Jane the Virgin: S04E17 “Chapter 81”

Episode Grade: A-

Be careful what you wish for. Is that the theme of the episode? No, not at all. It’s the lesson I am learning for wishing that this season would come to an end so I’d have my Friday nights free again. Don’t get me wrong, I really love this show (and I hope for those of you who have been following along with me this season that you already knew I loved it from my writing), I felt the final third of it has been pretty outstanding, but I’m just ready to chill out at the top of my weekend. But I didn’t go into tonight preparing myself for a finale cause who has 17 episodes in a season. I THOUGHT I HAD MORE TIME! And now that I’m out of new episodes for months on end, I’m dying for the next chapter. While some of you are used to these crazy season enders and the months long wait for your next Jane fix, this is new for me. I binged seasons 1-3 at the end of the summer and I am not at all prepared to wait 6 months for the follow-up of that mind-blowing reveal.

Before I unpack my feelings on that twist, I suppose I should work my way up to it. The episode kicks off with a flashback to the night Alba made the decision to stay in the US. I always love getting a chance to learn more about my favorite abuella but it serves more than just as an origin story. I felt the inclusion of such a flashback really drives in just how long it has been that Alba has been living with the worry that at any moment, she might be forced out of the home she chose. Luckily, its a fear she’ll never have to have again since she’s finally getting made an official citizen and everyone wants to celebrate. Jane and family begin to plan a surprise party. Why is it a surprise? I’m honestly not sure why someone like Jane who hates surprises would foist one onto someone they love but if I had to guess its the show’s way to add some drama.

See, had Jane just been honest about wanting to celebrate Alba’s citizenship, she would have found out the Jorge was already planning a toast (I’m guessing that’s an informal way to say cocktail party) for after the ceremony. Jane rushes over to tell him her plan so he offers to feign having a flu so Alba will have no choice but to take a bus home with Jane and Mateo instead of going to a small reception. What Jane and Jorge failed to consider was Alba’s nurturing nature, and she decides she wants to surprise Jorge with a visit to see how he’s feeling. While Jane fails miserably to convince her to just leave him be and ends up spilling the beans about the party, her son hops on the bus alone and he takes off leaving his mom and greatmother behind in the dust. I worry the back half of the episode is going to be the ladies on a wild goose chase to catch up with the tyke, but about 20 seconds after the commercial break and Jane has sprinted to catch up to the bus and is reunited with her little boy. The three make it home safely and Alba hams it up trying to act like she was none the wiser.

I was near tears with her heartwarming speech about the interpretation of the phrase E pluribus unum and then I got those kind of goosebumps/feels when it proved to be the inspiration for Jane’s next piece. I adored the graphic of all the stories whirling around her coalescing to become one crazy tale that spans generations and genres that is Jane the Virgin. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to weave all these stories together to make one coherent review. It’s not as easy as she makes it look. I imagine that once Jane’s book is a roaring success, her father will be adapting it into a show that does not star River Fields, and the meta circle will be complete.

Speaking of things coming together, this finale gave us an unexpected wedding. After a chat with her coworker/ex-boyfriend/unrequited love/pal Jorge, Alba decides to take advantage of her new citizenship by marrying her friend so he can safely leave (and return to) the country to visit his dying mother. Jane and Xo are expectantly surprised and happy with this information, but Alba tells them not to let emotions get involved, this is strictly a gesture of friendship. We all know that’s baloney since Alba still has the feels for her ex, but Alba’s a woman who is going to do what she wants so no one tries to stop the union which goes off without a hitch. She does later admit that she hopes Jorge falls in love with her again, and I have no doubt, cause seriously, how can you not love this lady:

While I’m on the topic of characters I love, no time better to discuss my other favorite series character: Petra. Petra and JR have continued to get closer, enough so that JR is now comfortable enough to stay in with the twins while Petra goes out to parties. I should have known better to get all excited for my girl when the word love is tossed around and plans to cohabitate are made, cause of course the bottom is about to fall out…or in Petra’s case, the sole of her shoe. JR discovers while having a fashion show with the twins that Petra’s shoe from the night of Aniska’s murder had been repaired and that Magda had been telling the truth all along. Confronted by her girlfriend, Petra confesses to the crime but pleads that it was for the safety of her daughters. JR is having none of it, realizing that she sacrificed her career and shared the bed of a murdered who had been lying to her for months. I don’t blame her one bit for leaving, but she doesn’t even make her way out of the hotel before a call from Krishna informs her that Petra’s life is in danger. She rushes back upstairs just in time to wrestle away a gun from Petra’s would be killer and shoots them. At this point I was cackling with laughter at #JRShotWho. We won’t find out who it was til next year but I don’t think that’s the cliffhanger everyone is going to be thinking about til fall.

Nope, that honor goes to the secret that Rose promised at the end of last week. The secret that I had said I didn’t really care about and would kick myself for not even bothering to guess at. Raf starts out the hour surprising his girlfriend with a new apartment. It’s one of those things that seems like a really sweet gesture til you think too long about it and remember that Jane is a control freak and would have definitely wanted to take part in choosing her new home. I thought it was really out of character for her to not care and just be happy with his decision. The two arrive back at Alba’s house and announce the good news…..which Alba almost immediately spoils by bringing up that she was hoping for an engagement. But Raf already had that one all planned out and just wanted blessing from the rest of the family before he popped the question. Now, whether or not the writers were intended to have Rogelio speak for the audience when he says “I have gotten over my ambivalence for you” (as I think a decent chunk of the audience probably ships these 2 hard) but they summed up my feeling with this reveal perfectly.

Unfortunately, whatever news Rose had imparted onto Raf before he could ask threw a wrench in his plan. Once returning from the prison to visit his ex-stepmother, Raf goes from wishful and romantic to sullen and distant. I felt terribly for Jane that even after she stood her ground and by her man while he moped about his studio, refusing to open up to her. What could he have possibly learned? I honestly thought the same theory Alba had on the bus: the Raf found out he and Jane were actually related because this is a telenovella after all. I didn’t even rule that theory out after the did the hibbity dibbity one more time, cause maybe he figured one more for the road. My apologies for skeeving anyone out with the thought. But no, the secret had much further reaching implications. Jane shows back up at Raf’s place, fully prepared to be asked to be his wife…..only to find her HUSBAND MICHAEL behind the door. What? The? Actual? Fuck? So I’m sorry Raf for prematurely judging you for turning into a mopey douche the second you found out some secret and went into shut down mode. I completely understand now why you could just tell your love the truth or why you didn’t want to go forward with popping the question. The reveal had me slack-jawed, I can’t even imagine what you were going through. But ever worse, I can’t begin to imagine what this will do to Jane.

I’m still really at odds on how to feel about Michael’s resurrection. I’m sure he’s going to have some wonderful excuse for making his wife believe she was a widow and let her mourn his loss for over 3 years. I’ve sure there’s a reasonable explanation as to why he just abandoned his baby to only come out of hiding once a serial killer in the family gave away his secret. But right now, what I want to happen when the show picks back up is for Jane to look at the ghost from her past, let him see all the rage and pain in her eyes from YEARS of deceit and to grab Rafael’s hand and walk out the door with the man she’s moved on with.

I really tried my hardest to get this out to y’all quickly. I can’t be the only one who needed to vent a reaction to that wild episode. I’ve really enjoyed getting to voice my feelings about this darling show on this site, and I hope you all have enjoyed reading them. With Jane already renewed for it’s fifth and final season, I can promise you now (barring some unforeseen life altering event) I’ll be back in October or whenever season 5 kicks off to sum up episodes and my thoughts on them. I hope you all join me for what is sure to be one last crazy ride.