other is still free to hang out and party on a whim, Lina and Jane’s friendship is made up of cute moments but without any lasting depth. It’s more affecting seeing Jane out and about, not thinking about Mateo, Michael and Rafael or even Sin Rostro. Jane and Lina’s friendship is another thing being neglected due to Jane being a new mom, and it can at least coast along on its thematic power. It’s supremely satisfying to see Jane out with Lina, drinking (because she’s pumping and dumping) and enjoying herself.
While Jane’s out for the night, Rafael is left in Mateo’s care, a huge step considering how Jane’s been relying on herself and her family rather than Rafael. It’s in Jane’s nature to want to do everything herself, and she even gives Rafael instructions on how to take care of Mateo. She hasn’t been eager to let anyone take over for her, but that’s obviously not something that can continue. First of all, Jane’s got a full plate, and Rafael’s more than capable of caring for his son. Last season’s tension regarding his occupation with the hotel has dissipated, and he’s in a much better place so he’s more able to devote time to his son and allow Jane to unwind a little. Though I’m sure that will be more complicated when/if Jane starts needing a babysitter to go out with Michael.
Because that’s happening!
After her night on the town with Lina, Jane runs into Michael, and there’s kissing. It’s adorable and sweet, and in terms of the show’s fairytale-esque kisses, Jane bumping into a “Snow” button, and effectively redoing their first kiss. Their relationship has progressed a lot since we first met them in season one even as a lot of their relationship is still rooted in their prior relationship. It’s moments like the one where Michael responds to Jane’s declaration about performing “Hot in Here” with “Talent show style?” that make them so cute. As wonderful as Jan and Rafael can be, there’s a lived-in quality to Jane and Michael that makes them especially endearing. Not to mention the show has done a lot to ensure that Michael’s been redeemed from last season’s poor decisions. Petra even attempts to enlist him in a plot to split up Jane and Rafael (again), and Michael refuses. Jane and Michael’s kiss, and Jane’s subsequent elation, feels more like that of a new love than an old one, capturing all the same thrills that were present in the beginnings of Jane and Rafael’s flirtation. It’s something of a shock of have Jane making her choice, though there’s still room for that to change I suppose, but me being Team Michael I sure hope it doesn’t. Though Rafael finding out via baby monitor is definitely a crappy way to learn the woman you love just had the best kiss of her life with her ex-fiance.
If Jane’s choice is set in stone, “Chapter Twenty-Six” marks the return to JTV‘s rapid pacing. Jane’s seemingly found a handle on new motherhood, the love triangle has been dissolve, Xio and Rogelio are rid of Luciana, Luisa’s back in Miami (and now in communication with Rose), and even Petra has let go of her obsession with Rafael. Petra in particular makes for an interesting change. It was when she tried to rope Michael into her new plans that I began to wonder what lengths she was going to go to in order to win Rafael back (especially as it would affect Jane and Rafael’s coparenting), so having Rafael have a serious talk with her before it can get even soapier was a nice moment. I appreciate that, despite Rafael’s unwavering negative feelings for his ex-wife, that he’s never super awful (looking at you Fitzgerald Grant). The fact is that Petra is definitely still in love with Rafael, and is now about to have his baby (which is pretty miraculous if you ask Rafael) so there’s little room for the kind of animosity that could easily brew between them. But the only way to maintain cordiality is for Petra to chill. Rafael highlighting that they’ll never be together again, and pushing Petra to look for someone who really wants her, is very sweet. But of course, Petra’s happiness is shortlived and Milos returns to ask for her hand in marriage or he’ll send her to prison.
- Jane is telling her breathless best kiss ever story to Xio when Rafael overhears, and as much as I love seeing Jane confide in Xio, why can’t Jane ever have this moments of confession and vulnerability with Lina? It would do a lot for making their relationship more tangible onscreen.
- I always worry when Rafael begins or ends his arguments against Jane (which could be plenty fair) with some mention of Michael. He had some major resentment in his tone when Jane answered Michael’s call, and I worry that after learning of Michael and Jane’s kiss that he’s going to make this joint custody thing unnecessarily painful. Before he of course sees the error of his ways and apologizes.
- When is Michael going to have a partner who isn’t traitorous? And his confession about Nadine in front of the baby monitor makes me very nervous. Rafael didn’t hear (I think), but do those things record?