Jane the Virgin Recap: Season 5, Episode 10, “Chapter Ninety-One”
Later this summer, Jane the Virgin is poetically ending on its 100th episode, “Chapter One-Hundred.” Now that our episode count is rounding into the 90s, it’s clear that the show’s writers are starting to prepare us for the unknown future ahead.
For Jane and Rafael, that future will be rooted in family. Jane still romantically misses Raf terribly, but she’s confident that when it comes to Mateo at least they are on the same page. That is, until Mateo’s teacher suggests that he be tested for learning disabilities. Mateo’s had a hard time with reading, and even with direct tutoring from his parents, he’s still behind his classmates. Jane wants to jump right on it and get Mateo the help he needs, but Rafael is hesitant. I empathize with his belief that sometimes we move to diagnose kids too early, but his stubborn reaction and unwillingness to compromise come across as off-putting and macho. Jane shouldn’t have had Mateo tested without his dad’s permission, but Rafael shutting down left her with few other options.
When Mateo is diagnosed with ADHD, Jane has a panic attack. She never wants her son’s life to be harder than it already has to be. It’s Rafael who’s there to comfort her. He promises her that whatever the future holds, they got this. Together.
Rogelio’s future reunites him with one of the many women he wronged in the past. Dina Milagro (Judy Reyes, in a welcome return to the series!) was one of the original writers on The Passions of Santos, and with Jane departing the reboot series This is Mars to focus on her novel, he needs to work with the very best. It’s too bad that he burned that bridge years ago in the utmost of diva fashions. He’s able to bring Dina back on board by getting his maturity co-signed by other women he’s hurt and made amends to — Darcy (always a joy to see Justina Machado’s face), River Fields, and of course, Xiomara. Rogelio began the series as a broad stereotype of a vapid male star. He’s become a family man, compassionate and humble despite his ego.
Finding herself in the cold of Rafael’s shadow, Luisa is willingly offering herself back up to Rose’s manipulations. It appears that the two will end the show much as they began it, with Rose doing whatever it takes to keep Luisa under her control and call it “romance.” Sin Rostro has always been my favorite Jane the Virgin villain, and arguably one of the best comedy villains on television, but her emotionally abusive relationship with Luisa continues to be a sore spot.
For all of this talk about future planning, it’s JR and Petra who get hit the hardest. At the end of last week’s episode we learned that JR had been offered a job interview. The catch? The new gig is in Houston. Petra’s lies about her sister’s death cost JR her legal license, but she would still be able to use her legal knowledge to help immigrants fighting for their human rights at the border. At first, Petra appears the ever supportive girlfriend — she even dresses up in ‘80s cowgirl glam so that the two can have role-play sex and celebrate. (Don’t worry, they’ve also perfected FaceTime sex. Petra’s very committed to this whole long distance thing.)
When JR leaves for the job interview, Petra confesses to Jane that she’s a little worried. She wishes there was a way for JR to embark on this new career without having to also move halfway across the country. When Jane suggests asking JR to look for immigration nonprofit jobs locally, Petra misconstrues her advice and takes it one step too far — using her influence as a wealthy donor to secure JR a job in Miami without asking her first. Yeah, as you can imagine, that doesn’t go over well.
After their fight, JR confesses that she doesn’t want to stay in Miami. She doesn’t want to admit it, but those few days in Houston made her feel lighter than she’s felt all year. No one looked at her and only saw her worst mistakes. Tears are glassing the tops of JR’s eyes. At first, Petra misunderstands — this just means that they’ll be doing long distance after all. JR bites her bottom lip, pained that she’s hurting Petra but nonetheless resolute in her conviction: “I need to start over.” Petra’s brow furrows, her lips part just the tiniest bit. The narrator tells us that her heart’s breaking, but we didn’t need him to. It’s all over her face.
Petra runs to Jane’s house, collapsing on her bed in a pile of convulsing tears, gasping for air. Her face is read and a little sweaty, her hair matted. “I feel like someone cut out a piece of my heart,“ she tells her best friend.
Few relationships have traveled the miles of Petra and Jane over the last five seasons. They began as enemies; Petra was so cold to everyone around her that she bordered on villainous. Yet somehow, despite all odds, they became each other’s family. Petra was going to propose to JR. She shows Jane the ring. And I’m glad that while we’re thinking about Jane the Virgin’s future, we can rest assured that at least these two have each other.
“Can I stay here?” Petra looks up, her eyes bloodshot.
Jane takes her in her arms, “Sure, that’s what sisters are for.”